One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!

The post One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo appeared first on Budget Bytes.

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.

Overhead view of a pot full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo.

One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.54 recipe / $1.89 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 612kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

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!

Notes

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

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 612kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 32g | Sodium: 715mg | Fiber: 3g

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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Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken

These Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts are so tender, juicy, and flavorful, you’ll want to spoon that delicious pan sauce over EVERYTHING.

The post Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Are you in a chicken rut? Cooking the same ol’ boring chicken breast week after week? Yeah, then you need to try this Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken ASAP. It’s savory, tart, and peppery, and has a delicious pan sauce that you’ll want to spoon over your entire plate! This one is so quick and flavorful, I know it’s going to go into your regular rotation. ;)

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken in the skillet, garnished with lemon slices

What Kind of Chicken Should I Use?

This quick skillet cooking method requires thin chicken pieces that cook quickly, like boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into thinner pieces), chicken tenders, thin-cut chicken breast, or chicken thighs. This method is not suitable for bone-in chicken.

Do I Need Fresh Lemon?

Nope! While I did garnish this dish with some fresh lemon slices (I had those leftover from another dish), you actually don’t need fresh lemon to make this lemon pepper chicken! Most of the lemon flavor comes from the potent lemon pepper seasoning. The small amount of lemon juice added to the pan sauce can be bottled.

What Is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?

The lemon pepper seasoning I used to flavor this recipe is a mix of lemon zest, pepper, citric acid, and salt. Most major spice brands in the U.S. as well as many major generic store brands make their own lemon pepper seasoning, so it should be easy to find in just about any grocery store in the U.S. If you can’t find lemon pepper at your local store, there are plenty of recipes online for homemade lemon pepper seasoning.

Make sure to check if the lemon pepper seasoning you have contains salt. If it does not, you may need to add more salt to the recipe below.

What to Serve with Lemon Pepper Chicken

I went full-on lemon and served my Lemon Pepper Chicken with Lemon Parsley Pasta, but it would also go great with some Sautéed Vegetables, Roasted Broccoli, Spinach Rice with Feta, or Spanish Chickpeas and Rice.

A sliced piece of lemon pepper chicken on a plate with pasta.
Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken in the skillet with lemon slices

Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken

These Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken Breasts are so tender and juicy, and you'll want to spoon that delicious pan sauce over EVERYTHING. 
Total Cost $7.58 recipe / $1.90 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 253.4kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) $6.79
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth $0.07
  • 1 Tbsp butter $0.14
  • 1 tsp lemon juice $0.02
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) $0.10
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Use a sharp knife to carefully fillet the chicken breasts into two thinner peices (or use thin-cut chicken breasts).
  • Combine the flour and lemon pepper seasoning in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of the chicken breast pieces and then rub it in until the chicken is fully coated.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium. When the skillet and oil are very hot, add the chicken and cook on each side until golden brown (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the cooked chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Add the butter and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for about one minute.
  • Add the chicken broth to the skillet and whisk to dissolve all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the lemon juice and allow the sauce to simmer in the skillet for 3-5 minutes, or until it has reduced slightly. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed (I did not add any).
  • Finally, return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over top. Allow the chicken to heat through. Season with a little freshly cracked pepper and fresh chopped parsley (optional), then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 253.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.53g | Protein: 34.45g | Fat: 10.43g | Sodium: 656.68mg | Fiber: 0.15g
Pan sauce being spooned over a piece of lemon pepper chicken in the skillet

How to Make Lemon Pepper Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Two chicken breasts cut into thinner fillets

Use a sharp knife to carefully fillet two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thinner pieces (or use thin-cut chicken breasts).

lemon pepper flour being sprinkled over the chicken pieces

Combine 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour and 1 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over both sides of the chicken pieces.

Coated chicken breasts on the cutting board

Smear the flour mixture over both sides of the chicken until they’re evenly coated.

Browned chicken breasts in the skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a skillet over medium. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and cook on both sides until golden brown (about 5 minutes per side). Remove the cooked chicken to a clean plate and cover to keep warm.

Butter and garlic added to the skillet

Add 1 Tbsp butter and one minced clove of garlic to the skillet. Sauté the garlic for about one minute.

Chicken broth being poured into the skillet

Pour ½ cup chicken broth into the skillet and whisk to dissolve all the browned bits off the bottom. Add 1 tsp lemon juice to the broth, then let the broth simmer in the skillet for 3-5 minutes, or until it has reduced just slightly. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed (I did not add any, but this will depend on the salt content of your lemon peppers seasoning and broth).

Chicken returned to the skillet, pan sauce being spooned over top

Return the chicken to the skillet and spoon the sauce over top. Allow the chicken to heat through (a few minutes).

Finished lemon pepper chicken in the skillet topped with parsley

Top the chicken off with some freshly cracked pepper and chopped parsley (optional), then serve!

A fork lifting a slice of lemon pepper chicken from the plate

The lemon helps keep the chicken extra tender, juicy, and flavorful! Enjoy!

The post Easy Lemon Pepper Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Lemon Pepper Zucchini

I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. 😉  The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well […]

The post Lemon Pepper Zucchini appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m a true believer that side dishes should be as simple as possible. Save your time and energy for that amazing main dish and don’t let the sides overshadow its glory. ;)  The magic of this simple side dish comes from a bottle of lemon pepper seasoning. The tangy, peppery flavor goes so amazingly well with zucchini that you might find yourself forgetting about the rest of dinner and eating this Lemon Pepper Zucchini straight out of the bowl. 

Originally posted 6-6-2015, updated 1-23-2021.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemon pepper zucchini

What is Lemon Pepper Seasoning?

Lemon pepper seasoning is a tangy and peppery combination of black pepper, citric acid, salt, and sometimes small amounts of other herbs or spices. Several major spice brands in the U.S. make lemon pepper seasoning (McCormick, Lawry’s, Badia, etc.) and it’s also usually available in generic store brands, so you should be able to find it at just about any grocery store. I’ve also seen several recipes for homemade lemon pepper seasoning across the internet, but I’m not sure how those compare to store-bought versions.

How to Get Browned Edges on Zucchini

Zucchini contains a LOT of water, so there are a couple of really important steps to making sure your zucchini gets those tasty browned edges that you see in the photographs. 

  1. Make sure your skillet is super hot. If it’s not hot enough the water coming out of the zucchini will not evaporate quickly and the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices instead of browning. This will also cause the zucchini to get super limp and floppy. The goal here is to get browning on the outside of the zucchini without them becoming soft and mushy. The longer zucchini cooks, the mushier it gets, so this is a super fast cooking technique.
  2. Cook the zucchini in batches. If the skillet is overcrowded, this also prevents the moisture from evaporating quickly and again, the zucchini will begin to simmer in their own juices.
  3. Serve the zucchini right away. The longer it sits after it cooks, the softer it will get because the residual heat will continue to steam the zucchini.

What to Serve with Lemon Pepper Zucchini

I originally made this zucchini as a side dish for my Spanish Chickpeas and Rice. The pair together make a really well-rounded vegan meal. This lemon pepper zucchini would also be great with Garlic Marinated Chicken, Garlic Butter Shrimp, Pesto Shrimp Pasta, One Pot Lemon Artichoke Chicken and Rice, or Lemony Artichoke and Quinoa Salad.

Close up of a forkful of lemon pepper zucchini with the bowl in the background

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper zucchini

Lemon Pepper Zucchini

Bright and peppery, this Lemon Pepper Zucchini is a simple and flavorful side dish for any dinner! Great for that summer zucchini bumper crop!
Total Cost $1.63 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 56.08kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1.3 lbs. zucchini $1.32
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $0.15
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16

Instructions

  • Cut the zucchini into halfrounds, about ¼-inch thick.
  • Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle the lemon pepper seasonin over top. Stir to coat the zucchini with the seasoning.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once the skillet is very hot, add half of the olive oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add half of the seasoned zucchini and sauté (stir often) for about five mintues, or until the outside of the zucchini is well browned.
  • Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving plate, add the remaining olive oil and zucchini, and cook in the same manner. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 56.08kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.6g | Protein: 1.78g | Fat: 3.98g | Sodium: 356.88mg | Fiber: 1.48g

How to Make Lemon Pepper Zucchini – Step by Step Photos

sliced zucchini on a cutting board

Slice about 1.3 lbs. zucchini into half rounds, about ¼-inch thick.

bottle of lemon pepper seasoning with zucchini in the background

This is the lemon pepper seasoning I used, which is the generic ALDI brand.

lemon pepper being sprinkled over the zucchini

Add the zucchini to a large bowl and sprinkle ½ Tbsp of the lemon pepper seasoning over the zucchini. Stir until the zucchini is coated in lemon pepper.

Cooked zucchini in the skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once it’s really hot, add about ½ Tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat the surface. Add half of the zucchini and sauté (stirring often) until it is browned on the outside. Remove the cooked zucchini to a bowl or serving dish and repeat with the second half of the oil and zucchini.

Overhead view of a bowl full of lemon pepper zucchini

Serve immediately for the best flavor and texture!

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