Easy One Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo with juicy chicken, creamy orzo, and sneaked in vegetables ready in 35 minutes!

One pot lemon chicken orzo garnished with parsley in a Dutch oven.

I am always trying to think of 30 minute meals to create because I do not love spending hours in the kitchen anymore. At least on the weeknights for sure, and we eat a lot now!

This dish was inspired by my lemon chicken orzo soup and lemon chicken pasta. Still packed with that zesty citrus goodness, lemon chicken orzo is super easy, quick, and a true comfort food that disappeared fast.

We had a bit of leftovers after 4 of us ate, which might stretch to serve 6 for a less hungry crowd.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • One pot: Less kitchen time and less cleanup are the best parts of any one pot meal.
  • 30ish minutes: After 5 minutes of prep and a quick chicken sear, everything cooks together and lands on your table in no time.
  • With sneaky veggies: Your kids will be chomping on veggies without a clue. Now that’s my idea of a sneaky healthy dinner!
  • Crowd pleaser: It’s creamy and bursting with citrus flavor, and who doesn’t love chicken and pasta together?!

Ingredients for One Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo

This one pot lemon chicken orzo recipe is pantry friendly requiring just a handful of simple ingredients.

Orzo pasta, chicken thighs, cauliflower rice, Italian seasoning, parsley, lemon, salt, pepper, chicken broth, heavy cream, olive oil.
  • Chicken thighs: Grab 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and trim off any excess fat. I used bone-in chicken because it’s cost-effective and provides richer chicken flavor with perfectly browned skin.
  • Orzo: Small rice-shaped pasta that cooks fast. You can find it in the pasta aisle of any grocery store.
  • Chicken broth: Use store-bought low sodium chicken broth or chicken stock to manage salt content.
  • Heavy cream: Brings a thick and creamy texture to the sauce.
  • Lemon: Zest and juice 1 large lemon.
  • Cauliflower rice: Adds texture, volume, and nutrients. You can use frozen or fresh cauliflower rice.
  • Seasonings: All you need is Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Decrease the salt if not using low sodium broth, then adjust to taste at the end.
  • Fresh herbs: I like tossing in a handful of fresh parsley, although fresh basil, dill, or thyme would also work.
  • Oil: Olive oil or avocado oil for frying.

How to Make Lemon Chicken Orzo in One Pan

Here is a quick overview with photos how to make one pan lemon chicken orzo. There is also a full recipe card below.

My Dutch oven is my favorite when it comes to pasta recipes, it makes everything one pot easy!

Step by step process how to make lemon chicken orzo in one pan.
  • Sear the chicken: Sprinkle chicken thighs with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven or deep pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Pan fry the chicken thighs in batches of 4 at a time, cooking on both sides until golden brown. Transfer them to a plate and remove any excess fat from the pot.
  • Mix the ingredients: Return pot to the stove and add chicken broth, heavy cream, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and orzo. Stir well. Then, carefully submerge the chicken thighs one by one into the mixture, ensuring they are tucked in between the pasta and covered with the liquid.
  • Cook: Cover the pot, bring it to a boil, and let it cook for 15 minutes. Stir gently once halfway through, making sure to scrape any orzo from the bottom of the pan. Then, turn off the heat.
  • Add cauliflower rice: Add cauliflower rice, give it a gentle stir, cover, and let it stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve lemon chicken orzo pasta hot.

Tips for Best Results

Here are some simple tips to remember when making lemon chicken with orzo.

  • Sear the chicken, don’t cook: You want to brown the chicken to lock in the juices and add extra flavor. It will finish cooking with the orzo.
  • Don’t overcook pasta: The pot’s material and size, as well as the temperature, will affect how the orzo cooks. Begin checking it early, it should be al dente with just a bit of firmness to it.
  • Stir the orzo: I gave it a quick stir halfway through to prevent sticking. You can stir more frequently if you prefer, but remember to cover after each stir.
  • To make it more saucy or dry: To make it saucier, add more broth towards the end of cooking. For an extra creamy texture, a splash of milk works too. If the orzo or chicken looks dry and most the liquid has evaporated, add more broth.
Lemon chicken orzo served on a plate and garnished with lemon slices and parsley.

Variations and Additions

  • Using chicken breasts: Use 1.5-2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, whole or cut into large pieces so meat doesn’t dry out.
  • Instead of heavy cream: You can use whole milk or adjust the amount of heavy cream to your preference. Any of these changes will affect the creaminess of the dish.
  • Pasta options: Feel free to swap orzo for small pasta like ditalini, orecchiette, stars, or alphabet pasta.
  • Add more veggies: This dish is one of those easy healthy chicken recipes that stands on its own, so why not amp up the veggies? Add with pasta chopped zucchini, bell peppers, shredded carrots, or mushrooms. You can saute them first for extra flavor. Make sure to add spinach at the end.
  • Add cheese: Stir in grated Parmesan cheese at the end for a rich finish.
  • More flavor: I wanted to have dinner on the table quickly but you can always go for the traditional roots and saute some garlic and onions and add with orzo and liquids.

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Leftovers will stay good for up to 5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. You might need to add a bit more broth or milk to adjust the consistency when reheating.

Freeze: From my experience pasta doesn’t freeze well, so I don’t recommend it.


Can I use rice instead of orzo?

Yes. I don’t think you will need to make any other changes to the recipe but if chicken and rice look dry at the end, add more broth.

Can I make it dairy-free?

To make lemon chicken orzo dairy-free, you can substitute cream with 1/2 cup or so of unsweetened dairy-free milk. Just keep in mind, the dish will be less creamy.

Can I omit heavy cream or cauliflower rice?

Yes, you can skip heavy cream completely but dish will be less creamy. If you don’t want to add cauliflower rice, that’s fine, no other changes to the recipe are necessary.

What is the best pan to use?

I use 6 quart Dutch oven because that’s all I have. If you have large 12-14 inch diameter skillet with top walls and a lid, I would say chicken will sear a bit better in that pan. But it also depends on your stove, somehow my electric stove sears better than the propane one.

More Lemon Chicken Recipes

More One Pot Recipes to Try

Chicken thighs, orzo and cauliflower rice cooked in creamy broth in one pot.
Lemon chicken orzo garnished with parsley in a Dutch oven.

One Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo

Easy One Pot Lemon Chicken Orzo with juicy chicken, creamy orzo, and sneaked in vegetables ready in 35 minutes!
5 from 2 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 714
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes



For the Chicken:

For the Orzo:


  • On a large plate, place chicken thighs and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Using tongs, toss to coat.
  • Preheat large Dutch oven or deep pan on medium-high heat and add oil. Pan fry 4 chicken thighs at a time on both sides until golden brown. Transfer on to a plate and drain fat from the pot.
  • Return pot to the stove and add chicken broth, heavy cream, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, orzo and stir. Then submerge chicken thighs one by one tucking in between the pasta and covering with a liquid.
  • Cover, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, stirring gently once halfway through, scraping orzo from the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat. Add cauliflower rice, gently stir, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Adjust any seasonings to taste, garnish with parsley and serve hot.



  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You might have to adjust consistency with more broth or milk when reheating.
  • Freeze: Pasta doesn’t freeze well, so I don’t recommend to do so.


Calories: 714kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 200mg | Sodium: 608mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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    1. I wouldn’t recommend it because by the time chicken is done, your orzo pasta will be a mush. You can cook chicken in instant pot and make orzo separately on the stove and then combine at the end if you want.

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