This creamy chicken orzo is a cheesy, velvety one-pot dish that’s comfort food at its best. It has tender chicken and orzo smothered in a creamy Parmesan sauce and you can have it on the table in 30 minutes!
Creamy chicken orzo is a homey and comforting one-pot recipe that’s super easy to make and tastes like a real treat.
It’s the perfect dish to make on those days when you don’t feel like cooking something complicated but still want to tuck into a bowl of deliciousness.
Orzo (or risoni as it’s also called) may look like rice but it’s actually pasta. This means that even though this chicken and orzo dish looks a bit like risotto, it’s much quicker to make.
I personally love it with just a bit of half-and-half (single cream) and lots of freshly grated Parmesan.
For a thicker sauce, you can use heavy cream (double cream). Keep in mind, however, that the chicken orzo thickens naturally as it cools down.
Why you’ll love this creamy chicken orzo
- Extra creamy and comforting
- Easy to make in one pot
- The perfect fuss-free meal for any season
What goes into this chicken orzo recipe
Chicken — I make this recipe with lean chicken breast, but if you prefer darker meat, boneless chicken thighs also work.
You can also make this orzo dish with rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey.
Shallot — The mellow flavor of shallot is perfect in this dish but you can also use regular yellow onion, too.
Garlic — Feel free to adjust the garlic quantity to your liking. I like to add at least two plump garlic cloves.
If you don’t have any fresh herbs on hand, you can use 2 teaspoons of Italian herbs mix instead.
Orzo — As mentioned above, orzo may look like rice, but it’s actually pasta. It does a great job at absorbing flavors, and it cooks in just 10-12 minutes over a gentle simmer. So much easier than rice!
Chicken stock — Use the best quality chicken stock you can because it really makes a difference.
Baby spinach — This adds extra vitamins and brightness to the chicken orzo.
Lemon juice — Freshly squeezed lemon juice infuses loads of fresh flavor into the orzo.
Half and half (single cream) — I add a bit of half and half (single cream in the UK) for a bit of extra creaminess.
How to make creamy lemon chicken orzo
Add the chicken breast and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until slightly golden. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
To the same pan, add the shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme and oregano and continue to cook for another minute.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the orzo is al dente.
Stir in the baby spinach and lemon juice and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Add the half and half and stir to combine. Simmer for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens, then add the cooked chicken and grated Parmesan.
Season to taste and serve immediately, with some extra grated Parmesan on top if you like.
Recipe notes and tips
- Add some sliced mushrooms or frozen peas to this chicken orzo for extra flavor and nutritious goodness.
- This dish is best served immediately, and it pairs great with a crisp, dry white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc.
- You can substitute the orzo with other small pasta, such as ditalini or stelline.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) butter
- 1 lb (450 g) chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 10.5 oz (300 g) orzo
- 4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 cups (75 g) baby spinach
- ½ cup (100 ml) half and half (single cream)
- ⅓ cup (30 g) Parmesan, grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan and melt the butter in it.
- Add the chicken breast and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until slightly golden. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
- To the same pan, add the shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme and oregano and continue to cook for another minute.
- Add the orzo, toast it for a minute, and then pour in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the orzo is al dente.
- Stir in the baby spinach and lemon juice and simmer for 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Add the half and half and stir to combine. Simmer for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens, then add the cooked chicken and grated Parmesan.
- Season to taste and serve immediately, with some extra grated Parmesan on top if you like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 412Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 497mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 34g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.