Easy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

You’re going to love this easy lemon chicken orzo soup recipe. It is pure comfort in a bowl and the perfect recipe to make when you want a warm, cozy meal without much fuss.

Lemon chicken orzo soup in serving bowl with soup spoon.

What you need to make this recipe

  • Chicken. I used leftover roasted chicken for this soup recipe. I often make it with rotisserie chicken as well which makes it fuss-free and prep is kept to a minimum. If you want to roast chicken for this soup, drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil and season generously then roast in a hot oven (or in the air fryer) for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and just cooked. Allow to cool then shred the meat with two forks.  Chicken thighs or bone-in pieces can be used too but will require longer cooking time.
  • Mirepoix. The trio of ingredients that gives fantastic flavor to all soups and stews. Onion, carrot and celery are all used in this recipe. Even if you don’t like celery, I would suggest chopping it finely and adding it as it adds incredible savory depth to all soups and stews.
  • Fresh garlic cloves.
  • Bay leaves.
  • Herbs: I used fresh thyme sprigs and a teaspoon of dried oregano. Other herbs like parsley, basil, fresh dill or marjoram can all be used.
  • Lemon zest and juice.
  • Chicken broth/chicken stock.
  • Orzo pasta. Any pasta rice can be substituted.
  • Salt and black pepper.
Lemon orzo soup in pot.

How to make lemon chicken orzo soup

Finely chop the mirepoix ingredients. Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat and add a knob of butter or splash of olive oil. Add the vegetables with the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme then allow to sauté for a few minutes until the veggies start to turn a light golden colour. Add the chopped garlic and dried oregano and cook for another minute then pour in the chicken broth and orzo. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and zest then bring to a simmer and allow to boil for 10 minutes until the orzo is tender.

Add the shredded cooked chicken and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice if needed then serve.

Can I make this ahead?

Yes, this soup is great to make ahead and it freezes very well. Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To freeze, allow to the cooked soup to come to room temperature then transfer to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating in a saucepan on the stove.

Lemon chicken orzo soup

FAQ

Why do you put lemon juice in chicken soup?

Lemon juice adds a lot of brightness to soups and stews. The acidity enhanced the flavors of the other ingredients and brings the whole dish together.

What is the secret to making good soup?

The first thing you need when making soup is a good quality broth or stock. Homemade is always best but store-bought is perfectly fine. To add more flavor to chicken soup, use herbs and spices like garlic, paprika, rosemary, thyme and oregano and don’t forget to season generously!

How to add richness to chicken soup?

If your chicken soup is lacking in flavor, I would suggest adding umami-rich ingredients like a splash of soy sauce or a parmesan rind. Starting with a knob of butter and using good quality broth (bone broth is especially great) will also add lots of richness to your chicken soup.

Is orzo more healthy than pasta?

Orzo is just a shape of pasta so the health benefits are the same as that of pasta. For an extra boost of fibre and protein, use wholewheat orzo instead of regular.

Chicken soup recipes

Lemon chicken orzo soup in serving bowl with spoon

Easy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This easy lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is pure comfort in a bowl. Perfect for when you need a warm meal without the fuss.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken orzo soup, lemon chicken orzo soup, lemon orzo soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Calories: 354kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter/olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery spears finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 cups chicken broth / chicken stock
  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Finely chop the mirepoix ingredients.
  • Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat and add a knob of butter or splash of olive oil.
  • Add the vegetables with the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme then allow to sauté for a few minutes until the veggies start to turn a light golden colour.
  • Add the chopped garlic and dried oregano and cook for another minute then pour in the chicken broth and orzo.
  • Stir in the fresh lemon juice and zest then bring to a simmer and allow to boil for 10 minutes until the orzo is tender. 
  • Add the shredded cooked chicken and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice if needed then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 354kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 1520mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3323IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3mg