Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Recipe by  

"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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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 6 quarts Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr

    1 hr 20 mins


  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.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Sep 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.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 16, 2013

Interesting flavor, but WAY too lemony for our taste. My kids, all under 10, didn't care for it at all, and they love a wide variety of foods. If I make it again, I'd cut the amount of zest and lemon juice in half, and cross my fingers.

Oct 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.

Dec 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!!

Oct 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!

Aug 24, 2013

Excited to try this recipe! Just had this for the first time at Panera this week! Making today

Sep 17, 2013

This is one of the best soups I've ever made. Fantastic! I was a little worried about how much lemon juice was in it (was concerned it would be sour), but it was delicious, and the combination of parmesan cheese, with the lemon juice is incredible. The only thing I would change is that it was awfully thick, and I ended up adding more chicken broth. Definitely a keeper.

Feb 19, 2014

Delicious recipe. I reduced to 8 servings. I began by sautéing the vegetables and herbs, then added one bone-in chicken breast which I had chopped into two pieces. I covered and simmered for 20 minutes. I then added two 32oz cartons of chicken broth and brought to a boil. Removed chicken to cool then chopped it into small cubes. I then finished recipe as directed except I substituted kale for the spinach and omitted the Parmesan cheese. Will definitely make this again.


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  • Calories
  • 167 kcal
  • 8%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 21.7 g
  • 7%
  • Cholesterol
  • 20 mg
  • 7%
  • Fat
  • 4.1 g
  • 6%
  • Fiber
  • 2.6 g
  • 10%
  • Protein
  • 12.1 g
  • 24%
  • Sodium
  • 219 mg
  • 9%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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