Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup, also known as cozy winter soup that’s light and healthy. Caramelized garlic, fresh herbs, lots of lemon, kale, and chicken broth all make for a tasty, warming soup. There’s even some orzo pasta for good measure, because I do believe that every good soup needs carbs. This is quick, easy, and SO DELICIOUS. You can make it on the stove or in the crockpot, either way it’s going to be good. The aroma will fill your home with the cozy smell of homemade chicken soup…that’s heavy on the garlic…and the lemon. So the best kind of chicken soup!

overhead photo of Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup with 3 bowls in photo

Please tell me that you guys are still very much enjoying soup? Because over here, it’s still very much soup weather, with temperatures dipping into the negatives overnight. Surely soup weather, right?

In all seriousness, over the last few months I’ve been making a new soup recipe every other week. You’d think I might start to get sick of it, or run out of new ideas. But nope, soup is still exciting me. Crossing my fingers you feel the same way.

This is actually a soup I made a few weeks ago over Christmas. I quickly realized that I needed to have a large batch of something continually simmering away on the stove. That way there was always something for people to snack on throughout the day. What better than chicken soup? It’s the perfect thing to warm up to after coming in from outside. And this chicken soup also happened to do wonders for the cold that many family members seemed to have caught. So not only is this soup good, but will also help to fight off your winter cold.

Cool. Cool.

Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup in pot on stove

I don’t know if you guys remember this lemon butter chicken and orzo that I made last year. But it was the inspiration behind the making of this soup. I can’t tell you how much I love that skillet chicken. It’s probably one of my more favorite skillet recipes. I even made it the other day on Instagram. It’s so good.

Anyway, I love the flavors of that dish so much that I decided to turn them into a healthy soup. Which is where this recipe comes in.

It’s everything I love so much about that skillet chicken, but in soup form. Plus the addition of caramelized garlic and a little parmesan too…

Just as good, maybe better. Just depends what kind of mood you’re in!

side angle photo of Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup

Start out by searing the chicken in some olive oil, then add the garlic to caramelize it. I LOVE cooking the garlic slowly in the oil and allowing it to become soft, fragrant, and golden brown. It takes that garlicy bite out of the garlic and mellows it out, turning it buttery and sweet. Yummm.

Once you’ve finished searing, add all the remaining ingredients and cook until the chicken is cooked through and falling apart. I prefer to use bone-in chicken, as it adds flavor to the broth, buy you can also use boneless.

I flavored the broth with fresh herbs, plenty of lemon, and a little parmesan. It’s perfectly light and almost spring like, but still cozy enough for winter.

For the orzo, I think it’s easiest to boil it outside of the soup. I know a lot of recipes will tell you to just boil the pasta in the soup. But if you have leftovers, the soup with soak up all the broth, which is a major bummer. SO, I boil the pasta separately, and then add it to each bowl of soup. The heat from the broth will warm the pasta, making leftovers great for lunch the next day.

And on the topic of orzo, I am obsessed. Ever since last year when I made the lemon butter chicken and orzo I cannot stop using it in recipes. It’s my favorite…see these stuffed peppers, these lamb meatballs, these scallops, and this grilled zucchini.

Yup. Obsessed.

With plenty of snow in the forecast, I’m thinking it’s time for another round of this soup. It’s been a few weeks since I made it, and writing this post now has me craving a bowl.

I’ll take mine with extra orzo, lemon, and probably a sprinkle of parmesan too. Oh, and a side of crusty bread. Always bread with soup. Always.

Hope you guys enjoy and happy Wednesday!

overhead close up photo of Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup

If you make this lemony garlic chicken and orzo soup, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup | halfbakedharvest.com #chickensoup #kale #healthyrecipes #winter
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4.69 from 90 votes
The Recipe

Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup.

Also known as cozy winter soup that's light and healthy. Caramelized garlic, fresh herbs, lots of lemon, kale, chicken broth, and orzo all make for a tasty warming soup. This is quick, easy, and SO DELICIOUS. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 0 6
Calories 536 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-12 large cloves of garlic, smashed (use to your taste)
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 parmesan rind, plus grated parmesan, for serving
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill, plus more for serving
  • juice of 2 lemons (or to taste)
  • 1 pound orzo pasta

Instructions

Stove-Top

  1. 1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. 

    2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and sear until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to low, add the smashed garlic cloves and cook another 3-5 minutes, until golden. Add the carrots, sage, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the broth, parmesan rind, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or up to 4-6 hours over low heat. 

    3. Remove the chicken and shred. Stir the kale, dill, and lemon juice into the soup, cooking another 5 minutes. Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf. Stir back in the shredded chicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to packaged directions, until al dente. Drain.

    5. Divide the orzo among bowls and pour the soup over top. Top each bowl with fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon, if desired.

Crockpot

  1. 1. In the bowl of your crockpot, combine the olive oil, chicken, garlic cloves, carrots, sage, thyme, broth, parmesan rind, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season the salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 4-5 hours. 

    3. Once done cooking, remove the chicken and shred. Stir the kale, dill, and lemon juice into the soup, cooking another 10 minutes. Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf. Stir back in the shredded chicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to packaged directions, until al dente. Drain.

    5. Divide the orzo among bowls and pour the soup over top. Top each bowl with fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon, if desired.

Instant Pot

  1. 1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.

    2. Set Instant Pot to sauté and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the chicken and sear until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Stir in the smashed garlic cloves and cook another 3-5 minutes, until golden. Add the carrots, sage, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the broth, parmesan rind, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. 

    3. Remove the chicken and shred. 

    4. Set Instant Pot to sauté. Stir the orzo, kale, dill, and lemon juice, cooking another 8 minutes, until the orzo is al dente. Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaf. Stir back in the shredded chicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    5. Divide the soup among bowls. Top each bowl with fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon, if desired.

horizontal photo of Lemony Garlic Chicken and Orzo Soup