This creamy lemon chicken orzo soup is similar to a classic chicken noodle soup, but with fresh spinach and lots of lemon! It's light, creamy, and the perfect creamy springtime soup!
You might also like this spicy chicken noodle soup or this chicken corn chowder!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this creamy lemon chicken orzo soup!
Chicken - I love using my easy poached chicken for this soup. But you can also use leftover rotisserie chicken or just cook the chicken in the soup itself!
Orzo - Orzo is a small, oval shaped pasta that looks similar to rice. Use a high-quality die cut pasta like Delallo or De Cecco for the yummiest results!
Vegetable Stock - I always use homemade vegetable stock because that's what I have on hand. But you can also use store-bought vegetable stock or chicken stock! Just note, if using store-bought stock you may need to reduce the salt content of the soup.
Fresh Spinach - I love adding a few handfuls of fresh spinach to the soup but feel free to leave it out. You could also substitute kale.
Whole Milk - I like to use milk to add a slight creaminess to the soup while still keeping it light. But for a heartier version you can substitute heavy cream.
Fresh Herbs - You can substitute dried herbs or a poultry seasoning blend if you prefer.
Lemon Juice and Zest - A little fresh lemon juice and lemon zest helps add some brightness to the chicken soup.
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
How to Make Orzo Soup
Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrots and mince the garlic.
Add all the prepared veggies and olive oil to a large stock pot over medium high heat.
Lightly sauté for about 5-7 minutes or until tender and aromatic.
Add in the thyme, salt, and pepper and let cook for another minute.
Then add in the vegetable stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
Add in the shredded chicken and orzo and simmer until the orzo is fully cooked and tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently so the orzo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add in the milk and fresh spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest, then taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Top the chicken orzo soup with fresh parsley and serve immediately!
The starch from the orzo helps to thicken the soup so that it has a more stew-like consistency. However, the orzo will very quickly absorb the broth in the soup, so it's best to serve immediately so it doesn't get too thick!
Since the orzo will absorb the broth, I suggest straining out the broth to store separately! Then just combining again before reheating! This is the easiest way to prevent soggy, bloated pasta that soak up all the broth.
What to serve with chicken orzo soup:
- Crusty sourdough bread
- Crackers (saltines are my favorite for soup!)
- Puff pastry bites
Store the broth and inclusions separately in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you don't want to use orzo, you can use any small pasta variety! A few fun options are: stelline pastina, Farfalline,or Ditalina rigati.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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Creamy Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 6 cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large poached chicken breasts, shredded
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 cup whole milk, or cream
- 2 cups fresh spinach, optional
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- fresh parsley, optional
- Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrots and mince the garlic.
- Add all the prepared veggies and olive oil to a large stock pot over medium high heat.
- Lightly sauté for about 5-7 minutes or until tender and aromatic.
- Add in the thyme, salt, and pepper and let cook for another minute.
- Then add in the vegetable stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
- Add in the shredded chicken and orzo and simmer until the orzo is fully cooked and tender, 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently so the orzo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add in the milk and fresh spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest, then taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Top the chicken orzo soup with fresh parsley and serve immediately!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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