A one skillet meal, this Lemon Orzo Chicken is zesty, light and a perfect summer meal to have on the back porch with a glass of white wine.
Even though nothing feels quite normal these days, it's time to swing into summer mood pretty soon here. For us, that means spending the majority of our time outdoors, eating fresh summer berries until our stomachs hurt, and cooking light, fresh meals to be eaten outside with a glass of wine. Even though summers won't be the same without...well, nearly everything else we love about summer, we can still make the most of this season.
Summer. Will. Not. Be. Cancelled.
This One Skillet Lemon Orzo Chicken is fresh, light, healthy, and can be made in just over 30 minutes. The chicken stays crispy and the orzo becomes creamy when toasted then baked with the chicken -- a flavorful duo, indeed.
Ingredients Needed for Lemon Orzo Chicken
- bone-in chicken thighs
- all-purpose flour
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- orzo pasta
- chicken broth
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- salt + pepper
This can easily be adapted to use whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator, too, so don't feel like you have to stick with tomatoes and spinach.
How to Make Lemon Orzo Chicken
This chicken requires minimal prep but I do recommend dredging the chicken in flour first for two reasons. First, the chicken develops a nice brown, crispy skin and second, when you deglaze the pan with fresh lemon juice, all those bits of chicken that stick to your pan get scraped off and add so much flavor to the dish.
Once you've dredged the chicken in flour, sear the chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes a side. Set the chicken aside on a plate (remember it's not fully cooked yet, so don't sneak a bite!). Sear your lemon slices or wedges while the pan is hot for 1-2 minutes per side. Set those aside, too.
You'll then deglaze the pan with lemon juice, add garlic, add orzo, then chicken stock. Once you've brought the liquids back to a boil, add in tomatoes, spinach, and your chicken and lemons back in, and the whole pan goes into the oven for about 20 minutes to finish cooking.
Three Variations on This Recipe
You could always make this into a lemon orzo soup recipe by not baking everything in the skillet but, instead, fully cooking your chicken and chopping it off the bone before adding 3-4 more cups of chicken stock and letting that simmer for 20 minutes.
You could also make a Lemon Orzo Chicken Salad -- by taking the chicken off of the bone and stirring everything together. You could spread out the mixture into a large casserole dish, add some cheese on top, and have a deliciously cheesy lemon orzo casserole dish.
The options are endless.
Other Favorite Summertime Dinners
- Healthy Baked Teriyaki Salmon
- Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Chops (an all-time favorite)
- Oven Roasted, Forget-About-Them Baby Back Ribs
- Baked Rosemary Lemon Chicken
One Skillet Lemon Orzo Chicken
- 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into slices or segments
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups spinach
- salt + pepper
- Generously salt and pepper dry chicken thighs. Roll in flour, shake off access, and set aside. Preheat oven to 375˚.
- In large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil up until a water drop on it makes it sizzle. Add chicken thighs and cook each side for 3-4 minutes to brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add lemon wedges or slices and cook just long enough to brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place lemon wedges with chicken and set aside.
- Add lemon juice to deglaze the pan. Scrap up any bits on the bottom of your pan. Lower heat just a touch as not to burn your garlic, and add garlic. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant then add orzo to toast a little for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and spinach and stir. Add chicken and lemon wedges back in, nestling then into the mixture.
- Place in oven to cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, fluff orzo with fork, and serve immediately!