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Very close up shot of chicken soup with lemon and orzo in soup pot

Chicken Soup with Lemon and Orzo

  • Author: Shelagh
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 4+ 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


This is a soup to warm the soul. It’s light, quick and super clean eating. You can certainly leave the orzo out if you like. I use whole-wheat orzo, and I’m okay with that! 🙂 Do I really need to remind you to use fresh lemon juice for this? If so, then use fresh lemon juice. There are no exceptions. (another :).


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek, well cleaned, quartered lengthwise, and sliced (white and light green only) about 1+ cups
  • 6 medium carrots, thinly sliced, about 11/2 cups
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock (homemade would be great, or use low-sodium)
  • Rind from Parmesan*
  • 3/4 cup orzo pasta (I like the whole wheat variety) or any tiny pasta
  • 3 cups chicken, roasted** and shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken would work great here)
  • 34 lemons, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
  • One 5 oz. bag fresh spinach or arugula
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt (affiliate link) to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  1. Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, leeks, and carrots, add a pinch of salt. Saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the stock and Parmesan rind, bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the orzo and cook for a few minutes until tender. Stir in the chicken and lower the heat.
  4. Stir in lemon juice, spinach, and parsley. Season with kosher salt (affiliate link) and fresh cracked pepper to taste.


*why parm rind? It’s adds a depth of flavor that makes this soup rich but still light. Omit if you don’t have one, but start saving them in your freezer!

**Roasted Chicken is definitely something to add to your repertoire!

Make this vegetarian by using white beans (see tuscan bean soup for how to use dried beans) in place of the chicken.

Use cooked brown rice in place of the orzo for a gluten-free soup.

Please use fresh lemons, the bottled stuff needs to just stay in the bottle.

Keywords: quick soup, chicken soup with lemon and orzo, chicken soup, lemon soup, 30-minute soup, winter citrus soup, lemon chicken soup, greek lemon chicken orzo soup