Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
Comforting and light, this Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo is ready in about 30 minutes! Perfect for a chilly weeknight dinner with family!
Winter weather got you down? Cozy on up to a big bowl of this Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo, and it will warm you from the inside out!
There’s a reason that chicken noodle soup is the universal comfort food… it just WORKS! One spoonful of that familiar savory soup recipe and you’re transported back to childhood.
I just love to serve delicious and hearty soups like Minestrone, Meatball Soup, Beef Barley, and this easy Chicken Orzo Soup! This is no ordinary chicken soup though, it comes with a bit of a twist! This lemon chicken orzo soup has got plenty of fresh herbs like rosemary and oregano, uses orzo pasta, and has a squeeze of bright lemon juice.
How Do You Make Lemon Chicken Soup?
Even though it looks beautiful, this lemon chicken soup is actually really easy to make! The steps to make easy chicken soup are:
- Cook the chicken and set aside
- Cook the vegetables
- Add broth and bring to a boil
- Shred chicken
- Add orzo, chicken and herbs to the broth
It’s that simple!
IS THIS GREEK LEMON CHICKEN SOUP A WEEKNIGHT MEAL?
Sure is! This soup can be made in about 30 minutes on the stovetop. And you can even shave that time down by using precooked chicken (we like to use leftovers from our homemade rotisserie-style chicken).
Do You Cook Orzo Before Adding to Soup?
Nope, it cooks right in the soup as it simmers, so there’s no need to dirty another pot! I’m all about recipes that use less dishes.
Can Other Pasta Shapes Be Used? What About Rice?
Absolutely! Chicken soup can easily be made with any kind of pasta and this Greek inspired lemon soup is no exception. Any short cut of pasta will work, just simmer until the pasta is al dente.
Rice will work well to make a chicken lemon rice soup recipe, but keep in mind that different types of rice have different cook times. White rice should be tender in about 12-15 minutes, just do a taste test to make sure.
PRO TIPS FOR MAKING LEMON CHICKEN SOUP WITH ORZO:
- This soup is certainly Greek-inspired, but not a true Greek lemon chicken soup. That soup is called avgolemono soup, and it has eggs in it. If you’d like to add eggs, here’s how to do it: Remove the soup from the heat first. Whisk together the eggs and SLOWLY add a scoop of the warm soup, whisking quickly as you add it. Carefully and SLOWLY, pour the egg mixture into the soup pot, stirring constantly as you pour, and keep stirring constantly until soup is creamy and combined.
- To make this soup an even quicker meal, use pre-shredded chicken, either from leftovers, the deli section of your grocery store, or from a rotisserie chicken. Just skip step 1 of the recipe.
- Use fresh herbs if possible. Most grocery stores carry herbs in the produce department. The freshness really accentuates the flavors here. Dried herbs will work in a pinch, but you’ll have to play around with how much to add, since this recipe was developed by using fresh.
- This soup is great as leftovers! The orzo will soak up more of the broth, so you might need to add a splash of chicken broth as you reheat it.
- If you wanted to meal prep this soup, cook the orzo separately, and don’t combine the two until you’re heating up your portion for lunch or dinner. This way you won’t have to have chicken broth on hand while you’re at the office.
OTHER GREAT SOUP RECIPES:
- Hearty Taco Soup
- Skinny Loaded Potato Soup
- Chicken and Mushroom Chowder
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup dried orzo pasta, uncooked
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
- Add olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a large dutch oven or stockpot and heat over medium heat. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Add chicken to dutch oven and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Set chicken aside on a plate.
- Add remaining butter to dutch oven, then add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in dried thyme.
- Pour in chicken broth and water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the dutch oven. Bring to a boil.
- While soup is coming up to a boil, shred chicken using two forks. Once soup is starting to boil, stir in shredded chicken, orzo, bay leaf and add sprigs of rosemary and oregano. Reduce heat and simmer 10-12 minutes, until orzo is tender.
- Remove and discard bay leaf and rosemary/oregano sprigs. Stir in lemon juice and fresh parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS:
- Omit butter and olive oil from recipe.
- Add all ingredients except orzo, lemon juice and parsley. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- 30 minutes before serving, remove bay leaf, rosemary and oregano sprigs, and shred chicken.
- Add orzo, lemon juice and parsley. Cover and cook on LOW for 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:
- Turn pot on to the sauté setting. When the pot is hot add the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute about 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken, salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic. Stir.
- Add the broth, water, lemon juice, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, and orzo. Stir.
- Secure the lid and set the steam release to the sealing position.
- Press the pressure cook or manual button, then press the +/- button to select 8 minutes.
- When cooking is completed, release the steam/pressure in short bursts at first, then longer bursts, until you're sure none of the soup will spew out from too much pressure. Fully open the steam release.
- Stir in parsley and serve.
Recipe developed by The Chunky Chef, and first published on Spend With Pennies.