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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is made with spinach and juicy chicken in a perfectly seasoned broth with a hint of cream and Parmesan cheese. Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds the best fresh flavor to this soup.

A soup pot with Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with spinach and vegetables.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Are you a soup person all year round? I sure am, but if there is any soup recipe that’s appropriate for spring and summer, it’s this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.

Why It’s the Best

The flavor profile on this soup is out of this world. Chicken is seasoned in lemon pepper seasoning and seared in the soup pot to give it a golden crust and add fond to the pot, which is then de-glazed with white wine (or chicken broth if needed).

From there, we use my favorite flavor enhancers: hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder. None of them can be tasted outright, but they add umami and elevate all of the other flavors in the dish. (The hot sauce doesn’t make it spicy.)

The seasoning combination is on point, and includes oregano, basil, parsley, and dill weed. A splash of cream and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds an incredible finishing touch before fresh spinach and lemon juice are added right at the end.

My key tip is to cook the orzo separately and add it directly to the serving bowls. Otherwise the orzo absorbs all of that delicious broth and your leftovers look like pasta and chicken rather than soup. 🥴

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions. See notes section of recipe card for Crock Pot Method.

Season chicken with lemon pepper seasoning and sauté it in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side. Set aside and let rest, then dice/shred. 

Seared chicken in a Dutch oven next to a plate of diced chicken.

Deglaze the pot with white wine (chicken broth may also be used). Add butter and vegetables and soften for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the seasonings, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, then add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. 

Deglazing a pot with wine before adding vegetables and chicken broth for soup.

Add the chicken back and simmer gently while you cook the orzo separately (see pro tips as to why it’s cooked separately). Reduce heat to low and stir in the heavy creamy, Parmesan cheese, and spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Serve!

A soup pot with spinach being added to Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.

Pro Tips

  • Cook the orzo separately to ensure that it doesn’t absorb all of the broth, especially if you plan on having leftovers. Add it directly to serving bowls and ladle the soup on top.
  • The hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder are flavor enhancers that you can’t taste outright, but they add umami and elevate the other ingredients in the soup. 
  • White Wine: Dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinto Grigio are best in this recipe and pair well with lemon. Chicken Broth may be used if you don’t cook with wine.
  • The hot sauce doesn’t make it spicy. I use Frank’s Hot Sauce in this recipe.
  • I also use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Packaged grated cheese won’t melt as well or taste as well.) Belgioioso is my brand of choice.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice if at all possible as it has more flavor than bottled lemon juice.
  • Add the rind of a wedge of Parmesan cheese to the soup while it simmers for even more flavor!
  • Chicken: 3 cups of cooked chicken can be used instead of fresh chicken if needed. Add the cooked chicken in step 4.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Leftovers freeze and reheat fairly well, I would boil fresh orzo to serve with leftovers.

 

A white bowl filled with Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with a lemon wedge and a spoon.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • Le Creuset 4.5 quart Dutch Oven– This is the one I use for this recipe, it’s the perfect size and it conducts heat really well.
  • Measuring Spoons I have these magnetic ones which stay nice and organized in my utensil drawer.
  • Pinch Bowls for measuring out seasonings ahead of time.
  • Lemon Zester– Add the zest of a lemon on top of the soup for even more lemon flavor.
  • Chefs Knife– I have this one. It’s affordable but high quality.

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A soup pot with Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with a ladle in it.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

5 from 5 ratings
This soup is made with spinach and juicy chicken in a perfectly seasoned broth with a hint of cream and Parmesan cheese. Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds the best fresh flavor to this soup.

Ingredients

Seasonings

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill weed

Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast, see notes
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning

Soup

  • ½ cup dry white wine, see notes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ¾ cup carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon, (3-4 Tbsp.)
  • ¾ cup orzo, uncooke

Instructions

  • Note: The orzo is cooked separately in this recipe to ensure that it doesn’t absorb too much broth. This allows leftover soup to be refrigerated or frozen on its own. Fresh orzo can be boiled and served with leftovers. If you do anticipate leftovers, consider making less orzo and saving the rest to boil fresh later.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with lemon pepper seasoning and add it to the heated pot. Sear on each side for 3-4 minutes, until a golden color has developed. (The middle doesn’t have to be cooked through.) Remove and let rest for 10 minutes, then dice (or shred) into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add white wine to the skillet over medium heat and use a silicone spatula to “clean” the bottom of the pot. Bring it to a gentle bubble and let it simmer for 4 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the butter along with the onions, carrots, and celery. Soften for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add the seasonings, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and toss to coat. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the chicken back and simmer gently until cooked through. (Do this gently to ensure that the chicken doesn’t become tough.) The soup will continue to reduce and concentrate the longer it simmers.
  • While the soup simmers, boil the orzo in a separate pot of salted water according to package instructions. Drain once cooked.
  • Reduce heat of the soup to low and stir in the heavy cream. Gradually sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese, stirring continuously.
  • Add the spinach and let it heat through for 2-3 minutes, or until wilted. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Add cooked orzo to serving bowls and ladle the soup on top. Serve!

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Cook the orzo separately to ensure that it doesn't absorb all of the broth, especially if you plan on having leftovers. Add it directly to serving bowls and ladle the soup on top.
  • The hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder are flavor enhancers that you can't taste outright, but they add umami and elevate the other ingredients in the soup. 
  • White Wine: Dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinto Grigio are best in this recipe and pair well with lemon. Chicken Broth may be used if you don't cook with wine.
  • The hot sauce doesn't make it spicy. I use Frank's Hot Sauce in this recipe.
  • I also use freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Packaged grated cheese won't melt as well or taste as well.) Belgioioso is my brand of choice.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice if at all possible as it has more flavor than bottled lemon juice.
  • Add the rind of a wedge of Parmesan cheese to the soup while it simmers for even more flavor!
  • Chicken: 3 cups of cooked chicken can be used instead of fresh chicken if needed. Add the cooked chicken in step 4.

Crock Pot Method
  • Sear the chicken, deglaze the pot, and soften the vegetables as outlined in steps 2 & 3.
  • Let the chicken rest before dicing/shredding. Transfer the softened vegetables to the crock pot. Add the the chicken broth, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings, and chicken.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours. (I recommend low heat to keep the chicken juicy and tender. Cooking it over higher heat makes it tougher. If necessary, it can be cooked for 4 hours on high.)
  • Stir in the spinach. Cover and heat through for 5 minutes, or until wilted.
  • Turn heat off. Stir in the heavy cream and gradually sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Serve with cooked orzo.

Storage
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Leftovers freeze and reheat fairly well, I would boil fresh orzo to serve with leftovers.

Nutritional information below is per cup. This recipe makes approximately 11 cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 657mg, Potassium: 351mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2257IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 1mg
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14 comments on “Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup”

  1. Hello! This looks amazing! 
    Wondering what your thoughts are for subbing wild rice for the orzo. Won’t go soggy. I’m planning on serving for a large group of ladies & really want it all together to serve. Thanks!

    • Hi Terri! The wild rice will absorb more broth the longer that it’s in the soup, but you can cook it on the side and stir it in right before serving. You can do the same with orzo 🙂

  2. I would love to make this soup soon (cold front finally moved into this hot Texas town) but all I have is a bunch of kale- which I need to do something with. Do you think that it would work if I cut up the kale in small bites (since it is so firm) instead of the spinach? Or is that not a good idea? I like the green color/flavor in there….. BTW, my family has loved ALL of your recipes that I have made so far!)

  3. Delicious, so flavorful with the lemon juice and seasonings….a winner with the whole family!

  4. The combination of herbs in this soup are delicious. We loved the depth of flavor! The Worcestershire and the hot sauce are a great addition.

    • Wahooo! I’m so happy to hear this was a hit. I agree, the hot sauce and Worcestershire add such a great depth of flavor. Thanks so much for the great comments!❤️

  5. Another delicious soup recipe!! The lemon brightened up all the flavors and I loved the idea of not cooking the orzo in the soup. It kept the broth light and flavorful. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  6. This was so delicious, thanks thanks thanks

  7. This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe is absolutely delicious! All the flavors came together so nicely and I LOVE the use of hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder in a lot of your recipes. You are right, you cannot taste the spice…it just brings out the flavors of everything else ten-fold. I love soup with pasta in it. The orzo is a nice change from the typical noodle pasta used in many soup recipes. This recipe is so creamy and indulgent. I’m going to keep this one right on top of my recipe pile to make all the time! Thank you so much!

    • I am so happy that you enjoyed this soup Diana! This has quickly become one of my husband’s new favorites, he loves lemon everything! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts on the recipe and to leave a review, I really appreciate it! 🙂 -Stephanie

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