Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe (Panera Bread Copycat)

This copycat lemon chicken orzo soup recipe is an unsung crockpot hero. Complete with healthy ingredients, comforting vibes, and totally no-fuss prep. And it’s a phenomenal “OMG I can’t get out of bed I’m so sick” soup for so many reasons.

And with cold season coming on, this recipe’s a total game-changer if we’ve ever seen one.

Obviously, chicken broth is a go-to when you’re sick because of all the benefits it has. Benefits like improved immune system function, minerals, improved digestion, increased collagen production. Yeah, all that science stuff.

But you don’t have to try to make it when you’re sick. Although you totally could because it’s a breeze in a crockpot.

As long as you keep the orzo separate, you can freeze a whole batch of this stuff for sick day prep. So you can spend less of your sick day trying to summon the energy to cook and eat and spend more time half binge-watching your favorite shows in your PJs between nap sessions.

Panera's Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Panera Bread's Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12


  • 6-quart Slow Cooker


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 Cans reduced-sodium chicken broth (14-1/2 ounces each)
  • 8 cups Coarsely chopped Swiss chard, kale or spinach
  • 2 Large carrots finely chopped
  • 1 Small onion chopped
  • 1 Medium lemon halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice
  • 4 tsp Grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 4 cups Cooked orzo


  • Drizzle olive oil onto a skillet and heat on high.
  • After chopping up chicken, add to skillet and cook all the way through.
  • Add cooked chicken to the slow cooker crock pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients, chicken broth, greens, carrots, onion, lemon, lemon juice, lemon zest, and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Add cooked rice, stir, and serve immediately.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup Recipe Tips

  • To make it freezer- and leftover-friendly, store orzo separate from the soup to avoid the orzo taking in too much broth and becoming mushy.
  • To make vegan or veg, omit chicken and swap chicken broth for veggie broth for a quick-fix.
  • To get 4 cups of cooked orzo, you’ll need to start with roughly 1 1/2 cups of uncooked orzo.
  • For extra flavor, you can cook the orzo in broth instead of water as well!


For more soups you can make at home, check out

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