Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Welcome to another episode of “How can so few ingredients make such a delicious meal?!” Skillet meals are a miracle, my friends. And this Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is the perfect example. They’re a fast, easy, and delicious way to make dinner with so very little to clean up afterward. 🙂

Close up overhead view of Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo in the skillet

Close up overhead view of Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo in the skillet

What’s in Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

For this skillet meal I combined chicken thighs seasoned with lemon pepper, orzo cooked in chicken broth, and a healthy dose of parsley and feta. It’s so simple, yet so good. Add a quick little side salad with fresh greens and you’ve got a five star dinner (and very few dishes to clean). Victory!

Can I Use Boneless Chicken?

I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe, but you can use boneless thighs or breasts. The only difference being that it will cook a little faster. Also be aware that chicken breasts do tend to dry out faster than chicken thighs.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pastas

Getting one pot pasta meals to cook just right can take a little practice, but here are a few tips to make sure your pasta cooks evenly and all the way through without leaving too much liquid behind:

  • Use a heavy or thick bottomed piece of cookware. Thin cookware doesn’t cook evenly and can leave some pasta undercooked and some pasta overcooked. A deep skillet or Dutch Oven will work well for this recipe.
  • Use a burner that is close in size to the bottom of your pot or pan. If the burner is a lot smaller than the width of the pan, you may have trouble getting the outside edges to cook evenly.
  • Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. Heat settings on ranges can vary, so you may need to adjust the heat up or down slightly to maintain a simmer in the broth.

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo, parsley on the side

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo, parsley on the side

 
Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken with orzo in the skillet with a wooden spoon

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4.82 from 77 votes

One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one pot meal featuring browned lemon pepper chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and parsley for tons of flavor and color! 
Total Cost: $5.34 recipe / $1.34 serving
Author: Beth – Budget Bytes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs* ($3.28)
  • 5 tsp lemon pepper seasoning, divided ($0.25)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth ($0.30)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh parsley ($0.19)
  • 1.5 cups orzo ($0.89)
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled ($1.12)

Instructions

  • Blot the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 1 tsp per chicken thigh).
  • Heat a large, deep skillet over medium flame. Add 1 Tbsp cooking oil. When the oil is hot (it should be shimmering), add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Allow the thighs to cook until browned, then flip and brown on the second side (about five minutes on each side for bone-in thighs with skin). Remove the cooked thighs to a clean plate.
  • While the thighs are browning, mince two cloves of garlic and roughly chop 1/4 bunch of parsley.
  • After removing the chicken from the skillet, pour off the excess fat and turn the heat down to low. Add the garlic and sauté for about one minute. Add the chicken broth and stir to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add about half of the chopped parsley, one additional teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning, and the orzo to the skillet. Stir to combine. Return the chicken thighs to the skillet, skin side up.
  • Cover the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Allow the broth to come to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for 10-12 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. (If the broth stops simmering, increase the heat slightly to keep it simmering.)
  • After 12 minutes, the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. If there is still too much liquid, allow it to simmer without the lid for a few minutes. It’s okay if the orzo is slightly saucy. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over top along with the crumbled feta.

Notes

*I used bone-in chicken thighs with skin, but you could use boneless and skinless, if preferred.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 802.63kcalCarbohydrates: 49.98gProtein: 21.78gFat: 57.73gSodium: 1908.48mgFiber: 2.48g

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.


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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Side view of lemon pepper chicken with orzo in the skillet

Side view of lemon pepper chicken with orzo in the skillet

Try These Other One Pot Chicken Recipes:

How to Make One Pot Chicken and Orzo – Step by Step Photos

Chicken thighs on a yellow cutting board, seasoned with lemon pepper

Chicken thighs on a yellow cutting board, seasoned with lemon pepper

Start by blotting four chicken thighs dry with paper towel. Drying them helps the seasoning stick and helps them brown better in the skillet. I used bone-in thighs with skin, but you could use boneless, skinless if desired. Just keep in mind that boneless and skinless thighs are usually a bit more expensive and will brown faster.

Lemon Pepper Seasoning bottle

Lemon Pepper Seasoning bottle

Season both sides of each thigh liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 1 tsp per thigh). This is the brand that I used, but lemon pepper seasoning is common and made by many different brands.

Brown Chicken Thighs in the skillet

Brown Chicken Thighs in the skillet

Heat a large deep skillet over a medium flame. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp of canola or vegetable oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, to the skillet and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about five minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. Once cooked, remove the thighs from the skillet and pour off the excess fat (skin-on thighs will release a lot more fat than skinless).

Chopped Parsley on a blue cutting board

Chopped Parsley on a blue cutting board

While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic.

Minced garlic sautéed in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Minced garlic sautéed in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté in the residual fat for about a minute.

Pan deglazed with broth

Pan deglazed with broth

Add 2.5 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan (these flavorful browned bits are called “fond”). The broth used to be yellow, but it turned a nice brown from all of the delicious fond.

Lemon pepper and fresh parsley added to the broth

Lemon pepper and fresh parsley added to the broth

Add about half of the chopped parsley and one additional teaspoon of lemon pepper to the broth in the skillet.

Orzo being poured into the skillet

Orzo being poured into the skillet

Add one and a half cups of orzo. Stir to combine.

Chicken thighs returned to skillet, lid being placed on top

Chicken thighs returned to skillet, lid being placed on top

Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.

Lid on skillet, contents simmering

Lid on skillet, contents simmering

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for 10-12 minutes. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops when you turn the heat down to low, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer.

Cooked Chicken and Orzo in the skillet

Cooked Chicken and Orzo in the skillet

After 10-12 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed. If it’s still really liquidy after that amount of time, simply let it simmer for a few minutes without the lid to let some of it evaporate. it’s okay if the orzo is a little bit saucy.

Overhead view of finished lemon pepper chicken with orzo in the skillet

Overhead view of finished lemon pepper chicken with orzo in the skillet

Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. And that’s all it takes to make this simple Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo. I could seriously eat this orzo all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.