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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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A light, lemony chicken soup with small orzo pasta, vegetables and tender chicken. You will love this immunity boosting soup! It makes a great freezer friendly meal, just leave out the pasta and add it when you are ready to eat the soup. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in white bowl


Lemon + Soup.  There is no better combination!

One of my all time favorite soups is Avgolemeno.  It is a Greek chicken and rice soup with a whole lot of creamy, lemony goodness.  Today’s Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is similar in some ways–it mixes small orzo pasta with a lemony chicken broth. 

Many of us get colds this time of year and Chicken Noodle Soup recipes can be a great thing to eat when you are sick. The garlic, lemon and chicken broth are a great way to boost your immune system.  If you like this soup you should also add this Asian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe and this Slow Cooker Chicken and Rice Soup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in White Cup

My love for lemon stems back to my childhood.  My Mom has pictures of me with lemons in my mouth. I don’t know what it is about tart foods but I love them and lemons are no exception.

Like Mother, like son!

Disclaimer: I am updating this recipe that I first posted back in 2014. As you can see below Will was just a toddler then. I love this picture so much I decided to keep it here for all of us to enjoy! 

Will eating Lemons

This picture was taken in Florida at a restaurant where I got lemons with my water and Will insisted on eating them all. His face says it all…but he actually really loves them and goes back for more!

Needless to say this soup was a big hit with him and the rest of my family.  They love any type of chicken soup that I make but especially love this Chicken Orzo Soup. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with a spoon


CHICKEN: There are a few options when it comes to the chicken in this soup. You can use chicken tenders, thighs or breasts and cook them as part of the process of making this soup. You can save yourself time by buying a rotisserie chicken and shredded that and adding it in to the soup.

VEGETABLES: I also include carrots, onion and celery in my chicken soup recipes. You can add other vegetables if you like. I think zucchini, peas, green beans and greens work nicely. 

ORZO: I love using orzo in soups and in salads like this Summer Orzo Pasta Salad. It works nicely in this soup. Look for a whole wheat version at the store for a healthier soup! 

BROTH: You can make a homemade chicken broth or bone broth for this soup or buy your favorite store-bought brand. 

FRESH HERBS: As with most of my recipes I would suggest adding your favorite fresh herbs. I think that fresh parsley and dill work nicely in this soup. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with parsley


There are a variety of ways you can modify this soup. Here are a few ways I like to change things up and also some cooking tips to help you along the way!

  • Add additional vegetables to your soup including peas, green beans, zucchini and mushrooms. I also enjoy adding greens like spinach, kale or swiss chard.
  • Make this soup a creamy one. You can add heavy cream to the soup to thicken it up and make it a richer cup of soup. 
  • Skip the chicken. You certainly don’t have to add chicken to this soup. If you want to add additional protein that isn’t meat, try adding beans. I like chickpeas or white beans. 
  • This soup freezes well. I would suggest keeping the orzo separate if you plan to freeze some because the orzo can soak up all of the broth and the orzo sometimes becomes mushy. I just add the orzo as I eat the soup. 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in cup

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with parsley

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

A light, lemony chicken soup with small orzo pasta, vegetables and tender chicken. This soup makes a great freezer friendly meal--just leave out the pasta and add it when you are ready to eat the soup.


  • 2 cups orzo pasta, cooked
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced {I used a rotisserie chicken}
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 bay leave
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 to 2 cups of spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with fresh dill or flat leaf Italian parsley


  1. Cook the orzo pasta according to package until al dente. Remove and rinse under cold water and set aside.
  2. In a large pot heat the 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and saute the minced garlic for two minutes. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth, thyme, oregano, bay leaf and lemon juice and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the orzo pasta, chicken, spinach, salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley, dill and serve with crust bread.


If you make this ahead or plan to have leftovers then leave the pasta out and add it when you are ready to eat the soup to prevent the noodles from getting too soggy.
This soup freezes great (once again I would freeze without the noodles).

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