Chicken Orzo Recipe

5 from 5 votes
Pin RecipeJump to RecipeComments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This rich and savory chicken orzo recipe is loaded with juicy chicken pieces, fresh asparagus, and ripe tomatoes tossed together with tender orzo pasta in a creamy sauce.

Close up of creamy chicken orzo with asparagus and tomatoes in a large pot with a spoon.


 

This family favorite chicken orzo dish, featuring crisp asparagus and juicy, ripe tomatoes, is not only simple to prepare but also bursting with flavors and textures. I came up with this recipe when I ran out of rice and decided to use orzo instead. Who knew it’d be this good?! I had no idea, but here we are. And then, another time, I only had chicken thighs on hand, so I added those, and it turned out even better!

It’s the perfect solution for an easy weeknight dinner that’s sure to please the entire family. It even leaves you with delicious leftovers for the days to come.

Why We Love This Creamy Chicken Orzo Recipe

Quick and cozy. Have a huge bowl of comforting chicken orzo ready in under an hour. This recipe is one of the best throw-it-together dinners for weeknights.

Rich, creamy sauce. Enjoy a rich and creamy sauce that perfectly coats all the ingredients in this dish. It’s easy to make and packed with a robust Parmesan flavor.

Customizable. You can customize this dish with your preferred pasta, vegetables, proteins, etc. If you have extra ingredients hanging out in the fridge, this recipe is the perfect way to use them.

Side overhead view of a bowl of creamy chicken orzo with asparagus and tomatoes.

What Is Orzo?

Orzo is a type of pasta made from durum wheat or semolina flour, the same flour used to make couscous and most Italian pasta. Orzo is a little chewy, with a subtle, nutty taste. You’ll find orzo in a lot of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, and it’s a popular pairing with chicken, as in chicken in a pot with lemon orzo and chicken orzo soup.

Overhead view of all the ingredients that will be used to make chicken orzo.

Ingredients You’ll Need

To create this chicken and orzo recipe, you’ll need a handful of fresh ingredients. Gather your orzo pasta, chicken breasts, veggies, and a few pantry staples to make this creamy meal.

  • Orzo Pasta: You can use whole wheat orzo or white flour orzo, cooked according to the package directions.
  • Chicken: Skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into even-sized cubes.
  • Veggies: Fresh chopped asparagus and ripe cherry tomatoes or any veggies of your choosing.
  • Olive Oil, Butter, and Flour: You’ll whisk them together to form a roux, which is the base for your cream sauce.
  • Chicken Broth: I recommend low-sodium chicken broth, or you can also use vegetable broth.
  • Milk: You can use whole milk, 2%, or skim milk.
  • Parmesan: Freshly shredded is best.

How to Make Chicken Orzo

Creating this delicious dinner is easier than you think! Follow these simple steps to make a cozy meal that combines tender chicken, buttery orzo, fresh veggies, and a creamy parmesan sauce.

  1. Boil the orzo. In a large pot of salted water, boil the orzo to al dente.
  2. Cook the chicken and veggies. Meanwhile, sauté the chicken pieces and asparagus in a large skillet with oil. When the chicken is browned, stir in the cherry tomatoes. Set the skillet aside.
  3. Make the sauce. In a separate pan, whisk together flour with melted butter and oil to create a roux. Add chicken broth and milk. Lastly, take the pan off the heat and stir in your grated parmesan cheese.
  4. Combine. Drain the cooked orzo, and add it to the sauce with your chicken, asparagus, and tomatoes. Stir everything together, season to taste, and serve!

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Use leftover chicken. If you already have cooked leftover rotisserie chicken or poached chicken on hand, it makes this recipe even quicker!
  • To cook orzo, you’ll boil it in a pot and drain it the same as you would any other kind of pasta. Most orzo cooks al dente (with a bite) in about 8 minutes.
  • Salt the pasta water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water you’ll use to cook your orzo. The key to flavorful pasta is well-seasoned pasta water.
  • Add lemon. Stir in some fresh lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice to boost the flavors.
  • Different veggies. In place of asparagus, try broccoli florets, celery, carrots, kale, peas, or any other vegetable you have on hand. You might also like this cheesy chicken orzo recipe with fresh spinach.
  • Different protein. In place of chicken, try steak bites or air fryer meatballs. Crumble in some cooked, smoky bacon for extra flavor. Or, try this one pot shrimp with orzo.
  • Herbs. Sprinkle in Italian seasoning, or fresh herbs like parsley, basil, oregano, or cilantro. Add crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
Creamy chicken orzo with asparagus and tomatoes in a large pot with a spoon.

What Can I Substitute For Orzo

  • Pasta: Make this recipe with penne, fusilli, rigatoni, or long pasta varieties like spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine.
  • Gluten-free: The best gluten-free substitutes for orzo are arborio rice, quinoa, or millet.
  • Grain-free: Replace orzo with prepared cauliflower rice or lentils.
  • Other: Try another grain, like farro and pearl barley.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Orzo ticks all the boxes for a meal in one, but you can always round out your dinner with homemade focaccia bread or garlic breadsticks. This light and easy Caesar salad, or this Mediterranean white bean salad are also great! I also love to serve it with my easy oven roasted vegetables, these savory roasted mushrooms, or crispy air fryer roasted broccoli.

Close up of chicken orzo with asparagus and tomatoes in a large pot.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

To store, transfer the chicken orzo to an airtight container and refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave until the chicken is hot throughout.

More Chicken Pasta Recipes To Try

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It
5 from 5 votes

Chicken Orzo Recipe

This rich and creamy chicken orzo recipe is loaded with tender chicken, fresh asparagus, and ripe, juicy tomatoes tossed together with orzo pasta in a creamy sauce.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup orzo pasta, cooked according to the directions on the package
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends cut, and chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk, you can use skim, 2%, or whole milk
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Want to save this recipe?
Enter your email below and we’ll send the recipe straight to your inbox!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Instructions 

  • Prepare orzo per directions on the box. Drain and set aside.
  • In the meantime, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Add chicken pieces and asparagus; season with salt and pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked and browned on all sides.
  • Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until tomatoes are tender; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil and melt butter in a separate large pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with flour and whisk to combine, whisking and cooking for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the chicken broth until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the milk, and bring the mixture to a simmer; allow to cook for 1 minute or until thickened.
  • Remove from heat, add parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper; stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce with the chicken, asparagus, and tomato mixture. Toss well to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
  • Serve.

Notes

  • Vegetables: Swap the asparagus for other options like broccoli, celery, carrots, kale, peas, or any veggies you have available.
  • Proteins: Instead of chicken, consider using shrimp, steak bites, or crumbled cooked bacon.
  • Herbs: Add flavor with Italian seasoning or fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, or cilantro. For a spicy kick, sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Orzo: If you don’t have orzo, make this recipe with penne, fusilli, rigatoni, or long pasta varieties. 

Nutrition

Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 734mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1136IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 3mg

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.

Did you make a recipe? Leave a rating

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:




90 Comments

  1. Mary Lissa says:

    Easy too..Pasta takes only about 15 minutes to prepare so very fast and simple… and u make a lot of different recipes with pasta

  2. Courtney says:

    I made this tonight and was very upset with the results. There was way too much sauce and it looked like white mush at the end (almost like soup!). Additionally, it was so bland! Requires A LOT more seasoning!

  3. Janet says:

    Made this tonight. Great flavor but WAY too much sauce! Next time I’ll cut the sauce recipe in half (at least). It (unfortunately) looks nothing like he picture.

  4. Pam L says:

    Looks Delish, can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Marissa says:

    I made the creamy chicken orzo pasta. Used three pots (one for pasta, one for sauce and one for chicken and veggies). I don’t like cherry tomatoes so I cut broccoli and asparagus instead and just shredded a rotisserie chicken. Sauce took about 3-4 minutes of whisking at a simmer to thicken but it did. Put cheese on top of chicken and veggies and then poured sauce over using just half. Wasn’t sure how much to use. Ended up using all the sauce. Added tony saccheres seasoning to spice it up a little. Turned out really well. Kids and hubby liked 🙂

  6. Blessie Nelson says:

    I would make a yummy red velvet cake! Thank you!

  7. robbie says:

    Its so pretty! Keeping for future use!

  8. Robin says:

    Easy too..Pasta takes only about 15 minutes to prepare so very fast and simple… and u make a lot of different recipes with pasta