Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Published January 23, 2023

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup – A chicken soup that’s loaded with tiny bits of tender orzo pasta, lean protein rich chicken breasts, fresh vegetables and it’s seasoned with plenty of bright fresh lemon. It’s a delicious Greek flavored soup that will leave you craving more!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in a white serving bowl on a wooden plate.

Cozy Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup

Let’s just start by saying this is a must try soup! It’s a ready favorite and a family favorite.

It’s nutritious, full of flavor, easy to prepare, cooks in one pot, and it’s the perfect pick me up, feel better soup.

You’ll love it on a cold blistery day or even on a summery day with its vibrant lemony goodness.

Serve it with fresh hearty buttered bread or a side salad to finish the meal.

I think you’re going to love every last sip of this!

Pot full of chicken lemon orzo soup.Ingredients needed to make lemon chicken orzo soup.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe Ingredients

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – Thighs could be substituted just increase cook time slightly.
  • Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
  • Olive oil – Only a little is needed for sauteing the vegetables.
  • Carrots, celery, yellow onion and garlic – This mirepoix blend build up the flavor of the soup. And these veggies make it more nutritious.
  • Chicken broth – Or use my homemade chicken stock recipe to make it even better!
  • Dried oregano and basil – Italian seasoning could be substituted.
  • Parmesan rind (plus shredded parmesan for serving) – I love finding ways to use up those leftover rinds. They work perfectly for simmering in soup.
  • Lemon – You’ll add both the juice and the zest so don’t forget to zest before halving and juicing.
  • Spinach – Stick with fresh for best texture.

Photos of steps to make lemon chicken orzo soup. Continued steps of making lemon chicken orzo soup.How to Make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This soup is really easy to make. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

  1. Pound chicken even then season with salt and pepper.
  2. Sear chicken in pot until browned on both sides, transfer.
  3. Saute veggies.
  4. Add broth, parmesan rind, seasonings and return chicken.
  5. Bring to a simmer then add orzo.
  6. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and pasta is tender.
  7. Remove rind.
  8. Dice chicken then return to soup with lemon juice and zest and spinach.

Three bowls of chicken soup with orzo, lemon, spinach, carrots, celery and onions.

Can I Make it with Rotisserie or Leftover Chicken?

Yes. You can also make it with Rotisserie or leftover chicken breasts or thighs. If doing so wait to add cooked chicken until near the end of cooking.

Can I Make it in a Slow Cooker?

Yes. If you want make it in the crock pot:

  • Saute the veggies first then add to slow cooker along with other ingredients up to and including parmesan rind (keep chicken whole).
  • Cook on low about 5 hours. Remove chicken.
  • Add orzo to soup, cook on high heat until tender about 20 minutes or so.
  • Return chicken, add lemon zest and juice and spinach. Cook until spinach wilts (should wilt within a minute or two).

Does it Freeze Well?

  • If you aren’t a soggy pasta snob (like myself) then yes this soup freezes really well as is.
  • If on the other hand you don’t like soft pasta then cook the pasta separately (add a little less broth to the soup), then freeze the pasta separately as well.
  • It  will freeze up to 3 months.

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in a white serving bowl on a wooden plate.
4.98 from 49 votes

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

A chicken soup that's loaded with tiny bits of tender orzo pasta, lean protein rich chicken breasts, fresh vegetables and it's seasoned with plenty of bright fresh lemon. It's a delicious Greek flavored soup that will leave you craving more!
Servings: 6
Prep20 minutes
Cook30 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes



  • Place chicken on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap and pound evenly to about 1/2-inch thickness. Dab chicken dry with paper towels and season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil a large enameled cast iron pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 - 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate leaving oil in pan. 
  • Add carrots, celery and onion and saute until nearly softened about 6 to 8 minutes. Move veggies to the side, add garlic and saute 1 minute. 
  • Pour in chicken broth, add parmesan rind, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to pot and bring to a simmer. 
  • Add orzo, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer stirring occasionally, about 4 - 8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer). 
  • Remove parmesan rind and chicken and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let chicken rest 3 to 5 minutes then cut into very small cubes, about the length of the orzo. Meanwhile continue to cook soup until orzo is tender a few minutes longer.
  • Return chicken to soup along with lemon juice, lemon zest and spinach and heat through. Serve warm with parmesan cheese. Note that as soup rests the pasta will absorb the broth so you can as a little more broth as desired.


Recipes makes about 12 cups.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 332 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 0.01g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 50mg17%
Sodium 273mg12%
Potassium 970mg28%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 7727IU155%
Vitamin C 19mg23%
Calcium 118mg12%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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  • Mindy

    I’ll be cooking with chicken thighs (bone-in). Is it necessary to brown them?

  • Martiey Miller

    I’ve made this so many times for myself with such success, it’s going to be the center of our family Soup Supper on Christmas Eve. Such a great flavor combo…and in a large tureen with the lemon slices it should be visually stunning. Thank you!

  • Leah

    This soup is amazing! Mama’s homemade chicken noodle soup always did the trick when I was under the weather. This soup will be my new go to! So delish- the whole family loved it!

  • Jane

    This soup is wonderful! It is easy to make and guests are quite impressed with it. The lemon adds just the right flavor to the broth. A great way to have spinach in the diet. I make it quite often. As the recipe says, it is good for any time of the year. Love ❤️ it
    (I usually use rotisserie chicken which makes it even easier. I put the chicken at the step just before the spinach).

  • Barb Mauldin

    Just happened to have all ingredients on hand on this snow day – even went out and cut some fresh rosemary from under the snow- this recipe is fabulous- I was hoping it would be good, but it was out of this world! Also appreciated That it wasn’t a soup that needed to simmer for hours- it came together really quick and everybody was so happy with it! One thing I like to do with recipes that call for fresh spinach is only add the spinach to the portion that I will use for a particular meal. Then, when it’s time for leftovers, I bring the soup up to a simmer and add the spinach – Tastes so nice and fresh.
    Thanks for sharing

  • Paula

    This soup is positively the BEST!! I love the delicate lemon flavor and the way all the ingredients taste in my mouth. My husband, who never really “wants” a particular meal, has asked for this soup several times. It’s a WINNER!!

  • Jess

    Delicious! You may want to add the orzo after the chicken is finished cooking through. I added mine and the chicken wasn’t nearly finished by the time the orzo was, so the orzo was a little over cooked. Maybe the chicken was not thin enough! Seasoning and everything was perfect. Thank you!

    • Julie

      Just made this soup. I used 40% lower sodium chicken broth and white meat rotisserie chicken, just wondering why the the fat, cholesterol and sodium are so high. Tastes great !
      Thanks, julie

      • Jaclyn

        Jaclyn Bell

        Sorry I’m unsure, it’s an automated calculated that comes up with the numbers. I’m glad you enjoyed it!