Delicious Chicken Orzo Soup – a comforting blend of tender chicken, veggies, and orzo pasta. Perfect for cozy nights!

Introducing the soul-warming delight of Chicken Orzo Soup, a timeless classic in the realm of comforting dishes. Picture this: tender pieces of succulent chicken, nestled among vibrant vegetables and delicate orzo pasta, all simmered together in a flavorful broth. This soup is not just a meal; it’s a culinary embrace, offering warmth and nourishment with every spoonful.

At its core, Chicken Orzo Soup embodies simplicity and versatility. Whether you’re seeking solace on a chilly evening or aiming to impress guests with a hearty yet elegant starter, this soup fits the bill perfectly. Its ingredients are humble yet harmonious, coming together to create a symphony of flavors that dance on the palate.

One cannot overlook the nutritional prowess of this soup. Packed with protein from the chicken, essential vitamins from the vegetables, and energizing carbohydrates from the orzo pasta, it’s a wholesome choice for health-conscious individuals and families alike. Moreover, its light yet satisfying nature makes it suitable for any occasion, from a quick weekday dinner to a leisurely weekend lunch.

Reasons to Love Chicken Orzo Soup

  • Satisfying Comfort: Few dishes offer the same level of comforting satisfaction as a bowl of Chicken Orzo Soup. Its hearty blend of tender chicken, wholesome vegetables, and comforting orzo pasta creates a cozy experience with every spoonful, making it the ultimate comfort food.
  • Versatility: Chicken Orzo Soup is incredibly versatile, fitting seamlessly into any mealtime scenario. Whether you’re craving a light lunch, a comforting dinner, or a nourishing starter, this soup effortlessly adapts to meet your needs, making it a reliable go-to option for any occasion.
  • Nutritional Powerhouse: Packed with protein from the chicken, an array of vitamins and minerals from the vegetables, and energizing carbohydrates from the orzo pasta, Chicken Orzo Soup is a nutritional powerhouse. It not only satisfies your taste buds but also nourishes your body, making it a wholesome choice for health-conscious individuals.
  • Ease of Preparation: Despite its gourmet-like taste, Chicken Orzo Soup is surprisingly easy to prepare. With simple ingredients and straightforward cooking techniques, even novice cooks can whip up a delicious batch in no time. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to utilize leftover chicken or vegetables, minimizing food waste.
  • Family Favorite: Chicken Orzo Soup has a knack for bringing people together. Whether enjoyed around the dinner table with loved ones or shared with friends at a casual gathering, this soup has a universal appeal that transcends generations. Its comforting aroma and homely charm make it a cherished family favorite for all ages.

Ingredients needed to make Chicken Orzo Soup

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are commonly used. They provide protein and a hearty flavor to the soup.
  • Orzo Pasta: A small, rice-shaped pasta that adds texture and substance to the soup. It’s versatile and cooks relatively quickly.
  • Chicken Broth: The base of the soup, provides a savory and flavorful liquid for cooking the chicken and vegetables. You can use homemade or store-bought broth.
  • Vegetables: Common vegetables include carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. These aromatic veggies add depth of flavor and essential nutrients to the soup.
  • Herbs and Spices: Typically, you’ll use a combination of dried herbs like thyme, oregano, and bay leaves, along with salt and pepper, to season the soup. Fresh herbs like parsley can be added at the end for a burst of freshness.
  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the vegetables and adding richness to the soup. It also helps to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Lemon: Optional but recommended for a bright and citrusy flavor. Fresh lemon juice added just before serving can elevate the taste of the soup.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Also, optional but can be grated and sprinkled on top of the soup before serving for added richness and flavor.
Chicken orzo soup

How to chicken orzo soup

  • Prep Ingredients: Start by gathering and preparing all your ingredients. Chop the vegetables (carrots, celery, onions, garlic), cube the chicken, measure out the orzo pasta, and have your herbs and spices ready.
  • Sauté Vegetables: Heat a large pot over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Sauté the chopped onions, carrots, and celery until they start to soften, usually for about 5–7 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
  • Cook Chicken: Push the vegetables to the side of the pot and add the cubed chicken to the center. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add Broth and Seasonings: Pour in the chicken broth, ensuring it covers all the ingredients in the pot. Add your dried herbs (thyme, oregano, bay leaves), salt, and pepper to season. Bring the soup to a gentle boil.
  • Simmer: Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10–15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked, and the vegetables are tender.
  • Add Orzo Pasta: Stir in the orzo pasta and continue to simmer for an additional 8–10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked al dente and has absorbed some of the broth. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Adjust Seasonings: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may need to add more salt, pepper, or herbs to suit your preferences.
  • Finish: Once the orzo pasta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat. If desired, stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a bright and citrusy flavor.
  • Serve: Ladle the Chicken Orzo Soup into bowls and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!
chicken orzo soup

Variations

Here are a few variations to consider for your Chicken Orzo Soup:

  • Vegetarian Version: For a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can bulk up the soup with additional vegetables such as diced bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach.
  • Creamy Chicken Orzo Soup: Add a creamy twist to your soup by stirring in a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half towards the end of cooking. This will create a rich and luxurious texture. You can also melt in some cream cheese for added creaminess.
  • Mediterranean-Inspired: Give your Chicken Orzo Soup a Mediterranean flair by incorporating ingredients like chopped sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh basil for a burst of flavor.
  • Spicy Chicken Orzo Soup: Add a kick of heat to your soup by including diced jalapeños, crushed red pepper flakes, or a dash of hot sauce. You can also stir in some diced green chilies or a spoonful of harissa paste for extra spice.
  • Lemon Herb Chicken Orzo Soup: Enhance the citrusy notes in your soup by adding more lemon zest and juice. Incorporate fresh herbs like dill, basil, or cilantro for a vibrant and refreshing flavor profile. Finish with a dollop of Greek yogurt for added creaminess. (this is my favorite variation)
  • Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Orzo Soup: Increase the vegetable content in your soup by adding hearty options like diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash. These additions will make the soup more filling and nutritious.
  • Asian-Inspired Chicken Orzo Soup: Infuse your soup with Asian flavors by incorporating ingredients like ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add thinly sliced mushrooms, bok choy, and bamboo shoots for a unique twist. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped green onions and a drizzle of sriracha for extra heat.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Prep Ahead: Chop your vegetables and cube your chicken in advance to streamline the cooking process.
  • Homemade Broth: While store-bought broth is convenient, using homemade chicken broth will elevate the flavor of your soup to another level. If you have the time, consider making your own broth by simmering chicken bones, vegetables, and herbs in water for several hours. I have a great stock recipe it uses turkey, but you can easily make it chicken.
  • Seasoning Layers: Season your soup in layers. Add salt and pepper to the vegetables as they sauté, then adjust the seasoning once the broth and other ingredients are added. This helps to build depth of flavor throughout the cooking process.
  • Don’t Overcook the Orzo: Orzo pasta can become mushy if overcooked, so be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package and keep an eye on the soup as it simmers. It’s best to add the orzo towards the end of cooking to ensure it retains its al dente texture.
  • Add Fresh Herbs at the End: Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or cilantro should be added towards the end of cooking or as a garnish just before serving. This helps to preserve their vibrant color and fresh flavor.
  • Storage and Reheating: Chicken Orzo Soup makes excellent leftovers. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3–4 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a splash of broth if needed to maintain the soup’s consistency.
chicken stock

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze Chicken Orzo Soup?

Yes, Chicken Orzo Soup can be frozen for later consumption. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Leave some space at the top of the container to allow for expansion during freezing. Frozen soup can typically be stored for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How can I make Chicken Orzo Soup gluten-free?

To make Chicken Orzo Soup gluten-free, simply substitute the orzo pasta with a gluten-free pasta alternative, such as rice or quinoa pasta. Ensure that all other ingredients, including the chicken broth and any seasonings used, are also gluten-free.

Can I make Chicken Orzo Soup in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes, Chicken Orzo Soup can be made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot for added convenience. Simply follow your appliance’s instructions for soup recipes, adjusting cooking times as needed. For example, in an Instant Pot, you can cook the soup on the “Soup” setting for about 10 minutes, then allow for a natural pressure release before adding the orzo pasta and finishing the soup.

How can I make Chicken Orzo Soup vegetarian?

To make a vegetarian version of Chicken Orzo Soup, simply omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can add extra vegetables or beans for protein and texture, such as diced tofu, chickpeas, or white beans.

chicken orzo soup

Light and Delicious Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Delicious Chicken Orzo Soup – a comforting blend of tender chicken, veggies, and orzo pasta. Perfect for cozy nights!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course lunch, Main Course
Cuisine dinner, lunch, starter
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2 stalks celery Chopped finely
  • 2 medium carrots Peeled & chopped finely
  • ½ medium onion Chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 6 cups Chicken broth Store bought or homemade
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1.5 lbs Uncooked chicken breast or boneless thighs Cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup Uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice optional
  • 1 tbsp Fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper To taste

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, diced carrots, and diced celery. Sauté for 5–7 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add minced garlic to the pot and sauté for an additional minute until fragrant. Then add the flour and cook for another minute or so.
  • Push the vegetables to the side of the pot and add the chopped chicken pieces to the center. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, ensuring it covers all the ingredients in the pot. Add dried thyme, dried oregano, bay leaves, salt, and pepper to season. Stir well to combine.
  • Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the uncooked orzo pasta and continue to simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked al dente and has absorbed some of the broth. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt and pepper.
  • Once the orzo pasta is cooked, remove the pot from the heat.
  • Ladle the Chicken Orzo Soup into bowls and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!
Keyword chicken, homemade, soup
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