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This lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is light, healthy, and cozy. It uses wholesome everyday ingredients and is sure to become a family favorite!

Love lemon chicken? Try my Easy Creamy Lemon Chicken or this Lemon Chicken Orzo (One Pot Pasta).

close-up of a bowl of Greek lemon chicken orzo soup

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 boneless skinless chicken breasts cook 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
ingredients for lemon chicken orzo soup on a counter

Pro tip

  • 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.
close-up of lemon chicken orzo soup in a yellow pot

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.

sauteing vegetables and adding chicken broth to a soup pot

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.

adding chicken and orzo to a soup pot

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.

adding fresh parsley to a pot of lemon chicken orzo soup

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.
healthy lemon chicken orzo soup in two white bowls

What to serve with this 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.
easy lemon chicken orzo soup in two bowls

Questions about this soup? Leave me a comment below, and tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you’ve made it!

close-up of a bowl of Greek lemon chicken orzo soup
4.94 from 596 votes

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is light, healthy, and cozy. It uses wholesome everyday ingredients and is sure to become a family favorite!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 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 fresh parsley or to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • 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 the 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 open), 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 1036mg, Potassium: 782mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3605IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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1,428 Comments

  1. Kathy Ryan says:

    5 stars
    I just made for my husband and myself. We think it was excellent, it was not hard to make but is hearty and delicious.

    1. Natasha says:

      Awesome!!

  2. Sandy says:

    5 stars
    My husband said this is the best soup he’s ever tasted!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s amazing!!

  3. Beth says:

    Can this be frozen?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi, if you’re freezing the whole thing, I’d add the orzo after freezing it. If you’re just freezing leftovers, that’s fine, but the pasta will get a bit puffy (like with any soup of this nature). I’d add more broth to leftovers when reheating.

  4. Jen says:

    5 stars
    One of my favorite soups I’ve ever had, so much flavor! I freshly squeezed a whole lemon and it was perfect. Be prepared with extra broth because the orzo absorbs a lot!

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!!

  5. Mia says:

    5 stars
    Soo delish! I made this tonight for dinner. I cooked the orzo separately so that we can have this for dinner tomorrow night too (didn’t want the orzo to soak up all of the broth). It was just perfect and very cozy on a fall night!

    PS – from a Greek American, this is quite different from traditional avgolemono soup, so I think you stated the origin perfectly 😉

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy you enjoyed it!! And thanks so much… that’s what I figured too, but I guess you can’t please everyone lol.

  6. Alison says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe! My new favourite soup 😊

    1. Natasha says:

      Excellent! Thank you!

  7. Irene Kennedy says:

    5 stars
    Excelletn. I love it.
    Question: Can this be frozen?

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad! Yes it can… but you may need to add more broth once you’ve thawed it out (while reheating). The orzo will puff up a bit, but that’s the nature of any soup that contains pasta.

  8. Michaela says:

    Hi! Is there any modification to make this in an instapot?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! I don’t have an IP version of this recipe, so you’d have to experiment. I’d probably do somewhere between 8-10 minutes high pressure, release the pressure naturally for 5 min or so, and then do a quick release for the rest then stir in the orzo and lemon after (use sauté button to cook until it’s done). Just a guess, tho!

  9. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    Thanks so much for this recipe! It’s delicious!

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re welcome!! 🙂

  10. Ella says:

    Lemon orzo soup is Greek, not American. Go to any Greek restaurant & it’s on the menu.

    1. Natasha says:

      Sure, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’m making this in an authentic Greek way. I can definitely update the recipe card if it’s bugging you, though. 😉