Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

PREP: 10minutes mins

COOK: 1hour hr 30minutes mins

TOTAL: 1hour hr 40minutes mins


Lemon chicken orzo soup with carrots, celery, onion, and garlic simmered with pulled chicken and orzo and topped with fresh parsley and lemon juice. 


For the quick stock and chicken meat

▢2 tablespoons olive oil

▢2 1/2 pounds chicken thighs

▢10 cups water

▢2 cups low sodium chicken stock store bought or homemade

▢1 medium carrot

▢1 medium celery rib

▢1 medium onion

▢2 large bay leaves

For the soup

▢1/4 cup olive oil

▢3 medium carrots diced

▢3 medium celery ribs diced

▢1 medium onion diced

▢3 cloves garlic minced

▢2 tablespoons flour

▢10 cups chicken broth from above

▢1 1/2 pounds chicken thigh meat diced, from above

▢2 tablespoons lemon juice

▢salt and pepper to taste

▢1/4 cup flat leaf parsley minced

▢8 ounces orzo


For the broth and chicken meat

Heat a large stock pot to medium heat and add the olive oil and the chicken thighs. Sear the thighs skin side down until some color forms (about 5 minutes per side) then add the low sodium chicken stock, water, onion, carrots, celery, and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil for 5 minutes then reduce heat to a simmer and cover leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook until the chicken meat is tender (about 60 minutes). Every so often, skim and discard the fat and scum with a large flat spoon from the top of the stock.

Remove the thighs from the pot and spread them out onto a cutting board to cool.

Turn off the heat and strain the soup discarding the veggies. Degrease the chicken stock with a fat separator, paper towels, bulb blaster, or by just skimming with a spoon. If you have time, place the stock in the fridge overnight and the fat will solidify as it cools making it easy to remove the next day.

Once the chicken is cool enough, remove all of the thigh meat. Chop up the meat and set it aside for later. The bones, skin, and cartilage can be used for a bone broth or discarded.

For the soup

In a large pot saute the carrots, celery, and onion in olive oil over medium heat for 7-10 minutes or until soft and translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir well to incorporate.

Pour the chicken stock (should be about 10 cups) into the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any brown bits. Turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes to concentrate the flavors.

Add the chicken thigh meat and the orzo. Cook, stirring very frequently, (to avoid sticking) until the orzo reaches al dente. If you need more liquid add a bit of water or extra low sodium chicken stock as required to thin it out.

Add the parsley and the lemon juice and give it a stir. Taste test the soup and season with plenty of salt and pepper to taste. If the soup needs more lemon juice add it as well. Enjoy!


Dark meat (thighs, legs, wings) is preferred for this soup since it will not overcook like white meat.

Orzo has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Stir the whole time, feeling the bottom for any stuck pieces.  

Herbs like Greek oregano or dill go especially well with this soup.

Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 36.8g | Protein: 39.2g | Fat: 9.2g | Saturated Fat: 2.4g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Potassium: 517mg | Fiber: 3.3g | Sugar: 5.2g | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.