Looking for an easy, light, yummy side dish your family will enjoy? Try Lemon Parmesan Orzo, (serves 4), and it’s ready in under 15 minutes!
Looking for an easy, light, yummy side dish your family will enjoy? Try Lemon Parmesan Orzo, (serves 4), and it's ready in under 15 minutes!

We sure do love orzo. I try to always keep a box of it handy, because it is a simply made side dish that can be enhanced and flavored in many different ways. If you are unfamiliar with this rice-shaped pasta, you can learn more about it here.

Today I want to share with you a recipe I found in an old cookbook of mine from Southern Living (in a Christmas edition from 2006). It features orzo pasta, cooked in broth (for added flavor), then enhanced with lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

I adapted the original recipe slightly to make 5 servings. Lemon Parmesan Orzo tastes WONDERFUL, and is a big hit in our home, whether served with beef, chicken, pork or fish. Here’s how to make it:

Scroll Down For A Printable Recipe Card At The Bottom Of The Page.

Prepare The Orzo

Bring chicken broth to a full boil (on medium heat) in a large saucepan. Once boiling, add the uncooked orzo pasta, and stir it in.

Cook the orzo uncovered on medium-low heat for 9-11 minutes, until the orzo is tender, and the broth has been absorbed into the pasta.

Stir often while it cooks, so the orzo doesn’t “stick” to the bottom of the pan, as the broth is absorbed.

Uncooked orzo pasta is added to boiling chicken broth in pan, to cook.Orzo and chicken broth cook for about 10 minutes in pan.

While The Orzo Cooks

While the orzo pasta cooks, prep the remaining ingredients. Just as soon as the orzo is finished cooking, these ingredients need to be ready to quickly add to the orzo while it is HOT.

Finely grate Parmesan cheese (fresh is best), melt the butter, and finely grate the lemon peel (zest), and measure out the fresh lemon juice. Have these ingredients close by, so you’ll be ready to roll when the pasta is finished cooking.

**To get the lemon zest: If you don’t have a microplane (seen below), grate the yellow peel of the lemon with the smallest opening on a box grater. Do not grate the white part of the peel, because it can be bitter.

Finely grating Parmesan cheese to add to the cooked orzo, once done.

Add Final Ingredients To The Cooked Orzo

When the orzo is finished cooking, the broth will have been fully absorbed, and it will be tender to the bite. Quickly add the remaining ingredients while the pasta is really hot.

Orzo is done when liquid has been absorbed and pasta is tender.

Pour in the melted butter, followed by the lemon juice, finely grated Parmesan cheese, and the lemon zest.

Stir the ingredients in immediately, so the heat from the orzo melts the Parmesan cheese. When it’s fully mixed, and the cheese has melted, it’s ready to serve.

Melted butter is added to the cooked orzo.Finely grated Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, juice and pepper are added to cooked orzo.

Time To Serve The Lemon Parmesan Orzo!

Once all the ingredients are combined, transfer the lemon Parmesan orzo to a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top.

If desired, garnish with a few lemon peel strips and fresh parsley (optional). Serve while hot, and enjoy!

We recently enjoyed lemon Parmesan orzo served as a side dish with grilled halibut with mango peach salsa, and some fresh green beans from our garden.

Lemon Parmesan Orzo, garnished with Parmesan cheese, lemon peel and parsley.The Lemon Parmesan Orzo, served with green beans and grilled halibut with salsa.

I hope you have the opportunity to make this delicious side dish for your family or friends. It really is delicious, and I am confident it will be a wonderful accompaniment to many of your favorite meals.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you choose to come back soon. Have a wonderful day friends, and take care.

Looking For More SIDE DISH Recipes?

You can all of my side dish recipes in the Recipe Index, which is located at the top of the page. I have lots of them to choose from, including:

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Original recipe source: The cookbook “Christmas with Southern Living 2006”, published by Oxmoor House, page 28


0 from 0 votes
Lemon Parmesan Orzo
Prep Time
3 mins
Cook Time
11 mins
Total Time
14 mins

Looking for an easy, light, yummy side dish your family will enjoy? Try Lemon Parmesan Orzo, (serves 4), and it's ready in under 15 minutes!

Category: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon Parmesan orzo
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 210 kcal
Author: JB @ The Grateful Girl Cooks!
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 5 ounces uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon butter , melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons additional Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  1. Bring chicken broth to a full boil (medium heat) in a large saucepan. Once boiling, add uncooked orzo, and stir. Turn heat down to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 9-11 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking, until the orzo is tender, and broth has been absorbed. *While the orzo cooks, prep remaining ingredients.

  2. When orzo is finished, the broth should be fully absorbed, and orzo will be tender. Quickly add melted butter, lemon zest and juice, grated Parmesan cheese, and black pepper while pasta is hot. Stir to combine, until cheese has melted.

  3. Transfer orzo to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. If desired, garnish with a few lemon peel strips and fresh parsley (optional). Serve hot, and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Parmesan Orzo
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 17mg6%
Sodium 623mg27%
Potassium 183mg5%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 181IU4%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 135mg14%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Looking for an easy, light, yummy side dish your family will enjoy? Try Lemon Parmesan Orzo, (serves 4), and it's ready in under 15 minutes!

Lemon Parmesan Orzo

2 Comments on Lemon Parmesan Orzo

  1. Can this be cooled and the. Refrigerated? A local eatery near me offers a COLD OR ROOM TEMP lemon parm orzo pasta salad, I want to replicate at home. I love their Orzo salad. Every time I taste it I can tell there is lemon zest and of course finely shredded parm cheese in it, with a dash of chopped parsley and sometime a bit of Kalamata olives added.

    Not sure if there is any butter in it and it’s not creamy.

    Should I cook the orzo in chicken broth or water for this cold orzo salad? Or simply experiment?

    I like your recipe as well. It’s simple and easy, just like the cold orzo pasta salad from my local eatery. Thanks

    • Hi, Susan… I say make this dish the way you would enjoy it! As it shows in the recipe, I cook it in chicken broth, and serve it hot, but there is no reason you can’t experiment with it. Have a great day!

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