Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is a delicious and healthy soup made with tender chicken, lots of veggies, and orzo pasta. A perfect cozy, comforting, and nutritious meal for the cold weather!
Near my workplace, I used to enjoy this Lemon Chicken Orzo soup at Corner Bakery and Panera. I always wanted to make this at home to share the goodness with my family. I have missed the soup even more since I am not working at that company. So here is my take on this cozy and comforting soup!
Greek Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo Ingredients
If you have made Chicken Noodle soup, this is similar but not the same. I use orzo pasta in place of noodles. Orzo is shaped like rice grains and is great as a side or in salads. They are a perfect carb addition to this soup.
Chicken: I used boneless chicken breast, but chicken thighs can also be used in this recipe.
Orzo pasta: I love to use orzo pasta, shaped like rice grains. It is easy to add to any soup. Kids love it too. However, if you don't have orzo, feel free to use other types of pasta.
Onion & Garlic: Add the perfect flavor and aroma to this soup. I use yellow onions in this recipe.
Carrots & Celery: We love to add these veggies to any soup for extra nutrition.
Lemon juice: This is the star ingredient to get the perfect flavor in this lemon chicken soup.
Broth: I use chicken broth in this soup. I used Better than Bouillon to make the broth. Adjust the amount of broth based on how thick or thin you like the soup.
Spices: This soup needs the most basic spices - salt, pepper, and thyme.
Parsley: fresh parsley leaves to garnish. You can also use dill leaves.
How to make Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup?
- Sauté Veggies: Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode and add oil, onions, and garlic. Stir and sauté for 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and broth. Stir well.
- Add chicken and pressure cook: Place chicken breast on top and gently push it under the liquid. Press Cancel and close the lid with the vent in the sealing position. Set the instant pot on high-pressure cook mode for 6 minutes.
- Open & Shred Chicken: When the instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure manually and open the lid. Remove the chicken breasts from the soup and shred them with two forks.
- Cook the pasta: Add the orzo and shredded chicken to the instant pot. Set the instant pot on sauté mode for 6 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Then press cancel. (Note: if the chicken is already well cooked, hold off and add the chicken once the orzo pasta is almost cooked).
- Garnish & Serve: Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings. The soup is ready to be served.
This is not a super thick soup, unlike my Creamy Broccoli Cheddar soup (If you haven't already, you must try it!). In the Broccoli Cheddar soup, I make a roux before pressure cooking. In this soup, as we are cooking pasta along with the soup, it naturally thickens a bit. And if you refrigerate it to enjoy the next day, it thickens even more.
Make it on the Stovetop
- In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in butter or oil for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Add the carrots and celery. Then pour the chicken broth with the salt, pepper, and spices.
- Place the chicken in the pot, and bring the pot to a boil.
- Then reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Open the lid, add the orzo pasta, and cook for another 8-10 minutes. The time will depend on the cooking time on the package of orzo. Stir often.
- Remove the chicken when the orzo is almost cooked, shred it with two forks, and add it to the soup.
- Add the lemon juice, and garnish with parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve and Enjoy!
How to serve?
This soup is great to serve as is topped with some lemon wedges. It has amazing immunity-boosting ingredients.
To make it heartier, serve it with some crusty bread to dip in the broth or a salad.
- Use thickly cut carrots & celery so that the veggies don’t overcook during pressure cooking.
- Use freshly minced garlic and fresh parsley to garnish for maximum flavor.
- Add a rosemary sprig to the instant pot before pressure cooking for extra flavor.
- You can still make this soup if you don't have boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. After pressure cooking, discard the bones and skin when shredding the chicken.
- You can also make this a Lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach. Just add spinach at the end when the orzo is almost cooked. Stir it well until the spinach wilts in the soup.
Let the soup cool down to room temperature. Then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheat the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat. The pasta will likely soak up all of the liquid when stored. Add some chicken broth or water before reheating.
If you would like to meal prep and freeze this soup, freeze it before adding the pasta, as the pasta can be overcooked and mushy when frozen and thawed.
Freeze the soup for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and when reheating in a pot, add the orzo pasta. Then cook on sauté mode until the pasta is cooked.
Yes, you can use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. Skip the raw chicken breast before pressure cooking, and add the shredded rotisserie chicken and the orzo pasta to meld the flavors.
Here are other Instant Pot Soups you might enjoy:
- Sweet Corn Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Vegetable Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Chicken Fajita Soup
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil or butter
- ¾ cup Onion diced, I used yellow onions
- 1 tablespoon Garlic minced
- ¾ cup Carrot cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup Celery cut into small pieces
- ½ teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Thyme
- 2 cup Broth Chicken, or Vegetable
- ½ lb Chicken Breast boneless and skinless
- ⅓ cup Orzo
- 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon Parsley leaves to garnish
- Start the instant pot in SAUTE mode and heat it. Add oil, onions and garlic. Stir and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme and broth. Stir well. Place chicken breast on top and push it under the liquid. Press Cancel and close the lid with vent in sealing position.
- Set the instant pot on MANUAL or pressure cook mode at high pressure for 6 minutes.
- When the instant pot beeps, do a 10 minute NPR. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then open the lid.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the soup and shred with two forks.
- Add the orzo and shredded chicken back to the pot. Set the instant pot on saute mode for 6 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Then press cancel. (If the chicken is already well cooked, hold off and add it in once the orzo is almost cooked)
- Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Soup is ready to be served.
- In a large pot, sauté the onions and garlic in butter or oil for 2-3 minutes, over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and celery. Then pour in the chicken broth along with the salt, pepper and spices. Place the chicken in the pot, and bring the pot to a boil. Then reduce the heat, and cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes. Open the lid, and add the orzo pasta and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Take out the chicken when the orzo is almost cooked, shred with two forks and add it back to the soup. Add the lemon juice, and garnish with parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve and Enjoy!
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
The soup was delicious. Next time I’ll double the broth because I like a lot of broth for my soup. Other than that, it was easy and perfect for a cool Fall night. Thanks so much for the recipe.
Meeta Arora says
Hi Janet - So glad to hear you enjoyed the soup!
Elizabeth Saveli says
Was this recipe edited? I remember using shredded carrots and sauteing the chicken before...
Meeta Arora says
Hi Elizabeth - I did reshoot this recipe, and made it simpler. I hope you try this version and enjoy it!
I made the 2x amount the first time and it was perfect! The leftovers needed just a bit more broth to be soup again. I also added some dill.
The next time I tried to make a rough 1.5x amount with just 1/2 pound of chicken, so I put in a little less broth and maybe a little too much extra orzo. It came out like a pilaf or risotto! But you know what? It was still delicious. My friend, not a huge soup fan, said he liked it better than the soup. Then I found out there are tons of recipes for orzo pilaf and orzo risotto, more like your Lemon Parmesan Orzo. And the leftovers aren't all gummy like most rice risottos.
I haven't used orzo for a decade. I just forgot about it. Thanks for the inspiration!
Meeta Arora says
Hi Jim - So glad to hear you enjoyed it as a soup, and as a pilaf. Thank you for sharing back your experience!
Loved all the soups I hav tried from your blog! Thanks a lot for posting extremely tasty and easy recipes!
Meeta Arora says
Hi Deepa - Glad to hear you have been enjoyed the soup recipes!
Wonderful recipe that we have made 4 times, once with ground Turkey and it came out great. My baby nephew enjoyed it also as the orzo pasta is small and he can eat without chewing. My sister asked for the recipe and is now making it for the baby. My 10 year old son doesn’t like lemon so I usually divide the soup in half after cooking and omit the lemon. Delicious either way. Thank you!
Meeta Arora says
Hi Kristen - So glad that you all enjoyed the soup!
Jann Curtis says
Would any adjustments to cooking times be needed if I doubled this? One recipe was not enough. It was soo good!
Meeta Arora says
Hi Jann - The same cooking time will work even if you double the quantity. Glad to hear you enjoyed the soup!