Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Instant Pot recipe is packed with wholesome & nutritious ingredients, fresh lemony flavor, rice shaped orzo pasta & tender chicken. This soup is even better than Panera lemon chicken orzo soup.
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Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
Lemon chicken orzo soup is so easy to whip up in the electric pressure cooker just like this instant pot panera broccoli cheddar soup. The tiny rice shaped orzo pasta, the tender chicken and the veggies are all cooked together in the same pot. The soup is than thickened with a gluten free thickener (optional).
If you love the Panera Bread lemon chicken orzo soup than you’ll love this recipe because this soup tastes even better.
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Orzo Pasta: Tiny rice shaped pasta that looks like rice but get’s cooked much faster. tastes yummy too!
- Chicken: Use either boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. I used thighs for today’s recipe, we love dark meat!
- Aromatics: Yellow onion & garlic. You can definitely go heavy with the garlic to add an extra layer of flavor.
- Veggies: Carrots & celery.
- Seasonings: Paprika, ground black pepper, thyme, oregano, fresh rosemary or dried rosemary (read NOTES at the bottom of the post), salt for flavor.
- Cooking fat: Light or extra light olive oil & butter. We always prefer unsalted butter in our recipes, that way we can control the extra salt in the recipe.
- Fresh lemon juice: Nothing beats the flavor of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Don’t skip this and don’t use bottle juice.
- Fresh lemon zest: This will give you a lemony chicken orzo soup, take the soup to the tops and pack a punch! Don’t miss it.
- Thickener: Corn starch slurry. 1:1 cornstarch + water diluted to make a thick slurry. This acts as a gluten free thickener and thickens soups and stews beautifully. You may totally skip the thickener and enjoy the much lighter version of the soup.
- Garnish: Fresh chopped flat leaf Italian Parsley is our favorite garnish here and also some slices of fresh lemon. Yum!
Tips & Tricks
- Chicken options: If you prefer dark meat use boneless skinless chicken thighs, otherwise use chicken breasts.
- Al dente orzo pasta: Do not increase the cook time, it’ll over cook the orzo pasta. Serve the instant pot lemon chicken orzo soup almost instantly once you are done pressure cooking. The more the pasta rests in the soup the more tender it becomes.
- Freezing tips: The soup when frozen along with the pasta will still taste yummy and hold up but the orzo will become soft and puffy & soak up the liquid. If you plan to freeze the soup, it’s a good idea to skip pressure cooking the orzo and freeze the soup without the pasta. Later, add cooked orzo pasta to individual serving bowls.
- Using rotisserie chicken: You can add left over rotisserie chicken to this soup. Skip pressure cooking the chicken, follow the rest of the recipe as such and add the diced or shredded rotisserie chicken at the end, serve immediately!
- Better than Bouillon: Don’t miss out on the better the bouillon chicken base. It adds great depth of flavor and you can almost instantly make a batch of quick chicken stock at home while making the recipe and ditch the store bought version. Dilute the better than bouillon chicken base in warm water to make an instant chicken stock.
- Intense lemony flavor: Add ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice and throw in a 2-3 slices of fresh lemon and than pressure cook the soup.
- Optional thickener: You can skip thickening the soup with cornstarch and enjoy a much more brothy and lighter version of the recipe. We prefer a slightly thick soup, more like a stew. The cornstarch also adds a touch of creaminess to the lemon orzo soup.
How to make Instant Pot lemon chicken orzo pasta?
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Sauté aromatics & veggies
- Sauté aromatics: Sauté the aromatics over high heat (sauté mode, high heat setting) for just 20 secs.
- Sauté veggies: Throw in the chopped veggies & sauté for 1 min. Add the seasonings and sauté another minute or just 30 secs.
Step #2 Deglaze pot
- Deglaze pot: Pour chicken stock and deglaze the pot very well by scraping the sides & the bottom of the pot with the help of a spatula. There should not be any food particles stuck at the bottom of the pot. This step is very important & it will help prevent the “burn” error!
- Add orzo & chicken: Add the uncooked orzo pasta. Give everything a quick stir, throw in the boneless skinless thawed or fresh chicken thighs or breasts, add a fresh twig of rosemary.
Step #3 Pressure Cook
- Pressure cook: Add some fresh lemon zest. Cancel the sauté function, close the lid, seal the valve and pressure cook on high heat for 3 mins followed by quick release.
Step #4 Thicken Soup & serve
- Shred chicken: Fish out the pressure cooked chicken and shred with the help of a pair of fork or cut into bite size pieces. Transfer it back to the pot. Add the lemon juice and give everything a good mix.
- Thicken soup (optional): You can thicken the soup a bit for a creamy texture but this step is totally optional. Add the cornstarch slurry and mix well. Hit back the Sauté function and allow the soup to simmer for 1 min on low heat. This will help thicken the soup. For best texture serve the soup immediately.
Is lemon chicken orzo soup healthy?
Yes, lemon chicken orzo soup is healthy. It’s packed with fresh, wholesome and healthy ingredients.
Can you freeze Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup?
Yes, you can definitely freeze lemon chicken orzo soup for upto 2 months. .
You can freeze the soup in two ways: with the orzo pasta and without the orzo pasta. Read the “Tips & Tricks” above for more information.
The orzo pasta will become soft and puffy if you freeze the soup along with the pasta.
Fridge: Store any leftover soup in air tight containers for upto 3 days in the fridge. The orzo pasta will soak the liquid. So, follow the reheating directions shared below.
Freezer: Freeze in portion size freezer safe containers for upto 2 months. Follow the re-heating directions shared below.
From Fridge: You can reheat the fridge cold soup in the microwave oven until warm or hot. The orzo pasta will soak up a lot of the liquid. So, you may need to add more stock and than reheat for a good consistency.
Frozen soup: Thaw the frozen soup in the refrigerator overnight and follow the reheating directions shared above.
Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup variations
- Lemon chicken orzo soup with spinach: Follow this recipe and add about 2 cups baby spinach at the end after turning off the instant pot. The residual heat will help wilt the leaves.
- Lemon chicken orzo soup with kale: Follow the same recipe and add 2 cups chopped and rinsed kale leaves at the end after turning off the instant pot. The residual heat will help wilt the kale leaves.
- Greek lemon chicken orzo soup: Whenever I make a Greek lemon chicken orzo soup I add lots of fresh chopped dill leaves at the end to garnish the soup. The recipe would remain the same.
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Instant Pot.Print Recipe Pin Rate
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- 1.5 pounds chicken thighs (**or use chicken breasts, skinless & boneless. If frozen thaw it.)
- 1 cup Orzo Pasta
- 1 cup onion (**roughly chopped yellow onion. DO NOT use red onion.)
- 1 cup carrots (**cubed)
- 1 cup celery (**roughly chopped)
- 1 tbsp garlic (**minced)
- 1 tbsp Lemon zest
- ¼ cup Lemon Juice (**freshly squeezed lemon juice.)
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil (**use light or extra light)
- salt (**use according to your personal preference.)
- 6 cups water (**warm. Read NOTES below.)
- 1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon (**stir this in the 6 cups warm water to make an instant stock. Use Better than bouillon chicken base. )
- 1.5 tbsp Cornstarch (**diluted with 1.5 tbsp water to form a thick smooth slurry.)
- Sauté aromatics: Set Instant Pot on Sauté mode on high heat. Add butter & oil. When the butter begins to melt throw in the chopped onion and garlic and sauté for just 20 seconds.
- Sauté Vegetables & seasonings: Throw in the diced carrots & celery, sauté for 1 min. Add the seasonings except the fresh rosemary twig ( mentioned above in the "seasonings" section in the ingredients list) and sauté for 2 mins. If adding dried rosemary add it now. Also, add salt according to your taste preference.
- Deglaze pot: Cancel the Sauté mode. Add chicken stock and deglaze the pot very well by scrapping the sides & the bottom of the pot with the help of your spatula. There should not be any food particles stuck at the bottom of the pot. This step is VERY important and will prevent the burn error.
- Orzo Pasta & chicken: Now, add the orzo pasta and give everything a good stir. Place the thawed or fresh boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the pasta and DO NOT stir of mix. Throw in the fresh rosemary twig & the freshly grated lemon zest.
- Pressure Cook: Secure the lid of the instant pot, PRESSURE COOK on high for just 3 mins. Once, the cooking cycle is over the instant pot will begin to beep. Immediately perform a quick pressure release by moving the valve from the sealing to the venting position. Open the lid when the floating pin on the lid drops. Cancel the pressure cook option.
- Shred Chicken: Fish out the fresh rosemary twig & discard. Also, fish out the cooked chicken & shred them with the help of a pair of fork. You can even dice it into bite size pieces if you prefer it that way.
- Thicken soup: Add lemon juice into the pot, mix well. Add back the shredded chicken & give everything a good stir. Now, add the optional cornstarch slurry (Read **NOTES below), stir well & simmer the soup on Sauté set at low heat for just 1 min or until the soup thickens a bit. Serve immediately for best texture and enjoy! You can garnish with fresh chopped flat leaf parsley.
- Garlic: If you do not like garlic than do cut back on the quantity of garlic and add about ½ tbsp instead of 1 tbsp. Garlic adds ton of depth of flavor to this light and simple soup, we recommend adding more.
- Dump & cook chicken orzo soup: Skip sauteing the aromatics. Instead dump everything in the pot ins this order: onion, carrots, celery garlic, orzo, seasonings, liquid, lemon zest, give it a quick stock. Place the chicken and pressure cook. The rest of the recipe would remain the same.
- Seasonings: The fresh rosemary adds a ton of fresh aroma and flavor to this simple orzo chicken soup recipe. Add it if you can or replace it with ½ tsp dried rosemary.
- Thickening the soup: Cornstarch slurry is a fantastic gluten free thickener that slightly thickens the soup, gives it a stew like body and also makes it creamy. You’ll love it. However, if you want to skip this step you certainly can, in that case you’ll get a brothy and much more lighter chicken orzo soup.
- Reheating leftovers: The cooked orzo pasta in the leftover soup will soak up almost all the liquid. You need to add more stock or water while reheating the soup.
- Is the soup spicy? The slight amount of red pepper flakes will only add a slight kick but not make the soup spicy. It’s delicious, but if you are spice intolerant do skip the red pepper flakes.
- Skipping better than bouillon: You can replace the better than bouillon stirred in 6 cups water and add 6 cups store bought or homemade chicken stock instead.