This cheesy and delicious recipe for Creamy Parmesan Chicken Orzo is sure to be a new family favorite! It’s an easy one pan dinner that you can make any night of the week.
An Easy and Delicious Chicken Orzo Dinner Recipe
Some people think that orzo is rice because they look similar, but it is pasta! Of course, you can make this recipe with rice if you like. It will just take longer to cook and resemble a risotto. I promise that you will fall in love with the texture of Orzo! The parmesan and garlic add so much bold flavor and richness to this meal. However, one of my favorite ingredients is sun dried tomatoes. I love their texture, and they add a subtle pop of color. Sometimes I like to garnish with chopped parsley for freshness, too.
The best part, I think, is that my kids actually enjoy it, too. It’s different from what they typically enjoy eating, but they love alfredo, and this is almost like a fun and creative twist to it!
What You’ll Need for Chicken Orzo
These are all of the ingredients that you will need to make this chicken orzo recipe. They’re easy to find and inexpensive.
- Olive Oil
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: These need to be cut into bite-sized pieces before you cook them.
- Kosher Salt & Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Sweet Onion: I used a small onion that measures to be about a cup.
- Orzo Pasta
- Sun Dried Tomatoes: I like the ones packed in oil. They are available whole, halved, or julienned. The halved sundried tomatoes are the easiest to dice.
- Chicken Stock: Chicken broth can also be used.
- Half and Half: You can swap this for heavy cream, but I find it makes the sauce too rich.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated is always superior. It melts and tastes better than the pre-grated parmesan.
- Baby Spinach
How to Make Chicken Orzo
Following these step-by-step directions will help you execute this recipe perfectly. I promise that it’s so easy!
- Step 1. Do all of your prep work. Cut your chicken breasts, dice onion and sundried tomatoes, and mince the garlic. Set everything aside for when it’s time to add them to the pan.
- Step 2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, chicken breast pieces, half of the kosher salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes or until it starts to brown and cook on all sides. The chicken will not be fully cooked yet.
- Step 3. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the diced onion. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the orzo and toast it for 2-3 minutes. Make sure to stir it constantly. If the pan becomes dry, add a little more olive oil.
- Step 4. Return the chicken to the pan and add the garlic and sundried tomatoes. Pour in the chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium. Bring it to a simmer.
- Step 5. Allow the orzo to simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Leave the pan uncovered. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent the orzo from sticking.
- Step 6. When the stock is fully absorbed, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the half and half. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes to thicken.
- Step 7. When the half and half is absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Add the spinach once the cheese has melted. The residual heat will wilt the spinach in about 1-2 minutes.
- Step 8. Taste test for seasoning and add the remaining salt and ground black pepper as needed. Enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- After you sear the chicken and remove it from the pan, place it in a bowl. This way you can catch all of the juices and seasoning. It adds even more flavor to the orzo. Chicken thighs can also be used or to save time, use a rotisserie chicken and skip the “cooking the chicken” step.
- Following this recipe will cook the orzo al dente. Add a splash more chicken stock or half and half, and cook for a couple more minutes if you want it softer. Make sure to do this before adding the parmesan.
- Instead of chicken, I sometimes like to use shrimp. Cook the shrimp separately from the orzo and add it at the end. It cooks fast and becomes rubbery when overcooked.
More Easy Pasta Dinners
- Creamy Shrimp Pasta
- Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta
- Meatball Pasta Bake
- Marry Me Chicken
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Crack Chicken Stuffed Shells
Creamy Chicken Orzo Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 small sweet onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups dried orzo pasta (one 1 pound box)
- 10 sundried tomato halves
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 handfuls baby spinach (about 2-3 ounces)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Dice the onion and sundried tomatoes. Mince the garlic.
- Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Sauté the chicken for about 5-6 minutes, until it is opaque on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion has softened. If the pan is starting to get dry, add a little more olive oil. Add the orzo to the pan and toast it, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes.
- Return the chicken to the pan with the minced garlic and diced sundried tomatoes. Add the chicken stock. Turn the heat down to medium, and bring the stock to a simmer. Allow the orzo to simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes, until almost all the stock is absorbed. Stir frequently so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the chicken stock is almost fully absorbed, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the half and half. Simmer for about 4-5 more minutes.
- Once the half and half is almost fully absorbed, remove the orzo from the heat. Add the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and stir to incorporate it throughout the pasta. When the Parmesan is melted, add the baby spinach and stir again for 1-2 minutes. The residual heat in the pasta will wilt the spinach.
- Taste the orzo, and add the remaining salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.