This Lemon Chicken Soup is filled to the brim with carrots, celery, artichoke hearts, and tender chicken in a light and lemony chicken broth. Pure, delicious comfort food perfect for chilly winter months.
Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe
Sometimes the best recipes happen by accident. And that’s exactly how this lemon chicken soup came to be nearly 5 years ago.
According to the original, much longer post – the days when I used to talk mostly about my life with a toddler and less about the actual recipe I was posting – I created this recipe after many cold and consecutively rainy days in California.
Unsure if I’ll ever experience consecutive days of rain here in California again, I figured why not pretend that the weather matches the season and bring autumn to my dinner table.
You can join me! This delicious soup is super easy to make.
- The broth is infused with loads of garlic and fresh lemon juice and lemon zest
- Artichoke hearts – anyone else love artichoke hearts?
- Finally, creamy, tart, crumbled feta cheese
And while I’m tempted to call this recipe Greek chicken soup, or some variation of that name, I’m hesitant to do so since that name is better reserved for classic avgolemono soup (coming soon).
Without further ado, let’s grab some lemons, artichokes, chicken, and get started making this long forgotten, favorite soup.
Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions
The beautiful thing about this lemon chicken soup is just how easy it is to make substitutions. In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts about soup in general, and this soup is no exception.
- In place of couscous, try adding small pasta like orzo. You may cook your pasta with the soup, but I always recommend cooking the pasta separately until al dente and then adding to the bowls of soup individually. The same can be said for rice and quinoa.
- If you’re in a hurry, save on total cooking time and use store-bought chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth, you will need approximately 8 cups of broth for this soup. Mix in leftover shredded chicken or shred chicken from your favorite store-bought rotisserie chicken.
- Make it low carb and omit the couscous or replace it with cauliflower rice.
- Yes! This recipe can be made vegetarian. Omit the chicken and chicken broth. Replace the broth with store-bought veggie broth.
- Replace or add in other veggies. A few of my favorites include cauliflower, zucchini, parsnips, and kale.
- Easily turn this light and lemony chicken soup a little richer with a splash of heavy cream.
Storing and Freezing
- Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving.
- You can absolutely freeze leftover lemon chicken soup. Just make sure to cool thoroughly before transferring to an airtight container and placing it in the freezer. For best results, reheat and enjoy within 3-4 months.
More Chicken Soup Recipes,
If you try making this delicious lemon chicken soup recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe
- 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 quarts cold water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions (peeled and diced)
- 5 carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 5 celery stalks (chopped)
- 1 tsp salt + black pepper (plus more to taste)
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper (more if you like it hot)
- 10 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 lemons (zest and juice)
- 1/2 cup Israeli pearl couscous
- 28 oz artichoke hearts (two 14 oz cans )
- 1/2 cup green onions (chopped)
- crumbled feta cheese (for serving)
- Make your broth. Add the chicken thighs, chicken breasts, and bay leaves to a large stockpot. Add approximately 3-4 quarts of cold water and a generous pinch of salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for approximately 30-45 minutes (avoid overcooking the chicken breasts as they will start to try out).
- Cook the vegetables. As the broth comes to a simmer, chop and prepare the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. To cook, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Add the carrots and celery and mix well to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often. In the last two minutes stir in the minced garlic and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Mix well to combine.If the veggies start to brown or burn, reduce heat to medium-low.
- Strain the broth. After the broth has finished simmering and the chicken is fully cooked, remove the broth from heat. Use kitchen tongs to remove the chicken pieces from the pot and transfer to a clean cutting board to cool. Carefully strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into the same pot as the cooking vegetables.
- Meanwhile, shred the cooked chicken once cool enough to handle. Then, add the shredded chicken to the pot with the simmering vegetables.
- Simmer. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest to the pot and return soup to a boil. Add the pearl couscous and artichoke hearts, mix well to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are fully cooked.
- Serve. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste and garnish with chopped green onions and crumbled feta cheese if desired.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, swap the couscous for white rice, brown rice, or quinoa.
- You can also swap the couscous for small pasta like orzo pasta or ditalini pasta (not considered a gluten-free option).
- In a hurry? Save on total cooking time and use store-bought chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth with shredded rotisserie chicken. Adjust seasoning as needed. You will need approximately 8 cups chicken broth for this soup.
- Feel free to garnish with fresh herbs such as fresh parsley or fresh dill.
- Add additional lemon juice and lemon zest for a deeper lemon flavor.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)