This lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is light, healthy, and cozy. It uses wholesome everyday ingredients and is sure to become a family favorite!
Why you'll love it
I've made a lot of soups on here, but this lemon chicken soup with orzo is hands down the most beloved by my readers. It's just so comforting without being heavy, and people adore the bright lemony broth. This orzo soup is simple to make, so it's ideal anytime you're craving a really cozy soup without a lot of effort.
If you're not familiar with it, orzo is that tiny rice-shaped pasta. It looks like rice but cooks really fast, so you get that rice effect in less time. I cook with it fairly often, and I always enjoy it. I mean, you can't really go wrong with pasta. Except for bowtie pasta, but that's a story for another day. 😉 In any case, this recipe is like chicken noodle soup but elevated!
What you'll need
- Celery, carrots, and onion - the aromatic base for any good soup. I prefer sweet (Vidalia) onion, but yellow works as well.
- Butter and olive oil - for sautéing
- Garlic - for more savory flavor. I like to use this garlic press to mince it since you don't need to peel the cloves first.
- Flour - it thickens the broth a little
- Chicken broth - for deeper, richer flavor
- Italian seasoning - it's my favorite dried herb blend that comes all in a single jar for convenience
- Chicken - the chicken cooks right in the soup
- Orzo - you'll be able to find it in the dry pasta aisle
- Lemon juice - for that burst of brightness. Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Parsley - it adds a pop of flavor and freshness
- If you really want a more intense pop of lemon in here, I suggest grating in some lemon zest. I love my Microplane zester/grater for that purpose! You can also increase the amount of lemon juice to suit your tastes and serve with lemon slices right in the bowls as well.
How to make lemon chicken orzo soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery with the olive oil and butter until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, followed by the flour. Pour in the chicken broth, and stir until the flour has totally dissolved.
Add in the Italian seasoning and the uncooked chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Add in the orzo, and simmer until it's al dente, stirring fairly often.
Once the chicken reaches a temperature of 165F, take it out and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Add it back in along with the lemon juice, chopped fresh parsley, and salt & pepper. That's it!
Can I make it ahead?
- Yes, but you may not want to use the one pot method in that case since the orzo will soak up the broth over time. If you plan on having a lot left over or are making it well ahead of time, I recommend cooking the orzo separately and adding it into each bowl when warming it up.
Substitutions and variations
- You can substitute the chicken breasts for chicken thighs if you prefer.
- If you want to make this with already cooked/rotisserie chicken, I suggest adding the chicken in at the same time as the orzo so you don't overcook it.
- Use low-sodium chicken broth if you have concerns with salt.
- Want to make this soup in your slow cooker instead? Try my Crockpot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.
Leftovers and storage
- It'll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container. You may need to add more chicken broth to leftovers as the pasta will absorb it.
- This soup can be frozen, but the orzo does get a bit puffy. If you want to freeze the whole batch, I recommend adding cooked orzo in after you thaw it.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat until warmed through, stirring every so often.
Questions about this soup? Leave me a comment below, and tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you've made it!
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 2 sticks celery chopped finely
- 2 medium carrots peeled & chopped finely
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1.5 pounds uncooked chicken breasts
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or to taste
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Sauté the celery, carrots, and onions in a large soup pot with the butter and oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the flour and cook for another minute or so.
- Pour in chicken broth and stir until the flour has dissolved, then add the Italian seasoning and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil.
- Cover the soup (lid slightly ajar), and reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the orzo and cook for another 10 minutes or until the orzo is cooked through. I keep the lid off and stir it fairly often because it tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Take the chicken out of the pot and cut it up, then add it back in. Add the lemon juice (you may want to add more than I suggest - I didn't want to make the soup too lemony for some people), parsley, and season the soup with salt & pepper as needed. Serve immediately.
- You can sub the chicken breasts for chicken thighs if you prefer.
- Chicken is safe to eat at 165F and can go from undercooked to overcooked quickly, so I recommend using an instant read meat thermometer whenever cooking chicken so you're not guessing.
- Use low-sodium chicken broth if you're sensitive to salt.
- You may need to add more chicken broth to leftovers as the orzo soaks it up.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.