Lemony Chicken Soup with Orzo

My lemon chicken soup made with lots of garlic and ginger has all the comforting feels, plus it’s a darned easy weeknight meal ~ chicken noodle soup never tasted this good!

lemony chicken soup with orzo in a white bowl

lemon chicken soup with orzo is soothing yet invigorating!

The warm chicken broth lulls you, the tiny little orzo pasta and buttery leeks comfort you, but then the fresh ginger and lemon come along to shake it all up.

a bowl of lemony chicken soup with pan in background

what you’ll need

  • chicken broth or stock ~ I find that organic broths and stocks have more flavor, but that’s just my observation.

  • chicken ~ I plucked the meat from a rotisserie chicken to make things easy. I don’t know if you can see from the photos but I intentionally loaded the soup with chicken to make it meal-worthy. Confession: I prefer the flavor and texture of a rotisserie chicken to simmering my own chicken for this soup. Go figure.

  • orzo ~ this delicate rice shaped pasta is perfect for soups. It doesn’t bloat up like rice does as it sits in the broth. That’s a good thing because I like to eat this for days.

  • olive oil ~ good quality extra virgin provides flavor and a little satisfying fat to this lean soup. You could even add a pat or two of butter if you like.

  • garlic ~ I minced 4 cloves, using my garlic press because I hate to chop garlic.

  • ginger ~ fresh ginger, and lots of it, is one of the keys to this soup. If you always forget to buy fresh ginger, buy it once and freeze it in chunks so you’ll always have it. Just slice it into fine julienned pieces. Again, the key is to use enough of the stuff, enough so you can really taste it in the finished soup.

  • leeks ~ they’re beautiful and buttery, but use onion if you prefer.

  • celery ~ I’m obsessed with celery this winter, I love to feature it in recipes like this where it doesn’t have to compete with a lot of other ingredients. I cook the soup minimally so it retains a soft crunch.

  • lemon ~ there’s really only a splash of lemon in this soup, but you can absolutely tell the difference. I add a little bit, then taste. If it tastes flat, I add a little bit more. You’ll know when you hit the magic amount, that touch of acidity brings everything alive.

  • fresh dill ~ this is optional, but it adds to the fresh feeling of this soup. You can use parsley, basil, or nothing.

  • salt ~ you need to add enough, but not too much. The amount you add will depend on how salty your stock or broth is to start with. Trust your taste buds on this.
rotisserie chicken for lemony chicken soup

why this soup works

I see two scenarios for this soup ~ one, you’re looking for a comforting weeknight meal that the whole family will love but you’re short on time and ingredients. Or two, somebody in the house is under the weather and needs some comforting sustenance. In both cases it’s a win because it comes together so quickly but doesn’t taste like the same old chicken soup we’ve had a thousand times before. Something as simple as adding ginger and lemon makes that difference.

a pot of lemony chicken soup with orzo in a cast iron pot

what we serve with lemony chicken soup

As soups go, this one is almost stew-like because I really pack it full of veggies and chicken. What I mean to say is, you won’t go hungry even if you decide to serve it solo.

5 from 11 votes

Lemony Chicken Soup with Orzo

My lemon chicken soup made with lots of garlic, and ginger has all the comforting feels, plus it's a darned easy weeknight meal ~ chicken noodle soup never tasted this good!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Calories 144kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 4 leeks
  • 4 stalks celery
  • breast meat from a rotisserie chicken
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp heaped, ginger, finely sliced or julienned
  • 64 ounces (8 cups) good quality chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup orzo, raw
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • several sprigs of fresh dill, fronds only


  • Trim the leeks and slice them lengthwise. Remove any tough outer leaves, then slice into half moons. Put them in a large bowl of cold water and give it a good swish. Any dirt will sink to the bottom and you can then gently scoop the leeks out to drain on paper towels.
    cleaning leeks
  • Trim and slice the celery, and shred your chicken.
    ingredients for lemony chicken soup
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy soup pot until hot. Add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Don't let the garlic brown.
    sautéing garlic and ginger
  • Add the leeks and celery to the pot and saute, stirring often, for a few minutes, until the leeks soften.
    sautéing leeks and celery for lemony chicken soup
  • Add the stock and chicken to the pan. Bring up to a simmer and then add the orzo. Gently simmer until the orzo is just tender.
    making lemony chicken soup
  • Taste the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Then add lemon juice to taste. Start with a tablespooon and go from there.
    lemony chicken soup with orzo in a pot
  • Stir in the fresh dill and serve immediately.

Cook’s notes

*recipe lightly adapted from Bon Appétit


Calories: 144kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 889mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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1 Comment

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  • Reply
    Thomas Harding
    January 15, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    5 stars
    This soup is so easy and quick to put together, but you have to get all of the prep done before heating the pot. As a “twist”, I took the dark meat and skin from the breasts and cooked them in 32 oz. of the chicken broth, for maybe 10 minutes, just to get all of the delicious flavors from the rotisserie marinade. after straining the broth into the soup, I made a delightful chicken salad from the meat.

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