Lemon butter orzo is a simple side dish that's deliciously buttery with fresh lemon flavor. In less than 15 minutes you can have a rice-like pasta side that goes well with nearly any main course.

Complete the meal with our Greek shrimp with tomatoes and feta and delicious roasted broccoli. And if you love orzo as much as we do, also check out our lemon chicken orzo soup!

Lemon butter orzo in a white bowl with a serving spoon,

What is orzo

While orzo looks a lot like rice, it's actually a tiny, grain-shaped pasta. In Italian, the word orzo means barley as it resembled unhulled barley.

Just like other pasta shapes, orzo is made with semolina flour, so it is not gluten-free. If you're looking for gluten-free orzo, you can usually find a few options next to the regular orzo in the grocery store.

Orzo is often used in soup, like our lemon chicken orzo soup. But it also makes a fantastic rice-like side, which is how we've made this lemon butter orzo.

How to make this lemon butter orzo recipe

If you've never made orzo before, don't worry, it's very easy. Cooking orzo is just like cooking rice!

  1. Put the stock, orzo, salt, and pepper into a pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer it gently for 10-12 minutes. You'll know it's done when there's no visible liquid left in the pot and you see little holes over the surface of the cooked orzo – you can see this in the picture in the recipe card below.
  3. Now, all that you have to do is mix in some butter, lemon juice, and minced parsley and your lemon butter orzo is ready to serve!

Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below.

A pot of cooked Lemon Butter Orzo.

Variations to try

We love the recipe exactly as written. But it's also delicious with these variations:

  • Instead of butter, use olive oil.
  • Swap the parsley for some minced basil.
  • Saute a little garlic in the pot before you add the orzo and stock.

FAQs

How long does cooked orzo last?

Cooked orzo will keep well for 3-5 days if kept in a sealed container in your fridge.

What is the best way to reheat orzo?

Add about a tablespoon of water to the orzo then reheat it in a microwave or gently over low heat on the stovetop. The pieces will stick together so you'll need to use a spoon to gently separate them.

Can cooked orzo be frozen?

Yes! Cooked orzo, like other pasta, freezes well. Make sure it's completely cool then freeze it in freezer-safe containers. We love these reusable Stasher freezer bags to store just about everything, including this lemon butter orzo! 

What to serve with lemon butter orzo

Lemon butter orzo is a versatile side dish that goes well with so many different mains. Here are a few that we love to serve with it:

lemon butter orzo in a white serving bowl.
Lemon butter orzo in a white bowl with a serving spoon,

Lemon Butter Orzo

Lemon butter orzo is a simple side dish that's deliciously buttery with fresh lemon flavor. In less than 15 minutes you can have a rice-like pasta side that goes well with nearly any main course.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!

4.66 stars (26 ratings)
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh is best!
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley, optional

Instructions 

  • Add the stock, orzo, salt, and pepper to a small pot over high heat and bring it to a boil.
    1 cup orzo, 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock, ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
    image for recipe instruction
  • Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook the orzo for 10-12 minutes, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
    image for recipe instruction
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, butter, and parsley.
    2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon minced parsley
    image for recipe instruction
Serving: 1 serving = ½ cup, Calories: 171kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 671mg, Potassium: 98mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 360IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg
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