This Lemon Chicken with Orzo Pasta will make you want to take all of your family meals up a notch. Tender chicken thighs are baked over orzo pasta in this easy one-pot recipe, while each bite features divine flavors of lemon, mustard, and tarragon. Ready in 30 minutes!Jump to Recipe
One-pot lemon orzo chicken bake
What could be better than a quick one-pot recipe with restaurant-worthy flavors? All of this and more is included in this Lemon Chicken with Orzo Pasta recipe. It’s similar to my One-Pot Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo, meaning everyone is sure to love it!
You’ll find a combination of Greek and Mediterranean-inspired flavors in each bite of this lemon chicken orzo bake. The meal quickly comes together on the stove before it’s baked and finished in the oven. In the end, you’ll have a tender, mouth-watering, 30-minute meal you can turn to on busy weeknights or even for meal prep. How great is that?
- Chicken thighs – Use skin-on, boneless chicken thighs to keep the dish as tender, flavorful, and easy as possible. Boneless chicken breasts can also be used but won’t need to cook as long. When you’re in a rush, shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken and stir it into the orzo. Easy peasy!
- Shallots – Or use yellow onions if you don’t have shallots.
- Flavor boosters – This one-pot meal tastes herbaceous, tangy, and elegant thanks to a mix of grainy mustard, fresh tarragon leaves, and sliced lemon.
- Orzo pasta – Orzo is a short-cut pasta that looks just like rice. Also known as risoni, orzo pasta is traditionally used in soups but can be used anywhere you normally use rice or regular pasta noodles. It’s actually a great alternative to rice because it cooks in half the time!
- Chicken stock – Liquid is needed to cook the orzo and chicken stock is the perfect choice.
How to make lemon chicken with orzo pasta
- Prepare the chicken: Dry the chicken thighs really well with paper towels before seasoning with salt.
- Cook the chicken and shallots: Sear the chicken skin side down in an oven-safe skillet until the skin is crispy. Flip, then add the shallots.
- Add the flavor, then the orzo: Brush the mustard on top of the chicken skin. Carefully stuff the sliced lemons and orzo underneath the chicken. Add the tarragon.
- Add the chicken stock, then bake: Pour the chicken stock into the skillet. Cover with a lid and place it in the oven. Remove the lid in the last 5 minutes and continue cooking until the orzo is tender. Fluff the pasta when it’s done, then serve with more tarragon and enjoy!
The hearty and comforting bites of orzo and chicken are perfect for pairing with lighter, vegetable-forward side dishes. I recommend serving the meal with pesto green bean salad, roasted vegetables or potatoes, kale caesar salad, or whipped feta lemon dip with pita bread. Sip on a glass of white wine or a citrus rosemary spritz to make every bite feel extra special.
- Add more vegetables – Like asparagus, olives, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, bell peppers, kale, or zucchini.
- Add cheese – Feta or parmesan would be delicious on top of the cooked chicken.
- Gluten free – Replace the orzo with gluten free orzo or rice to make this dish gluten free.
- Using rice instead of orzo – Rice takes longer to cook than orzo but can easily be used as a substitute. Just add a little extra chicken stock to the pan to make sure the rice cooks through.
- Vegetarian version – Replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and use chickpeas, butter beans, or a vegetarian chicken substitute instead of chicken thighs.
Wine pairings for lemon chicken and orzo
When pairing wine with lemon chicken and orzo, you’ll want to stick with a neutral, mild white wine. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Albariño are all great choices. A fruity Chardonnay will also accentuate the lemony, acidic tones in the meal.
Storing and freezing
Store: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.
Freeze: You can freeze the leftovers for up to 1 month.
Reheat: Add a splash of chicken stock to rehydrate the dish. Reheat over low heat in a pan or pop it in the microwave to reheat for a few minutes (stirring every 30 seconds).
More easy chicken dinner recipes
- Greek Crispy Chicken Thighs with Potatoes
- One Pan Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
- Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Salad
- Low Carb Caprese Chicken Bake
If you give this Lemon Chicken With Orzo Pasta recipe a try, let me know what you think! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture, tag it with #lenaskitchenblog on Instagram. I love seeing what you come up with!
Lemon Chicken with Orzo Pasta
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan to medium heat.
- Pat dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel. Season with salt on both sides. Add olive oil and chicken thighs skin side down to the pan.
- Sear until the skin is crispy, about 5 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, chop the shallots and add to the chicken once you flip it. Cook for an additional 5 minutes on medium heat. Carefully mix the shallots around.
- Add sliced lemons and orzo under the chicken. Top the chicken with mustard and spread it on the skin. Add chopped tarragon.
- Add the chicken stock.
- Cover with a lid and put into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the orzo is cooked and stock is absorbed.
- Gently fluff the orzo. Top with extra tarragon and serve.
Heat: to reheat, just add some chicken stock to rehydrate the dish on low in a pan or pop in the microwave to reheat for a few minutes, stir every 30 seconds.
Store: Store in an airtight container for upto 3-4 days.
Gluten free: You can try to find gluten free orzo. Alternatively, you can replace the orzo with rice. Keep in mind that rice will take longer to cook, and you might need a little extra chicken stock.
Other vegetables: You can add spinach, kale, tomatoes with other vegetables, or add more veggies to the dish. Try adding artichoke hearts, olives, diced peppers, or zucchini.
Vegetarian: You can replace the chicken with chickpeas, butter beans or a vegetarian chicken substitute.