Lemon Chicken Orzo

Published Date: June 19, 2023

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Lemon chicken orzo in a skillet.

Lemon Chicken Orzo is a quick, flavorful weeknight meal that has tender chunks of chicken and orzo pasta that combine in a lemon cream sauce! An easy one-skillet meal!

A wooden spoon in a skillet with lemon chicken orzo.

Looking to mix up your weekly menu with fresh, vibrant flavor that still brings the comfort food feels? Then this Lemon Chicken Orzo Pasta dish is the recipe you’re looking for!

This chicken dish is loaded with a bright, citrusy taste, complimented with garlic, paprika, lemon pepper seasoning, and Italian seasoning. All that flavor is then enjoyed on the tender seasoned chicken and the bed of creamy lemon sauce.

To make it even better, this recipe comes together quickly in no time at all using just ONE pan right on the stovetop!

Leaving you the energy to whip up a sweet treat like Pie Crust Cookies or Mini Toll House Pies since there won’t be much kitchen cleanup!

Lemon Chicken Orzo in a white bowl on a wooden table.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Ingredients

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic Powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning
  • Ground Mustard
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Garlic Pasta
  • Baby Spinach
  • Uncooked Orzo
  • Chicken Broth
  • Lemon Juice
  • Feta Cheese
  • Black Pepper

Though the ingredient list is on the longer side, most are pantry staples you likely already have on hand. So, this makes a deliciously flavorful recipe that’s still great for busy families!

When it comes to lemon juice, I’d recommend using fresh instead of bottled. Fresh will give the dish the best, citrusy flavor that’s hard to get from a store-bought bottle!

Where Do I Find Orzo Pasta?

Orzo pasta can be found in the pasta aisle at your local grocery store! You can also order Orzo from Amazon.

Lemon Chicken Orzo Substitutions And Variations

  • Chicken – You can make this dish with leftover chicken or even rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You can also cook and shred chicken to use in this recipe if you prefer shredded chicken over cubed.
  • Olive Oil – Avocado oil can be used in place of olive oil.
  • Baby Spinach – Baby spinach can be swapped for a vegetable of your choice! Kale, Swiss chard, peas, broccoli, or even zucchini would be delicious in this dish.
  • Lemon Flavor – Add a bit of zest from a lemon for a more intense lemony flavor!
  • Cheese – This lemon chicken orzo recipe can also be made with mozzarella or parmesan cheese instead of feta.
Ingredients to make lemon chicken orzo on a wooden table.

How To Make Lemon Chicken Orzo

Step 1: Cut the boneless skinless chicken breasts into cubes and then add them to a medium mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add the cornstarch, garlic powder, olive oil, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, ground mustard, paprika, and salt to the bowl of chicken. Toss all together to evenly coat the meat.

Diced chicken in a glass bowl with seasonings on top.
Cubed chicken in a glass bowl seasoned with spices.

Step 3: Cook the cubed chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat until it’s completely cooked. Stir the chicken frequently as it cooks. Then transfer it to a plate.

Step 4: Prepare the orzo by adding olive oil to the skillet along with the garlic paste and baby spinach. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then add in the lemon juice and salt.

Chicken being cooked in a skillet.
garlic and spinach being sauteed in a skillet.

Step 5: Add in the uncooked orzo and enough chicken broth to cover the orzo. Then cook over medium heat while stirring frequently to prevent the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Step 6: Stir in the feta cheese and season with additional salt and black pepper to taste.

Chicken stock and spinach in a skillet to cook orzo.
Creamy orzo in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Step 7: Add in the prepared chicken, and enjoy!

Lemon chicken orzo in a skillet.

Storage Instructions For Lemon Chicken Orzo

Store any leftover lemon chicken orzo in an airtight container in the refrigerator! Enjoy the leftovers for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until warm!

How To Serve Lemon Chicken Orzo

This lemon chicken orzo is hearty and filling on its own! However, it would also be delicious served with garlic bread and a fresh, crisp garden salad!

Or simply roast up some extra veggies to serve on the side!

Lemon chicken orzo pasta in a skillet.

Lemon Chicken Orzo FAQs

What is orzo?

Orzo is a type of pasta that resembles rice with its oval, thin shape. However, it is not rice; it’s made of flour, wheat flour, or durum wheat flour called semolina.

Can rice be used in place of orzo pasta?

I have not tested this lemon chicken recipe with rice. Since rice and orzo absorb the liquid differently and have different cook times, I don’t think the swap would be seamless.

What should I do if the orzo hasn’t finished cooking but is out of liquid in the skillet?

Add a bit more broth to the skillet to allow the orzo to continue cooking. Just be careful not to add too much, or the dish could turn out watery.

Can chicken thighs be used instead of chicken breast?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs in this recipe. You’ll just want to make sure they’re cooked thoroughly and then simply serve them on top of the lemon orzo!

Why is there cornstarch in this recipe?

Cornstarch thickens this recipe to give it a nice creamy consistency!

Can I make this recipe if I don’t have a skillet?

Yes, if you don’t have a skillet, you can definitely still make this recipe! Instead of a skillet, you can use a Dutch oven or a pot.

A white bowl filled with lemon chicken orzo.
A wooden spoon in a skillet with lemon chicken orzo.

Lemon Chicken Orzo

Lemon Chicken Orzo is a quick, flavorful weeknight meal that has tender chunks of chicken and orzo pasta that combine in a lemon cream sauce! An easy one-skillet meal!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people

INGREDIENTS

Chicken

  • pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Orzo

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • ounces baby spinach about 2 to 3 cups, chopped
  • 12 ounces uncooked orzo
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 6 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Chicken

  • Prepare the 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts by cutting them into cubes and adding to a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, ½ teaspoon paprika, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the bowl with the chicken and toss until the chicken is evenly coated.
  • Add the chicken to a nonstick skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring freqeuntly, until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and prepare the orzo.

Orzo

  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, then add 2 tablespoons garlic paste and 2½ ounces baby spinach and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
  • Add 1 ounce lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt
  • Add the 12 ounces uncooked orzo, then add 2-3 cups chicken broth, just enough to cover the orzo, and cook over medium heat. Stir frequently so the orzo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan until the water has been absorbed into the orzo and the orzo is tender and creamy, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once the orzo is cooked, add in 6 ounces feta cheese (reserving some for topping if you'd like) and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste and serve with the prepared chicken.

Adapted from Zach Coen.


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Gabby Hubbell Family Busy Family Recipes Author

From one busy family to another, I see you.

Hi, I’m Gabby! From crockpots to one-pot recipes, we’re eager to make dinner time a breeze for you and your family. Follow along for recipes even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy time and time again!
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