One Pot Chicken and Orzo

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.

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

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
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) 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.

skillet-chicken-orzo-method-1 skillet-chicken-orzo-method-2

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.

skillet-chicken-orzo-method-3 skillet-chicken-orzo-method-4

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.

skillet-chicken-orzo-method-5 skillet-chicken-orzo-method-6

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.

skillet-chicken-orzo-method-7

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

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Comments

  • Gie Chung

    Delicious, quick and easy! My whole family loved it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Renee

    Easy, fast, and full of flavor. My family loves this meal!! I change it up a bit by adding capers – I love the acidity. And at the very end of cooking time – I add spinach. So yummy!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Catherine

    Can you freeze this dish?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Catherine! That’s a good question! The chicken would freeze just fine, but I’m concerned that the orzo might not freeze that well. Pasta can be kind of tricky to freeze and can end up mushy when thawed. You could always freeze the chicken on its own. If you do end up freezing the orzo, let us know how it works out? I’d be curious to know!

  • Toni Ann

    Just made this, Loved it! So easy and flavorful! I added spinach at the last couple of minutes and Parmesan. I’m curious as to what u think if I made this in an Instant Pot and how to change the timing. Thank u

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Toni Ann! I feel like this recipe would take a bit of adapting to make it work in the Instant Pot. If you want to experiment, you could try cooking it all together for 15 minutes at high pressure — that’s how long it should take for the chicken to cook through. Let us know if it turns out!

  • Ellen

    Made this last night! Very tasty even my picky kids ate it!! Only thing is was way too much orzo for us! Next time I will make a 1/2. Portion ! I also used bone less breast!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Johanna

      Did you use skinless boneless breasts and how long did you cook?

  • Emily

    We make this all the time, usually as it’s written, sometimes substituting canned tomatoes, turkey stock, leg quarters, etc. It’s a family favorite!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Joy

    Hi Elise can this dish be cooked in advance and re-heated on the day? Also, would chicken wings work just as well? Want to serve this as a side dish at a bbq which will already have other cuts of chicken. Thank you

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Joy! I think this would reheat ok! I’d sprinkling another 1/4 cup or so of broth over the top of the dish, cover it with aluminum foil and reheat in a 350F oven until warmed through. And yes, I think you could use chicken wings! They will finish cooking a little more quickly than the thighs, but it’s ok if they cook a little longer if the orzo isn’t quite ready yet. Enjoy!

  • andrea

    Can I use 3 chicken breasts instead? Will it change the timing? Thanks!

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Andrea! Emma here, managing editor. Yes, you should be able to swap in chicken breasts! Here is what Elise has to say about it in the Recipe Note: “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.” I’d recommend using a digital thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken; when you hit 165F in the thickest part, they’re ready. Enjoy!

  • Megan Duffett

    Can I use normal rice instead of Orzo for this dish?

  • Bonnie

    I made this as written last week as I love chicken thighs. Totally easy and extremely tasty and pretty enough for company. This will be added to my repertoire. Thanks for the great recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Hannah

    I’m a college kid and I made this dish for a few of my friends tonight. It was super easy, quick, and a big hit with everyone! Thanks for the great recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Coco

    I made this last night and it was a hit with the family! I used chicken breasts that I cut in half length wise. I added a couple of tablespoons of Rotel and some Trader Joes Bruschetta and then added the designated crushed tomatoes with the chicken stock. It turned out great and the orzo was so yummy.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Jessica

    Would a cast iron skillet be a good idea for this recipe?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jessica, good question! I don’t usually use a cast iron skillet when there is an acidic item like tomatoes involved, since the acid leaches iron from the pan. That said, if your cast iron pan is well seasoned, you should be fine.

  • Kathy

    Delicious; the chicken is excellent, and you can not stop eating the orzo!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Parie

    I love your site but have never left a comment before. I felt I just had to say something about this recipe. It is so good! I have made it often. Sometimes I have used chopped tomatoes with chillies which give a nice heat to the dish and I have also used whole wheat orzo which in my opinion has an even nuttier flavor. Thanks for a delicious and super easy recipe!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Parie, thanks for commenting! I’m delighted you like the recipe.

  • LOU TUFANO

    I made this last nite even though I messed it up a little bit it came out great I will make it again your way.

  • Nessie

    Thanks for the recipe! Super easy and delicious, what’s not to love? Reading the comments hurts my head though. Seems like following simple directions is an impossible feat for some people lol…

    • Chris

      A bit harsh – many people are novices or new to cooking.

  • Scott

    I’ve fairly recently discovered cooking, and the internet is of course great for recipes- however I’ve noticed lots of inconsistencies in the ingredients and directions for many recipes – being a relative novice I kind of need things spelled out for me

    For example, this recipie ingredient list would benefit by specifying UNCOOKED orzo (and 2 cups of orzo I believe is 12 oz which is a standard box size at stores )
    Also one standard sized 14.5 oz can of crushed (or diced) is more than enough for 3/4 cup
    And approximately how long to “brown” the orzo would be helpful

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Scott, thank you for your feedback! As a matter of course, when reading recipes, you can assume that when a pasta recipe calls for pasta in the ingredients, it is calling for uncooked pasta, unless it specifies “cooked”. Same for rice. As for how long to brown the orzo? As long as it takes for the orzo to brown. Stoves vary in their heat output. High on one stove can be medium on another.

  • Ade

    Hi Elise,

    Is it possible to change the pasta to rice? Does the cooking time will be different if I change to that? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Ade, you’ll need to cook the rice longer. Check out our Arroz con Pollo recipe (Rice with Chicken), which is essentially the same recipe as this one, but with rice instead of orzo.

      • Ade

        Hi Elise,

        Thanks for your input and suggestion, will try this recipe next week after Christmas.
        Happy holiday to you & your family!

        p.s.: been an silent reader of your website since 2007 when I’m still a college girl. and it’s really a pleasure looking up to your recipes

  • Bill

    Tried this one tonight it was great will be doing it again.

  • Morgan

    I made this last night AND IT WAS DELICIOUS! I used 1.5 medium sized fresh tomatoes & the whole (16 oz) box of orzo, I hated to leave 4 oz just hanging out in the pantry. Thanks for such a delicious and easy dinner option. It really was perfection.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Joyce Alpert

    this dish is labor intensive. the chicken got cold on the plate while I fixed the orzo. Also way too much fat in the finished product. Made it once but never again

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joyce, since you add the chicken back to the orzo and cook it further, I don’t understand how the chicken could be cold.

  • Peg Pierce

    I have to assumed 3/4 can of tomatoes is a large can.
    Looking forward to making this.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Peg, the amount, as listed in the ingredient list, is 3/4 of a cup.

  • Caroline

    Could I use diced tomatoes instead of crushed?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Caroline, yes, you can easily used diced tomatoes instead of crushed.

  • Jenna

    Question – my measuring cup equates 8 oz to 1 cup, 16 oz to 2. So should I measure out 12 oz of orzo, or 2 cups? Thank you!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jenna, those ounce to cup measurements are fluid ounces, a volume not a weight measure. 12 ounces by weight of orzo measures out to about 2 cups in volume.

  • Pippa

    Absolutely delicious- clean plates all round! Thank you so much for the inspiration, that was so straightforward!

    • Elise Bauer

      I’m so glad you liked it Pippa, it’s one of my favorites!

      • Pelagia johnston

        In my country we make it all the time mmmmm mmmmm good

        • Pelagia johnston

          Actually the way I do it is after i brown the chicken then I sauté the onions and then I add the orzo(kritharaki)Greekif you wanted it to remain the nice golden colour you can make it with beef you can make it with lamb I even make it with a can of flakes of ham.

  • Heather

    This dish is fabulous. I made it tonight and followed the recipe precisely w/ one addition: a teaspoon or so of Trader Joe’s Smoked Paprika. Everyone in the family raved about the dish – it’s a keeper!

    • Brian

      Smoked paprika is an excellent idea!

  • Lola

    This was really good. The guys loved it. I just thought it was a tad to salty, but that’s just me. I also had to cook it an extra ten minutes but is was easy and fast!! Thanks for a great recipe!A

  • Ashley

    Since I’ve discovered this recipe, I’ve already made it three times! And I always end up doubling the recipe! It tastes THAT good. I cut up chicken breast instead of thighs and they taste great! Would deginitely make this again.

  • Ala

    Is it only me, for whom the last simmering step took good 37 minutes? The timing wasn’t accurate for some reason – even though I measured my ingredients, and followed every step.
    Nevertheless, the dish is outrageously amazing! And it was worth every single minute of waiting! Thank you so much for his wonderful recipe!

    • ADRIAN HILL

      I have made this recipe several times and my family loves it! Its in my heavy rotation now. I had long cooking times the first time when I used a non stick skillet and didn’t cover it. I started using a deep cast iron and covering it with a lid and it’s all done in 15-20. Hope that helps!

      xxxxxyyyyy

    • Gabby

      I had an issue with the cooking time too in a Le creuset Dutch oven no less. And then the orzo was sticking to the bottom but the chicken wasn’t done. Will brown the chicken longer and add more fluid next time.

  • Tracie

    I didn’t have diced tomatoes so I used salsa. What a extra kick. My kids loved it and it was so easy

  • Theresa R

    This recipe is A MUST having a very picky family makes is quite difficult to try new dishes. This recipe was simply enough to please everyones Pallet. excellent flavors, very easy to make and EVERYONE gave it the thumbs up! Looking forward to the leftovers

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Cat McIntyre

    I want to make this dish for 30 people and hope it could be baked after the browning steps. Could you suggest an oven temperature and time?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Cat, you got me on that one. No idea for a batch that large.

      • Lyndel

        You will have to use a equation to increase the recipe
        It’s old/new = 6/ 30. The answer is then multiple by the amount of each ingredient in the recipe and it will give u the amount of ingredients you will need to cook this dish for 30 people.

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Lyndel, scaling the ingredients isn’t hard, it’s the figuring out how to cook such a large batch.

  • Leigh Dewis

    My kids love drumsticks–would they work in this recipe? Can’t wait to try this!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Leigh, yes, I think the recipe would work fine with drumsticks. Hope the kids like it!

  • Chelsea Tederick

    I used your recipe and it is spot on!!! I had to interchange a few ingredients which made me nervous, however, it was my first time using Orzo and I was thrilled to find your recipe and even more happy to find out how simple and delicious it turned out. Thank you!!

  • Rebecca Wilson

    This recipe sounds delicious and I’m wondering if I could substitute couscous for orzo using basically the same method. What do you think?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rebecca, I don’t know about browning the couscous, never tried it, but just making the recipe with couscous instead, and using the appropriate amount of liquid for couscous, might work fine.

  • Michael

    Flavors here are delicious! I used cayenne as an addition with the stock. Be careful with using bone in chicken breasts though – I cooked ~6 mins longer early on and the meat still turned out pretty raw

  • Crystal

    Sounds so good. I’m making this for dinner tonight. In the pictures , after step 2 is that first picture a different dish?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Crystal, no, all of the photos are taken of the same pan.

  • Christie

    This was absolutely fantastic. What a great weeknight meal. Have made it several times already, with variations and every time my teen sons eat it ALL. Thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Suzy lee

    Does the orzo go in uncooked or cooked prior to adding it to the dish?

  • Jessica

    I tried this with Mexican Tortilla broth (Swanson’s) instead of the chicken stock the second time, and it was incredible!!!

  • Hugh Pastoriza

    I made this recipe for my family while staying at a resort in a small, ill equipped kitchen. We brought our cast iron and the ingredients and it turned out terrific, was super easy to put together and my finicky boys raved. Leftovers were likewise awesome! This is part of our regular lineup now- Thanks Elise!

  • Vicki

    I am always looking for a different way to make chicken. I liked the idea of pasta vs rice. Since we had had the Mint Ricotta Stuffed Shells last night I eliminated the crushed tomatoes and also I used boneless, skinless thighs. Even taking liberties with the recipe I want to report it was DELICIOUS! My hungry man loved it! I will definitely add this to the list of our favorite meals.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Vicki, I’m so glad you liked it! Good to know it works even without the crushed tomatoes.

  • Reir

    What I really like about this food blog that it contains recipes for the everyday cook, that can be tweaked to your taste and are so absolutely delicious. This recipe, just like lots of others on this site, was absolutely delicious, easy and quick to put together, and the fact that it is a one pot meal is a huge bonus point. Thank you very much for sharing this, my family (incl. two toddlers) loved it!

  • Dave

    I made this last night as written and it was fantastic. I did need to add additional liquid near the end as the orzo started to stick to the stainless steel pan I used. Maybe I should have used a non stick pan. Thanks for a great and easy recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ann Marie Jaen

    Made this tonight and it definitely a keeper.

  • Laila

    This was very good! I didn’t change a thing. The only thing I would do differently next time is add some chili flakes, peas and perhaps a little basil. Otherwise, very tasty and better the following day. Thank you Elise for a good recipe!

  • Vanessa

    This was excellent, Elise! Another keeper. I added mushrooms and peas to my mixture, which added another layer of flavor and some pretty color, but otherwise followed your instructions. Delicious! I, too, grew up eating the Spanish rice made by (in my case) my grandmother, and this was a lovely variation of that. Thanks for this wonderful, and somewhat nostalgic, dish and memory. :)

  • Inez

    Wow, made this lasr night & was fabulous. It is a keeper!

  • Reen B

    Saved this knowing not-how-many girls would be coming to my daughter’s sleepover tonight, and got the ingredients today (bone-in chicken thighs on sale for $1.16/lb today at the market , bonus!). So simple, cheap and hearty, and will feed however many kids show up at random times. Thank you for another lifesaver, Elise and Mom!

  • Amie

    I’m a working mom and I try to cook healthy, quick meals 5 days a week that everyone will eat. Thank you for this unique yet simple recipe that even got a yum out of my 4 year old!

  • Biran

    Totally embracing the “Orzo con Pollo” name for this and plan on making it for dinner tonight. I’d offer feedback afterwards, but I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve tried here.

  • Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures

    What a delicious one pot meal!

  • Rebecca R Soley

    Just wondering if you removed the oil after browning the chicken and before you added the orzo. I decided to remove most of it but left a little on the bottom of the pan. I’m cooking it right now and can hardly wait for the last 10 minutes of cooking! Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rebecca, because I trimmed a lot of excess fat and excess skin from the thighs, I probably only had an additional tablespoon of fat in the pan (plus some of the juices), so I didn’t remove. The fat really helps the orzo brown and it’s great for flavor. That said, drain out as much of the fat as you like, as long as you can still brown the orzo without it sticking to the pan.

  • Addy

    Made this for dinner….loved, loved, loved it! Plenty of left overs too! Thanks for posting.

  • Lori @ RecipeGirl

    I need to make this for my family this weekend. So delicious and I love the easy cleanup of one pan dishes.

  • Lynn

    Looks like a very easy and tasty dish. Can’t wait to try. I may even add some fresh or frozen peas

  • Maheep

    Can I remove the skin? Not into eating chicken with skin.

  • Judy B.

    Okay, just added orzo to the grocery list. We’ve often used it in chicken soup, but this looks amazing. Hubby wants it for dinner this week! Thanks for yet another easy and unique recipe that doesn’t take hours to make. Fast food doesn’t have to be boring or unhealthy. :-)

    • Judy B.

      Had to add a comment here. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to postpone making this dish until tonight, and oh, boy, what a fantastic meal! Followed the recipe as written except for using stewed tomatoes instead of plain, because that’s what I had on hand, dried parsley instead of fresh, and I added some red pepper flakes. It amazes me that so few ingredients can make such a flavorful dish. Start to finish, about 45 minutes. Since my hubby loved it so much, we will be making it again very soon. He wants to try it with pork chops, too! Thanks, Elise! It was delicious!

      xxxxxyyyyy

      • Elise Bauer

        Hi Judy, I’m so glad you liked it! Good to know about your substitutions, thanks!

  • Liz

    Yum – thank you.

  • Helen

    Not a lover of thighs, would chicken breasts bone in take longer time?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Helen, if anything breasts should take less time to cook than the thighs, assuming you have cut them into the size of a typical thigh. Otherwise, it should take about the same amount of time, maybe a little longer depending on how chilled the chicken pieces are that you are using.