Let’s add a little brightness to our day with this fabulous Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup!

A bowl of healthy lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach

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This is a bowl of good, clean, healthy, happy food we have right here.

  • Every flavorful bite makes me feel alive and nourished, and it comes together in a flash.
  • It’s light, bright, and packed with veggies, lean protein, and whole grains.
  • With this array of nutritious ingredients, the lemon chicken orzo soup calories stay low without sacrificing any of the bold flavors.
  • It will fill and warm you to your core, without weighing you down, and the leftovers are just as tasty as the day you make it (a meal prep dream!).

This soup is the sort of cozy midday pick-me-up I long for in the middle of a weekday.

It’s hearty enough to satisfy me on a chilly evening and tasty enough to serve to guests too.

This lemon chicken orzo soup is like pure sunshine in a bowl, and it’s ready to brighten your day!

a pot of easy lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach and a spoon

5 Star Review

“Made this soup for dinner tonight, and it was so wonderful. My husband loved this soup too, and I will definitely make it again.”

— Patty —

How to Make Chicken Orzo Soup

While this soup bears some resemblance to other classic chicken and noodle soups (like this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup and this Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup)—a few important additions make it taste extra special and unique.

The Ingredients

  • Carrots + Celery + Onion. This all-important trio builds the soup’s flavor right from the start. I like to say these make chicken soup taste like chicken soup.
  • Dried Basil. Basil pairs beautifully with the bright flavors in this soup.
  • All-Purpose Flour. To help thicken the soup and make it a more creamy lemon chicken orzo soup (without the need for actual cream).
  • Chicken Broth. The savory, comforting, and nutritious liquid base. Homemade is of course wonderful, but if you don’t have time (I rarely do) don’t sweat it. This soup has plenty of other excellent flavors going on.
  • Chicken Breasts. Tender, perfectly-cooked chicken breasts are scrumptious in this soup. Plus, chicken adds oodles of filling, lean protein. You can make this soup with chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Orzo. A small, quick-cooking pasta that looks similar to rice. It’s undeniably tasty and ideal for soups. I used whole wheat orzo for the added health benefits. Orzo does get mushy in soup if it’s cooked too long, so it’s important to follow the cooking times listed and not let it overcook.

Substitution Tip!

You can also make this soup with other small pasta varieties. Small shells, castellane, or ditalini would all work well. Adjust your cooking time in the recipe as needed.

  • Spinach. An extremely nutritious addition to this soup. Spinach is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Market Swap!

If you’d prefer to make a lemon chicken orzo soup with kale, you can swap the spinach for kale instead. Note that kale is tougher than spinach, so you will need to simmer it for longer.

  • Lemon Juice. This chicken soup does have lemon, and you do not want to skip it! A generous squeeze of lemon juice wakes up the flavors and makes the soup incredibly refreshing and almost cleansing.
  • Fresh Dill. A handful of fresh dill makes the soup herbaceous and lively.

The Directions

  1. Sauté the carrot, celery, onion, herbs, and seasonings.
  2. Stir in the flour to thicken.
  3. Add the chicken, and let simmer. Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer it to a cutting board and dice or shred.
  4. Stir the orzo into the soup and let cook directly in the broth.
  5. Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the remaining ingredients. ENJOY!
A pot of Greek lemon chicken orzo soup with vegetables

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Orzo soup can be frozen. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Plan Tip

Chop the carrots, celery, and onion up to 1 day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.

A white bowl with chicken soup with orzo and lemon

What to Serve with Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

The Best Dutch Oven

A classic, high-quality Dutch oven is a must-have kitchen tool. It’s ideal for making soups, casseroles, stews, and so much more!

A bowl of healthy lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach

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Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

A bowl of healthy lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

4.96 from 22 votes
Healthy lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach is pure comfort! A simple one-hour chicken soup with pasta, it's full of bright lemon flavor.

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 1 hr

Servings: 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 medium celery stalks diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 6 to 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo (see note)
  • 3 cups roughly chopped spinach loosely packed about 3 ounces
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice about 1 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, basil, salt, and pepper. Let cook until the vegetables soften and are beginning to brown, about 8 minutes (don’t rush this step; it builds important flavor).
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir until it disappears. Pour in 6 cups of the chicken broth and stir to combine. The flour should be completely dissolved.
  • Carefully lower the chicken into the broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat, partially cover the pot, and let gently simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Check the soup periodically to make sure you are maintaining a gentle simmer vs. a rapid boil.
  • Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cover. Let rest for at least 5 minutes.
  • Return the soup to a simmer, then stir in the orzo. Continue to simmer for 7 additional minutes, stirring periodically to keep the orzo from sticking, until the orzo is very al dente (it should be nearing done but still be too firm to eat).
  • Dice or shred the chicken, then add it to the pot.
  • Stir in the spinach, lemon juice, and dill. If you desire a thinner soup, add the remaining 1 to 2 cups of chicken broth, until the soup is to your liking. Continue to simmer and stir periodically for 3 to 5 additional minutes, until the spinach wilts and the orzo is al dente. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy warm.


  • INGREDIENT NOTE: You can also make this soup with other regular or whole wheat small pasta varieties, such as small shells, castellane, or ditalini. Reference the cooking time on the box and adjust your cooking time in the recipe as needed.
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Orzo soup can be frozen. Freeze soup in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO MAKE IN A SLOW COOKER: Lightly coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the chicken in the bottom, then season with salt and pepper. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and basil. Pour the chicken broth over the top. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes on HIGH or 4 to 6 hours on LOW. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred or chop, then return to the slow cooker along with the orzo. Turn the heat to high and let cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the spinach, lemon juice, and dill. Cover and continue cooking on high for 5 additional minutes, just until the spinach wilts. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. 


Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 33gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgPotassium: 939mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 8256IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. The only modification I made to this was using ditalini pasta instead of orzo. When everything else was done I added the noodles for 10 minutes and it was WONDERFUL. So warm and cozy and fresh. 5 stars

  2. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try…do you have any recommendations to substitute the orzo if wanting a gluten free option?

    1. Hi Nikki! While I have not tried the recipe this way, you could experiment with gluten free orzo or rice. For each of these, I recommend cooking them according to the package directions, and then stirring them into the soup at the very end. If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  3. I adapted this recipe to the Instant Pot and it is awesome! Only recipe change was reducing the broth to 6 cups.

    1. Turn Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Add oil, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and basil. Sauté for 30 seconds. Add chicken breasts, broth, salt and pepper and give a quick stir.

    2. Close Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure cook (HI) for 8 minutes for 2 whole chicken breasts (6 mins for 4 chicken breasts pieces). Allow natural pressure release or quick release after 5 minute NPR.

    3. Open the Instant Pot. Take the Chicken Breasts out and shred them with a a fork.

    4. Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Add orzo and shredded chicken. Cook for 6-7 mins or until the orzo is cooked.

    5. Add spinach, lemon juice and dill and stir everything together. Turn the Instant Pot off.

    6. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy warm.5 stars

  4. Thank you! This soup is the best, I make it often. Our gym friends gather around Valentine’s Day for a soup luncheon. They always want this soup because it’s so healthy and delicious, I do use rice instead of orzo as one person is gluten intolerant. The lemon and dill are so important. I have even tempered an egg and whisked it in to make it richer.
    People even bring containers to take some home. I make in my instant pot instead of slow cooker and goes together fast.5 stars

  5. I made this recipe and my family liked it but I did add some lemon pepper because it tasted very bland with out it. I will make it again.4 stars

  6. So delicious! My mom requested this soup as her “Welcome Home” meal after being released from hospital. It was my first time making this and it came out perfect! My mom even said mine was better than hers! The spinach is a nice added touch. I also added some fresh parsley and lemon zest.5 stars

  7. Just made this tonight. I followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect! Thankyou for this!! Will definitely make it again in the future.5 stars

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