One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

$7.54 recipe / $1.89 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.81 from 102 votes
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Welcome to another episode of “How can so few ingredients make such a delicious meal?!” One-pot meals are a miracle, my friends, and this Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is the perfect example. This dish is packed with flavor thanks to a hefty dose of lemon pepper, chicken broth, juicy chicken thighs, and a pop of feta at the end. Plus, it’s fast, easy, and barely anything to clean up afterward. :)

Originally posted 8/5/2015, updated 8/15/2022.

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the skillet with a napkin and parsley on the sides.

What’s in Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

For this skillet meal, I liberally seasoned some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with lemon pepper, then combined it with some orzo, chicken broth, and parsley. Everything gets cooked together in one pot so that orzo soaks up all the flavor from both the chicken thighs and the broth, and not a drop of flavor is lost. 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 if you prefer. The chicken will cook a little faster if you use boneless and you might miss out on a little bit of the flavor that comes with bone-in chicken. Also, be aware that chicken breasts do tend to dry out faster than chicken thighs, so the end product won’t be quite as juicy.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pasta

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.

Lemon pepper chicken and orzo in a shallow bowl with a fork.

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One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

4.81 from 102 votes
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!
Overhead view of a pot full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo.
Servings 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 35 mins
Total 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs* ($3.74)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning ($0.60)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 cups chicken broth ($0.26)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley ($0.20)
  • 1.5 cups orzo ($1.29)
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled ($1.25)

Instructions 

  • Blot the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 2 Tbsp lemon pepper total).
  • Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add the cooking oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about 6-8 minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. The chicken will be cooked most of the way through at this point but will finish cooking when simmered with the orzo. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.
  • While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic. After removing the chicken from the skillet, turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté the garlic in the residual fat for about a minute.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  • Add the orzo and half of the chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer again.
  • After about 15 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed but there will still be a little sauce in the skillet.
  • Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes

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

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 612kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 34gFat: 32gSodium: 715mgFiber: 3g
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Close up side view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the pan.

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

Bone-in chicken thighs seasoned with lemon pepper on a cutting board.

Start by blotting four chicken thighs dry with a 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 cook faster. Season both sides of each thigh liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 2 Tbsp total). 

Browned chicken thighs in the skillet.

Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about 6-8 minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. The chicken will be cooked most of the way through at this point but will finish cooking when simmered with the orzo. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.

Garlic added to the skillet.

While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic. Turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté the garlic in the residual fat for about a minute.

Broth being poured into the skillet.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Broth being whisked in the skillet to dissolve chicken drippings.

The broth will turn a deep brown color as the drippings are dissolved into the mixture.

Parsley and orzo added to the skillet.

Add about half of the chopped parsley and 1.5 cups of orzo. Stir to combine.

Chicken thighs added back to the pot.

Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer again.

Cooked orzo and chicken in the pot.

After about 15 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed but there will still be a little sauce in the skillet.

Finished lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the pan.

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.

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in a bowl.

Try These Other One Pot Chicken Recipes:

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  1. Seriously SOOOO yummy! I hadn’t tried lemon pepper seasoning before but this is incredible! Definitely getting added to my list of favorite recipes

  2. I made this again tonight. It’s so simple, yet flavorful and delicious. It’s hard to not overeat. I guiltily helped myself to seconds. I added zucchini because I wanted more veggies and added diced red bell for color.

  3. Excellent and easy. Swapped the feta for goat because it’s what I already had and finished with fresh lemon. Great recipe for an easy and tasty dinner!

  4. This dinner is amazing. I make it often!!! One recommendation I have is to use low sodium chicken broth. It had a better flavor for me. Thanks for sharing this recipe. One pot/pan dinners are amazing!!

  5. This recipe turned out perfect for us. I had a zucchini that I needed to use up so I sliced it up and added it to the orzo. I will definitely make this dish again!

  6. Very easy! I used skinless and boneless thighs. I used 1.5 tbsp of the seasoning , but next time I would use less as the seasoning we had was a bit overpowering.

    The grocery didn’t have any parsley. I chopped baby spinach up, and threw that in near the end of simmering the orzo, and it was a nice addition.

    Definitely recommend!

  7. Definitely will be making this again!

    I didn’t have any lemon pepper seasoning, so I made a lemon pepper marinade to use beforehand, and then seasoned with black pepper, a bit of salt, garlic powder, and lemon zest. It still didn’t end up having the punch of lemon pepper that I was intending on, so I’ll probably be picking up a pre-made seasoning blend the next time. Regardless, my partner & I still thought it was delicious! Can’t wait to try it again!

  8. Made the recipe as written. Had to add some salt at the end but my lemon pepper has no salt in it so I should have know to add some salt. Also add the juice of one lemon at the end just to make the lemon flavor pop because I love lemon. Really easy and delicious!

  9. This is easy to make and absolutely delicious. My boyfriend and I loved it – tastes great as leftovers as well. Cooking the orzo in chicken broth with all the residual flavors from the chicken thighs made it pop off. Also never realized how well lemon pepper and feta go together. Bravo!

  10. Delicious! This went in my and my husband’s “make again” list. Had some issues with orzo sticking to the bottom of the pot, but the flavors were fantastic and it was a great way to use some of the cheapest chicken we can buy.