Cheesy Chicken Orzo

5 from 14 votes
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Quick, delicious, and hearty Cheesy Chicken with Orzo is a meal that everyone loves. A simple recipe prepared with perfectly seared chicken and orzo pasta coated in a creamy and cheesy sauce. It’s ready in under 30 minutes and you’ll only need one pan to get it done! 

spooning out cheesy chicken and orzo from a dutch oven

Cheesy Chicken Orzo

This Cheesy Chicken Orzo is truly one of those dinners that the whole family enjoys. It’s a great, quick meal for those busy weeknights, with deliciously seasoned chicken and risotto-like orzo pasta all stirred through a cheesy sauce that you can’t resist. 

What I really like about this recipe is that it’s a complete dinner in just 30 minutes, AND you get your protein, your carbs, even your veggies, if you choose to throw in some spinach. Totally optional, but recommended. 

close up side shot of cheesy chicken orzo in a white pot

What is Orzo

Orzo is a pasta! It looks like rice, but it’s just tiny bland pasta, and it’s mostly used for texture rather than flavor, which is why it’s fun to play with this pasta. You can flavor it any way you like and you won’t mess it up! 

Is Orzo Healthy?

Orzo is a pasta commonly made with white flour, but for a healthier choice, use whole-wheat orzo which is packed with fiber and protein. 

HOWEVER, if you are trying to exercise some type of self-control-low-cal-portion-size-thingamajigger, then you might have to skip this recipe. But, you shouldn’t. You should just go into that kitchen and make it and eat it and love it. This is incredibly tasty, it will make everyone fight for the last bite!

sauteeing chicken pieces in a dutch oven

Ingredients

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Orzo Pasta
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Seasonings
  • Spinach, optional.

How To Make Cheesy Chicken Orzo

  1. We are going to start with cutting up some chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and sautè those pieces in a dutch oven. If you don’t have a dutch oven, use a large skillet. Remove cooked chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  2. Pour water in the same pot and bring to a boil; add the orzo and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and return orzo to the same pot. 
  3. Stir in the cheese, butter, and milk until completely incorporated. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  4. Stir in the cooked chicken pieces. If using spinach, stir that in, too. 
  5. Serve!

overhead shot of a white dutch oven filled with orzo pasta and chicken

Tips for Making this Chicken and Orzo

  • To make this a one-pot meal, you’ll want to use a dutch oven or something similar to it because you need a pot that will fit enough water to boil the pasta. A 5-quart jumbo cooker is a great alternative.
  • I love adding some veggies to this meal, but if you aren’t up for it, you don’t have to include it. If you want to use something other than baby spinach, I think baby kale or precooked broccoli florets are a perfect addition.
  • When making the sauce, start with 1/2 cup milk, stir and see if it’s as creamy as you prefer it. If not, add more milk, a little bit at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Taste as you go along to make sure that it’s seasoned to your liking. 

How to Store Chicken and Orzo

  • This dish makes great leftovers that my husband likes to take to work the next day. Store your leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

close up shot of spooning out cheesy chicken orzo

More Orzo Recipes

ENJOY!

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5 from 14 votes

Cheesy Chicken Orzo

A tasty dish made with chicken, cheddar cheese and orzo.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts,, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard,, optional
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach,, optional
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Instructions 

  • Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or a 5-quart pan/skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken pieces to the skillet, season with thyme, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until done; about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.
  • Add about 3-quarts of water to the pot; set it over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the orzo and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, or until orzo is tender.
  • Drain.
  • Put the orzo back in the pot and stir in the cheese, milk, butter, and mustard, if using. Continue to stir until smooth, creamy, and well combined. Add more milk if needed to reach desired creamy consistency.
  • Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
  • Stir in the spinach; stir for a minute, or until wilted.
  • Stir in the chicken.
  • Serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 366mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2001IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 265mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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This recipe was originally published on March 15, 2013. Post and Photos updated on October 9, 2020. 

5 from 14 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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53 Comments

  1. Kat2AZ says:

    This is so good and easy to make. My husband doesn’t like spinach so I leave that out, I add blanched broccoli instead. I also add more cheese.

    1. Katerina says:

      Happy to hear you loved it and made it work with broccoli and extra cheese! Thanks for sharing your changes! πŸ™‚

  2. TW says:

    We added chicken and it was ok. I felt like it was a little bland. Is make again, but add some more spices, or a different type of cheese.

  3. Sandra McCollum says:

    This is so amazing!! A new favorite comfort food at my house!

  4. Allyson Zea says:

    This looks like the perfect meal! Thanks for the easy directions!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank YOU! I hope you enjoy it! πŸ™‚

  5. Vikki says:

    Love this delicious comfort food! So creamy and cheesy

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      So happy to hear that! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy it!

  6. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says:

    This Cheesy Chicken with Orzo is looks totally awesome!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it! πŸ™‚

  7. Dorothy Reinhold says:

    This sounds like a tasty and quick meal for a busy weeknight!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! πŸ™‚

      1. Donna Vadas says:

        Can it be frozen?

        1. Katerina says:

          Yes, but when reheating, you may have to add some liquid to loosen up the cheese and get that smoother consistency and texture.