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Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo!! Kind of like risotto, kind of like soup, kind of DELICIOUS…the ultimate bowl of summer comfort. This simple zucchini orzo is made in under 30 minutes, uses just one skillet, and is a great way to use up that summertime zucchini. It’s creamy, garlicky, packed with zucchini, and finished with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. Perfect cozy, summer dinner or easy side, any night of the week. Everyone in the house will enjoy this dish, veggies and all!

overhead photo of Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo with hand on pot

If I could describe this dish in just a few words, I’d tell you that it’s a cross between risotto and soup. It’s not quite as thick or heavy as risotto, but not nearly as soupy as soup. It’s somewhere in between the two, and most importantly?

It. Is. SO GOOD.

It’s comfort in a bowl and clearly I love this recipe. Before I dive into all the details, some background info for you all. Growing up, my mom would make what she called “souper rice”. Basically, it was cream of chicken soup plus a whole lot of rice. So much rice that you really couldn’t call it soup anymore…enter “souper rice”. I can’t fully remember how she made it, but I know it involved minute rice and cream of chicken broth. That might have been it actually. Either way, it was incredibly basic…and yet she loved it. She would eat it with homemade air-popped popcorn on top. Yes, that’s my mom, carb-loving, and all about comfort. And I love her for it.

To this day, “souper rice” is still a food she would happily enjoy if someone were to make just make it a bit healthier.

I actually made my take on “souper rice” a few years back and it’s kind of what inspired today’s recipe. Honestly, I was sitting outside pondering in my head about what I wanted to make. Zucchini was on my mind and so was orzo. I put the two together and this is what I came up with. Then I remembered mom’s “souper rice” and that’s when I decided I was making “souper zucchini orzo”. I knew even before I made it that I was going to love it.

This is SIMPLE. So SUPER SIMPLE, but my gosh, it’s good. It’s what everyone needs a little dish of in their life today.

raw zucchini photo

Also? I sent these photos to my mom, who at the time was driving back to Colorado from California. And immediately her response was…

Yum! ? LOVE❣️

Yep, I copy-pasted that. And when I told her that I gave some of the dish away, she almost panicked that she wouldn’t have any to eat upon getting in at 12 am. I assured her that I saved her plenty. I knew this was her kind of recipe. She literally gave a sigh of relief. Dramatic, but it’s all true.

overhead close up photo of Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo

OK, moving along here.

The details.

As I said, this dish is quick and easy. Start by cooking the butter and garlic together until your kitchen smells amazing, so a minute or so. Add the orzo and plenty of fresh thyme. The garlic and thyme are the big flavors here, so don’t be shy.

Allow the orzo to get a little toasty, then toss in lots of shredded zucchini and a bit of kale too. If you hate kale, not a problem, simply use spinach. If you hate greens, not a problem, leave them out. Next, slowly pour in the chicken broth. For anyone who’s a vegetarian, just go with vegetable broth instead.

Cook the orzo risotto-style, stirring every few minutes until it’s al dente and creamy. This only takes a few minutes, so don’t worry, no standing at the stove for an hour.

Once the orzo is al dente, stir in a splash of milk (I like using canned full coconut milk, it’s delicious, dairy-free, so creamy, and no, you do not taste any coconut) and plenty of fresh parmesan cheese. As you are stirring, smells of garlic, thyme, and parmesan will quickly hit your nose.

It’s wonderful.

Remove from the heat, and simply finish off with fresh thyme. And please, eat immediately. This is meant to be on the soupy side, meaning there should still be broth around the orzo. The orzo will soak the broth up if it sits too long. So enjoy it right away it will be just perfect.

And that’s it. Enjoy a bowl topped with fresh thyme and settle into a cozy summer meal. Yes, meal, I know this might be considered more of a side dish, but around here, this is dinner.

overhead close up photo of Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo in cooking pot

If you’d like to make this a little heartier, try adding a fried or soft boiled egg.

Alternately, if you’d like to serve this as a side, that works great too. I’d recommend my favorite creamed corn chicken, this colorful creamed spinach salmon, a simple roasted chicken, or even a grilled steak. Any of these would be delicious paired with this orzo.

What I love most? Even though this is best right off the stove, the leftovers are still so good. The orzo becomes more like risotto and when heated up, it makes the perfect lunch the next day. Love a dish that you can enjoy for dinner one night and lunch the following day!

overhead photo of Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo in serving bowl

OH, and of course, how could I forget. This is a great way to get in your vegetables and use up all the zucchini you have growing in the garden.

Or maybe you just picked up a few too many zucchini at the market, this is your dish. Biggest bonus? Your kids will love this too, just tell them the green specs are herbs. Or maybe double the parmesan, in my book adding more cheese is always a good idea…whether you’re a kid or an adult.

overhead photo of Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo

If you make this souper creamy lemon butter cheesy zucchini orzo be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch The How To Video:

Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 328 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and garlic, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the orzo, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and kale, cooking another 2-3 minutes, until wilted. Add the 1/2 cup broth and de-glaze the pan. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, onion powder and season with salt and pepper. Slowly continue to pour in the remaining 2 1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer 8-10 minutes until the orzo is al dente, stirring often. It should become very creamy.
    2. Stir in the milk, parmesan, and parsley, cook another few minutes until warmed through. As the orzo thickens up on you, add additional broth to thin. It should be creamy, but with just a touch of liquid.
    3. Divide the orzo among bowls and top with fresh thyme...add additional butter...and parmesan, if desired. Hint? It's very desirable...


Gluten Free Orzo: I love DeLallo brand gluten free orzo
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  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and I loved it!
    I used mushrooms instead of spinach and 2% milk since that’s what I had. My kids (5 & 7) didn’t like the lemon flavor, but I did! Maybe next time I would add less or omit the lemon for them. I also had grilled chicken breast to go with it and it was perfect together.
    Bonus… I have so much leftover to have for lunch this week!

    1. Hey Kaara,
      Fantastic!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! 💕Tieghan

  2. This was delicious. I never knew how to cook orzo so that it is not tasteless :). Will definitely repeat. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hey there,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thank you so much for giving it a try!! Have the best day:) xx

    1. Hey Courtney,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! 🌺xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is the best!! We loved it – I used the coconut milk and followed Tieghan’s instructions to a tee – served it with sliced seared chicken sausage. I will be making this again soon…

    1. Hi Katie,
      Happy Wednesday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go!! ☘️Tieghan

  4. Full of flavor!
    I didn’t have Zucchini or kale so I added frozen Broccoli florets and fresh baby Spinach.

    1. Hi Nicole,
      Fantastic!! I love to hear that the recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try. Have the best week:)) xT

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe has the best flavour! Making another batch this week. Can’t get enough of the fresh lemon taste 🤤 adding fresh feta on top this time 🤩

    1. Hi Kacey,
      Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xx

  6. 5 stars
    Had zucchini that I wasn’t sure what to do with, and was out of onions- this recipe came to the rescue! I veganized it by using miyokos butter, nondairy milk, and vegan parm. Was still absolutely delicious. I recommend having at least 4, maybe 5 cups of broth handy to keep it nice and saucy.

    1. Hey Nat,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it!! Have the best day:) xx

  7. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this! I was nervous as I was making it that the flavor wouldn’t hit the spot for me but it’s delicious! I added a little extra lemon bc I LOVE lemon and it’s so good! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  8. Do you think this meal is freezer friendly like the One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake? Looks so awesome. Going to try it either way!

    1. Hi Cassie,
      My worry with freezing this dish is that it would become soggy and no longer “soupy”. Let me know if you give the recipe a try! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and added chicken – Delicious and so easy with only one pan and a chopping board to clean up!

    1. Hey there,
      I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! Have a great week! xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    So easy and delicious! I love making this to have for lunch throughout the week. Even my toddler gobbles it up!

  11. 5 stars
    Delicious! I love zucchini however, it is not my spouse’s favorite. He loved this! The flavors were perfect and the whole thing came together very quickly. I will be adding to our weekly rotation. Thanks for this recipe!

  12. This was delicious! I had the heat up a bit too high so my Orzo stuck to the pan a bit but other than that, all went well for a first time making this. We had it for a midday holiday lunch on a stormy day, just divine! I am looking forward to adding this to my regular meal prep/lunches for work roster.

    1. Hey there! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Have a lovely week! xTieghan

  13. This is the perfect side dish with marinated grilled chicken. Who am I kidding it’s an amazing dish period! This dish packs so much flavor, you’ll keep going back for more.

    1. Hey April,
      Fantastic! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have a great weekend☀️ xTieghan