One Pot Chicken and Orzo

DinnerBudgetQuick and EasyOrzo

One pot chicken and orzo with onions, tomato, garlic. Delicious! Quick and easy too.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Featured in 13 Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals with Chicken Broth

A few months ago my wonderful mother made what I thought was Spanish rice (a favorite around here, basically a rice pilaf with tomato) but instead of browning rice to start the pilaf, she browned orzo pasta.

Brilliant! It was so incredibly good. Silky and savory like our sopa seca de fideo angel hair dish, but with little rice-shaped orzo pasta. The browning of the orzo adds a toasty nutty flavor to the pasta.

So, I thought I would step the idea up a notch and make something akin to arroz con pollo, except with pasta instead of the arroz. It would be “Orzo con Pollo.”

Video! How to Make One Pot Chicken and Orzo

It’s a winner! And the best part? Aside from it being absolutely can’t-stop-eating delicious, is that it’s really easy to make, all in one large skillet.

First you brown the chicken, then brown the orzo in the rendered fat, and then add some onions and garlic. Add the chicken back to the pasta, pour in some stock and crushed tomatoes, cover and cook until the pasta has absorbed the liquid.

You can do most of the prep while the chicken is browning, so the whole shebang takes maybe 35 minutes.

Skillet Chicken and Orzo

One Pot Chicken and Orzo Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

To save time, while the chicken is browning, prep the onion, garlic, and parsley.

You can easily swap out the thighs for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Depending on the size of the pieces you may want to cut them in half.

If you use boneless, skinless thighs or breasts do not brown them as long in the first step. They will not need as much cooking time as the bone-in, skin-on thighs.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cups (12 ounces or 340 g) orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes (including juices)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

1 Prep and salt the chicken: Trim the chicken thighs of excess skin and fat. Sprinkle both sides with a little salt.

2 Brown the chicken thighs: Heat olive oil and melt butter on medium high heat in a large skillet (large enough to fit all of the chicken pieces) to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, pat the chicken pieces dry on both sides with paper towels and place skin-side down in the pan. Let cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken has browned on one side.

Then turn the chicken pieces over and cook for another 4 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan, set aside.

3 Brown the orzo pasta, add onions, garlic: Add the orzo pasta to the pan. Stir to coat and let the pasta brown. Once the orzo starts to brown, stir in the chopped onions.

Reduce the heat to medium and let cook, stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook a half minute more.

4 Stir together stock  tomatoes, salt, pepper: In a large measuring cup, stir together the chicken stock, crushed tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

5 Add back chicken, pour stock mixture over orzo: Place the chicken pieces skin-side up, on top of the orzo.

Pour the stock tomato mixture over the orzo. Increase heat to medium high and let the stock in the pan come to a full boil.

6 Cover and cook: Lower the heat to the lowest heat you need to maintain a bare simmer. Cover and let cook until the orzo has completely absorbed the liquid and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Taste for salt and pepper and add more if needed. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley to serve.

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Links:

Spanish Rice here on Simply Recipes

Arroz con Pollo here on Simply Recipes

Cheesy Chicken Orzo from Diethood

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup from She Wears Many Hats

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

122 Comments / Reviews

No ImageOne Pot Chicken and Orzo

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kate

    Unfortunately, the recipe did not work out for us. So wish it did because of all the great reviews. Did I do something wrong? Our chicken was not cooked through. Maybe the chicken thighs we had were too thick? We followed the instructions to a T. Seasoning was also a little lacking which is just a matter of preference for us, but def could’ve used some more seasoning on the chicken and more in the orzo, garlic powder, maybe Italian seasoning. If I try this again, I might bake the chicken separately to finish cooking the inside and keep the skin crispy.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  2. Emily

    What a delicious recipe. Crowd pleaser for my picky boyfriend and I! (We have total opposite tastes) it was so quick and easy to make too.
    – Added red pepper flake
    -Used onions & shallots & touch of garlic powder (didn’t have garlic!)
    -mixed tomato paste into chicken stock instead of chopped tomatoes (it’s all I had)
    – shredded the chicken at the end and mixed together
    (Would be great with the addition of celery!)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. jackie

    ive made this 15+ times and is always a hit!! seriously so good! I add chili flakes.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  4. Marissa

    I only had boneless skinless thighs other than that this recipe was absolutely delicious!!! Definitely making this again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Sam

    The family did love it. However (and it’s a big however), I would not waste the time browning the skin on the thighs again. After pan frying they were nice and crispy, but after 20 minutes of cooking on top of the liquid with a lid on, the sking just turned to mush. This was a great recipie for sure, but next time will just use boneless and skinless thighs, or as my son suggested, shredded chicken. Otherwise, the pan was cleaned out so that is a good sign and will make again with different chicken.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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Skillet Chicken and OrzoOne Pot Chicken and Orzo