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a bowl of lemon chicken orzo soup with crackers around it.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

  • Author: Maggie
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This lemon chicken orzo soup can be made in a slow cooker, instant pot or on the stovetop. It's a light, yet filling, warm soup!


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (avocado or EVOO is okay)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup carrots, quartered (about 2 small carrots)
  • 1 cup celery, quartered (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth (or 4 cups
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup orzo (dry, uncooked)
  • 2-3 bay leaves, whole
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme, devined
  • Garnish: Parmesan cheese, saltines, cracked pepper


Stovetop: In a large stock pot, sauté onion and garlic with 2 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, chicken, chicken broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, add in orzo at a boil and cook until done. Please note that smaller, thinner pieces of chicken will cook faster. Once the chicken has finished cooking, using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Shred the chicken using two forks to pull it apart and place the shredded chicken back into the pot. Add in lemon and thyme leaves. Garnish as desired. 

Instant pot: On sauté mode, place onion, garlic, 2 tbsp oil and pinch of salt in the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, chicken, chicken broth, water, bay leaves and orzo. Place the lid on the instant pot and make sure the valve is turned to sealing. Cook in manual mode for 12 minutes. When the time is up, turn the valve to venting and make sure to put a towel over the top of the valve. Because of the starch content in the orzo, steam and starch will release. The dish towel will prevent them from going everywhere. Remove the bay leaves and chicken from the soup. Shred the chicken and discard the bay leaves. Add lemon juice and thyme leaves to the pot and stir. Garnish as desired. 

Crockpot/slow cooker: Add everything to the slow cooker except the orzo, lemon juice and thyme. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken and bay leaves. Discard the bay leaves and shred the chicken. Place the chicken back in the crockpot and add lemon juice and thyme leaves. Make the orzo separately, drain it and stir it into the crockpot. Garnish as desired. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Soup, dinner
  • Method: Saute, cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: lemon chicken orzo soup, lemon chicken orzo soup instant pot, lemon chicken orzo soup crockpot

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