Rating: 5 stars 4.7
482 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 395
  • 4 star values: 65
  • 3 star values: 18
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 1

This lemon chicken orzo soup is inspired by Panera Bread's version. It is so flavorful with tender pieces of 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.

Recipe Summary

20 mins
1 hr
1 hr 20 mins
6 quarts


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


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

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

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

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

Editor's Note:

Please note the differences in yield and ingredient amounts when using the magazine version of this recipe. 

Nutrition Facts

167 calories; protein 12.1g; carbohydrates 21.7g; fat 4.1g; cholesterol 20mg; sodium 186.9mg. Full Nutrition