Lemon chicken orzo soup is the ultimate comfort food. Simple to make but packed with flavor. A cozy soup for cold winter days and perfect for when you’re not feeling great.
We’re in the middle of winter here in the Carolinas and this year more than most, Spring seems like a long way away. It’s days like these when you need a comfy cozy bowl of soup. While chicken noodle soup is a classic, and a bowl of spicy chicken soup is delicious, give lemon chicken orzo soup a try, you won’t be disappointed.
No slurping bland noodles when you have orzo to soak up all the great flavors. If you haven’t cooked with orzo before, it’s just a rice shaped pasta that works so well in this chicken soup recipe because it absorbs the liquid. The longer it stays in the broth the more it seems to absorb.
Not only is it easier to eat than chicken noodle soup, you’re going to love the flavors. By cooking the chicken and vegetables together it gives the broth a rich chicken flavor, not watery at all. Then you’ll add dill and lemon at the end. if you have to leave off the dill, that’s ok, but don’t leave off the lemon. It adds a burst of flavor that perks up the soup.
This is also one of my favorite soups to take to someone who’s not feeling great. It’s nourishing but also comforting. You’ll want to keep some in your freezer for those days when Spring feels like it will never get here.
What you’ll need
- Veggies – Green onions and celery. You can certainly add some chopped carrots if you like.
- Chicken – I use thighs which I think have more flavor, but breasts can be used if you prefer.
- Chicken broth or bone broth- bone broth has more flavor, but since you’re cooking the chicken in it, chicken stock or broth will still produce a great chicken soup.
- Orzo – you could use any pasta or rice in it’s place.
- Fresh Dill – this adds so much flavor
- Lemon – citrus is perfect with chicken soup
How do you make chicken soup
Step 1: A Dutch oven is perfect for making soup but any large pot will work. Begin by cooking the onions and celery, if you want to add carrots, add them here.
Step 2: Once the veggies are soft, add raw chicken and broth and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken has cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Step 3: Bring the broth to a boil and add orzo and cook until the pasta has cooked to your desired texture.
Step 4: Shred chicken and add to the soup along with fresh dill. Squeeze a lemon over the top before serving.
If you find yourself cooking with chicken a lot and want to know for sure that your chicken is cooked thoroughly, head to my informational page on ways to make sure your chicken is cooked all the way but still remains juicy and delicious.
FAQ’s and tips
You can easily substitute chicken breasts for thighs. Use a meat thermometer to determine when they have cooked through, 165º for white meat, 175º for dark.
Rice will work instead of pasta but the cooking time may be different. Just test the rice for doneness.
You can easily cut this recipe in half, but it freezes well, so if you have room in your freezer make a big batch.
Orzo is just a rice shaped pasta. You can find it along with all of the other pastas.
Favorite breads to go with soup
More cozy soup/chili recipes
- Mushroom noodle soup
- Chili with sweet potatoes
- Slow cooker chicken chili
- Chicken chili
- Chicken salsa soup
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 6 green onions sliced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs 1 ½ lbs
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup orzo
- ½ cup fresh dill chopped
- salt and pepper
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil and when hot, add chopped celery and green onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add chicken and broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until chicken has cooked through, about 20 minutes, 175º. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.
- Bring liquid to a boil and then add orzo and cook uncovered until it has softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- With two forks, shred chicken and add back to the pot along with chopped dill. Let sit for a few minutes. Squeeze lemon juice over soup before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can substitute any shaped pasta for orzo or even rice.
- You can use chicken breasts, remove them when they reach 165º.
- The orzo will continue to absorb liquid, if needed you can add additional chicken broth.