This Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is bright and springy,  and fun to make! Light and tangy, nourishing and delicious! 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with coriander and dill in a bowl

Here’s a light and nourishing soup to celebrate the changing ot the season – Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup,  inspired by spring! It’s still a little chilly outside, but the bright and zesty flavors of this soup sing of what’s to come. Brothy, flavorful, and nourishing, it’s incredibly warming with a cheeriness from the lemon and dill. Coriander, gives a unique earthiness and makes this recipe shine.

The best part is it makes good use of the leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken from last night’s dinner or feel free to start from scratch.

Lemon chicken orzo soup Ingredient notes

  • Chicken and chicken stock-leftover whole chicken works great (use the meat and create chicken stock)  or use chicken breast or chicken thigh. I like to make this whole roasted chicken for one meal, then turn the leftovers into this soup. You can also use leftover rotisserie chicken.
  • Orzo Pasta – Feel free to use rice or quinoa if you prefer.
  • Veggies: Carrots and Celery
  • Lemons add a delicious brightness. Meyer lemons are delightful here!
  • Fresh Dill – for fresh spring flavor.
  • Toasted Coriander Seeds give a unique earthy flavor that pairs well with lemon and dill. Feel free to sub ground coriander.

See the recipe card for full ingredient details. 

This Chicken Orzo Soup is enhanced with lemon, coriander and dill. Bright and springy, this soup is tangy, light and delicious! 

How to make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

If using a leftover whole roasted chicken, simmer it whole with salt and bay leaves in 10 cups of water, for 1 hour.  (See recipe notes for using breast or thighs & starting from scratch).

As you can see here, there is not much chicken meat left. But surprisingly, there is enough for a good pot of soup.

Ensure you have at least 1-2 cups of chicken meat. It will surprise you…. how much more you get.

After the chicken simmers for an hour, strain the broth, and let the carcass cool a bit; then using your fingers, pick off the chicken meat from the bones and fat and set aside the meat.

Wipe out the pot, and sauté onion in oil, over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots. Once the celery is tender pour  in the chicken stock and the chicken meat.

Toast Coriander seeds and crush them ( or sub-ground coriander) and add to the soup.

Add Orzo and let simmer uncovered, occasionally stirring for about 10-15 minutes, or until orzo is done.  At this point soup will still seem pretty brothy, but it will thicken up.

Once the orzo is cooked through, add a 1/4 -1/2 cup  fresh dill and lemon juice and lemon zest.

Taste and add more salt and lemon to taste.  You want to taste the salt and lemon and find that perfect balance.

If your soup is bland, it probably needs more of each.  As a last resort, you can always add a chicken bouillon cube to bump up the flavor.

This Chicken Orzo Soup is enhanced with lemon, coriander and dill. Bright and springy, this soup is tangy, light and delicious! 
Top with fresh dill.
If you like creaminess, add a dollop of creme fraise or sour cream!

Chicken soup for every soul!

For many of us, chicken soup is considered to be the epitome of comfort food. Not only here in the US, but worldwide, it has the reputation of being a remedy for colds and flues and a cure-all for all sorts of ailments. So many different countries and cultures have their own version.


Chicken Soups around the GlobE

  1. In France, typical seasonings include bay leaves, fresh thyme, dry white wine and garlic.
  2. In Germany homemade chicken soup consists of chicken broth with dumplings or spaetzle added to it.
  3. In Greece, chicken soup is thickened with a mixture of eggs and lemon and is called Avgolemono.
  4. China has its version with the addition of ginger, soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil.
  5. In Columbia,  they have a  chicken soup called Ajiaco.  Along with the chicken, Ajiaco typically includes corn and potatoes,  garnished with avocado and a dollop of cream. Doesn’t that sound good?
  6. Chicken soup is a traditional dish in the Jewish kitchen. There are several versions but one version is prepared with herbs like parsley, dill or thyme and served with matzah balls.
  7. Samgyetang is a Korean chicken soup with Korean ginseng, dried jujube fruits, garlic, ginger, rice and sometimes other medicinal herbs.
  8. In Mexico, Sopa de Lima is flavored with fresh lime, Mexican oregano and fresh cilantro.
  9. Polish Chicken soup  is served with fine noodles and sometimes ground almonds in the broth.
  10. Scotland has a popular version called cock-a-leekie, flavored with… you got it, leeks. 🙂

I hope you enjoy and please let us know what you think in the comments below.


More Chicken Soup Recipes you may enjoy

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This Chicken Orzo Soup  is enhanced with lemon, coriander and dill. Bright and springy, this soup is tangy, light and delicious! 

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 16 reviews


This Chicken Orzo Soup is enhanced with lemon, coriander and dill. Bright and springy, this soup is tangy, light and delicious!


Units Scale
  • 1 left-over roasted chicken with at least 1-2 cups meat left on it. ( Or sub 812 ounces chicken breast and 8 cups chicken stock -see notes)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt, more to taste


  • 1 extra large onion or 2 leeks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 12 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds (or 1 tablespoon ground coriander)
  • 2 lemons (1/4-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon lemon zest)
  • 1 cup dry orzo ( If you want thicker soup you could add 1/2 – 1 cup more orzo. Basically, if you are serving all the soup right away, use more orzo. If you are saving some soup for the next day, the orzo will quadruple in size leaving you with no broth. Up to you.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill, more for garnish
  • Garnish: Dollop Sour Cream (optional) or creme fraiche and sprig of dill


  1. Pour 10 cups water over chicken carcass w/ 2 bay leaves, onion, and 2 tsp salt and simmer covered for 1 hour. (You could do this ahead and store in the fridge over night.) See notes if  using chicken breasts and stock.
  2. Strain over a large bowl, reserving stock and meat. Let cool. With your fingers, separate meat from the bones, discarding the bones, and breaking up the meat into smaller bite-size pieces. You should have 1-2 cups of chicken meat left. With your fingers, double and triple-check for small bones.
  3. In a heavy bottom pot, sauté onion in oil, over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots. Once celery is tender add in the chicken stock and the chicken meat. Toast your Coriander seeds and crush them and add them to the soup along with lemon zest. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Add Orzo and let simmer uncovered stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes. At this point soup will still seem pretty brothy, but it will thicken up. Once the orzo is cooked through, add a 1/4 C chopped fresh dill and juice from one lemon.
  5. Taste and add more salt and lemon to taste.  If it is bland, add more of each, or try a chicken bouillon cube as a last resort.
  6. Serve with a sprig of dill and a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche.


If you want thicker soup you could add ½ cup – 1 cup more orzo. Basically, if you are serving all the soup right away, use more orzo. If you are saving some soup for the next day, the orzo will quadruple in size leaving you with no broth. Up to you. 😉 You can always, cook the sorzo separately, keep it separate until serving.

If making soup with chicken thighs ( Bone in, skin on works great) or chicken breasts.  Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat, brown the chicken in olive oil, on each side til golden and fragrant, then set aside (no need to cook through). In the same pot sauté onion in oil until tender and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, celery and carrots and continue sautéing 3- 4 more minutes. Add 8 cups chicken stock, add the bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and the chicken and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits,  simmering gently, uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and pulls apart easily with two forks, about 20-30 minutes.

In the meantime, toast the Coriander seeds and crush them and add them to the soup along the orzo and let simmer uncovered, occasionally stirring for about 10 more minutes or until orzo is done. Season with salt and pepper. At this point soup will still seem pretty brothy, but it will thicken up (see notes) Once the orzo is cooked through, add  fresh dill, zest and juice from one lemon.

Taste and add more salt and lemon to taste.  If it is bland, it needs both.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 198
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 1631.3 mg
  • Fat: 8.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13.5 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 16.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 99.1 mg


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    1. Should freeze fine. I would keep the pasta separate though and add when ready to serve.

  1. Hi, I accidentally added too much lemon, I had larger lemons and used a juice squeezer so it was too much, is there any way you recommend to offset the lemon taste? It was just about perfect before I added the last lemon : (

    1. Oh darn! Cream, or a bit of sweetener can help. You could also add more broth and seasonings.

  2. All of the chicken soup recipes sound delish!…..My most fav is the Jewish “penicillin” soup with carrots, celery, onions, garlic, potatoes, parsley and lots of dill….I am 72 years old and have had this soup my entire life…..Having nothing to do with religion or nationalities because I am Italian, Polish and Russian.

    1. Hi Sarah- thanks for pointing that out. Step one and step three. I updated the recipe!

  3. I made this yesterday and it was a perfect meal for a chilly spring night, but I had several questions about the recipe and answers will be helpful for the next time I make it:

    1) The ingredient list calls for 1 left-over roast chicken and 10 cups of water OR 8-12 oz chicken breast and 8 cups stock, but the notes (with instructions for chicken breasts) calls for 10 cups (not 8) of water (not stock). What is the correct amount and which liquid should be used? And can commercial broth be used instead of stock? Should bay leaves be used if using stock (instead of water)?

    2) At what point should the lemon zest be added in ther version using chicken breasts?

    3) The recipe doesn’t specify the process for removing the chicken from the stock (for the version using chicken breasts), cutting the chicken and adding it back to the broth. Are there any special instructions for this step?

    4) Please confirm that one tablespoon of coriander is correct, regardless of whether using seeds or ground. (I thought the rule of thumb is to use less if using ground.)

    Look forward to your reply so that I can perfect it. Thanks.

    1. Sorry for the delay Susan! See the recipe card “notes”. Use 8 cups of broth (with chicken breast) if not simmering the leftover chicken for 1 hour. Boullion cubes or broth is fine. Yes add the bay leaves, either way. See the notes in the recipe card- add the zest and juice at the end. After the chicken breast has cooked through, shred it apart with two forks- also in the notes. You can use a little less coriander if using ground- but I like the whole tablespoon; feel free to add it to taste.Toasting the whole seeds, makes it more flavorful, so a little extra ground coriander seems to work. 🙂

  4. This was so good. I made with chicken breasts and chicken stock. Who knew that lemon juice, dill, and orzo could take your chicken soup to a whole new level. I’d been telling my sister about FeastingAtHome and this was the dish that had her bookmarking it in her phone! I highly recommend.

  5. I had some left over roast chicken and spring vegetables from Sunday supper and some chicken stock in my freezer. It came together wonderfully with the additional coriander, lemon, dill, and orzo. What a great way to repurpose leftovers into something very different and satisfying! The perfect dinner for the chilly, late March weather we are having.

  6. So delicious and fresh!!! I had to make tweaks based on what I had in the kitchen, so I subbed in kale for the celery (added it when I added cavatappi pasta), used garlic powder instead bc my garlic went bad, replaced coriander seeds with fennel seeds and used dried dill instead of fresh. I didn’t have organic lemons so I skipped the zest but the lemon juice really made it pop! So delicious!!

    1. Hi Patricia- I have not personally tried this in a crockpot and sorry I’m not an expert when it comes to crockpots. Has anyone else tried this or know if this would work? I worry about the orzo getting overcooked and mushy. Let me know if you try it!

  7. Good. A little fussy, but worth it. Coriander is subtle. Don’t skimp on the lemon.

  8. Another great recipe. This one had more flavor than I had anticipated. The delicious lemon really comes through and is subtly reinforced by the coriander. And this soup really does get quite thick if it is left to stand a bit or served the next day. I simply added some water, a bit more dill and adjusted the salt, and it was great. I love that chicken noodle soup can be so refreshing and not heavy at all. Next time I want to try it with the added egg as per previous comment.

    1. Great idea! Soy curls to the rescue!
      I made the chicken version for my sister who was very pleased!
      A two in one!

  9. Hi!

    I have loved this recipe for a few years but remember an older version with egg tempered in. I winged it last time, but — by any chance — do you have this version available still? Would it ever be possible to send it to me? Thank you, and your recipes are wonderful!

    1. Hi Jenn, yes I took the egg out of the recipe for simplicity and now lost that old recipe. What I would do is this: Whisk together 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smooth. Ladle about 3/4 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, then whisk to combine.
      Add the egg mixture back to the simmering soup and stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you so much! I winged it a while back, and it came out delicious as always, but now a lot of time passes and I wasn’t sure I remembered! Thank you again!

    2. I added Rosemary to the soup and I thickened it with the 2 egg and 1/2 cup lemon juice mixture. I also added some lemon zest to the soup itself since it could use more lemon. I also added some parsley and dill while cooking. And, I made it with 4 chicken thighs – and the soup was absolutely delicious and will make it again. Served with roasted garlic cauliflower and string beans – and warm baguette. Thanks for this great recipe!

  10. Hi – i got hooked on your blog and am cooking tons of your recipes and love them. Just a side note – no Polish cook would ever add ground almonds to their chicken soup. Not ever. There would always be carrots, leeks, celeriac and parsnips though, and onion (as for the onion most commonly charred and slightly burned over open flame before putting in the pot of water and chicken/chicken bones). Served with dill or parsley and homemade noodles or store-bough small pasta. Yum!

  11. Lovely recipe. There is nothing I know that warms you more than a big bowl of warm soup. Here’s one you might like to try. for sharing :)Jen

  12. Oh yum, this sounds and looks so delicious, thanks.You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  13. I miss my mom if I see recipes like this…Maybe I should cook and bring her some. Thanks for sharing.

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