Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is the perfect light, healthy, and comforting meal. It comes together in just about 30 minutes and has great flavor!

This light and summery Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a Panera copycat | Persnickety Plates #SwansonSummer #ad

I was talking about food with my friend, Kristin, and she mentioned lemon chicken orzo soup. I completely forgot that that is my favorite soup from Panera and a copycat recipe would be perfect!

Filled with chicken, lemon, orzo, and spinach – some of my favorite flavors – it is both filling and cozy while also being light.

I was originally going to make this a slow cooker soup (and you still could), but it comes together in about 30 minutes on the stovetop.

You can go semi-homemade and pick up a rotisserie chicken to chop up (best idea ever), or boil some chicken breasts, or make some in the instant pot.

This soup is so good. The more lemon the better, in my book. Julia loved it, too. She literally picked the bowl up and licked it.

This light and summery Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a Panera copycat | Persnickety Plates #SwansonSummer #ad

Ingredients needed to make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Spinach

Below is a list of ingredients you’ll need to help you prep. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

Orzo – Orzo is a rice shaped pasta.
Chicken Broth – You can use chicken broth or stock.
Chicken – To make this recipe quickly, use cooked chicken. Instant pot shredded chicken or a rotisserie chicken are my go-tos.
Lemon Juice & Zest – For the light flavor, you’ll squeeze in half a lemon and add the zest as well. You can add more or less, to taste. We like a lot of lemon flavor, just like in my crockpot lemon chicken.
Spinach – Fresh baby spinach. 5 oz will look like a lot but it quickly wilts down.
Seasonings – For flavor, you’ll add onion, garlic, dried oregano, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

Equipment you’ll need to help you

Colander – You’ll need one with a mesh design so the orzo doesn’t slide through.
Silicone Spatulas – I use these for everything.
Veggie Chopper – This is one of my favorite tools – it makes chopping onions a breeze.
Lemon Zester – You can use a grater as well.

This light and summery Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a Panera copycat | Persnickety Plates #SwansonSummer #ad

How to make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

  1. STEP ONE: First, boil the orzo in a large pot of salted water until al dente, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Meanwhile, while it is boiling, to another large pot, add some olive oil and then cook the diced onion until translucent. Add in the minced garlic and heat until fragrant, then season with oregano, salt, pepper, and the bay leaf. Pour in the chicken broth and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. STEP TWO: Next, stir in the cooked and drained orzo, cooked chicken, and lemon juice and zest. Let the soup simmer until the chicken is heated through.
  3. STEP THREE: Finally, add in the spinach and stir until wilted.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

This light and summery Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a Panera copycat | Persnickety Plates #SwansonSummer #ad

Need more soup recipes? Try these:

Quick & easy Chicken Noodle Soup
Crock pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Loaded Potato & Cauliflower Soup
Cabbage Roll Soup
Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Click here to view my entire collection of soup recipes.

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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is the perfect light and summery meal. It comes together in just about 30 minutes and it's pretty healthy! | www.persnicketyplates.com

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is the perfect light, healthy, and comforting meal. It comes together in just about 30 minutes and has great flavor!
4.44 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 147 kcal


  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups cooked chicken chopped
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the orzo until partially cooked, but not fully cooked (about 5 minutes). Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.
  • While the orzo is cooking, heat another large pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil, then add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic to the onion and stir.
  • Season the mixture with oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the chicken broth.
  • Bring the broth to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked orzo, lemon juice, lemon zest, and chopped cooked chicken. Cook until the chicken is heated through.
  • Add in the baby spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and serve.


Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1gCalories: 147kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 10gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 451mgPotassium: 325mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1679IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Danita Carr says

    We are always looking for good soup recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Barb says

    This looks really good. I LOVE soup, but I rarely if ever make it in the summer. I just might have to give it a try!

  3. Dana Hogue says

    5 stars
    Made this last night and it was so delicious! It’s a light and tasty soup:) I used a roasted, lemon pepper seasoned chicken, already cooked, from the deli which made it super fast and easy to prepare.

    • Melissa Williams says

      Thank you, Dana! I love using those rotisserie chickens!

  4. Justine says

    5 stars
    This soup is absolutely delicious. Don’t skip on the lemon zest! My husband said this is the best soup he’s ever had. I agree!

  5. Bridgette Bakoss says

    5 stars
    This has become a staple in my house. Its so easy to put together and sooo good with some crusty french bread on the side!

  6. Lisa Foley says

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and my family absolutely loved it! Its so easy, we used chicken we already had cooked so it was a good use of left overs too! Full of flavor with the lemon, oregano, garlic and onion. This is a recipe that I will continue to make! Thank you for it! Def a keeper!

    • Melissa Williams says

      That makes me happy, thanks so much, Lisa!

  7. Diana Kenworthy says

    5 stars
    This soup was so good!! I will be making it again!! I’m a soup lover!!

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