Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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It’s easy to make copycat Panera Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup at home without a lot of work or time! It’s a light, delicious soup that is warm and comforting on a chilly night! 

a stack of bowls is filled with a chicken noodle soup recipe with slices of carrots easily visible on top and a garnish of fresh parsley.

Light, citrus soup recipe inspired by Panera’s Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup!

First, I should probably start this post by saying that I am a little bit of a Panera fan girl! If we could afford it, I could basically eat there everyday.

I love it because I can always find something I would enjoy.

Whether I’m looking for a warm comforting soup on a cold night or a diabetic friendly recipe while pregnant with one of my kiddos or just looking for a light salad for lunch on the go, there is always something to enjoy! 

However, my budget doesn’t allow me to eat there all the time which means I need to come up with homemade soups I can enjoy instead. 

I started with making homemade loaded potato soup – also in the slow cooker, by the way! Though I will admit I cheat and still purchase Panera bread bowls in which to serve it.

Then, I started creating this recipe for homemade Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup. It’s a lighter soup that is super refreshing from the citrus flavors in the broth.

Seriously, if you’ve never had it, you will love it!

In fact, you should definitely make this when you are sick instead of your traditional chicken noodle soup. The lemon is far more restorative!

A stack of three white bowls is in frame close up with the top bowl willed with lemon chicken orzo soup. A spoon rests on the bowl and is filled with chunks of carrot, celery, chicken and orzo pasta.


Just in case you might not know what orzo is, because I certainly didn’t a few years back, I’ve got you covered!

Orzo PASTA – that’s right, Orzo is pasta – is made with semolina flour. It looks like rice, it sort of tastes like rice honestly, but it’s pasta.

The fact that it is pasta also means that it is not gluten free which is an incredibly important distinction for some of you and your guests.

It’s a really sturdy pasta overall, which makes it great for additions to soups like this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup because it won’t get mushy.

Straight down shot of a white soup bowl with zipzag edge filled with lemon chicken orzo soup with chunks of carrots, chicken, and celery and a parsley sprig garnish.


First, you will be cooking the chicken in chicken broth and seasonings in your slow cooker to make the base of your soup.

Then, in the last 30 minutes before you are ready to enjoy, you will remove the chicken to shred or chop.

Place your chicken back into the slow cooker with the Orzo pasta, lemon juice and celery for 30 minutes or until tender.

Taste to adjust any seasonings to your specific preferences, especially salt, and enjoy!


Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker With Temperature Probe – This has been my slow cooker for over seven years, and I definitely put it to work a lot for our family and for this blog. It’s reliable, easy to use and easy to customize as needed.

Hamilton Beach Travel Case & Carrier Insulated Bag – If you need to take your slow cooker anywhere, you should consider getting an insulated bag.

It just makes it a lot easier to carry and with less risk of a mess or any accidental burnings from transporting a hot slow cooker.

Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners 2 Pack – My husband loves when I remember to throw one of these in because it makes clean up SO much easier!

I often forget when I am just making dinner for us but I never forget during holiday prep.

Pulled Pork Shredder Claws – These definitely aren’t needed since I relied on using two forks for a very long time, but I do love them! It makes shredding meat much faster which is always a win in my book.

This light and refreshing slow cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe is a copycat Panera soup recipe that is delicious all year long and serves as a great substitute to your traditional chicken noodle soup! | THE LOVE NERDS #slowcookersoup #lemonchickenrecipe #souprecipe



Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup - A deliciously light and fresh soup recipe inspired by Panera's soup recipe. | The Love Nerds


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes

This light and refreshing slow cooker Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup recipe is a copycat Panera soup recipe that is delicious all year long and serves as a great substitute to your traditional chicken noodle soup!


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 cups of chicken broth (I prefer low sodium)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 3/4 cup dry orzo
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced


    In a slow cooker place chicken breast, garlic, black pepper, parsley, dill, bay leaf, lemon zest, onion, carrots and chicken broth. Cook for 5 hours on high or for 8 hours on low

    Remove the chicken and either shred or chop. Place back into slow cooker. Then add orzo pasta, lemon juice and celery. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.

    Taste to adjust any seasonings as needed and enjoy!

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