Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup


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Warm, cozy, and packed with butternut squash, hearty chicken, and tender orzo pasta, this soup comes together in under 30 minutes. 

Chicken and Orzo Soup in a black bowl

Chilly weather doesn’t stand a chance against this cozy chicken butternut squash soup. The flavor combination of tender orzo, butternut squash, fragrant sage, and hearty chicken has us making this recipe on repeat. 

Creamy butternut squash soup is a family favorite when the cold weather comes to town, but when we want a warm-you-to-the-bones cozy soup with just a little more substance, we turn to a heartier chicken butternut squash soup. With spoonfuls of tender orzo, butternut squash, and shredded chicken, each bite is packed with the season’s best flavors. The slight sweetness of the vibrant orange squash, and the savory chicken and sage, make for one mighty meal.

You will also love this soup because the squash doesn’t require any precooking. Simply chop your veggies, place them in the simmering broth, and let those heavenly soup aromas fill your kitchen. In just 30 minutes, the soup is ready, and you can dig in!

How To Make It

  1. Cook the onion and salt for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown. Add the sage and cook for 2 minutes more. 
  2. Add the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer
  3. Add butternut squash, orzo, and chicken, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. 
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. 
  5. Serve warm.
raw butternut squash cubes in a clear glass bowl


  • Olive Oil, Onion, Kosher Salt, Fresh Sage – Simple herb-based aromatics are the perfect way to start a soup.
  • Chicken Stock  – You can’t go wrong with traditional chicken stock in this recipe. Keep in mind, if you have leftovers, you may need to add more stock to the soup when you reheat it, because the orzo will continue to absorb all of that savory broth.
  • Butternut Squash – Using chunky bites of butternut squash, rather than blending the squash into a creamy soup gives the soup a heartier feel. If you don’t have butternut squash available, you can also substitute sweet potatoes.
  • Orzo Pasta (dry) – Orzo is such a tender pasta, and its soft shape adds a little elegance to this rustic butternut squash soup.
  • Chicken – The addition of shredded cooked chicken in this recipe creates a cozy chicken soup quality.
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  • Substitutions for orzo – Substitute brown, white, wild rice or another pasta shape. 
  • Make it gluten-free – Make this a gluten-free butternut squash soup by substituting rice or quinoa for the orzo. 
  • Make it low-carb or keto-friendly – Use cauliflower rice in place of the orzo.
a bag of orzo spilled out on a white countertop
Why is butternut squash soup healthy?

Butternut squash is rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, and fiber. In fact, one cup of cubed squash can provide a whopping 48% of your daily dose of vitamin C alone. Another fun fact about the health benefits of butternut squash: orange and yellow hued veggies like butternut squash get their gorgeous color from beta-carotene, which may help boost your immune system. 

How do I cook butternut squash for soup?

One of the reasons we love this recipe for chicken butternut squash soup is that the butternut squash actually cooks in the simmering broth. Using this method, there is no need to pre-cook this sturdy vegetable. To help the squash cook evenly in the pot, try to cut the cubes as uniformly as possible and make sure they are small enough to easily scoop with a spoon.

How to store & freeze this soup

Store any leftover orzo soup in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to 3 months. One quick word about storing orzo soup. As with any pasta, the orzo will keep soaking up the chicken stock as it sits. So, if it sits in the fridge for a day or two, you will find that your leftovers have a consistency closer to risotto, rather than soup. 

To bring things back to a soup consistency, just add a little more broth when you reheat.

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orzo soup in a black bowl
4.67 from 9 votes

Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Warm, cozy, and packed with butternut squash, hearty chicken, and tender orzo pasta, this soup comes together in under 30 minutes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


  • Stockpot or Dutch Oven


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 leaves fresh sage, very finely minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock (see note)
  • 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into small 1-inch cubes (you can also substitute sweet potatoes here)
  • 1 cup orzo pasta (dry)
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (see note)
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion, sage, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft but not brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer (adjust the heat, if needed, so that the water is gently boiling).
  • To the soup, add the butternut squash and orzo. Simmer until the orzo and squash are both tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (Check the orzo package instructions for recommended cook time.) Stir in the chicken to heat it through.
  • Taste the soup and season with some extra salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.


Leftovers: The orzo will continue to soak up stock as it sits, resulting in leftovers that are more like an orzo-based risotto or other pasta dish than soup. They’re great this way, but feel free to add some more stock right before serving if you’d like. 


Calories: 624kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 762mg | Potassium: 1987mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 36206IU | Vitamin C: 74mg | Calcium: 207mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.00
Calories: 624
Keyword: Chicken Recipe, easy soup, weeknight-friendly
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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    1. Definitely! What about farro or pearl barley? Cook it before and just add it at the end! I just made this again this week and used tiny little pasta shells, but obviously that’s not healthier than orzo. 😉

  1. Those two! Gosh, they are just so adorable Jess!

    And this soup sounds wonderful – perfect for this time of the year. I need to be better about patience and being thankful – and this is definitely the season to do just that!

  2. Jess: Sorry I’m not bright enough to figure this out on my own, but did you get steps #3 and #4 out of order in your recipe for CHICKEN, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, AND ORZO SOUP? I’d like to make it but I’m a little stumped. The end of #3 says, “Serve immediately”, but then #4 goes on to add some other ingredients. What am I missing? MLP

    1. Whoops Mike!!! There were some rogue instructions that snuck in after “serve immediately”. That would have made for an interesting dish. I think it’s fixed now – thanks so much for your note!

  3. Forget about the wrinkled pink dress……..the fact that you can get into that beautiful dress in just 6 months after the twins birth is the IMPORTANT thing!!!!!! Good For You Jess 🙂

  4. I appreciate this recipe so much… my husband has just gone on dialysis and this is a nourishing
    soup I can make for him…. he can only have a bowl at a time… but I’ll cut the amounts down and make a smaller
    amount. It looks delicious!

    And the twins are getting to be dolls!

    1. Mary Ann – thanks so much for your note. Sending warm thoughts your way for your husband’s health and peace for you both.