One-pan easy creamy lemon Parmesan orzo, with an easy stir-together sauce. A great side dish or meatless main dish.

Creamy lemon parmesan orzo in skillet with spoon.

This creamy lemon Parmesan orzo is a variation of my Easy Lemon Cream Pasta, but with this orzo version, there is no need to boil the orzo separately! The whole thing cooks in one skillet so it’s even quicker and easier!

This creamy lemon orzo is fabulous as a side dish or enjoy it as a meatless main dish with a side salad.

What you’ll need

Creamy lemon parmesan orzo ingredients.

A few notes on the key ingredients …

Lemon – you need to start with one fresh lemon to get the lemon zest and juice specified. In a pinch, you could omit the zest and go with bottled lemon juice. You might want to use just a touch more, in that case.

Chicken Broth – you can replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth, for a vegetarian lemon orzo or in a pinch, you can use water, with some bit of a sacrifice in flavour.

Heavy Cream – this would be heavy whipping cream (35% b.f.). You could substitute a lower-fat cream, but it is more likely to split or curdle when used with lemon juice. And of course, it would result in a less creamy orzo.

Parsley – some chopped parsley adds lovely colour and a bit of flavour to this lemon orzo, but it isn’t a deal breaker if you don’t have fresh parsley on hand. A sprinkling of dried parsley flakes will work. Basil is also a nice alternative, either fresh or dried.

How to make this creamy lemon orzo

Chicken broth coming to a boil in skillet,
Lemon sauce mixed up in small bowl.
  1. Add the chicken broth to a skillet (non-stick skillet recommended) and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the lemon sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Orzo added to simmering chicken broth.
Orzo cooking in chicken broth.
  1. When the chicken broth boils, add the orzo. Reduce the heat just slightly and cook, stirring occasionally.
  2. Continue cooking, stirring the orzo more regularly as the liquid begins to reduce.
Orzo cooked with just a bit of liquid in the pan.
Adding the lemon sauce to the cooked orzo.
  1. Cook until the orzo is tender and there is just a bit of liquid left in the pan (running a spoon through leaves a bare spot before it then flows back together).
  2. Reduce the heat under the pan to medium heat, then add the lemon sauce to the skillet and stir in well.
Adding the parsley to the skillet.
FInished creamy lemon parmesan orzo.
  1. Add the chopped parsley to the skillet.
  2. Continue cooking and stirring the orzo until it thickens nicely and serve immediately.

Recipe video

Recipe tips!

  • Using a skillet allows the liquid to cook off more efficiently than using a saucepan, so I highly recommend this route for a quicker dish. A non-stick skillet ensures no sticking.
  • Don’t let the liquid in the skillet completely cook off before adding the lemon sauce. The bit of liquid in the pan helps to emulsify the sauce, much like how pasta-cooking water does when making pasta.
  • The base recipe makes a small main for 2 or a side for 3 to 4. You could bump up the amount of orzo and broth slightly and keep the sauce measurements the same to get a bit bigger yield. More details in the Recipe Card!

What to serve with lemon parmesan orzo

  • Enjoy as a meatless main dish with a big side salad.
  • Enjoy as a flavourful side dish with grilled chicken, whitefish, salmon or shrimp skewers or seared scallops.
  • Perfect with just about any simple protein.
Creamy lemon orzo in skillet with spoon.

Making ahead and storing

This lemon orzo is best enjoyed freshly cooked. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, however, they will lose the creaminess of the freshly cooked orzo.

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!

Save Article

By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails from Seasons and Suppers.

Creamy lemon parmesan orzo in skillet with spoon.

Get the Recipe: Creamy Lemon Orzo

One-pan easy creamy lemon Parmesan orzo, with an easy stir-together sauce. A great side dish or meatless main dish.
5 stars from 1 rating
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3 servings


  • 2 cups chicken broth, or vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup orzo

For the Lemon Parmesan Sauce:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated recommended
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, 35% b.f. *see Note 1 below
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Tip! The base ("1X") recipe will make a small main for 2 or a side dish for 3. If you want a bit more don't necessarily need double the recipe, simply increase the orzo to 3/4 cup and the broth to 3 cups, but keep the sauce ingredients at the same amounts as the 1X. This version will be a little less creamy, but still quite acceptable.
  • Add the chicken broth (or vegetable broth of water) to a large skillet (non-stick recommended). If using water, be sure to salt the water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • While the broth is heating, add all the Lemon Parmesan ingredients to a small bowl and stir with a fork to combine well. Set aside.
  • Once boiling, add the orzo and stir briefly. Reduce heat just slightly and allow to vigorously boil, stirring occasionally, then more often as the liquid decreases in the pan. When there is just a bit of liquid left in the pan, reduce the heat under the pan to medium heat, add the lemon parmesan sauce and stir in. Add the chopped parsley and stir in. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens and reduces.
  • Taste the orzo and season with additional salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed. Serve immediately garnished with additional lemon zest, Parmesan and/or chopped parsley, if desired.


Note 1: Heavy whipping cream (35% b.f.) is recommended as the higher fat content prevents it from splitting or curdling when combined with lemon juice. A lower-fat cream could be used, but may split and of course, will result in a less creamy finished dish.
This orzo is best enjoyed freshly cooked. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days but will lose creaminess as it sits.
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe. You will also find step-by-step photos and a recipe video that you may find helpful.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 260kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 192mg, Potassium: 230mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 540IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 135mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @seasonsandsuppers on Instagram or tag #seasonsandsuppers.