One Pot Lemon Orzo pasta

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings

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Lemon Orzo pasta is a bright, beautiful pasta dish that’s ideal for celebrating the spring and summer seasons! Perfectly cooked tender orzo is all dressed up with fresh lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, and just the right amount of heavy cream to really send it over the top.

Enjoy more bright and zesty lemon flavor with recipes like Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, Slow Cooker Honey Lemon Chicken Breast and some classic Lemonade!

a fork in a bowl of lemon orzo pasta with a lemon slice beside.

Lemon orzo is so creamy, zesty, fresh and easy to make!

I think my favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s equal parts fresh (thanks to the lemon juice) and comforting (thanks to the pasta). It’s the best of both worlds!

As we all transition from the colder winter months and into spring, it’s so great to have trusty recipes like this to turn to. It’s cozy without weighing you down and offers the perfect amount of bright citrus flavor.

What really ties it all together so beautifully is the heavy cream and parmesan. The end result is cheesy, creamy, tender orzo that’s pretty addictive. It’s hard to have just one serving of it!

Why we love this Lemon Orzo pasta:

  • One Pot: Those two magical words means that this dish is easy to make and even easier to clean.
  • Freshly Flavored: Thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice in the mix, this orzo is loaded with summery fresh flavor.
  • So Quick: Yes, this orzo comes together in LESS than 30 minutes! It’s such a quick dinner recipe.
  • Simple Ingredients: Take a quick peek at the ingredients pictured below to see how wonderfully short your shopping list will be.
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Lemon Orzo Ingredients:

ingredients needed for lemon orzo pasta in glass bowls.
  • Broth – Chicken or vegetable broth both work just fine. I recommend using low-sodium broth either way, that way you can control the amount of salt in the dish.
  • Orzo – In a pinch, you could use another small shaped pasta here. Ditalini and alphabet would be fun to swap!
  • Cream – Heavy cream (my favorite) offers a thicker consistency and richer flavor. You can use half and half but your sauce will be notably thinner.
  • Parmesan – Grated fresh off the block is best for both consistency and flavor.
  • Butter – Salted butter adds a nice flavor, but you can use unsalted butter if preferred.
  • Garlic – You can add more garlic if you’d like! Garlic is always one of those ingredients you can measure with your heart.
  • Lemon – Freshly squeezed lemon juice is really the way to go for the very best flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper – While you can always add more than I do, I recommend doing a little taste test before you sprinkle in any more.
  • Parsley – A sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a vibrant pop of color and herbaceous flavor.

How to make Lemon Orzo pasta:

This lemon orzo recipe is so easy to make in one pot! Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions.

  • Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then, add the orzo and toast it for just 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and stir often. Cook until liquid is absorbed and pasta is tender.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, and fresh parsley.
  • Squeeze in your fresh lemon juice to taste.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Change the pasta: Yes, “orzo” is literally in the title of the dish. But you can feel free to swap it with something like ditalini if you’d like!
  • Omit the cream: If you’re lactose intolerant or just not too crazy about creamy pasta, you can omit the cream and splash in a little bit more broth to compensate.
  • Make it more lemony: Craving more of that summer flavor? Garnish your dish with some fresh lemon zest!
speckled bowl of lemon orzo with a slice of lemon on the side.

How to store Lemon Orzo

You can store leftover lemon orzo in the fridge for up to 4 days, just make sure it’s in an airtight container so it stays fresh.

Reheat it in the microwave or right back on your stovetop. When it comes time to reheat, add a splash of broth or cream to help add some moisture back into it.

Can I freeze lemon orzo?

Yes! Let the lemon orzo fully cool to room temperature prior to storing it in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Do note that one pasta is thawed and reheated from frozen, it will be softer.

large black pan of lemon orzo pasta with lemon slices beside.

Serving suggestions:

Plate this lemon orzo with any of these fresh veggie side dishes:

Or add a simple Baked Chicken Breast, Slow Cooker Chicken Breast or one of the 15 Best Pork Tenderloin Recipes for added protein.

More Orzo Recipes You’ll Love

Orzo is one of my favorite pastas! Here are a few more of my very best orzo recipes:

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One Pot Lemon Orzo Pasta

5 from 8 votes
Lemon Orzo pasta is a bright, beautiful pasta dish that's ideal for celebrating the spring and summer seasons! Perfectly cooked tender orzo is all dressed up with fresh lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, and just the right amount of heavy cream to really send it over the top.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 277cal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • cups uncooked orzo pasta (about 278 grams)
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • cup cream any kind — heavy cream will give richer flavor, light cream will be a bit thinner
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the orzo and garlic and toast 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir in the broth, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring often. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is cooked to your preference (about 10 minutes). (If you want to cook the pasta further but the liquid is gone, just add a splash more broth).
  • Stir in cream, Parmesan and parsley. Add lemon juice gradually, tasting as you go, until the flavor is to your preference. Serve.

Notes

Ingredients and Substitutions:
  • Orzo: you could use another pasta here, but stick to the very small varieties for best results: alphabet, ditalini, etc. 
  • Cream: any kind of cream will work here. The heavier the cream, the richer and thicker the sauce. You can also omit the cream for a non-creamy version of this lemon pasta, but you will likely need to add additional broth to compensate.
  • Lemon: If you are looking for more lemony flavor, feel free to add some lemon zest to this recipe as well!
Storage:
Fridge: you can store this recipe in the fridge up to 4 days. To reheat, add a splash of broth, cream or water to keep it saucy.
Freezer: this recipe can be frozen. but keep in mind that pasta will have a softer texture after thawing that may not appeal to everyone. 
 

Nutrition Information

Serving: 194grams | Calories: 277cal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 272mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 276IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords lemon orzo pasta

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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