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.
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.
If you want a brothier soup, you can do 1 of 2 things:
- Cook the orzo in a separate pot and add it to the soup when you stir in the chicken, or
- 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!
- 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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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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!!!
Great suggestions, Melissa and thanks so much for coming back to leave a review! So glad you enjoyed this soup!
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.
I think it should freeze ok. So glad you loved this soup! Thank you for coming back to leave a review!
Do you think this could be made in the crockpot?
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!
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!
Yay! So happy to hear you loved this soup, Marion! Thank you for coming back to leave a review. 🙂
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!
Heidi, your changes sound amazing! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a review!!