Pot of lemony chicken soup

This is my perfect soup right now. Classic and soul warming with just enough zesty, fresh lemon. All for killer macros so you can eat a giant bowl and still fit crusty bread because IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY.

pot of soup

I do realize the real classics are all about chicken noodle soup, or chicken and wild rice soup, or chicken and quinoa soup… and while I LOVE my grains and my noodles… I love being able to manipulate my macros more. THIS for me is the way to structure meals so you can really nail them. When you give yourself the opportunity to eat a double serving if needed/wanted (ha) without increasing ALL macros exponentially… Especially when I can find ways to do it where I don’t feel deprived…

And either does my family!

So here’s what we do to make carb-eaters and carb-watchers equally happy:

Two bowls of chicken soup with bread
This time I did a pot of orecchiette on the side for the kids to add in, because I love a little bite sized morsel that will distribute better if I’m gonna have some!

Make a pot of pasta or brown rice or orzo on the side. Easy! Anyone who wants to can throw some in. If I’ve got carbs to spare, I take part! If I don’t… I don’t even miss it. NOT A BIT. It’s hearty and chunky and filling and yet it’s mostly knocking out your protein for you. Without having to eat cold deli meat out of your fridge. Don’t do that.

Unless you love that. Fine do it.

Bowl of lemony chicken soup with mushrooms on top

I also love to saute mushrooms on the side to throw in mine for added bulk if I’m wanting it. And just because I love mushrooms.

(But is anyone else creeped out when they cook a whole 8 oz container which seems like a lot and then realizes they’re all gone and no one else had one? Just one of those weird shrinking foods.)

What to do if the soup is too thick to add pasta after:

I’m glad you asked! Because it is. On purpose. I want it to feel satisfying just as it is since I’m not usually adding pasta to mine. But I leave a carton of chicken stock out and add it to my kids bowls. It’s the perfect way to coat all their noodles while cooling their bowls just enough! And if I need to add some to mine after mushrooms… there are pretty much no macros in it so no biggie… but I could log it if I wanted. (I don’t) … but this way it doesn’t mess with the macros for the pot of soup by watering down the whole thing. Make sense??? Just trust me.

Here’s all you’ll need:

  • Celery/onions/carrots
  • That big pack of pre-pulled rotisserie chicken breast from Costco- it’s not good for everything, don’t even think about putting it in your salad… I can barely do fresh rotisserie… just love it grilled in a salad… but it’s perfect for soup! Makes your life SO much easier.
  • A little bullion
  • Chicken stock (I get the big box of the cartons from Costco this time of year since we make so much soup. Otherwise the cartons from Trader Joe’s)
  • A couple of lemons
  • A little fresh rosemary, and parsley, and any other fresh herbs you love! Dill would be great if you’re a fan. (I’m not sorry!)
  • Garlic/salt/pepper
  • Cauliflower (optional if you like your soup thicker!)
Cutting board of chopped rainbow carrots
Normal orange carrots are fine! This is just what my Costco had… so now I get to look fancy.

Here’s how you make Lemony Chicken Soup

  • Saute your veggies for a few minutes
  • Throw in your garlic, rosemary, and spices
  • Then your chicken, stock, bullion, lemon zest and juice to freshen it all up and make it AMAZING
  • Then stir in some blended steamed cauliflower for added thickness and volume for like no macros if you like!
  • Let it simmer while you boil a pot of pasta, heat your crusty bread, or bake this favorite french bread of ours, … even make a side salad if you’re an overachiever.
Two bowls of chicken soup with bread

Lemony Chicken Soup

The perfect extra healthy, but still cozy chicken soup with a little extra pep from the lemon. Packed with veggies, you won’t even miss the noodles.
5 from 3 votes
Author Lillie
Course Soup/Chili
Cuisine Comfort
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 218 kcal


  • 2 cups chopped celery 230 g
  • 3 cups chopped onion 1.5 medium onions, 360 g
  • 3 cups chopped carrots 350 g
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • Several twists of fresh ground pepper about 1/4-½ tsp
  • 2 tbs fresh rosemary minced or 2 tsp dried
  • 6 cloves minced garlic or frozen dorot cubes
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes *optional
  • About 8 cups 1110 g shredded rotisserie chicken breast (I buy the big vacuum packed one from Costco. Roll up your sleeves and pick it apart to remove anything gross and shred into bite sized pieces! I regret it when I leave them too big. I used the entire package so this is the weight after gross parts are trashed.)
  • Zest from 2-3 lemons depending on how lemony you like it
  • Juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 8 cups chicken broth I use 2 of Costco’s or Trader Joe’s boxed
  • 1.5 tbs chicken bullion I love the better than bullion but whatever you have!
  • 12 oz cauliflower steamed *optional
  • 2-3 more tbs fresh minced rosemary or 2-3 tsp dry
  • Handful of fresh minced parsley
  • Top with fresh grated parmesan if you love yourself not included in macros – but won’t cost much!


  • Heat a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and add celery, onion, carrots, and salt/pepper stirring occasionally for about 5-10 until tender.  Add rosemary, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Turn down to low and add shredded rotisserie chicken breast, lemon zest/juice, chicken broth, and bullion. Put a lid on to simmer.
  • If you like a thicker, “creamier” broth, blend steamed cauliflower. If it’s too thick, Scoop out a cup of broth from your soup to blend it with the cauliflower ’till nice and smooth. Add pureed cauliflower/broth back into soup.  Finish with extra fresh rosemary and a handful of fresh minced parsley. Simmer ’till dinner!


  1. We always make a pot of pasta for anyone who wants to add some in! Orzo, wild rice, farro, or quinoa would also be great if you’d like the extra carbs.  I prefer to use mine on the fresh french bread!! SOOO GOOD. 
  2. I love sautéed mushrooms in this, but that’s a huge NO for my kids. So I keep them on the side and throw them into my own bowl. 
  3. TIP: I like the soup pretty thick since I’m not doing noodles, but if it ends up too thick for the kids to add in noodles, or even for my mushroom addition (especially the leftovers as the veggies tend to soak up more liquid over time) …  we keep a box of chicken broth out during dinner and I’ll add extra broth to their hot bowls of soup. The perfect way to cool it down just enough too! But that way the macros are still correct for the pot of soup. You don’t want to charge yourself for 100 grams of soup if it’s half broth!
  4. We’ve done it with and without the pureed cauliflower and my family preferred it with! It just makes it more thick and a little creamy. The macros hardly change with the addition.. I’ve included the cauliflower in the macros below but if you skip it, your protein goes up by 2 per serving but that’s about it! The other two are just a fraction of a gram. Insignificant.
  5. If you track your macros: you can log this directly from My Fitness Pal by searching Lillie Eats and Tells Lemony Chicken Soup.
  6. Instant Pot directions:  I have not made this particular soup in a slow cooker or instant pot, I feel like when the chicken is already cooked, it’s just as easy to use a pot on the stove! But you could easily throw first 8 ingredients in the instant pot for 10 minutes or so, then release pressure and add rotisserie chicken breast, lemon zest/juice and stir in pureed cauliflower. Finish with herbs.
  7. For slow cooker: I’d cook first 8 ingredients for a few hours till soft, then throw in the chicken etc after, and keep warm ’till dinner! 
  8. If you’d rather use raw chicken… reference this creamy tomato chicken soup recipe! Or this tortilla soup. And while you’re at it, put them on the menu!


Serving: 400gCalories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 10.8gProtein: 32.5gFat: 3.4gFiber: 2gSugar: 4.4g
Keywords 30 minute, carrots, celery, chicken, comfort, lemony, onions, rotisserie chicken breast, soup

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I really love this soup! I add a handful of farro and half a bag of frozen riced cauliflower, and I love the complex texture and lemony taste.
    I do find it a bit salty to my liking. I made it the first time with 1T of kosher as directed, and it was very salty. The second time I cut it back to 2t and it’s still quite salty. Maybe if I used reduced sodium stock that amount of extra salt would be ok, but for me it’s too much! I’m going to try just a pinch next time when I’m sautéing the veggies. But still overall a repeatable recipe in my house!

    1. I’m no expert, but I’ve used an 8qt Dutch oven. The rotisserie chicken and broth take up quite a lot of space!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I just cooked chicken breasts and shredded them with my kitchen aid mixer. Easy recipe and delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Ok I only picked this recipe bc I have rotisserie chicken that I needed to use. I didn’t really expect to like it that much. OMG IT IS SO GOOD. I halved the recipe, but still used a full 12 oz of steamed cauli. It’s delicious and you really can’t tell that there aren’t any noodles. It’s satisfying. I will be making this again! Thanks Lillie!

  4. Love this recipe!! If I cook it and then put leftovers in the fridge can I measure out 400g when I pull it out of the refrigerator or does this change the macros?

  5. I haven’t made this yet, but it looks good enough that I will. I just wanted to say that on most blogs I don’t really look at the text much, but this! You gave so many good tips on how to manage the macros while keeping your family happy and yourself sane. Thank you!

  6. This soup is absolutely amazing! The flavor is incredible. The serving size is large enough to be completely filling. Will definitely make again.