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Chicken orzo recipe: Tender chicken and delicate orzo pasta cooked in a flavorful broth with vegetables, herbs, and spices, creating a satisfying one-pot meal.

Chicken Orzo Recipe

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  • Author: Maxine Dubois
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Picture the sizzle as the chicken thighs are expertly browned, releasing a tantalizing aroma that sets the stage for an unforgettable Chicken Orzo Recipe. The slow simmering of the chicken in a fragrant broth intensifies the flavors, resulting in tender, fall-off-the-bone goodness.


  • 3-4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or as needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Lime or lemon juice


  1. Brown the Chicken: In a large pot or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the chicken thighs in the hot oil for about 8-9 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  4. When you flip the chicken, add minced garlic to the pot.
  5. Add Broth and Bay Leaves: After the initial 8-9 minutes, add ¼ cup of chicken broth to deglaze the pot. Add bay leaves to the pot.
  6. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and let it cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  7. Cook Orzo: Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the pot and set it on a plate.
  8. Pour the remaining chicken drippings into a measuring bowl.
  9. Check the volume of the drippings and add store-bought chicken broth to make a total of 2 cups of liquid. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
  10. Bring the liquid to a simmer in the pot.
  11. Add 1 cup of orzo to the simmering liquid.
  12. Cook the orzo uncovered on medium heat for 8-12 minutes or as per the instructions on the orzo package. Stir occasionally until the orzo is soft and the liquid has evaporated.
  13. Combine and Serve:
  14. While the orzo is cooking, shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones and skin.
  15. Once the orzo is cooked, return the shredded chicken (and any meat that fell into the pot) to the orzo.
  16. Mix well to combine, allowing the chicken to warm through.
  17. Remove the bay leaves.
  18. Serve the Chicken Orzo hot, garnished with fresh herbs if desired. Squeeze some lemon or lime juice on. 


Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality chicken thighs and fresh ingredients for the best flavor. Fresh garlic and good-quality chicken broth can significantly enhance the dish.

Browning the Chicken: Achieve a flavorful base by properly browning the chicken. Pat the chicken thighs dry before seasoning to encourage a golden crust during browning.

Garlic Timing: Add minced garlic when you flip the chicken during the browning process. This ensures the garlic cooks and releases its flavor without burning. Low and Slow Simmering: Allow the chicken to simmer on low heat for at least 1½ to 2 hours. This slow cooking method ensures tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken and allows the flavors to meld.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Italian