5 from 3 votes

Creamy One-Pan Lemon Chicken Orzo

 March 7, 2024

Tender chicken and orzo come together with a creamy, dairy-free lemon sauce for the perfect weeknight dinner-turned-date-night recipe. Introducing my Creamy One-Pan Lemon Chicken Orzo, a delicious, flavorful recipe that you’ll want to keep in your back pocket. This one-pan dish has it all, and comes together in just 20 minutes. Truly, what could be better than that?

A pan of the creamy lemon chicken orzo, sitting on a countertop with a spoon resting in the pan

Friends, I am back with another 20 minute dinner recipe! Did you miss these? In case you’ve missed it, every week this year, I’ve been sharing a brand new, simple, easy dinner recipe that comes together in just 20 minutes, making it perfect for those weeknights where you don’t want to spend a ton of time cooking dinner. And, because I really want to make your life as simple as possible, not only do these recipes come together in just 20 minutes, but they also come together in just one pan, so there’s less cleanup at the end.

From my viral One-Pan “Marry Me” Chicken Orzo, to my Saucy and Tender Lemon Garlic Teriyaki Chicken, you simply can’t go wrong with a one-pan recipe. Especially one that’s filled with orzo, tender chicken, and a creamy, dairy-free lemon sauce. This is one recipe that will have you coming back for seconds… or even thirds!

Plus, this recipe is elevated enough to transcend the typical weeknight dinner. If you’re looking for the perfect recipe to serve for your next date night, this recipe fits the bill. Serve it alongside my Flourless Chocolate Cakes for dessert, and you’ve got a match (or meal) made in heaven.

What You Need to Make This Easy 20-Minute Dinner Recipe

  • Chicken Breast: Boneless, skinless chicken breast is the key to making this recipe!
  • Seasonings: To give this chicken the perfect flavor, we’ll be using a combination of cumin, paprika, kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Yum!
  • Olive Oil: To cook the chicken, I like to choose a better-for-you oil such as olive oil.
  • Yellow Onion: Yellow onion has a mild, onion flavor that tastes perfect in this recipe.
  • Garlic: I always recommend using fresh garlic, whenever possible. The flavor is truly unbeatable!
  • Chicken Broth: Chicken broth adds a rich and delicious flavor to this orzo. If you want to add in some extra protein, you can also opt for chicken bone broth instead.
A plate of the cubed and seasoned chicken breast. sitting on a countertop
Prepare the chicken breast by patting them dry with a paper towel and slicing them into cubes. Add them to a bowl alongside the paprika, cumin, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, and toss until the chicken is fully coated in the seasonings.
  • Dijon Mustard: Don’t knock it until you try it – the dijon mustard adds the perfect tangy kick to this recipe!
  • Orzo: Orzo is a short-cut pasta that looks like a large grain of rice. It’s a delicious form of pasta to eat when you don’t want to feel super full and sluggish!
  • Fresh Spinach: Spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals and is the perfect way to sneak extra veggies into this recipe.
  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk or Heavy Cream: I prefer to use full-fat coconut milk to keep this recipe dairy-free, but heavy cream also works well, here.
  • Lemons: This recipe calls for lemon juice, lemon zest, and sliced lemons, to give this dish the perfect lemony flavor!
  • Parmesan Cheese: There is nothing better than taking a bite of creamy, cheesy pasta, and freshly grated parmesan cheese is the perfect addition to this recipe!

How to Make This Creamy, Lemony Chicken & Orzo


To make this recipe, start by preparing the chicken: pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and slice them into cubes. Add them to a bowl alongside the paprika, cumin, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, and toss until the chicken is fully coated in the seasonings.

Next, heat a skillet, on the stove, over medium heat, and add in the oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the edges start to cook. Then, remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Then, dice the onion, mash the garlic, and add them to the hot pan. Cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the pan so that none of the onion or garlic burns.

Then, add in the chicken broth and mustard, stirring well, followed by the orzo. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the orzo is cooked through, add in the spinach, the coconut milk or heavy cream (if using), lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese to the pan.

Stir the ingredients together for about a minute, until they’re fully combined and the spinach is wilted. Then, taste and adjust the kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Finally, add the chicken back in the pan, stirring until it’s fully incorporated into the orzo and everything cooks through. Depending on what brand of orzo you’re using, it may need a few more minutes to cook through – that is okay!

Once it’s done, plate it and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Tanya Pilgrim
A pan of the creamy lemon chicken orzo, sitting on a countertop with a spoon resting in the pan
Dairy Free/Nut Free/Refined Sugar Free

Creamy One-Pan Lemon Chicken Orzo

5 from 3 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
SERVES 6 Servings
Print It Pin It
Tender chicken and orzo come together with a creamy, dairy-free lemon sauce for the perfect weeknight dinner-turned-date-night recipe. Introducing my Creamy One-Pan Lemon Chicken Orzo, a delicious, flavorful recipe that you'll want to keep in your back pocket. This one-pan dish has it all, and comes together in just 20 minutes. Truly, what could be better than that?

Ingredients

  • 1.5 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast cut into cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion finely diced
  • 4-5 Cloves Garlic mashed
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 3 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Cup Orzo
  • 2 Large Handfuls Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk or Heavy Cream
  • 3 Lemons 1 lemon zested, 2 lemons juiced (this is approximately 1/4-1/3 cup), and 1 lemon cut thin, into slices
  • 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated

Instructions

  • To make this recipe, start by preparing the chicken: pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and slice them into cubes. Add them to a bowl alongside the paprika, cumin, kosher salt, and ground black pepper, and toss until the chicken is fully coated in the seasonings.
  • Next, heat a skillet, on the stove, over medium heat, and add in the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the edges start to cook.
  • Then, remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
  • Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Then, dice the onion, mash the garlic, and add them to the hot pan.
  • Cook the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the pan so that none of the onion or garlic burns.
  • Then, add in the chicken broth and mustard, stirring well, followed by the orzo.
  • Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once the orzo is cooked through, add in the spinach, the coconut milk or heavy cream (if using), lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese to the pan.
  • Stir the ingredients together for about a minute, until they're fully combined and the spinach is wilted.
  • Then, taste and adjust the kosher salt and black pepper as needed.
  • Finally, add the chicken back in the pan, stirring until it's fully incorporated into the orzo and everything cooks through. Depending on what brand of orzo you're using, it may need a few more minutes to cook through – that is okay!
  • Once it's done, plate it and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. 5 stars
    I stumbled upon this recipe from Nicole’s FB page and I’m am sooooo in love with it!!! It’s an easy, creamy, flavor bomb that I’ve already made twice in one week! Definitely adding to the rotation.

    • I am so happy to hear that, Amanda! Thank you so much for making this recipe and for all of your support on Facebook!