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Best Chicken Soup Recipes: Quick And Easy Chicken Soup With Orzo Recipe

Updated on February 23, 2011

Chicken Soup with Orzo

As so often happens to me, necessity is usually the mother of invention.  I was going to fire up a pot of chicken soup the other night after a rainy and cold blustery day and discovered that I was missing one ingredient – yolkless egg noodles which I love to have for my homemade chicken soup

I always think of these moments of my forgetfulness to add things to the grocery list as being my 'creative spurs'   so went back to the cupboards and decided to see what else I could substitute.   Lo and behold, I think I hit on a winner although there are many substitutions I could have made as well (see below). 

Orzo is the ingredient used in risotto dishes which I love to make but figured since it was a 'fat rice' it probably would do just fine in a soup – and luckily it performed great. 

Serves many - makes 1 delicious pot of soup!


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 4-5 carrots peeled, sliced
  • 4-5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup orzo (risotto rice)
  • 3 quarts of chicken broth or equivalent water plus bouillon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Herbs such as marjoram, thyme, basil, sage, tarragon to taste
  • Olive oil or olive oil spray


  1. Spray 3-quart or so dutch oven or soup pan with olive oil spray or couple teaspoons of olive oil. Add chopped onion, celery and garlic – cook about 5 minutes or until softening.
  2. Add a bit more spray or olive oil and add chicken – saute until brown on one side, turn and brown a bit on the other side. Chicken will not be cooked through at this point – just browned.
  3. Add broth and then add in carrots. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of water or broth in another saucepan and once the water or broth is boiling, add the orzo and simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Drain the orzo and add to the chicken soup.


  • Turkey instead of chicken – turkey cutlets work great or part of a turkey breast cut up
  • Mushroom broth or vegetable broth can be substituted
  • Low sodium broths - I use for all our soups
  • Frozen cubes of homemade chicken broth - I had stored in the freezer
  • For an interesting taste, you can also add a bit of tomato sauce or tomato paste to the water that the orzo is cooking in instead of broth – or use mushroom broth to cook the orzo in instead
  • I generally throw in frozen spinach to any soup that I make but did not have any this particular time
  • Add fresh spinach
  • Add corn or peas to the soup
  • Substitute wild rice or brown rice partially cooked to the soup instead of the orzo
  • Add broken spaghetti noodles to the soup for an interesting change – just make sure you do not overcook or the noodles will become mushy
  • Add mushrooms of any kind to the soup
  • Add small tortellinis to the soup for an interesting change and a very satisfying meal

Serve the soup with a loaf of French bread, biscuits or English muffins and a green or Caesar salad.


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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much, prasetio30. Hope you enjoy.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      You have delicious recipes. I liked it very much. thanks for posting.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      I will have to do that! I just buy regular wild rice at Trader Joe's but will look for Wisconsin or Canadian next time.....try the orzo though - it tends to soak up more of the liquid so I added more broth but that is always good! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. It's making me hungry for soup now that I read that!

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Orzo sounds good, I have some chicken soup on right now with regular long grain white, I will look for orzo soon though thanks for the heads up! Have you tried real Wisconsin or Canadian wild rice? It is soooooo good in soup!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks for commenting, Martin!

    • profile image

      Martin V 8 years ago

      Great hub!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Actually if you do a whole chicken, I use a bigger pot and put carrots and celery/onion in the bottom, cover the vegetables with the broth, throw in some herbs, salt and pepper on the washed chicken, cover and simmer for a few hours or until the thighs are movable. Then I take the chicken out, strain off the fat, chop and add back in and make the soup - add some noodles - but if the veggies are too mushed, I start over and add some fresh ones.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      It really does sound great, I have never made a chicken soup, can I put in the whole chicken and then once it's cooked then I can chop it in pieces? Fantastic hub for this cold and gloomy wheater.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      That sounds delicious as well - I love Tortilla Soup which I actually think is very like chicken soup but with tomatoes and a bunch of other great additives. I love making soups because they are so great as leftovers and quick throw-togethers. Thanks as always for reading!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I often add a can of Italian style tomatoes to my chicken soup. I'll have to try the orzo. Thanks.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Hi dohn - yes - I always have wiggle room with ingredients since I can't remember to write down what I needed! And any garlic is good garlic! I just run it through the squeeze thing and add it to my onions.

      Habee - stay warm - we are always in some kind of deal here - winds/snows/heat waves but I love the soups no matter what the weather is!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      This sounds like a great dish for this weekend - it'll be COLD here!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I'm definitely a soup nut, so I had to check this out. I liked the idea of the minced garlic. I usually dice it up and lightly fry it with vegetable oil as a topping for the soup. You should try it sometime--you won't be disappointed!

      Great hub! I especially liked how you provided much wiggle room with all the substitutions.


    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 8 years ago from Washington

      Thanks - and ditto!

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Um,um good, just in time with the weather going hat wire. Thank you Audrey for your hub on chicken soup. I appreciate you. Godspeed. creativeone59