One Pan Chicken and Orzo

Bursting with fresh, Mediterranean flavours, my One Pan Chicken and Orzo recipe makes a delicious dinner all made in one pot. With juicy chicken thighs, tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs and orzo pasta, this is a feast the whole family will enjoy. This simple dinner is perfect for busy weeknights as there is less washing up! Winner!

Some of my favourite recipes are the simplest, so if you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner with big, satisfying flavours you are in the right place. My One Pan Chicken and Orzo is super simple.

This entire dish is cooked in one pan and it’s real crowd pleaser. Perfect for those nights when you want a tasty meal without too much effort, this recipe also makes fabulous leftovers, so it’s great for taking to work the next day (if there is any left!)

Chicken thighs and Orzo in an enamelled pan. One Pan Chicken and orzo.

Ingredients

To make my One Pan Chicken and Orzo recipe, you’ll need the following simple ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs: I prefer to use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe to get maximum flavour and juiciness. If you are using boneless, skinless thighs, I’d dredge them through a little flour before you brown them, and brown them in butter rather than olive oil.
  • Orzo Pasta: One of my all time favourite pasta shapes! You might find this rice-shaped pasta under one if its other names, Risoni or Kritharaki. 
  • Red Onions: These add a light sweetness to the dish, if you can’t get them, plain brown or white onions are fine too.
  • Garlic: We’ve got big Mediterranean flavours happening in this dish, so add as much or as little garlic as you like.
  • Chicken Broth or Stock and White Wine: The orzo is going to soak up all of this liquid as it cooks which gives it a beautiful flavour. Want to make this dish alcohol free? Just replace the wine with extra stock and a dash of vinegar for acidity.
  • Olives and Tomatoes: I love the strong, pungent flavour of Kalamata olives, though you can use whichever olive type you have. Roasted cherry tomatoes add lovely pops of sweetness to the finished dish.
  • Fresh herbs: I like to use rosemary, oregano and basil in this dish, as they add lots of Mediterranean flavour. 

Instructions

The great thing about this one-pot orzo and chicken is that it is so simple! There are really only three main steps.

  1. First, brown the chicken and sauté the onion and garlic. This will leave lots of lovely browned on flavour on the bottom of the pan, so you’ll need to deglaze it by adding white wine and chicken stock, then using a wooden spatula or spoon to lift it all off.
  2. Next, you add all of the ingredients to the pan. It’s important to keep things in one layer so that the dish cooks evenly. I use a very large, shallow enamelled cast-iron Dutch oven (link to a similar one in the recipe card) which is brilliant for all kinds of casseroles and braises.  After you’ve got everything tucked into the pan, transfer to the preheated oven.
  3. Lastly, you bake the chicken and orzo until the orzo has soaked up all the liquid and the chicken is lovely and golden brown. Exactly how much cooking time you’ll need depends on your chicken thighs (some are extra juicy) and the size of your pan, but somewhere between 40-50 minutes will do.
  4. Then all that is left is to scatter over some fresh basil and feta cheese (if using) and enjoy this fabulously easy weeknight meal!

The complete ingredient list and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

One pan chicken and orzo after cooking.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use chicken breasts to make this dish?

It is possible, but they are likely to dry out in the time it takes to cook this dish in the oven. I’d recommend only adding the chicken breasts in the last 20-25 minutes of cooking time if you absolutely must, and try to use skin-on chicken breasts. For really tender chicken, stick with thighs.

Can I reheat this dish?

​Yes! Either tightly covered with foil in a low oven, or gently in the microwave.

Can I double the recipe to feed more?

You are going to run into trouble with the size of your pan if you try to double this recipe. I’d recommend roasting the chicken thighs and vegetables separately and cooking the orzo on the stovetop instead.

Can I make this dish Gluten-free?

Yes! The only gluten containing ingredient is the orzo. It’s uncommon, but gluten-free orzo is available online.

One pan chicken and orzo on a plate with white wine and fresh herbs.

What is orzo?

This rice shaped pasta is sometimes known as risoni or Kritharaki. It’s a short cut pasta made from durum wheat that cooks up with a delicious texture and is popular in both Greek and Italian cooking.

In this dish, it absorbs all the cooking liquid which gives it even more delicious flavour.

One pan chicken and orzo on a plate with fresh herbs.

One Pan Chicken and Orzo Recipe

Chicken thighs and Orzo in an enamelled pan. One Pan Chicken and orzo.

One Pan Chicken and Orzo

Jay Wadams
Bursting with fresh, Mediterranean flavours, my One Pan Chicken and Orzo recipe makes a delicious dinner all made in one pot.
With juicy chicken thighs, tomatoes, olives, fresh herbs and orzo pasta, this is a feast the whole family will enjoy. This simple dinner is perfect for busy weeknights as there is less washing up! Winner!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serves 4

Ingredients
 

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 medium chicken thighs
  • ​2 red onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 300 g orzo pasta
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 250 ml chicken broth or stock
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 125 g 4.5 oz. Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • 125 g feta cheese (optional)

Instructions
 

  • PREPARE: Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Place a large, flame-proof casserole dish (I use enamelled cast iron) or deep sided oven-proof frying pan or large skillet over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  • BROWN CHICKEN: Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels, season well with salt and pepper, then cook chicken skin side down in a single layer until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, then remove from the pan.
  • SAUTÉ ONION: Add the onion to the pan, then cook for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and orzo to the pan, then cook for a further 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat in the oil.
  • DEGLAZE: Pour the wine into the pan, then use a wooden spatula to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock or broth and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
  • COMBINE INGREDIENTS: Nestle the chicken thighs, skin-side up in a single layer on top of the orzo. Tuck the olives and the tomatoes alongside, the, sprinkle over the rosemary and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the orzo is tender and has absorbed nearly all the liquid. Turn off the oven and allow to stand 5 minutes.
  • SERVE: Remove the pan from the oven, squeeze over a good amount of lemon juice (to taste, I like mine extra lemony!),  tear over fresh basil leaves and crumble over the feta if using. Divide between 4 plates and serve immediately.

Notes

If all the liquid has evaporated and the orzo is not yet cooked, add a splash of water or a little more stock to the pan.

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Nutrition

Serving: 2thighs | Calories: 1123kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 312mg | Sodium: 1316mg | Potassium: 1054mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Main Event
Cuisine | Mediterranean

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Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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