Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

520 reviews / 4.7 average

Filling, fresh, and vibrant lemony chicken soup made creamy with NO CREAM and a secret ingredient!

This recipe is sponsored by DeLallo

I would like to propose an idea:

This Lemon Chicken Soup becomes your new Chicken Noodle.

Here's why:

The base is smooth, creamy, and velvety... without cream. But even though it's creamy, it's also still brothy enough to slurp, like any good Chicken Noodle-y type soup should be. It's salty and rich from the chicken, but that punch of lemon is life-giving in a way that regular Chicken Noodle just can't touch. And while most brothy soups leave you wanting a sandwich an hour later, this guy is chunky, with fresh vegetables, chicken, and whole wheat pasta, leaving you feeling like you just ate a real meal. Because you did.

I mean, look at this well-balanced goodness.

Lemon Chicken Soup FTW.

Ingredients for lemon chicken soup.

Okay, it's up to you if you want to eat pasta during Sugar Free January, but one of the things I love during this season is enjoying whole wheat pasta. Plus, you can find whole wheat pasta in just about any shape you could ask for.

Whole wheat orzo, for example? No problem.

To me, the fact that this is whole wheat orzo is essential to the soup-counts-as-a-meal thing. It is robust and substantial and filling whereas regular orzo tends to just... fade away. Plus, it's a Sugar Free January friendly way to enjoy pasta for those of us (me!) who are trying to avoid overdoing it on the refined grains.

And speaking of whole wheat orzo, if you love it, please try this bright and addicting orzo salad in, like, four months. It is summer's answer to this soup.

Okay, who's ready for a good bread dunk?

Three, two....

Lemon chicken soup with bread.

To recap, this soup is:

  • Lemony
  • Vibrant
  • Creamy without cream
  • High protein

Move over, Chicken Noodle. Moooove over.

Watch How To Make Our Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo:

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Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo in a pot with a large spoon in it.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 hearty servings (about 2 cups each) 1x


Filling, fresh, and vibrant lemony chicken soup made creamy with NO CREAM and a secret ingredient! Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • half of an onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 3-ish cups cooked chicken (I use shredded rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 3-4 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • a handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • as much fresh dill as you can handle


  1. Base: Heat large soup pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic. Saute until fragrant and tender, about 10 minutes. (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)
  2. Orzo: Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the orzo and cook for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the chicken and remove from heat.
  3. Eggs: Whisk the eggs and lemon juice together in a small bowl. The idea here is to warm up the egg mixture slowly (without scrambling the eggs). Slowly add a scoop of the soup into the egg mixture. Then add your warmed egg mixture back to the soup pot - slowly, slowly, slowly, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy. 
  4. Final touches: Finish by stirring in your spinach, salt, pepper, and dill and adjust seasonings to taste!


Broth: If you like a chunkier soup, go for 8 cups of broth. If you like a more brothy soup, go for 10 cups.

Leftovers: This works great as leftovers. The orzo likes to soak up that moisture, so you might just have to thin it out a bit as you reheat.

Eggs: If you add your egg mixture to the soup when it's too hot, the eggs will scramble! It's gross. Don't do that. To help your soup cool down more quickly in preparation for the egg mixture, you can stir in a few ice cubes. 

Vegetarian: You could easily make this vegetarian by using white beans or another vegetarian protein in place of the chicken.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: lemon chicken soup, chicken soup with orzo, chicken soup

Free guide and meal plans for sugar free January.

Thank you to DeLallo for sponsoring this recipe!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is PERFECT January food. I’ll be sipping tea and eating soup all month. So glad you’re back on the blog. Happy New Year to you and yours!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I made this tonight and my husband raved about it. He said it was fancy restaurant quality soup! I did make one small change. I substituted chopped fresh kale for the spinach, because it was what I had on hand. This recipe is going into my regular rotation. Absolutely delicious!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          This is so amazing! I’ve shamelessly ate three bowls tonight but in my defense I’m sick so..ya do what ya gotta do to get well lol! Thank you!

          1. Skillful Cook Logo

            Amazing soup recipe! The egg mixture just takes this to another level. This will be on regular rotation in my house!

        2. Skillful Cook Logo

          Delicious! The creaminess added by whisking in the egg combined with the tang of the lemon = so yummy! Perfect meal while awaiting spring in Minnesota! Our adult son came from Washington for a visit a day after my husband & I made this soup and was wowed by our leftovers. He’s a foodie and declared it one of his all time favorite soups! Thank you.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Ooo how would you InstantPot this? I am just getting into using mine and don’t know exactly how to make this soup in the Pot?

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          That is exactly what I needed. I don’t keep pre-cooked rotisserie chicken around. I’m definitely going with my instant pot on this one. Thank you!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I just made this in the instant pot but used parboiled rice as I can’t have gluten! I sauteed the veggies, added the broth and chicken, then did low pressure for 12 min with release after 10 min of resting (I hope that makes sense? I mean to say I let the steam out 10 minutes after the pressure cooking cycle finished). I’m sick and this was the perfect thing for today. Added the egg and lemon at the very end.

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Unfortunately I think 3 lemons was way too much. The broth tasted too bitter to me. I think half a lemon would have been enough. Still good flavor, but the broth is not my fav.

          1. Skillful Cook Logo

            That is why she said about half a cup – I had big lemons so I only need 1 1/2

            Half a cup was perfect, in my opinion!!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Tell me about those eggs! It sounds so strange to me so tell me why they are added to the recipe! Thank You

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      She explains several times. In the first paragraph saying, “The base is smooth, creamy, and velvety… without cream.” and then again at the top of the recipe, “Filling, fresh, and vibrant lemony chicken soup made creamy with NO CREAM and a secret ingredient!”

      SPOILER ALERT: the eggs are the secret ingredient.

      Come on now, this is reading comprehension 101…

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Somebody asked a simple question. Don’t be a jerk.

        It’s called social interaction 101

      2. Skillful Cook Logo

        Jamie Chan, really? Your rudeness is uncalled for and unwelcome. Learn how to socially interact with respect.

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          The perfect spring soup! I opted for the lesser amount of broth (8c) to make a thicker soup as noted in the recipe. The eggs truly add a velvety texture with no additional flavor. The addition of two very large lemons was perfect and even my toddler enjoyed it. Would make again!

      3. Skillful Cook Logo

        Wow! You are so rude! I thought the egg thing was also very interesting and wanted to know more, as I’ve never heard of that before. You are nothing but a cyber bully! Take your rudeness out of here!

      4. Skillful Cook Logo

        This is a Greek soup. This morning s the method we Greeks use to make out Greek avgolemeno soup. Open your mind to different cultures and way of doing things. You’re an ignorant person

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          I appreciated Jamie’s frankness. If you thought THAT was “cyber bullying” you sure haven’t been on the internet long!

          1. Skillful Cook Logo

            Maybe bullying is a strong and common word to use these days, but the comment was definitely shaming by implying someone’s reading skill is sub-par. Either way, uncalled for.
            Kindness goes much further and may even help us evolve as humans who seem to be bent on de-volving as a culture.

        2. Skillful Cook Logo

          I had been eyeing this soup for a while and am glad I finally made it! (thanks bucketlist challenge!! It was really simple to make and I love that the eggs add protein. To be honest I like the taste of some of POYs soups better than this one, but my kids really enjoyed it and I loved how simple it was! I’m excited to try again with white beans like suggested in the notes 🙂

      5. Skillful Cook Logo

        My husband and I loved this refreshing lemon soup, I only had dried dill and I’m sure the fresh dill would have been even better.
        My kids weren’t a fan of the lemon so for them I might decrease the amount next time.
        The instructions for mixing the egg in were great I had no problems, overall I will make again.

      6. Skillful Cook Logo

        Was not my favourite soup I’ve ever made but I was happy to try something new! I only used two lemons as that’s all I had and that added enough sourness for my taste. The addition of the eggs was very creative and I may steal that for other recipes 🙂

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      The eggs make the soup creamy and beautiful color. Having made this soup many times my recipe (which is Greek) calls for 3 egg yolks- no whites. You temper them by slowly adding 1/4 c of hot soup to the whisked eggs whisking as you pour. You have now raised the temp of the eggs by a little. Keep doing this 4 or 5 times. Taking small amt of hot soup and adding to you eggs and whisking. Increase by quarter cup each time you add the hot broth. By the 5th addition the “egg soup” you just created will be warmed enough to tolerate the hot soup. Slowing pour into the hot soup while mixing with whisk. There you go. You have just accomplished a very difficult process called “tempering” that all cheffie chefs know how to do. Now, so do you. Good job.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love that recipe from CL and have made it several times, including after Thanksgiving with leftover turkey. It is super silky and creamy without cream. It’s just magical! I’m looking forward to making your adapted version.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Wondering if anyone has tried adding additional veggies like mushrooms?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Sounds delicious. Can I freeze it? Would that make the spinach all weird when it thawed?

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    This appesrs to be Greek Lemon Chicken soup. Can it be frozen?

    Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes you are right it’s a Greek lemon Chicken soup, aka AVGOLEMONO: AVGO=egg; LEMONI (Lemon) , my mom made this soup all the time to cure all maladies.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      This is similar to Greek Lemon Chicken Soup aka Avgolemono, but has spinach, carrots, onions, and dill.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    WOW! Deee-lish! I have a corn-chicken chowder recipe that’s out of this world, but it takes a pint of heavy cream. THIS is going to be a real GO-TO chicken soup recipe. Orzo, spinach, onion, garlic…omg; what an amazing combo!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I loved chicken noodle soup in any form, but this is speaking to me…possibly because I’ve been on a huge orzo kick lately. I always cook the noodles separately if I think there will be leftovers and add them as needed…I think it’s a texture thing.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    This sounds so good! I have a couple questions about the egg thing–I’m nervous about accidentally scrambling them–do you know what temperature the soup should be when you mix it in? Also, if you have leftovers, with the eggs cook when you reheat it? Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We don’t have the exact temperature, but it’s most about tempering the eggs in a separate bowl before adding them – just do it slowly and you should be okay! There should not be any issues with reheating it.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have been making a version of this soup for YEARS. Two things that work well for variation – chickpeas make a great vegetarian substitute for chicken. If you’re looking for a good parve/vegetarian matzo ball soup, this one adapts really well to having matzo balls added. I just thicken around them.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    This Lemon Chicken soup sounds like something I can get away with eating in the evening and not worry about gaining weight while I’m sleeping. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    no kidding, I went looking through your website for a lemon orzo soup about a month ago. I was craving the lemon orzo pasta salad that you have done in the past with the goat cheese, but it’s soup season oh, so I went looking for this recipe… You just hadn’t created it yet 🙂 thank you so much. I will be trying this out soon

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this tonight! I subbed brown rice for the orzo, because it is what I had. It’s delicious and restorative. Perfect January food.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks so good!! I can’t wait to try it!
    Any thoughts on how long to cook chicken in the soup? I rarely have the rotisserie chicken hanging around.

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    This soup was a lot too lemony/sour. Very sour. Would recommend 1/2 lemon instead of 3+ Lemons,

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I found the same thing, much too lemony for my wife and daughters (although I still gobbled it up). I think it depends on the type/season of lemons you use. I’ll definitely make again, but I’ll be a little more careful when adding the lemon juice.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love POY’s recipes and have been a huge long-time fan! But one thing I’ve noticed is that under the nutritional info: the sodium is extremely high–not just for this recipe but for many other recipes. (For this recipe the cholesterol is super high too). I’m wondering if the calculations/website used is wrong because it seems very high for meals that you cook at home.

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    My son is allergic to eggs. Any ideas on how to get the same effect without them? Can’t wait to make this!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I used a cream based vegan broth for half my broth. It added the creaminess without the eggs! It’s walmarts organic vegan protein broth.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      you could puree some canellini beans and add them with the veggies at the beginning to sauté altogether

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you make it without the eggs? I’m sure it’s delicious but it sounds unpleasant to me…

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I just made this, thinking the same thing. If you add the eggs correctly you don’t even notice eggs have been added, at all. I wouldn’t skip that step.

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can you make this with cauliflower rice instead of pasta to turn this into a keto recipe?

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    made this last night and LOVED IT!!! followed the recipe to the T with a few exceptions/mishaps along the way…

    1. I bought a 6 cup and 4 cup box of broth and as always it’s never what the box says and ended up with 9 cups – turned out to be the perfect amount.

    2. Cut carrots too small so they were kinda too mushy at the end – will cut bigger chunks next time.

    3. I juiced 3 lemons and got 2/3 cup of juice (more then recipe called for but I wanted to adhere to the 3-4 lemon count) – the soup was lemony but I loved it and would used the same amount next time (with 9 cups of broth).

    4. Bought both regular and whole wheat orzo – decided to use the whole wheat and glad I did – great texture and very filling.

    5. BUT I did overcook the orzo a bit – the package said to cook for 9 minutes and recipe called for a few minutes – thought something must be wrong so I could the pasta to the package directions and not the recipe and yes a little overcooked – follow the recipe 4ish minutes probably would’ve been perfect!

    6. Lastly – don’t be afraid of the egg tempering. It’s a lot easier then it appears and if you just take it slow, add at least a cup of the hot broth to the eggs (SLOWLY) while whisking constantly, I did about a tablespoon+ at a time – same goes for when you put it all back in the pot you… will be just fine.

    Hope these notes help others =)

    If you love chicken noodle soup AND you love lemon you have to make this soup! My bf is the pickiest eater and he loved it and kept asking for more.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thank you for your notes on the orzo! I had the same question about the cook time so I appreciate your notes!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      So happy I made this soup! I was careful with the lemon. I used half of what the recipe called for since I read comments of it being too lemony. Glad I made that adjustment because it tasted perfect for the family!

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this tonight! Fantastic & so easy. Can’t wait for my leftover lunch tomorrow. Loved the bright flavors in the chilly grey days of January!

  21. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow – such an amazing creamy soup! My husband and I both loved it, and I love how easy it is to make! 🙂

  22. Skillful Cook Logo

    lemon chicken soup…a very good recipe in this winter season.Thanks for sharing this different looking soup recipe. Keep sharing such new and innovative recipes.