Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Orzo is a simple one-pot meal with tons of flavor. With tender bites of chicken and orzo pasta, broccoli, and a lusciously creamy homemade cheese sauce, and comes together in under 30 minutes.
Why this recipe works
- Chicken: Chicken breasts, chicken tenders, or even chicken thighs.
- Broccoli: Fresh broccoli is recommended.
- Onion: White or yellow onion.
- Garlic: Fresh-mined garlic always has the best flavor.
- Pasta: Orzo pasta is a rice-shaped pasta, found in the dried pasta section of your grocery store.
- Italian Seasoning:
- Chicken stock: Low-sodium chicken stock or chicken broth.
- Half n Half: You can use heavy cream instead if you prefer.
- Cheese: Freshly grated Sharp cheddar cheese or medium cheddar and parmesan cheese is used.
How to make this chicken broccoli orzo recipe
- Step 1: Heat a 12-inch large skillet on medium heat add the olive oil and onions and saute.
- Step 2: Add in the broccoli florets and garlic.
- Step 3: Move the broccoli to the side and add in the diced chicken, season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
- Step 4: Cook until opaque on all sides.
- Step 5: Add in the uncooked orzo.
- Step 6: Stir, slightly toasting the pasta.
- Step 7: Add in the chicken broth
- Step 8: Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Step 9: Stir in the half n half.
- Step 10: Fold in the cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese until fully melted.
- This pasta is best served immediately when the cheesy sauce is still hot and creamy. As it cools, the sauce will thicken and the orzo will stick together and not be as creamy.
- Always use freshly shredded cheese when making a cheesy sauce. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in an anti-caking agent that prevents it from melting properly.
- The chicken does not need to be fully cooked in the searing process it will finish cooking as it simmers.
- For a quick shortcut use a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken from my Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Chicken.
Yes, boneless skinless chicken thighs work great just dice into small bite-sized pieces.
It contains extra moisture, and it could result in a thinner, less creamy sauce. If using frozen broccoli, thaw it first drain it well, and then stir it in after the orzo is finished.
If your cheesy sauce looks too thin allow the casserole to sit for 5 minutes. It will thicken as it cools.
Yes, you can freeze this chicken orzo skillet place any leftovers in a freezer-safe airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat in a saucepan and add a pinch of cream or half and half to freshen it up.
This orzo pasta is best served fresh, the creamy sauce gets absorbed into the pasta over time. To reheat any leftovers add a splash of half-n-half, heavy cream, or milk to freshen the pasta up.
Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Orzo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion diced
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pound orzo pasta, dried
- 3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 1/4 cup half and half
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat a large 12 inch skillet on medium high heat and add olive oil. Add the diced onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Add in the broccoli florets and saute for another 1-2 minutes.
- Push the broccoli to the side and add the chicken, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning, and saute just until opaque (it doesn't have to be cooked all the way through)
- Add the orzo pasta to the skillet and stir until well combined. Toast the orzo for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth to the pan and simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the half and half into the orzo and stir simmer 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add in the cheddar and parmesan cheese stir until melted add more salt and pepper to taste.