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Top down shot of a kalamata lemon chicken orzo skillet with feta cheese and fresh basil on top.

Kalamata Lemon Chicken Orzo Skillet + Feta

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  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner/Entree
  • Method: Stove Top + Oven
  • Cuisine: Greek-Inspired


A light and delicious Kalamata Lemon Chicken Orzo Skillet recipe that is perfect for a weeknight dinner! Packed with flavor and so easy!


  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 cups chicken broth, more as-needed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 cup canned small artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 3/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
  • 1/41/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Toppings: crumbled feta cheese + fresh basil leaves


  1. Place chicken thighs on a plate. Pat dry with clean paper towel. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and ground black pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Place a large cast iron skillet on the stove-top and bring to medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan, just enough to lightly coat the bottom.  
  3. Once the pan is hot (it should sizzle if you flick some water on it) place the chicken thighs skin-side down into the pan and let sear 3-5 minutes or until the skin is nice and brown. 
  4. Flip the chicken thighs over and then move the skillet to the oven (middle rack and uncovered). Let cook 15 minutes or until chicken thighs reach an internal temp of approx. 160 degrees F. Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients.
  5. Remove skillet from oven and place chicken thighs on a plate; set aside.
  6. Place the skillet on the stove top and bring to medium-high heat (the pan will still be nice and hot from the oven, but we want to keep it hot). 
  7. Add butter and let melt. Add garlic and shallots, move around the pan until fragrant, approx. 30 seconds. 
  8. Add orzo, broth, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, dried oregano leaves, dried basil leaves, artichoke hears and olives. Stir to combine. 
  9. Nestle the chicken thighs on top and pour in any juices that have settled on the plate. The chicken thighs will finish cooking along with the orzo and their juices will help flavor everything. 
  10. Let orzo simmer gently, uncovered, 8-12 minutes or until the orzo is cooked al dente – try and stir the orzo occasionally and add additional splashes of chicken broth if you notice the pan drying up to avoid the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning. 
  11. Remove chicken thighs from pan and remove pan from heat. Add parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes to the orzo. Stir to combine until parmesan cheese has melted.
  12. Taste and add any additional parmesan cheese, salt or lemon zest, as desired. 
  13. Top with crumbled feta cheese and fresh basil. Serve immediately and enjoy! 


  • Chicken Thighs: I prefer chicken thighs to chicken breasts and in order for them to be fully cooked they have to do a lot of their cooking in the oven before we add them in with the orzo.  You can just cook them on the stove-top if you prefer – ensure they get to an internal temp of 158/160 degrees F. before nestling into the orzo, as they won’t cook a ton during that time.  
  • Orzo: some people have had issues with the orzo sticking to the bottom of the pan while simmering, to avoid this have a little extra chicken broth on hand and add splashes of it to the orzo, as needed, to help avoid the pan from drying out – also try and stir the orzo as best you can around the chicken thighs while it is cooking! 
  • Chicken Breasts: you could definitely use chicken breasts, if you prefer. If you do, just cook them on the stove top until they reach approx. 155 degrees F. and then they will finish cooking when they are nestled in the orzo. 
  • Internal temp of chicken: Chicken is fully cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (use a meat thermometer).
  • Storage: any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.


  • Serving Size: 6 oz
  • Calories: 509
  • Sugar: 2.3 g
  • Sodium: 960.8 mg
  • Fat: 14.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.7 g
  • Protein: 68.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 210.1 mg