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Lemon Chicken with Orzo

This lemon chicken with orzo recipe is a delicious weeknight meal. It takes less than 30 minutes to make, a large chunk of which is hands-off time. The best part is it’s made in one-pot, so requires very little cleanup!

The preserved lemon adds a huge amount of flavor without overpowering the dish. 

lemon chicken with orzo in a bowl with a fork.

Lemon Chicken Ingredients

To make this one-pot skillet recipe, you’ll need a few fresh ingredients and some pantry ingredients.

You can use either chicken thighs or chicken breasts and chicken stock for this recipe. You’ll also need orzo or another small pasta. The other main ingredient is the preserved lemons.

You’ll also need butter, salt, pepper, fresh thyme, parsley, and parmesan.

What are Preserved Lemons?

This recipe calls for preserved lemons. They’re whole lemons that have been preserved in lemon juice and salt. They’re often used in North African dishes like Moroccan chicken.

They add a touch of brightness while still having a mellower citrus flavor.

lemon chicken with orzo ingredients

How to Make a One-Pot Chicken Skillet with Orzo

To make this recipe, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  • Brown the chicken. Heat the butter and brown the chicken on both sides
  • Combine the other ingredients. Add the orzo, preserved lemon, stock, tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Then add the chicken back in.
  • Cook everything in the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish and serve. Top with the parmesan cheese and parsley and serve.

More Easy Chicken Dinners

If you like this recipe, check out some of our other favorite chicken recipes.

  • Berbere Spiced Chicken – is wonderfully rich and full of flavors. It requires relatively few ingredients and makes a very hearty meal. It’s based on a recipe called Doro Wat, an Ethiopian spicy chicken stew.
  • Chicken Corn Chowder – rich, delicious, and creamy. You can make it with either fresh or frozen corn and it’s a wonderfully tasty recipe.
  • Hawaij Chicken Recipe – a wonderfully comforting combination of chicken, rice, and spice. It’s made with an amazing spice blend called hawaij.
Close up of lemon chicken with orzo.

How to Make this Recipe

  • A few notes on substitutions. You can use either chicken thighs or breasts in this recipe, but I prefer the flavor of thighs so that’s what we used. If you don’t have preserved lemons you can use a whole Meyer lemon or half a regular lemon.
  • If you’d like to try making your own preserved lemons (it’s super simple), check out our guide on how to make preserved lemons.
Yield: 4 servings

Lemon Chicken with Orzo

chicken with orzo and lemons in a cast iron skillet.

This chicken with preserved lemon and orzo recipe is a delicious weeknight meal.

Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 2 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, diced, seeds removed
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle half the salt and pepper on top of the chicken things. 
  3. Add chicken thighs to the skillet and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the chicken thighs and add the lemon, tomatoes, chicken stock, orzo, and remaining salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine.
  5. Nestle the chicken back into the orzo mixture and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and test temperature of the chicken.
  7. Cook, uncovered, until chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  8. Top with the parsley and serve. 
  9. The chicken and orzo will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 621Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 1710mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 54g

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