Lemon Pepper Shrimp and Orzo comes together in one skillet for an easy, streamlined weeknight dinner. Light, yet super flavorful, and sure to become a family favorite.
This single skillet meal is everything I want in a spring dinner. Quick-cooking orzo, succulent shrimp, veggies, and a fresh lemon-y finish.
The starchy grains make it creamy, while the double installment of lemon adds layers of brightness. And because it comes together in one skillet, this meal is fantastic for weeknight dinners.
Much like my this Harissa Shrimp and Feta Orzo Skillet, shrimp + orzo are the perfect dinner pairing. They're both quick-cooking and versatile enough to take on any flavor profile you throw their way.
And if you love easy orzo dishes, try my Zucchini Orzo Salad next!
How to Make Lemon Pepper Shrimp and Orzo
If you're not familiar with orzo, it's a type of short-cut pasta that resembles a grain of rice. Because of its petite size, orzo cooks in lightning speed, which makes it a great alternative to rice for a fast weeknight dinner.
Additionally, this type of grain seems to be a universal favorite among adults and kiddos. If you happen to find whole-grain orzo, even better for slipping in some extra B-vitamins and fiber.
- Shrimp: Look for shrimp that are already peeled and deveined (or at least deveined and easy peel). Also, many are surprised to find out that the best shrimp are often in the freezer case. Usually what’s behind the seafood case was previously frozen anyway, so you can often get a better deal by purchasing frozen, and thawing on your own.
- Shallots: I prefer the delicate onion-y flavor of shallots for this dish, however you can also use yellow or sweet onion.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic create the aromatic backbone of this dish. I like to use at least 4 cloves, however feel free to add more or less depending on your preference.
- Butter: Mixing butter with olive oil helps prevent the butter from burning while you're sautéing the shrimp. I also love the extra richness it adds.
- Orzo: Look for orzo in the pasta aisle of any well-stocked grocery store. To make this dish gluten free, either use a gluten free small-cut pasta or rice.
- Broth: Vegetable broth adds extra flavor, however you can also use water in a pinch.
- Veggies: To slip in some extra nutrients and a pop of color, add spinach or asparagus.
- Lemon: You need the zest and juice of 1 whole lemon for this recipe. You can also slice and caramelize an additional lemon for aesthetics.
- Pepper: One whole teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper adds zippy spice to cut through the lemon-butter combo.
Step 1: Sauté shrimp. Season shrimp with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Heat 1 Tbsp. each of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes, flip, and cook 1 more minute, until opaque. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
Step 2: Sauté shallots and garlic in remaining butter and olive oil. Add orzo, stir to coat; cook 1 to 2 minutes, to lightly toast grains.
Step 3: Add broth, salt, and pepper; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, uncovered, until orzo is al dente and most liquid is absorbed.
Step 4: Stir in veggies during the final 3 minutes of orzo cooking. Lastly, Stir in lemon zest and juice.
Nestle shrimp back into skillet and garnish with fresh parsley.
Here are some of my shrimp purchasing tips:
Buy Frozen. Since shrimp is flash-frozen promptly after being caught, it's often better quality (for a better price) than what’s sitting in the seafood case. (Especially if you live in a landlocked state.)
Buying frozen also gives you greater control over the defrosting process, since you can cook them immediately afterwards.
Look for raw (not precooked) shrimp that is deveined and peeled.
Deveining shrimp is a tedious, rather unsettling task, if you ask me! Also, for reference, raw shrimp is always gray-ish white, while cooked shrimp is pink.
Store: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and this shrimp orzo recipe will last up to 3 days refrigerated.
Reheat: Reheat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in a skillet with a splash of water or broth to rehydrate the grains.
More Shrimp Skillet Recipes to Try:
If you give this recipe a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review!
One Skillet Lemon Pepper Shrimp and Orzo
- 1 Large skillet
- 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. raw peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ¼ cups dry orzo pasta
- 3 cups lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach (or 8 oz. fresh asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel, and season evenly with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper.Heat 1 Tbsp. each of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Arrange shrimp in skillet, avoiding any overlap; cook 3 minutes, flip, and cook 1 more minute. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.(Note: cook shrimp in two separate batches if skillet isn't large enough.)
- Add remaining 1 Tbsp. each of butter and olive oil to pan. Add shallots and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until aromatic. Add orzo, stir to coat; cook 1 to 2 minutes, to lightly toast grains.Add broth, remaining ½ tsp. salt and ¾ tsp. cracked black pepper; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and gently simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until orzo is al dente and most liquid is absorbed.During the final few minutes, stir in spinach or asparagus. Cover and continue cooking until spinach is wilted (or asparagus is tender with still some bite). Uncover and stir in lemon zest and juice.
- Nestle shrimp back into skillet and garnish with fresh parsley and extra cracked black pepper, if desired.*I also love to garnish this dish with sautéed lemon slices, however it's simply for aesthetics.
- Store: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Reheat: Reheat individual portions in the microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until warmed through. Alternatively, reheat in a skillet with a splash of water or broth to rehydrate the grains.