Lemon Orzo

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Orzo is one of those fun kinds of pasta that can be served either hot or cold and can be made so many different ways, so get creative! 

Lemon orzo has a bright citrus flavor and comes out creamy and delicious!

Lemon Orzo being served in a white bowl

For a last-minute side dish or salad for a crowd, this lemon orzo salad will have everyone going for seconds! Using only a few simple ingredients, you can make this delicious lemon orzo in under 30 minutes.

What is Orzo

Pasta comes in dozens, if not hundreds of different shapes! Orzo (also called risoni) is commonly used in Greek food, but can be used in place of rice in any dish! Although in appearance orzo can look like rice, it is actually pasta.

It’s great added to soups or served chilled as an orzo salad.

peeling lemon for Lemon Orzo

How to Cook Lemon Orzo

Orzo is as easy to make as any rice or pasta. A tangy flavor takes just a few ingredients and a sprinkling of fresh chopped mint adds freshness!

  1. Simmer orzo, broth, oregano, and lemon zest to until the orzo is tender.
  2. Remove from heat, add butter, and let the orzo rest (per recipe below).
  3. Fluff with a fork and add lemon juice, mint, or parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Tip: For a little pop of color and flavor, try garnishing with finely sliced green onions and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese!

lemon being squeezed on Lemon Orzo

What to Serve with Lemon Orzo

Lemon orzo salad is a great side dish, and also works as an entrée dish or protein salad.

Other Tasty Pairings

Got Leftovers?

REFRIGERATE: Be sure to refrigerate any cooked orzo within two hours of cooking in an airtight container or a plastic zippered bag, which can last about 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

FREEZE: You can also freeze orzo in a zippered bag, just make sure to date it.

REHEAT: Simply reheat on the stovetop when you want to serve (you may need to add some water if needed). Add a little lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Easy Side Dishes

Did you enjoy this Lemon Orzo? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Lemon Orzo with garnish and lemon in a bowl
4.98 from 41 votes
Review Recipe

Lemon Orzo

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This lemon orzo salad recipe has a bright citrus flavor, thanks to the secret of adding lemon rind to the broth!

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon for juice and zesting
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 ½ cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint finely chopped or 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley

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Instructions

  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel off two large strips of lemon zest.
  • Bring orzo, broth, oregano and lemon zest to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 13-15 minutes uncovered until the orzo is tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter. Rest 5 minutes.
  • Juice half of the lemon over the orzo, add mint or parsley and stir. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

Optional additions
Stir in 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese
Stir in 2 green onions finely sliced

Nutrition Information

Calories: 168, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 553mg, Potassium: 238mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 44IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword easy lemon orzo, easy orzo recipe, how to make lemon orzo, lemon orzo, orzo, orzo salad
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main Course, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Greek
Lemon Orzo with lemon being squeezed and writing
Lemon Orzo in a dish with title
Lemon Orzo closeup with garnish and writing
Lemon Orzo with lemon squeeze and writing
About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

More Posts by Holly

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. Great ingredients, but disappointing outcome. I measured everything as per recipe, including cooking time, and ended up with mushy glug, sticking tp the pot. Instructions should have been clearer about the probable need to stir regularly during the cooking process. I ended up washing it through a fine mesh sieve, and retrieved the texture and lost all of the flavour. I ended up adding more lemon juice and herbs at the end.

    1. Oh no, we are sorry that happened, Michael. Hopefully, you were able to salvage the flavors at the end!

    2. I learned a little trick for cooking orzo from making Rice-a-roni. Heat butter in the pan and then LIGHTLY BROWN the orzo, stirring, before adding the liquid, etc…You have to watch it closely and have the broth ready to add. The orzo keeps its form better and adds color.

  2. This recipe is delicious! A real keeper recipe with simple ingredients, and so fresh tasting . My husband loved it! I used fresh oregano and parsley, just doubled the amount indicated in the recipe. Served it as a side to Lemon and Oregano Grilled Chicken.5 stars

  3. The taste is great, but the nutritional info is WAY off. One cup of orzo is four servings, and the calories in the orzo alone are 200. Add in butter and leomon juice and you are at at least 230.4 stars

    1. Glad you enjoy the orzo Meg! Nutrition information provided is an estimate only and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

  4. Bright, fresh, yet comforting, too. This dish was fast and delicious. It got an enthusiastic thumbs up from everyone at the table. I literally threw this dish together to take as a side to my friend’s house…used the Instapot even! Men, women and teens really liked the this dish. I served it warm and used mint and lemon zest to garnish.5 stars

  5. Followed recipe exactly as written. Perfect as is. I made it as a side to Greek Shrimp Saganaki and it was a yum dinner.5 stars

  6. This was yummy- but I did find the orzo was way too liquidy! Next time around, I’d add in less broth before cooking

    1. Good to know about the liquid .I used the Instapot and adjusted the liquid as if for rice (1:1) and used the risotto setting. I “think” if I had kept ithe liquid similar to the recipe, it would have been better. It turned out fine once it was finished and I added the butter BUT I was concerned that it was going to be “mooshy” when I first saw it .

    1. I haven’t tried it but I do love that idea! Depending on the type of pasta, you might need to adjust the cook time and amount of water. Let us know how it works out for you!

  7. Love this so much! Wish me luck, I’m going to attempt to double it since the first time there wasn’t enough. Lol!5 stars

  8. Holly – thank you so much for such a delicious recipe. It’s simple and straightforward and I’ve already prepared it twice in the last week. I first served it with wild Coho salmon and today with Cornish game hens. For some reason, I was not previously aware that pasta absorbs fluid (I just thought it cooked in fluid but I didn’t know the pasta absorbed the fluid). My husband said he has not cared for orzo in the past because it was tasteless. Your recipe was a game-changer. An excellent recipe with flavor. We truly enjoyed this very much.5 stars

  9. Holly – thank you so much for such a delicious recipe. It’s simple and straightforward and I’ve already prepared it twice in the last week. I first served it with wild Coho salmon and today with Cornish game hens. For some reason, I was not previously aware that pasta absorbs fluid (I just thought it cooked in fluid but I didn’t know the pasta absorbed the fluid). My husband said he has not cared for orzo in the past because it was tasteless. Your recipe was a game-changer. An excellent recipe with flavor. We truly enjoyed this very much.5 stars

  10. Very good and easy to put together. I did add feta and parsley. Flavor was light and delicious.5 stars

  11. We don’t like mint or oregano, Can it be substituted for something else? If so, what do you recommend?

    1. Ok, so I know that the mint sounds weird to people, but mixed with the lemon, it really is a wonderful flavor. You do need to chiffinade (sp?)) The mint so it’s very finely sliced and incorporates with no large pieces. But this dish will be fine without mint or oregano.