Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup – Instant Pot Recipe
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is an easy made from scratch Instant Pot recipe with with small orzo pasta and a handful of fresh vegetables. Simple and delicious for anytime of year. Make this modern updated tender chicken noodle soup for the soul for your family today!
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Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe
We eat a lot of soups at my house, although we don’t limit them to just the winter months.
Soups are my favorite one-pot meals, and this lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is light, full of flavor, and makes great leftovers!
Since we are working from home, we can quickly warm up a bowl of soup for lunch. Sure beats takeout.
I just made this Leftover Turkey Soup to use us our Thanksgiving turkey, and still craving warm soup with a broth base.
Plus, not only is this soup easy to make, but it is also pretty darn healthy too!
What is chicken orzo soup made of?
This lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is made similar to a chicken noodle soup with chicken, a light broth, carrots, celery, and spices.
However, instead of an wide egg noodle, which are short flat past strips we use orzo pasta for this soup.
Orzo means “barley” in Italian, referring to its small barley-like shape.
I also think orzo resembles long grain pieces of rice, but slightly thicker. Once cooked orzo plumps up giving us a nice texture.
You will find a several variations of orzo. Some brands will make their pasta with white flour, but you will also see it made with whole grain as well as blends of corn and rice for gluten-free diets.
- Oil – olive, avocado or canola
- Vegetables – onion, carrots, celery, garlic
- Chicken – boneless skinless breasts, chicken thighs or a mix of the two.
- Chicken Stock – make your own homemade broth in an Instant Pot.
- Orzo Pasta – dried pasta will plump up nicely. Note that there a variety of orzo options to pick from. I’ve used sweet potato orzo with great results. Also available is whole wheat and gluten free options. However, for low carb followers you may want to use cauliflower rice in its place.
- Herbs – ginger, oregano, thyme. Sometimes I also toss in a whole bay leaf.
- Spices – salt and pepper
- Lemon – fresh lemon adds the best bright spring weather flavor.
- Instant Pot – 6 or 8 quart. I use a 6 quart Instant Pot.
- A spoon or spatula for stirring the soup ingredients
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Soup ladle for serving
HOW TO MAKE LEMON CHICKEN SOUP IN AN INSTANT POT
Like most pressure cooker recipes, this is a simple one-pot meal that takes not time to put together.
Ready to get cooking?
Step 1 – Sauté vegetables
First, soften the vegetables; onion, celery, and carrots on the sauté function in olive oil.
Step 2 – Cook Chicken (photo A & B)
Add chicken, garlic, stock, water, ginger, lemon zest, and lemon to the pot. Secure the lid and make sure the vent is set to the sealing position. Cook on Manual for 7 minutes. Natural release for 5 minutes.
Step 3 – Remove and Cool Cooked Chicken
Carefully open the lid and remove the chicken to a plate to cool for a couple minutes.
Step 4 – Cook Orzo (photo C)
Add the orzo pasta, dried herbs and salt and pepper to the pot. Give it a quick stir and then secure the lid and seal the vent. Set to cook on high pressure Manual Mode for 3 minutes.
Step 5 – Shred Chicken (photo D)
While the pasta is cooking shred the chicken with 2 forks. When the pot beeps done, do a quick release of steam and open the lid. Return chicken to the large pot.
Serve up and top with fresh parsley or lemon zest, and a sprinkle of ground black pepper.
Serve up and top with fresh parsley or lemon zest, and a sprinkle of ground black pepper.
Can you put raw chicken in soup?
Yes! You can add raw chicken to your broth in this Instant Pot recipe.
With this method it is just like you would be boiling the chicken, which not only cooks quickly but also cooks nice and tender.
To be safe, check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. For poultry, the temperature should reach a minimum of 165°F according to Food Safety.Gov.
CAN YOU USE A ROTISSERIE CHICKEN?
Yes. You can use a rotisserie chicken instead of fresh chicken by adjusting the cooking time. The recipe calls for 2 chicken breasts which will give you about 2 2/3rd cups of shredded chicken. Skip step 2. You will only pressurize the ingredients to meld the flavors into the precooked chicken as noted in step 5.
HOW DO I STORE INSTANT POT LEMON CHICKEN ORZO SOUP?
Let any leftover soup cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To enjoy the next day, you may need to add additional cups chicken broth since the pasta will soak up the broth over time. Warm in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
I do not recommend freezing soup with pasta in it, as the pasta will continue to absorb moisture and become extra soggy after thawing.
However, if you decide to leave out the pasta, you can freeze for at least 3 months in an airtight container.
Does chicken soup help the immune system?
You already know that chicken soup has long been touted as a remedy for colds and flu. It is soothing and comforting for a reason!
Several studies (here’s one from Science Daily) suggest that chicken soup can help fight colds and other viruses by boosting the immune system.
Chicken stock and chicken broth contain vitamins and minerals (like zinc, magnesium, calcium, and folate) that help boost your immune system.
It also contains healthy fats and collagen, which some believe supports healing. Because it is a warm liquid, it aids in hydrating the body, is soothing to the throat, and can help thin nasal mucus.
Chicken itself contains protein, and amino acids, that help support the immune system, have anti-inflammatory effects, and have shown to decrease the length of a viral infection.
What other ingredients help boost the immune system?
This chicken soup contains several other ingredients that are known to help aid the body in fighting off infections.
The onion, celery, and especially carrots contain vitamin A, vitamin C, and other antioxidants that are known to boost the immune system.
Lemon is also a source of vitamin C, and can help reduce phlegm. Garlic has long been used for its antibacterial, and antiviral activity and studies have shown it can not only help prevent colds, but also help reduce the length of an infection.
Ginger also has antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
And finally, the pasta in the soup helps you feel full and satiated. So as you can see, this soup is full of immune boosting and soothing ingredients!
What to serve with Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
This soup is delicious right out of the Instant Pot, but for a heartier meal I like to serve with a roll or bread.
Experiment with one of these recipes:
- Parmesan Popovers – there is a hint of pesto in these adding lots of flavor.
- Grain Free Bread – easy recipe and it tastes amazing!
- Skillet Corn Bread – super tender and fluffy.
- Low Carb Cheddar Biscuits – drop biscuits practically melt in your mouth!
More Instant Pot Soups to try
- Italian Sausage Soup – Hearty soup with kale, beans and orzo.
- Keto Broccoli Cheese Soup – Creamy comfort food – only 5 net carbs per serving!
- Mexican Soup with Hominy – Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup that usually simmers for hours. This Instant Pot version cuts down the time without modifying the flavor.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup In An Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 medium carrots diced
- 2 celery sticks chopped
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 4 cups 32 ounces chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 lemon juiced or quartered*
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley for garnish
- Set Instant Pot to Saute. When hot, add olive oil. Saute onion, carrots, and celery until soft – about 5minutes.
- Add the chicken, garlic, stock, water, ginger and lemon (juiced if you prefer not to add the lemon peel) to the pot. Secure the lid and make sure the vent is set to Sealing. Cook on Manual for 7 minutes. When pot beeps done, allow for a natural release for 5 minutes.
- When 5 minutes is up, release any remaining steam and pressure by turning vent to Venting. Open the lid and remove the chicken to a plate to cool for a couple minutes. Remove the lemon quarters, squeezing some juice into the pot (careful, it’s hot!) and discard.
- Add the orzo, dried herbs and salt and pepper to the pot. Give it a quick stir and then secure the lid and seal the vent. Set to cook on Manual for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken with 2 forks. When the pot beeps done, do a quick release of steam and open the lid. Return chicken to the pot.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
Please note that the nutritional information provided are guidelines and may vary based on the brand of products used. For your specific nutritional goals use My Fitness Pal or Verywell Fit recipe calculators. All content within this site is not intended as medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise.
PIN TO YOUR SOUP, CHICKEN, INSTANT POT AND HEALTHY DINNER BOARDS
DO NOT add lemon quarters with the peel on it. This ruined my soup that I was about to serve to my sick husband and daughter. Recipe is good otherwise but really upset that the lemon ruined it, it was so bitter I had to throw it out.
I’m so sorry to read this Julz. I’ve made this soup often and it never came out bitter, but I appreciate the feedback and will note it in the recipe.
I made this pretty much this same way, but I think it was a mistake to cook the whole lemon in it, it was bitter. Next time I will juice and zest the lemon but not cook the white part in the soup.
Thanks for mentioning this! The pitch can add bitterness. I didn’t have this issue, but I’ll mention this in the recipe card.
Your soup is making me hungry, it looks perfect. I make a similar soup but like your idea of adding ginger, thanks.
So, a couple of questions…
Any idea how much GROUND oregano & GROUND thyme I would use instead of the dried leaf versions?
Also, is the amount of salt listed expected to be regular table salt, or something like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt?
Thanks! This soup sounds fabulous, and I want to try making it, but on the stovetop. I don’t have an Instant Pot…
Hi there! Are you using fresh herbs? You’ll use 1 tablespoon of fresh to 1 teaspoon of dried herbs. Hope this helps. I used table salt. You will use have the amount if you use kosher salt. Enjoy! I’ve made this on the stovetop as well!