This lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is the ultimate cozy and comforting soup. Go in, bowl after bowl of this easy-to-make goodness that’s a must-have during these colder months.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Lots of dill and plenty of lemon juice take this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup to the next level. It’s vibrant, packs a good amount of zing and is cozy all at the same time.
Chicken thighs simmer in chicken broth, celery, carrot, onion and garlic, and when ready, kissed with fresh dill and loads of freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you have any crusty bread on hand, get it ready as it makes for a fantastic sidekick.
Looking to Pair This Soup with Bread? Try my Garlic Confit Toast recipe!
Why This Soup Works
I’m not trying to reinvent chicken noodle soup (or CNS), nor am I knocking it–from canned, to mom’s style, and its many iterations, chicken noodle soup will always be the OG of soups.
Rather, I’m sharing a version that hits hard in the flavor category and is guaranteed to please. In a nutshell, chicken orzo lemon soup calls for traditional chicken soup ingredients that we know and love, but with a twist.
What sets this recipe apart from the all-too familiar CNS is its flavor, which is enhanced after adding dill and lemon juice. The result: a perfect balance of zing and pop, making a traditionally simple soup stand out.
Tools You’ll Need
Ingredients to Make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Again, this recipe calls for simple, familiar ingredients–most of which you may already have on hand. Let’s get down into what you’ll need:
- Chicken – Thighs, drumsticks or a mix are used are used. I prefer dark over white meat for this recipe as breast meat tends to be too dry.
- Chicken broth – Use low sodium chicken stock so as to give you more flexibility with seasoning with salt.
- Ghee – Used to sauté the aromatics. You can use avocado oil, but I find ghee to intensify the flavor of the soup.
- Vegetables – Carrot and celery are main vegetables in this soup.
- Herbs – This recipe calls for using a lot of herbs, perfect for yielding a ton of flavor. You will need fresh dill, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Orzo pasta – You can use any pasta of your choice, but I love to use this fun shape.
- Aromatics – Onion and garlic.
- Lemon – Juice from 1½ lemons and if you are a lemon lover like me, add more lemon juice!
- Salt and pepper – Season to taste.
How to Make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
You are just steps away from cozy, comforting goodness.
- Sauté onion, celery and carrot in ghee for 4 minutes. Add garlic and fresh thyme. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Add chicken thighs and cook until no longer pink on the outside.
- Add bay leaves and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 35 minutes.
- Remove chicken thighs and shred chicken into thick pieces. Discard bones.
- Return chicken to pot and add orzo. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until orzo is tender.
- Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir in lemon juice and dill. Serve immediately.
How Much Lemon Juice Are We Talking?
Halve and juice 1½ large lemons. And if you are a lemon-lover like me, slice the remaining half and keep at the dinner table for easy grab-and-squeeze wedges for even more bright citrus flavor. Heck, you can even add lemon zest if you are really feeling up to it.
Can You Freeze Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup?
You sure can! Simply cook through to shredding the chicken and add it back to the pot. Cool soup completely and place in a freezer safe container. When ready to eat, simply reheat on the stove, add orzo, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and dill, and serve
Tips and Tricks
- Use bone-in meat. While boneless meat may be preferred, use bone-in meat as it imparts more flavor to the broth.
- Making this soup ahead of time? Whenever I make this soup in the morning to be enjoyed in the evening, I wait to add the orzo, dill and lemon juice just before serving.
- For clearer broth, keep a consistent, gentle simmer. Also, constant stirring after adding the orzo pasta activates the starch, causing murkier broth. So stir occasionally.
Looking for More Soup Recipes?
Keep the comfy-feels going with these favorites:
Comfort in Soup Form
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 1⅓ pounds chicken thigh, skinless, bone-in
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rough pieces
- 2 large celery ribs, cut into ½-inch diagonal slices
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- ¼ cup garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock, low sodium
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon dry orzo
- Kosher salt, to taste and for seasoning chicken, I use Diamond Crystal brand
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste and for seasoning chicken
- 1½ large lemons, juiced, remaining half cut into wedges
- ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- Season chicken with kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, add ghee. Once melted, add onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté for 4 minutes.
- Add garlic and fresh thyme. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Use cooking utensil to scoop sautéed mixture to one side of the pot and add chicken thighs. Cook for 2 minutes or until no longer pink. Add bay leaves and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 35 minutes.
- Remove chicken thighs and place on a plate. Shred chicken into thick pieces and discard bones.
- Return chicken to pot and add orzo. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until orzo is tender. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Fish out bay leaves and stir in lemon juice and dill. Adjust taste with kosher salt and black pepper, if necessary.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with a fresh grind of pepper, leftover fresh dill and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.