Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is packed with great flavors and good-for-you ingredients. With a few shortcuts, you can have this soup on the table in 30 minutes or less!

Pair this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with homemade dinner rolls and a green salad like this Italian salad!

Overhead image of Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in a bowl, with a spoon in it, ready to be eaten

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

We’ve been sick a bit more than usual this fall and winter, and I swear by this soup. Not only does it make everyone feel better while eating it, I’m also convinced it clears up some of the sickness as well.

It turns out that it’s not just in my mind; research has shown that chicken soup with veggies can help you stay hydrated when you’re sick and reduce cold symptoms. This soup features lots of lemon, which happens to be loaded with vitamin C. And when you’re sick, or on the verge of being sick, Vitamin C helps the immune system. So I think it’s safe to say, this soup is one of the best things to eat when you’re feeling a scratchy throat coming on. I know it has been in our home!

But it’s not just a soup for the cold season. It’s truly good whenever you’re craving some warm comfort food and something a bit different than a regular chicken noodle soup.

Process shots-- images of Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.

How to make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

The descriptions below correlate to the pictures above.

  1. Add olive oil, diced carrots, diced celery, and diced onion to a large pot.
  2. Saute the veggies until crisp tender, about 8-10 minutes. The veggies will look like this when they’re ready!
  3. Here are all the spices we’ll add into the soup.
  4. Add those spices to the veggies and stir around to get fragrant.
  5. Add in the broth and bring to a boil; once boiling, add in the orzo pasta and cook until tender.
  6. Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken to warm through, and then add the spinach to wilt. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  7. Soup is ready! Garnish individual bowls with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs as desired.

Up close image of the soup with a spoon in it, ready to be eaten.

Soup shortcuts

  • Using rotisserie chicken in this soup is already saving us loads of time, but did you know you can buy pre-shredded rotisserie chicken? (I’ve seen it at Costco, Smith’s (Kroger), Trader Joes, and Walmart.) Most stores have several different seasoned rotisserie chickens, and I love using a lemon herb seasoned rotisserie chicken for this soup — So good!
  • To save yourself chopping time, grab mirepoix (also labeled as soup starter at some stores). Lots of stores sell pre-chopped mirepoix in the produce section of the store. If you’re in a hurry, grab that fresh-chopped mirepoix or you can even use frozen mirepoix in this recipe.
  • Use a lemon juicer and microplane to make zesting and juicing the lemon a breeze. If you’re a big lemon fan, you might even want more juice or zest than the recipe indicates!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup storage

This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is best eaten the same day it’s made. When stored, the orzo pasta continues to absorb liquid, so it bloats, and becomes overly soft. If you aren’t planning on enjoying this soup the same day it’s made, I recommend either cooking the orzo separately (and reducing the amount of liquid in the soup) or halving the recipe. 

If cooking the orzo separately, simply add a few spoonfuls to individual soup bowls.

Because the orzo pasta continues to take on liquid, this soup isn’t a great candidate for freezing or thawing. Besides the pasta, this soup doesn’t freeze and thaw well because of the spinach and other veggies in it.

How many calories are in a cup of chicken orzo soup?

Take a look at the nutrition information panel below the recipe card. This soup has less than 175 calories per bowl. That’s a dieter’s dream!

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

5 from 1 vote
This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is packed with great flavors and good-for-you ingredients. With a few shortcuts, you can have this soup on the table in 30 minutes or less!
Print Recipe

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

5 from 1 vote
This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is packed with great flavors and good-for-you ingredients. With a few shortcuts, you can have this soup on the table in 30 minutes or less!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon chicken orzo soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 161kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion ~1/2 large onion
  • 1 cup diced celery ~3-4 stalks
  • 1 cup diced carrot ~3 carrots
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chicken boullion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: fine sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, dried parsley, dried oregano, dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta Note 1
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded/chopped Note 2
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest Note 3
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Optional: fresh thyme, Parmesan cheese, and crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  • MIREPOIX: Add olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add in onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until the onion is translucent and veggies are crisp tender, stirring occasionally, about 7-9 minutes (Reduce heat if veggies are browning too quickly) Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. While veggies are cooking, measure out all the spices.
  • SEASON: Add in the spices (chicken bouillon powder, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, thyme, and Italian seasoning) and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth and bay leaf and increase heat to a boil. Once boiling, add in the orzo pasta. Cook according to package directions, subtracting 2 minutes from what the package cooking time says.
  • CHICKEN/SPINACH: Stir in the shredded rotisserie chicken and then spinach. Gently stir to warm through chicken and allow spinach to wilt, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Season to taste if any additional salt/pepper is needed.
  • SERVE: Ladle into bowls and garnish, if desired, with fresh thyme. Add optional Parmesan cheese to individual bowls. Serve with crusty bread.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: fI you want to have leftovers of this soup, I recommend cooking the orzo pasta separately and then adding a few spoonfuls into individual soup bowls. When storing this soup, the pasta continues to absorb the liquid.
Note 2: If your grocery store sells it, grab a lemon herb seasoned rotisserie chicken for extra lemon and herby flavor.
Note 3: Add lemon juice and zest gradually, to personal taste preferences. This recipe is written the way we love it, but you may like slightly less or slightly more. If you're a big lemon fan, you can also add in some lemon herb seasoning (Mrs. Dash) or lemon pepper instead of regular pepper to the soup.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 8servings | Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.2g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 6.5g | Cholesterol: 30.1mg | Sodium: 131mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 2.6g

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I loved this soup. I couldn’t find orzo and I needed to make it gluten free anyway so I used green lentils. It worked well. Thank you!

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