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Creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a flavorful and hearty dish that will quickly become a family favorite. The broth is infused with a zesty lemon flavor, and the orzo makes the soup filling and satisfying.

This versatile soup has those light flavors we love and a creamy texture that makes it the perfect weeknight dinner option for any season. Another delicious orzo soup you might like is my Turkey Orzo Soup.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup served in a white bowl.
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This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup has become my absolute favorite because it's a perfect blend of comfort and flavor. The combination of sautéed onions, chicken, and hearty orzo creates a satisfying dish. The touch of lemon adds a refreshing twist that brightens up the entire bowl.

This recipe is already pretty quick, but if I want to make it even quicker, I use leftover rotisserie chicken! Just add it a little later in the game since it is already cooked. 

The simple ingredients and the rich, creamy texture make it the perfect lemon chicken soup. Plus, it's one of those dishes that somehow tastes even better the next day, making it perfect for leftovers. 

Topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan and served with crusty bread, this soup has become a beloved staple in my meal rotation.

Ingredient Notes

See the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

Ingredients to make creamy lemon chicken orzo soup set out on the counter.
  • Oil: Used to cook the onions, giving the soup its base flavor.
  • Vegetables like onion, celery, and carrots create the savory base for the soup.
  • Chicken Breast: Adds protein and heartiness to the lemon orzo soup.
  • Garlic: Boosts the savory taste.
  • Salt and Pepper: Enhances the flavor of all ingredients.
  • Rosemary: Adds a subtle, herby aroma.
  • Parsley: Freshens up the soup with a mild herb taste.
  • Orzo: Small pasta that soaks up the liquid, making the soup filling.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds a zesty, refreshing taste.
  • Chicken Broth: The liquid base, giving a rich, savory flavor.
  • Spinach: Adds nutrition and a pop of green.
  • Heavy Cream: Makes the soup creamy and indulgent.

How To Make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Diced onions in a large pot.
Chicken, carrots and celery added to onions in the stock pot.

Begin by sautéing the onions. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot, then add diced onions, cooking them until they get soft.

Add the celery, carrots, and chicken. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and cooked through.

Garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and parsley added to vegetables in the stock pot.
Orzo added to the chicken and vegetables in the stock pot.
Lemon juice and chicken broth added to the stock pot.

Add garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and parsley and let them cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the orzo, lemon juice, and chicken broth. Cover it up and let it simmer until the orzo is just right – around 8 minutes.

Spinach added to lemon chicken orzo soup in stock pot.
Heavy cream added to soup in the stock pot.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup simmering in the stock pot.

Take off the lid and stir in the spinach until it wilts. Then add the heavy cream to give it an indulgent texture.

Serve it up hot, and if you're feeling fancy, sprinkle some Parmesan on top or grab some crusty bread to go with it.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in stock pot.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Make it vegetarian. Skip the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a hearty, meatless version.
  • Swap the greens. This soup will work perfectly with kale or Swiss chard in place of the spinach, so use what you have on hand. 
  • Change up the grains. Substitute the orzo with rice for a different texture.

Make Ahead, Storing and Freezing

Make Ahead: This lemon chicken orzo soup is even better the next day, so it’s perfect for making ahead! If you’re making this dish ahead, consider slightly undercooking the orzo to prevent it from becoming mushy when you reheat it. Just store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to heat it up, and add a bit of extra broth or water if you need to thin it out a bit. 

Storing: Keep your leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Freezing: Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. It will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer. 

Recipe Tips

  • Keep an eye on the orzo. It can go from al dente to overcooked relatively quickly, so once you hit the simmering stage, check it at the 6-7 minute mark.
  • Adjust the amount of lemon juice based on your taste preferences. Start with a bit less if you're uncertain; you can always add more later.
  • When adding heavy cream, pour it in slowly while stirring. This prevents curdling and ensures a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Make a double batch and freeze some for later. It's a fantastic time-saver, and the flavors tend to develop even more after freezing.

Recipe FAQs

What is orzo, and can I substitute it with another pasta?

Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta. You can substitute it with other small pasta shapes like couscous, small shells, or even rice, but be mindful of adjusting the cooking time accordingly.

How do I prevent the orzo from becoming mushy?

To prevent mushiness, slightly undercook the orzo as it will continue to cook in the hot soup.

Can I make this soup in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes. For a slow cooker, follow the usual steps but adjust the cooking time (around 4-6 hours on low). For an Instant Pot, sauté the ingredients first, then pressure cook for about 5 minutes with a quick release.

How can I make the soup less tangy if I added too much lemon juice?

Balance the tanginess by adding a bit of sweetness, like a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup and another splash of broth. Taste and adjust gradually.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup served in a white bowl with a slice of lemon.

We enjoy soup year-round! Here are a few more of our favorite soup recipes to try.

This lemon chicken orzo soup is perfect for meal prep or for making on a busy weeknight and you’ll love the flavors! There’s nothing like a creamy, hearty soup on a chilly night. 

Creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup in a white bowl.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
This creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a flavorful and hearty dish that will quickly become a family favorite. The broth is infused with a zesty lemon flavor, and the orzo makes the soup filling and satisfying.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 261 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 3 celery ribs (diced)
  • 2 carrots (diced)
  • 1 pound chicken breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • cups orzo
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot over low-medium heat, and sauté onion until softened.
  • Add celery, carrot, and chicken, and cook, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Then, add the garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and parsley. Cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Next, add the orzo, lemon juice, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and bring to a simmer.
  • Cook until the orzo is just tender, stirring occasionally. (This should take about 8 minutes once the soup begins to simmer).
  • Remove the lid and stir in the cream.
  • Then add in the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

Keep an eye on the orzo. It can overcook relatively quickly, so once you hit the simmering stage, check it at the 6-7 minute mark.
Adjust the amount of lemon juice based on your taste preferences. Start with a little less if you're uncertain; you can always add more later.
Store your leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition

Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 18gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 744mgPotassium: 443mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 3500IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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cindy@countyroad407

Thursday 15th of February 2024

Thank you for sharing this with us on Farmhouse Friday! Wowza, even the colors look scrumptious! I'm featuring it tomorrow and hope you link up again soon. pinned

Esme Slabbert

Monday 5th of February 2024

Oh wow, love chicken soup and orzo, and now a combo. I visited you via A Pinch of Joy: BUSY MONDAY 606 My links: 101+102. We will be honored and happy if you share your links with us at SeniorSalonPitStop. Link under BLOGGING

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