This lemon chicken orzo soup is hearty, delicious and so simple to make! Tender veggies, chicken, and orzo pasta in a lemony broth. Yum!

Simple and so satisfying, this soup is going to be your new best friend this fall and winter.

With everyday ingredients and a quick cooking time, it’s just one of those feel-good meals that everyone will look forward to.

lemon chicken orzo soup in white bowl with handles with slices of bread and butter

Let’s Start with Veggies

This soup comes together really fast, even with a bit of veggie chopping to start.

Other than a few key changes, it’s not so very different than a classic chicken noodle soup.

The first step is to saute the carrots, celery, onions and garlic until they start to soften.

sauteeing carrots, onions, and celery in cast iron pot

Orzo and Lemon Juice

After the vegetables cook for a minute, the broth and simple pantry seasonings are added along with:

  • Orzo pasta
  • Fresh lemon juice

Both of these add a unique element to this soup that sets it apart from it’s brothy noodly competitors.

The small orzo pasta adds the heartiness of noodles without being all in-your-face about it.

And the lemon juice brightens up the whole pot of soup. It’s the perfect boost of flavor!

pouring orzo pasta into soup, adding lemon juice into soup pot
cast iron pot filled with lemon chicken orzo soup

To Thicken or Not

Once the orzo cooks and is mostly tender, it’s time to decide whether you want to thicken the soup a bit.

There’s no wrong choice here. You can proceed without thickening and end up with a really delicious soup similar in consistency to chicken noodle soup.

However, adding a simple roux to the soup and simmering for a few minutes transforms the broth into a velvety pot of nourishing goodness.

adding butter and flour roux to lemon chicken orzo soup

Comfort Food in a Bowl

Top this lemon chicken and orzo soup with a sprinkle of parmesan and some chopped, fresh parsley and prepare to fall in love.

This soup is refreshing and comforting. Wholesome and crazy delicious.

If you want to further amp up the nutrients (and color), you can also stir chopped, fresh spinach in at the end.

This soup has found permanent residence in our dinner lineup, winter or not. It’s quick to make…and it proves that sometimes simple recipes are the absolute best thing in the history of ever.

spoon taking scoop of lemon chicken orzo soup in white bowl

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white bowl with handles filled with lemon chicken orzo soup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

4.92 stars (34 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups diced carrots, about 3-4 medium carrots
  • ½ cup diced celery, about 3 ribs
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
  • ¾ cup (138 g) orzo pasta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • ¼ to ½ cup fresh lemon juice (see note)

Optional Roux:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons flour

For Garnish:

  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped, fresh parsley

Instructions 

  • In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic, and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until the onions have softened and started to turn translucent.
  • Add the broth, orzo, bay leaf, salt, oregano, basil, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes until the orzo is tender.
  • Optional for slightly thicker soup: stir together the melted butter and flour until smooth. Whisk into soup and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the chicken and lemon juice and cook until heated through, 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve servings of soup with chopped fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese (optional but tasty).

Notes

Lemon juice: the amount of lemon juice you add will depend on your taste preference. I suggest starting with 1/4 cup and adding more to taste. Bottled lemon juice may alter the flavor of the soup; I suggest using fresh lemon juice if you can.
Optional Add-In: it works really well to stir in several cups of chopped fresh spinach at the end.
Orzo: you can add a full cup of orzo pasta for a less brothy soup. I haven’t tried subbing rice for the orzo, but I’m guessing it will work just fine.
Freezable: I haven’t tried freezing this soup. If you want to try, I’d suggest undercooking the orzo just a bit so it doesn’t get mushy after freezing and thawing.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 140kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 1152mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g
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Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe on allrecipes