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Golden Chicken, Corn & Orzo Soup

Scott Phillips

Servings: five to six as a main course.



  • 2 Tbs. olive oil      
  • 2 large ribs celery, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 qt. homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 cups finely diced or shredded cooked chicken (such as leftover roast chicken)
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 250
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 90
  • Fat (g): 10
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 40
  • Sodium (mg): 440
  • Carbohydrates (g): 19
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Protein (g): 22


  • Bring a medium saucepan of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, saffron, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the chicken and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. While the soup simmers, cook the orzo in the boiling salted water until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
  • Add the drained orzo, corn, and parsley to the soup and cook just until the corn is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if needed.


You might wonder why the orzo is cooked separately. There are two reasons. If you boiled the orzo directly in the soup, the starch from the pasta would cloud the soup broth, and the orzo would also suck up too much of the soup broth as it cooked. Boiling the pasta separately solves both of these problems.


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Reviews (9 reviews)

  • aichelpea | 03/31/2020

    Love this!! Instead of using leftover or rotisserie chicken, I gently poached two chicken breasts in 2 qt of water with pepper and plenty of salt (enough so that the water tasted as salty as I wanted the soup) for about 20 minutes. I strained the leftover broth to get rid of the foam, and then diced the chicken breasts. The resulting broth was fresh, clean, and delicious. I had fire-roasted frozen corn on hand so I used that, and I loved it. I would definitely make this again.

  • mal546 | 01/03/2014

    This is a delicious soup. The combination of saffron and lemon is brilliant. The pop of sweetness from the corn is also good.

  • lolabro | 12/13/2009

    One of my favorite soups ever. It's delicious and refreshing-- which can be refreshing in the dead of winter.My husband is not a soup fan, but still raves about this soup. Try it; even if it's only to smell the saffron & thyme cooking in your kitchen.

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