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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Rated as 4.76 out of 5 Stars

"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."
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1 h 20 m servings 167
Original recipe yields 12 servings (6 quarts)


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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Per Serving: 167 calories; 4.1 21.7 12.1 20 187 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 282
  1. 378 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

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 kn...

Most helpful critical review

Fine. May as well make avolemona instead

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Most positive
Least positive

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 kn...

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.

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 f...

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 t...

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.

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 w...

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 t...

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 ...

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 ...