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This quick and easy Chicken Orzo Soup showcases orzo, chicken, and vegetables in a silky lemony broth. Made from a handful of nourishing ingredients, it’s perfect when you want a creamy and comforting bowl of soup without the fuss.
This creamy Chicken Orzo Soup is an upgraded, Greek-flavored version of classic homemade chicken noodle soup. It’s made with every crave-worthy ingredient you’d expect from good chicken soup, including aromatic vegetables, shredded chicken, a soothing broth brightened up with fresh lemon, and al dente orzo pasta.
Ready in about 35 minutes, it’s ideal for family dinners, healthy lunches, or those days when you’re feeling under the weather. Every spoonful is always hearty, wholesome, and good for the soul!
- Think of it as a Greek-inspired spin on classic chicken and vegetable soup. Each bite delivers chicken, orzo, and veggies in a creamy, lemony broth.
- It’s a 35-minute one-pot recipe made with minimal ingredients. Easy to make in the Instant Pot and slow cooker, too!
- A soothing soup that’s perfect for comforting family dinners, packed lunches, and sick days.
Vegetables - Everyday soup veggies, like carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, give this soup a foundation of aromatic, savory flavor. You’ll find this same blend in Italian wedding soup, potato soup, and many others.
Chicken - I used pre-cooked and shredded chicken breasts, but chicken thighs will work just as well. To save lots of time, use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead of cooking it yourself. Check out the Tips to learn how to make this recipe with raw chicken.
Chicken broth - Homemade bone broth adds a ton of restaurant-quality flavors!
Orzo - This is a type of short-grain pasta that looks just like rice. It’s prepared and cooked the same as pasta and bulks up this soup really well. I love using it in soup recipes, as well as in pasta salads! Feel free to swap the orzo with another kind of short-cut pasta or your favorite whole grains instead.
Heavy cream and cornstarch - These two are mixed to create a slurry. It not only thickens the soup but also gives it a luscious and creamy finish with a velvety mouthfeel.
Lemon juice - Freshly squeezed lemon juice brightens up every spoonful. I like squeezing lemon juice directly into the soup pot once it’s finished and serving lemon slices on the side.
Step 1: Sauté the aromatics. Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until they’re soft, then add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt.
Step 2: Let it simmer. Stir in the cooked chicken and chicken broth next, and bring it up to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until the pasta is al dente.
Step 3: Add the slurry. Meanwhile, whisk the heavy cream and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Pour it into the pot and stir to help the soup thicken.
Step 4: Serve. Finish the soup with extra salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed. Ladle the chicken soup into bowls, top with parsley, then enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- To make this with raw chicken, add the chicken to the simmering broth and let it cook for about 12 to 15 minutes. Then add the orzo and cook until it’s al dente. When the soup is finished, remove the chicken, shred it, and return it to the pot.
- If you want to intensify the lemon flavor, stir in fresh lemon zest before squeezing in the juice. You can also top each bowl of soup with more zest along with fresh parsley.
- You can add even more vegetables to the soup, like leeks, mushrooms, red bell peppers, spinach, kale, or frozen corn kernels.
- Want to make a vegetarian version? Swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and the chicken with white beans, like chickpeas, navy beans, or cannellini beans. I bet lemon chickpea orzo would be delicious!
- Double or triple the shredded chicken. This way, you’ll have enough to make tacos, buffalo chicken dip, chicken salad, and this soup!
Can chicken orzo soup be made in the Instant Pot?
Yes, it’s a very quick and convenient method, especially with raw chicken! Here’s what you need to do:
- Use Saute mode to soften the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and seasonings in butter.
- Add the chicken and broth, then cook using the Soup setting for 10 minutes (it will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure before the timer starts).
- When the timer beeps, quick release the pressure and remove the lid. Remove the chicken, shred it, and set aside.
- To the pot, add the orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on Saute mode.
- Stir in the slurry when the orzo is almost cooked. Return the chicken to the pot, season to taste, then serve.
Can this recipe be made in a slow cooker?
For sure! Here’s how to make this soup in a crockpot using raw chicken:
- Cook the vegetables in a large skillet until tender, then transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker.
- Add the chicken and broth. Cook on High for about 3 hours. Remove the chicken, shred it, then return it to the cooker.
- Add the orzo and continue cooking on High until tender (about 30 minutes).
- Stir in the slurry when the orzo is almost done, season to taste, then serve.
If you plan on saving this soup for later, I recommend keeping the soup and orzo separate. This way, the orzo won’t absorb the broth or become soggy as it sits.
Refrigerator: The leftovers are best kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
Freezer: Store the soup in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the leftovers thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reheating: Reheat the soup in a saucepan on the stove while you make a fresh batch of orzo. Combine the two when the soup is hot, then enjoy.
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Chicken Orzo Soup
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 cup onion diced (from ½ large onion)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ½ teaspoon italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 lb. cooked shredded chicken (from 2 small breasts)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup orzo
- ¼ cup heavy cream, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat, then add the carrots, celery and onion and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Then, add the garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and sauté for 1 minute.
- To the pot, add the cooked chicken and chicken broth and bring soup to a boil. Then stir in the orzo and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the orzo isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Meanwhile, whisk the heavy cream and cornstarch together. Once the 10 minutes are up, pour in the heavy cream and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste, along with lemon juice and garnish with fresh parsley (optional). Enjoy!