This Chicken Orzo Soup is hearty, super creamy, and it’s the best way to use leftover roast chicken! Ditch regular noodles for rice-shaped orzo pasta and fall in love with chicken soup all over again.

Overhead shot of a white Dutch oven filled with chicken, orzo, carrots, and broth

I feel like I have a million leftover roast chicken recipes but it’s never enough. I need variety! This Creamy Chicken Orzo Soup is a family favorite comforting soup with onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and my favorite tiny pasta: orzo.

A Stick to Your Ribs Kind of Soup

The soup is so thick and creamy that it’s kind of a cross between a soup and a stew. A stoup, for lack of a better term. And that’s because I cooked the orzo right in the broth, which allowed the starch from the orzo to thicken the soup.

Overhead shot of a creamy chicken orzo soup with carrots in a white Dutch oven next to a wooden spoon

If you want a brothier soup, you can do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Cook the orzo in a separate pot and add it to the soup when you stir in the chicken, or
  2. Reduce the amount of flour you add to the recipe to 1 tablespoon.


This is the basic shopping list for the best creamy chicken soup recipe. The full list of ingredients is in the recipe card below, so be sure to keep scrolling down to check it out!

  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Thyme — I use fresh but dried works too
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken broth
  • Dry orzo pasta
  • Rotisserie or roast chicken
  • Lemon juice
  • Heavy cream or plain yogurt
  • Parsley

A wooden spoon stirring creamy chicken and orzo soup with carrots

How to Make Creamy Chicken Soup from Scratch

Here are the quick steps for how to make this chicken orzo soup recipe! The full instruction list is in the recipe card below, so be sure to keep scrolling down to the card.

STEP 1: Sauté the onions and celery in melted butter until they begin to soften. Add the carrots and keep cooking. Add the garlic and cook until it’s super fragrant.

STEP 2: Make a roux by adding the flour to the buttery veggies then slowly whisk in the broth.

STEP 3: Bring the soup to a boil and add the orzo. Be sure to stir so the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot!

A white pot filled with cooked chicken, broth, carrots, orzo, and heavy cream

STEP 4: Once the orzo is just al dente, add your cooked chicken, lemon juice, and heavy cream to the pot and warm everything up. I like to serve it with a little fresh parsley on top.

What Can I Add to Chicken Soup for Flavor?

Chicken orzo soup is one of my favorites because it’s an easy way to clean out your produce drawers!

If you want to add flavor to your chicken soups, herbs, spices, and vegetables are the three best ways to do it.

Celery is a great option to add some natural pepper, and lemon juice helps brighten up any soup! I also use fresh herbs when I can because they usually have a stronger flavor than their dried counterparts.

2 white and blue bowls of chicken, carrot, and orzo soup on a white striped kitchen towel

If your soup tastes bland when it’s done, always try adding a little salt. Sometimes just a pinch of Kosher or table salt will bring out the natural flavors in a recipe without any extra work.

Does Orzo Freeze Well in Soup?

The freezer is soup’s best friend. But noodles are notorious for thawing into mush. Can you freeze chicken orzo soup?

Orzo freezes better than some noodles, but it still tends to absorb liquid and it can easily become bloated.

Top shot of a bowl of creamy chicken orzo soup with a spoon

If you plan to make a batch of this soup just to freeze, don’t add the orzo or the heavy cream to the soup. When you thaw and reheat, you can always add the dry noodles to cook them in the broth and then the heavy cream at the end just before serving. 

What to Serve with Chicken Orzo Soup

Where there’s soup, there’s bread! It’s the perfect side dish to sop up every last drop of this creamy chicken orzo soup.

Side shot of a small bowl of chicken soup with orzo and carrots on a wooden cutting board

I love making homemade bread, and this whole grain ciabatta bread is one of my favorites. It’s so simple to throw together for a weeknight dinner!

If you love a good grilled cheese, try this fabulous grilled cheese recipe with 3 kinds of cheese and mayonnaise, too. Your family will request it every night, I swear.

Or spice it up with this jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich. The cream cheese makes it perfectly gooey.

A spoonful of orzo, chicken, and carrots in a white and blue soup bowl

Fresh out of crusty bread? This homemade white bread recipe is perfect for soup dipping, sandwiches, toast, or just a snack with some butter. I won’t judge.

Creamy Chicken Orzo Soup

Creamy Chicken Orzo Soup

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Creamy chicken orzo soup is a stick to your ribs kind of soup that's hearty enough for a dinner on a cold winter's night and easy enough to make for a quick weekend lunch. This creamy chicken soup is thick and delicious and it's filled with one of my favorite fast ingredients: leftover roast chicken!


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 small or 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (about 2 to 3 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme or 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or plain yogurt
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. Melt the butter in a stockpot or large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and good pinch of salt and pepper, and saute while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the flour and stir frequently for 1 ½ to 2 minutes (this will help to flavor the soup and thicken it as well). The flour should turn golden brown. Slowly whisk in the broth until smooth.
  2. Increase the heat to high, bring the soup to a boil, and stir in the orzo. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Mix in the cooked chicken, lemon juice, and heavy cream and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, just until the chicken is warmed through. Serve while still hot with a sprinkle of parsley over the top.

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Leave a Comment

  • Melissa
    November 2, 2021 at 7:59 PM

    Made this tonight! Very good as is..but when I make this again I will omit the thyme add fresh baby spinach and add a quarter of lemon with bread when I serve .the fresh lemon made this a balanced soup a super star!!!

    • Tara
      November 7, 2021 at 11:25 AM

      Great suggestions, Melissa and thanks so much for coming back to leave a review! So glad you enjoyed this soup!

  • Violet
    November 3, 2022 at 8:08 PM

    Made this tonight. I added some chopped frozen spinach as well as some parmasean cheese. So good. Just wondering how it free,especially as this recipe makes enough to feed my family 2 meals so I’d like to freeze half for a quick dinner another night.

    • Tara
      November 20, 2022 at 8:20 PM

      I think it should freeze ok. So glad you loved this soup! Thank you for coming back to leave a review!

  • Jessica
    December 4, 2022 at 12:09 PM

    Do you think this could be made in the crockpot?

    • Tara
      December 15, 2022 at 11:48 PM

      Hi Jessica, You probably could. I’ve never actually made any kind of soup in the crockpot so I don’t have any tips for you. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it!

  • Marion
    December 15, 2022 at 4:54 PM

    I made this tonight and it was amazing. I omitted the lemon and added baby spinach. Stick to your ribs goodness on a cold icy day. Thank you for sharing!

    • Tara
      December 15, 2022 at 11:32 PM

      Yay! So happy to hear you loved this soup, Marion! Thank you for coming back to leave a review. 🙂

  • Heidi
    December 25, 2022 at 1:37 PM

    I loved this! I already had the orzo cooked and left over along with chicken thighs and breasts. I added less broth since the orzo was already cooked. BUT I added some Prosecco to deglazed after the Rue. Also topped the soup with crispy fried leeks and some crumbled Boursin cheese. Decadent!

    • Tara
      January 6, 2023 at 10:48 AM

      Heidi, your changes sound amazing! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review!!

  • Bethany
    April 25, 2023 at 6:24 PM

    Thank you! This was so delicious!
    One thing I did, I didn’t have thyme, but I made a recipe similar to this that used tumeric, so I used tumeric. And I used a whole lemon instead of half. I’m also feeding a hefty group of six so that may be why I increased most everything. So good!

    • Tara
      December 11, 2023 at 9:26 AM

      Love your substitutions, Bethany! I’m thrilled you loved this recipe! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review.

  • Brooke
    April 4, 2024 at 8:58 PM

    Made this tonight during our April blizzard!! Added a ton of mushrooms, it was SO yummy.

    • Tara
      April 20, 2024 at 10:12 PM

      Awesome to hear, Brooke! We got that April blizzard this month too and what a doozy it was!