Inspired by Panera Bread's version, this soup delivers on flavor. Tender chicken in a lemony broth with orzo pasta, carrots, onions, celery, and baby spinach. This has quickly become one of my family's very favorite soup recipes.

ReneePaj
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Ingredients

12
Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook orzo in the boiling water until partially cooked through but not yet soft, about 5 minutes; drain and rinse with cold water until cooled completely.

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  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir carrots, celery, and onion in hot oil until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion becomes translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season mixture with thyme, oregano, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf; continue cooking another 30 seconds before pouring chicken broth into the pot.

  • Bring the broth to a boil. Partially cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes.

  • Stir orzo, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the broth; add chicken. Cook until the chicken and orzo are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add baby spinach; cook until the spinach wilts into the broth and the orzo is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with lemon slices and Parmesan cheese.

Partner Tip

Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

167 calories; 4.1 g total fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 187 mg sodium. 21.7 g carbohydrates; 12.1 g protein; Full Nutrition

Reviews (287)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/17/2013
I made this for lunch and it was spectacular. The spices were right on. Really, really good!! I cut the recipe in half and added the lemon "to taste". I have made enough recipes with lemon to know that all lemons are different. I added the zest of one lemon and tasted the soup. It was "almost" perfect. I added just a tablespoon of juice after that and it was perfectly lemony, just how we like it. Also, I just added the uncooked orzo to the soup and let it boil for about 8 minutes. We didn't have any left overs. Anyone that isn't familiar with cooking with orzo should know that it does completely soak up the broth where leftovers are concerned, so if you know you are making more than will be eaten, you should make it on the side and add to each bowl; otherwise, the next day there will not be any liquid in the soup left. Delicious and I will be making this again soon!! Read More
(151)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
02/12/2015
Fine. May as well make avolemona instead Read More
(1)
389 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 317
  • 4 star values: 55
  • 3 star values: 14
  • 2 star values: 2
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
12/17/2013
I made this for lunch and it was spectacular. The spices were right on. Really, really good!! I cut the recipe in half and added the lemon "to taste". I have made enough recipes with lemon to know that all lemons are different. I added the zest of one lemon and tasted the soup. It was "almost" perfect. I added just a tablespoon of juice after that and it was perfectly lemony, just how we like it. Also, I just added the uncooked orzo to the soup and let it boil for about 8 minutes. We didn't have any left overs. Anyone that isn't familiar with cooking with orzo should know that it does completely soak up the broth where leftovers are concerned, so if you know you are making more than will be eaten, you should make it on the side and add to each bowl; otherwise, the next day there will not be any liquid in the soup left. Delicious and I will be making this again soon!! Read More
(151)
Rating: 5 stars
12/17/2013
I made this for lunch and it was spectacular. The spices were right on. Really, really good!! I cut the recipe in half and added the lemon "to taste". I have made enough recipes with lemon to know that all lemons are different. I added the zest of one lemon and tasted the soup. It was "almost" perfect. I added just a tablespoon of juice after that and it was perfectly lemony, just how we like it. Also, I just added the uncooked orzo to the soup and let it boil for about 8 minutes. We didn't have any left overs. Anyone that isn't familiar with cooking with orzo should know that it does completely soak up the broth where leftovers are concerned, so if you know you are making more than will be eaten, you should make it on the side and add to each bowl; otherwise, the next day there will not be any liquid in the soup left. Delicious and I will be making this again soon!! Read More
(151)
Rating: 5 stars
09/18/2013
Wonderful soup. Only change was to keep the orzo and soup separate as I planned on eating this over several days and didn't want the orzo to absorb all the broth. Read More
(65)
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Rating: 5 stars
10/22/2013
I had been CRAVING that Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup that Panera bread only serves in the summer for 2 months and it was not to be found. I found this recipe and it totally nailed the soup!!! I was fantastic and exactly what I was looking for. So delicious so light so lemony. I even made some homemade croutons to go on top and shaved a little parmesan on top right before serving. It was a huge hit with the family. The only thing I did differently was I cut up the vegetables smaller cause I don't like big chunks and I cooked the soup in the crock pot. I put in the orzo uncooked and it did not take long for it to get done. I can't say enough good things about this soup! Read More
(42)
Rating: 5 stars
10/25/2013
I reduced the serving size to four servings and added in more veggies and orzo and half the fresh juiced lemon all the called for spices but dashed until it reached the flavor I like. I took the advice of another reviewer and used lemon rotisserie chicken...a real time saver. I tossed the spinach in right before serving and just wilted to keep the flavor. This was such a nice light refreshing soup and I actually like it better without the cheese but the guys loved the cheese. I've never had Panera's soup so can't compare to that but we all sure enjoyed this and I'll make again. Would be a wonderful soup for someone with a cold. Read More
(29)
Rating: 5 stars
02/20/2014
Why would you cook the chicken first? Add the raw chicken to give the store bought broth more flavor. Make sure the chicken is cooked before serving. Read More
(23)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/11/2014
Oh my god this soup is AMAZING! It's so light but still has so much flavor. It's much better if you make your own chicken stock as well. The only thing I added was half a cup of dry white wine when I added the stock. It made for such a deep flavor and I strongly recommend adding it. I will definitely make this again! Read More
(14)
Rating: 5 stars
02/18/2015
I would give this recipe more than 5 stars if I could. It is that good. So fresh lemony savory...really excellent. Easy to make and fast for a soup. I agree with others that you should leave the orzo out of the soup even when storing for leftovers because the orzo will soak up all the yummy broth. Read More
(13)
Rating: 5 stars
10/25/2013
Made this as the Buzz Recipe Group selection. Since we enjoyed this so much I would rate it higher than five stars if that were possible. For the chicken I used the remains of a Roast Sticky Chicken - Rotisserie Style which I baked yesterday. I cooked the orzo in boiling water in the microwave versus boiling on the stove. I also used my own homemade chicken broth. We love all of the spices that were called for in this recipe so they were all included. I sliced the baby spinach into ribbons and sprinkled it along with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top of each bowl. This soup would be an excellent soup to share with someone that is under the weather. The aromatic scent of lemon in the broth just puts this soup over the top. Thank you RennePaj for sharing your delicious recipe! Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
02/17/2015
I was looking for a really delicious lemon chicken soup and was so happy to have found this one! I made no changes other than to add additional orzo and chicken because my family tends to like soup a little "heartier". The flavors meld beautifully. It is light and tasty and everything wonderful that you would like in a soup and it satisfies that mid-winter comfort food craving! Eyes light up when this soup is served and it always gets eaten. I feel good knowing that I am serving my family a nutritious meal. I've never tried the Panera version but now I'd like to - just to see if it's up to the standard of this version. Read More
(8)
Rating: 3 stars
02/12/2015
Fine. May as well make avolemona instead Read More
(1)