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Cheesy Chicken Orzo Skillet with Spinach

5 from 8 community reviews

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Chicken orzo skillet is a one-pan stovetop chicken dinner recipe that smells amazing while it cooks! It’s a panful of boneless, skinless chicken topped with melty mozzarella, along with orzo pasta, sweet cherry tomatoes, leafy spinach, and the perfect amount of sauciness. This recipe is guaranteed to please your family, any day of the week.

A skillet full of cooked chicken, orzo pasta and spinach with melted cheese on top.
Orzo pasta cooks to al-dente perfection in one skillet with seasoned chicken, cheese, tomatoes and spinach.

You’ll love the ease and delectable taste of this chicken and orzo recipe. It’s an ideal dinner idea — whether your mood is calling for a super-casual evening on the couch, or a placemats-and-dining-table entertaining vibe.

Every component cooks together in a single skillet — it’s what I like to call a “stovetop casserole.” It’s as family-friendly as it gets.

Raw chicken breasts on a plate, surrounded by ingredients for a recipe, including spinach, halved grape tomaotes, dried orzo, chopped onion, garlic and grated cheeses.

Ingredient shopping list

  • Boneless, skinless chicken: Chicken breasts cook quickly and are always a favorite option. If your family enjoys dark meat, by all means swap in boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Dried orzo pasta: Orzo is as versatile as rice (which has the same oval shape) and rounds out the meal as a base for the saucy chicken. Creamy, comforting orzo pasta is one of our favorite pasta shapes to keep in the pantry.
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes: Sliced in half, the tomatoes cook along with the chicken, adding their vibrant color and sweet juices to the sauce.
  • Fresh spinach: Baby spinach leaves are added at the end of the cooking process. They wilt and soften into the sauce in a few minutes.
  • Cheese: You need two cheeses — freshly grated Parmesan for the sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese to melt over the top.
  • Chicken broth: Look for a good low-sodium brand or use homemade chicken broth.
  • Aromatics: Use yellow or white onion and fresh garlic cloves.
  • Seasonings: For extra flavor, sprinkle the chicken breasts with an Italian-style herb blend. Depending on the brand, it can include a mixture of dried oregano, crushed red pepper, basil, thyme, rosemary, onion and garlic.

Step-by-step recipe photos

Tips and storage info for chicken and orzo

  • Chicken and orzo is a tasty leftover, and keeps refrigerated up to 5 days.
  • Keep in mind the orzo will absorb more liquid as it sits. If you like a saucier texture, add a bit of chicken broth before reheating.
  • Reheat in a covered pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, or microwave on high until heated through.
Cooked chicken, orzo, tomatoes and spinach in a skillet, with cherry tomatoes, wooden spoon, spices and a pot holder surrounding it.

Cheesy Chicken Orzo Skillet with Spinach

Karen Tedesco
This saucy one-pan chicken orzo recipe features orzo pasta, grape or cherry tomatoes, fresh spinach and boneless, skinless chicken breasts topped with melty mozzarella. The ultimate stovetop casserole dinner in less than an hour!
Print Pin
5 from 8 community reviews
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Chicken
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • pounds (680 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2-4 pieces *see recipe note below
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (205 g) dried orzo pasta
  • cups (590 ml) chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup (160 g) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions 

  • If your chicken breasts weigh more than 6 ounces each, slice them in half crosswise to ensure quicker cooking. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
  • Heat the oil a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken. Cook about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the chicken to a plate with a pair of tongs.
  • Add the onion to the pan, stirring up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until translucent, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and orzo, cooking until the garlic smells fragrant and the orzo is lightly toasted.
  • Pour in the broth. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon salt. Return the chicken to the pan. Scatter the tomatoes over the top. Bring the broth to a simmer, then cover the pan and lower the heat to medium.
  • Cook 15-20 minutes, until the orzo is tender. There should still be some liquid in the pan for the sauce.
  • Distribute the spinach over the chicken, tucking it in here and there. Top with the mozzarella. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Let the pan sit for 5 minutes to wilt the spinach and melt the cheese. Serve and enjoy!

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • I specified the amount of chicken breasts needed for the recipe by weight, rather than by the piece. The average weight for a boneless, skinless chicken breast is 6 ounces, so four portions are about 1 1/2 pounds total. But sometimes packaged breasts are huge, weighing up 10-12 ounces each! If that’s what you have, you’ll only need two chicken breasts. Slice them in half crosswise before seasoning and cooking.
  • Chicken and orzo is a tasty leftover, and keeps refrigerated up to 5 days.
  • Reheat in a covered pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, or microwave on high until heated through.
  • Keep in mind the orzo will absorb more liquid as it sits. If you like a saucier texture, add a bit of chicken broth before reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 697mg | Potassium: 1007mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1958IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 318mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this twice for my husband. I used chicken tenders and cut them into bite size pieces. Very easy and so delicious!