One Pan Lemon Orzo with Chicken & Brussels Sprouts is the perfect one pan dinner for a weeknight, date night at home, or entertaining dinner. It is full of layers of flavors and is truly a one pan meal; it has your protein, veggie, starch/carb, and dairy, even a little fruit!
In this dish the Orzo is flavored with chicken broth, salt, and garlic, then finished with a little cream, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. The chicken thighs (are full of flavor on their own because, hello, dark meat- yum) seasoned with salt & pepper, seared/browned in the pan and then braised to perfection with the orzo. This is all topped off with a delicious lemony mixture of caramelized brussels sprouts, shallots, and pine nuts.
And guess what, it is all made in one pan! Let me tell you how….
How to Make Creamy Lemon Orzo with Chicken
We will start with a couple tips on making your kitchen work a little easier with this recipe. First, have 3 small plates ready for all the items that are “set aside” during the making of this Lemon Orzo Chicken recipe. Also prep your ingredients:
- Season the chicken thighs with salt & pepper
- zest & juice your 2 lemons
- slice the 3 plump garlic cloves
- chop the brussels sprouts by trimming the stem end and chopping them into 1/3rds
- grate 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
I start with a large stainless steel skillet over medium low heat and toast the pine nuts. You will want to shake the skillet often so the nuts do not burn. They will release their oil and begin to lightly brown and become fragrant. Set them aside on one of those empty plates.
In that same skillet add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, raise the heat to medium. Add the seasoned chicken thighs and brown them in the skillet for about 5 minutes per side. If you are using a stainless steel pan wait until the chicken releases easily from the pan, don’t force it.
Set the browned chicken aside on another one of the empty plates.
Brussels Sprouts & Shallots
In the “empty” pan (it should have chicken grease & olive oil still left, if not add a little olive oil) saute the brussels sprouts & shallots over medium heat for 5 mins, until they are softened and slightly browned. Sprinkle with a little salt, 2 tsp lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp dried basil.
Give it a good stir around the pan and then set aside on the 3rd empty plate.
NOTE: your pan will now be pretty browned and caramelized on the bottom. That is A-OK!!! That is flavor and will be scraped up in the next step.
Increase the heat to medium high and add the 3 cups broth to the pan, scraping up all the browned bits. Add the garlic and 1 1/2 cups orzo to the pan. Once the broth begins to boil, lower the heat to medium-low/ low. Now add the chicken on top of the orzo and place a lid on the pan. Set your timer for 10 minutes.
Creamy Lemon Orzo
Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the chicken from the pan back to the plate. Give the orzo a good stir.
NOTE: there may be some pieces of orzo stuck to the bottom, that is ok. There will also be a little chicken broth left in the pan, that is ok, it is starchy from the orzo and will thicken with the cream and parm cheese!
Add the 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, give the pan a stir to distribute. Pour in the cream and parmesan cheese. Stir until it is all creamy and delicious.
Putting the Lemon Orzo & Chicken Together
Now add the chicken back to the pan, top with the brussels & shallots and sprinkle with the pine nuts.
Time to eat!
This dish is best served right away.
You can certainly reheat it for leftovers, but the orzo will not be quite as creamy as it is right after you make it!
One Pan Dinners
Add a side salad and some warm bread and you have an amazing dinner. But truly if you are just feeding yourself or your family this one pan chicken dinner can stand on its own.
If you love a one pan dinner, here are a couple more to check out (and pin!) from Mom’s Dinner:
One Pan Creamy Lemon Orzo with Chicken & Brussels Sprouts Recipe
One Pan Creamy Lemon Orzo with Chicken & Brussels Sprouts
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs about 1 ½ lbs.
- 1 large shallot sliced into ¼ inch pieces
- 15-20 brussels sprouts stem end trimmed and sliced into 1/3rds
- ½ tsp dried basil
- 2 lemons, zested & juiced divided
- 3 plump garlic cloves sliced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups dry orzo pasta
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Have 3 small plates set to the side, for items that need to be "set aside" during this recipe
Creamy Lemon Orzo with Chicken & Brussels Sprouts
- In a large skillet (I use a stainless steel pan, can use non-stick too) over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts. Set aside.
- Raise the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the empty skillet. Season the chicken thighs lightly with salt & pepper. Add the hot pan and brown for 5 minutes per side. Do not force the chicken up from the pan, it will release when it is ready! Set the browned chicken aside.
- Leave the chicken grease & olive oil in the pan. Add the brussels sprouts & shallots to the pan, sprinkle with a little salt. Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat. Do not mess too much with the veggies, you want them to lightly caramelize. Add in 1/2 tsp dried basil & 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Give it a good stir.Set the cooked veggies aside.
- Your pan will be pretty browned and caramelized at this point, that is ok, that is flavor!
- Add the 3 cups chicken broth to the hot pan, scraping up all of the browned bits. Increase the heat to medium high and add the orzo, garlic, & 1 tsp salt. Once the broth begins to boil, lower the heat to medium-low/low. Place the chicken back in the pan and pop the lid on. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan. There may be some chicken broth left in the pan, that is ok, it is very starchy and will thicken with the next steps.Add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon lemon zest to the orzo, give it a good stir, some pieces of orzo may be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that is ok. Add the 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese to the pan and stir.Remove from the heat.
- Add the chicken back to the pan, top with the brussels sprouts & shallots, and sprinkle the pine nuts over top.
- Serve immediately.