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Lemon Orzo Soup Recipe (Quick and Healthy)

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Lemon Orzo Soup is light, healthy, and wholesome. It uses common pantry ingredients, is a little like risotto that meets soup, and is packed with incredible Mediterranean flavors. Plus, this oh-so-simple-to-make soup is ready in minutes.

Top view of Lemon Orzo Soup in a white bowl on a wood cutting board

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Do you love soup? I imagine you do! It’s a food group for me. And something I make all year.

This soup is incredibly fresh and flavorful, even in the heart of winter. Packed with healthy greens, like kale or spinach, vegetables like carrots and celery, herbs like fresh parsley, lemon zest, and orzo pasta, all simmered in a lemony broth you’ll love!

And if you want to add cooked chicken, much like a classic chicken noodle soup, it’s an easy add at the end of cooking!

When do you make Lemon Orzo Soup?

For me, I love to make it all year. When the weather is chilly, and I’m seeking cozy, healthy goodness while wrapped in a warm sweater… and dreaming of spring! Or when the weather is warm and lemon is top of mind.

So I guess the answer is that Lemon Orzo Soup is appropriate whenever you’re craving bright, sunny, crisp flavors of lemon with savory Mediterranean notes. Any time of the year!

Top view of Lemon Orzo Soup in a white bowl with red chilly flakes.

Why you’ll love it

This Lemon Orzo Soup is a comforting bowl of nourishing ingredients that’s incredibly simple to make. It’s not heavy, but it is satisfying. It’s ideal anytime you’re craving a cozy bowl of soup with bright flavors.

What is orzo pasta?

You’re in for a treat if you haven’t cooked with orzo. It’s a small, rice-shaped pasta that cooks quickly in less time. And I love the creamy texture it brings to so many recipes.

In this case, we’re treating it almost like risotto, and you’ll see the easy method I use to make this happen!

If you love orzo, you may also enjoy Greek Roasted Chicken with Lemon Orzo or Mediterranean Greek Chicken and Orzo Skillet.

For soup recipes, you might also want to try Minestrone Soup with Orzo and Kale.

Top view of Lemon Orzo Soup ingredients on a round wood board

Lemon Orzo Soup Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this simple, utterly delicious soup I’m loving this season. Exact ingredient measurements are in the recipe card below:

  • Olive oil for sauteing vegetables and butter for flavor and texture
  • Aromatics: carrots, celery, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes for a bit of mild heat, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, salt, and pepper
  • Dry orzo pasta
  • Vegetable broth or chicken broth, if you prefer
  • Greens like arugula, kale, or spinach
  • Milk, which can be dairy milk, cream, half and half or full-fat coconut milk for the best creamy texture
  • Fresh lemon for juice and zest
  • For serving, fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese
  • Optional: cooked chicken (like Rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken)

How to Make Lemon Orzo Soup

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full instructions are in the recipe card below.

Top view of sauteing carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil for Lemon Orzo Soup
Top view of toasting orzo with the soup vegetables in a white Dutch oven

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven and sauté onion, celery, carrots, garlic and chili flakes until softened. Then add the butter and stir in the orzo. Sauté and toast the orzo until golden.

Pour in the broth, Italian seasoning, and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente, stirring frequently.

Toss in watercress just before serving Lemon Orzo Soup
If you have cooked chicken, it's a delicious addition to this Lemon Orzo Soup

Stir in the milk parmesan, greens, and lemon. Cook for a few minutes or until the greens are wilted, and the soup is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving!

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Adding cooked chicken (like leftover chicken or Rotisserie chicken) to the soup at the end of cooking is a nice variation, making this a Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, very much like traditional, only elevated!

It’s delicious both with chicken or as a vegetarian soup recipe without.

If you have leftovers

This soup makes fantastic lunches with any leftovers you may have. However, the orzo tends to soak up the broth when stored in the refrigerator. You’ll want to add additional broth to thin before reheating.

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Side view of Lemon Orzo Soup in a white soup bowl sitting on a wood cutting board
Side view of Lemon Orzo Soup with fresh arugula in a white bowl sitting on a yellow and white linen

Lemon Orzo Soup

Lemon Orzo Soup is light, healthy, wholesome and ready in minutes. Delicious Mediterranean flavors in an oh-so-simple-to-make soup!
4.8 from 12 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots medium-sized, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 celery ribs chopped finely
  • 1/2 onion medium-sized, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 bunch greens like arugula, kale, or spinach
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole, half and half, or full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 lemon for juice and zest
  • fresh parsley for serving
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, garlic and chili flakes; cook until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes.
    Top view of sauteing carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in olive oil for Lemon Orzo Soup
  • Add the butter and stir in the orzo. Sauté until golden; 1 to 3 minutes.
    Top view of toasting orzo with the soup vegetables in a white Dutch oven
  • Pour in the broth, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the orzo is al dente, stirring frequently.
    Top view of watercress toss into Lemon Orzo Soup just before serving
  • Stir in the milk parmesan, greens, and lemon. Cook until few minutes or until the greens are wilted and the soup is warmed through.
  • Divide the soup among bowls and top with Parmesan, black pepper, and fresh parsley.

Video

Notes

Leftovers:

The orzo soaks up the broth while stored in the refrigerator. Add additional broth or thin.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3678IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Lemon Orzo Soup

4 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Delicious and light soup! Perfect for a spring day. I used homemade chicken broth and lots of fresh herbs along with a little roasted garlic I had on hand. Yum!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Homemade chicken broth is THE best and, of course, lots of herbs. Thank you for trying it!

  2. 5 stars
    I chose to make it with chicken bone broth as opposed to vegetable broth and added some shredded chicken leftovers and it was wonderful! I think the parmesan really takes it to the next level. My husband and kids loved it! We will definitely be adding this to our regular rotation.

    1. Hi Meg, I love the additions you made, the chicken bone broth is wonderful! It’s such an easy, versatile recipe and I’m so glad your family loved it! Thank you for trying it and sharing how it worked for you.

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