This hearty and wholesome Spring Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill is full of bright flavors and nourishing seasonal vegetables.

Overhead shot of red cast iron pot filled with lemon chicken orzo soup.

Soup in spring: it’s a thing.

Soup weather tends to be associated with dark clouds and cold weather. But with a rainy spring upon us, I think there’s room for a cozy bowl or two! Especially when that bowl is chock-full of spring produce. Not to mention bright lemony flavors. This lemon chicken orzo soup is hearty, healthy, and it’s the perfect way to take advantage of the season’s offerings.

A whole lot of seasonal goodies in one steamy pot.

Here’s a list of the spring goodies we’ve got in this soup:

Kale. This nutrient-dense green offers a rich source of vitamins, folate, manganese, and dietary minerals.

Peas. Despite their size, they pack a fair amount of fiber and antioxidants.

Leeks. A great substitute for an onion! Leeks are immune-boosting and good for the heart.

Lemons. Packed with vitamin C, lemons help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They’re also great for your digestive health.

Other nourishing additions:

Carrots. They’re not just good for your eye health; carrots are a great source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.

Celery. This seemingly bland vegetable helps to reduce inflammation, supports gut health, and has an alkalizing effect thanks to minerals like magnesium, iron, and sodium.

Zucchini. High in antioxidants, great for digestion, and can help reduce blood sugar levels. 

Dill. Not just a tasty herb; this fresh herb can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and research has shown that it can lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Chicken stock. This good stuff is rich with essential fatty acids and protein, and it helps your body build and repair muscle, bone, skin, and blood cells.

Prefer a meatless soup? That’s easy.

All you have to do to turn this soup into a vegetarian-friendly meal is swap out the chicken stock for vegetable broth and omit the chicken. To add robustness, simply add more vegetables.

Overhead shot of fresh spring produce including leeks, kale, lemons, and peas.

Tips for making this soup.

  • Using a homemade chicken stock will boost flavor and health benefits.
  • Cooking chicken in the pot before you start the soup base and including all of the pan bits adds a lot of flavor to the soup. But if you’re pinched for time, you could also shred or chop up a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and add the chicken to the soup before serving.
  • Using the suggested amount of lemons is important! Don’t shy away. I always add a splash of lemon juice to my chicken soup because it brightens the flavors—but we go big on the lemons in this one. It’s a key part of the flavoring. (I mean, it’s in the name.)
  • If you don’t have orzo, you can use rice or any tiny noodle, like ditalini or acini di pepe.

Overhead shot of process photos of soup being made.

Overhead shot of bowl of lemon chicken orzo soup with a plate of crusty bread.

Equipment you’ll need:

  1. Large soup pot
  2. Tongs
  3. Sharp knife
  4. Cutting board
  5. Mandolin (optional, but preferred if you like thinly cut vegetables like we do.)
  6. Zester/microplane
  7. Meat thermometer (optional)
  8. Forks, for shredding the chicken

How to make Spring Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  2. With tongs, carefully add the chicken tenders to the pot; season with salt and pepper. After about five minutes, carefully flip the chicken tenders and cook on the other side for about five minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165º F.
  3. Remove the chicken tenders from the pot and set them aside on a cutting board.
  4. Add a bit more oil to the pot, then add the garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, and chopped kale; sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Let the veggies simmer until tender. If you find that the pot dries out and the veggies start to stick, add a few splashes of chicken stock to the pot.
  5. Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the fresh dill and the frozen peas.
  6. Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.
  7. Once the soup is simmering, add the orzo and let the soup continue to simmer until the orzo is cooked, stirring occasionally. This should only take about 5-7 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, shred the chicken tenders with two forks or roughly chop the chicken into small chunks—whichever you prefer.
  9. Once the orzo is cooked, transfer the chicken to the soup.
  10. Stir in the lemon juice and zest, and give the soup a taste. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  11. Best served with a hunk of fresh crusty bread.

Overhead shot of pot of soup and a bowl of soup next to it.

Other soups to add to your must-eat list:

  1. Super Cozy Chicken Tortilla Soup
  2. Easy One-Pot Cauliflower Soup
  3. Healing Quinoa Vegetable Soup
  4. Classic Tomato Soup and Pesto Grilled Cheese Croutons

Hope you enjoy!

If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.

Overhead shot of bowl of lemon chicken orzo soup with a plate of crusty bread.

Get the Recipe:

Spring Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill

This hearty and wholesome Spring Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Dill is full of bright flavors and nourishing seasonal vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenders, You could also use breasts or thighs, but cooking times will vary.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced (about a cup)
  • 1 rib of celery, thinly sliced (about a cup)
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale (ribs removed)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 0.5 oz fresh dill, roughly chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced

Equipment

  • Large soup pot
  • Tongs
  • sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Mandolin (optional)
  • Zester/microplane
  • Meat thermometer (optional)
  • Forks, for shredding the chicken

Instructions 

  • Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
  • With tongs, carefully add the chicken tenders to the pot; season with salt and pepper. After about five minutes, carefully flip the chicken tenders and cook on the other side for about five minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165º F.
  • Remove the chicken tenders from the pot and set them aside on a cutting board.
  • Add another TBSP of oil to the pot, then add the garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, and chopped kale; sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Let the veggies simmer until tender. If you find that the pot dries out and the veggies start to stick, add a few splashes of chicken stock to the pot.
  • Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the fresh dill and the frozen peas.
  • Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer.
  • Once the soup is simmering, add the orzo and let the soup continue to simmer until the orzo is cooked, stirring occasionally. This should only take about 5-7 minutes.
  • In the meantime, shred the chicken tenders with two forks or roughly chop the chicken into small chunks—whatever your preference.
  • Once the orzo is cooked, transfer the chicken to the soup.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and zest, and give the soup a taste. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  • Best served with a hunk of fresh crusty bread.

Notes

This soup can be frozen, but it's best if you freeze it without the orzo in it as the orzo becomes mushy once thawed. So if you plan on freezing this soup after making it, simply omit the orzo and add it later, once thawed and ready to eat.