Creamy, Cheesy Chicken Orzo Recipe (video)

a large copper pan on a table, with orzo pasta, chicken and cranberries

This easy chicken dinner dish is a family favorite for fall and winter! Creamy, cheesy chicken orzo recipe with parmesan cheese, dried cranberries, and diced pecans. The combination of flavors is mind blowingly delicious! The tart cranberries, the crunchy pecans, the juicy chicken, and the cheesy pasta work together so well! Plus, it’s super easy to make!

Watch My YouTube Chicken Orzo Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube chicken orzo video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and see how I make this chicken dinner dish at home! Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Chicken Pasta Recipe

My tips and suggestions for the main ingredients you’ll need to make this easy chicken orzo at home! Find the full list of ingredients in the printable recipe card below.

  • Chicken: I personally prefer chicken thigh for this recipe as it’s juicy and delicious, but chicken breast will also work well.
  • Orzo Pasta: this is a very small type of pasta that looks just like rice, but is actually pasta! If you don’t have this type of hand, other small varieties of pasta will also work for the recipe.
  • Dried Cranberries: these add tons of flavor to the dish!
  • Pecans: walnuts or pistachios will also work well.
  • Mushrooms: I usually use whatever type I have on hand. Small white or brown portabella mushrooms, or even chanterelle or shitake mushrooms, taste great here!
  • White Wine: use a dry white wine such as pinot grigio or a chardonnay for best results. I recommend staying away from cooking wines (too much salt!), or sweet wines.

Supplies & Tools

Need some supplies or tools to make this cheesy chicken orzo at home? Shop my Amazon Affiliate links to get the items I use in my kitchen. Using these links won’t cost you extra and I’ll earn a small commission.

a small bowl filled with chicken orzo on a table

Preparing the Chicken

This recipe for chicken orzo starts with the chicken! I like to use chicken thigh in this recipe since it’s juicier and more flavorful. You can also use chicken breast for this recipe.

  1. Cube the chicken into small, bite sized pieces. Preheat a large sauté pan with deep sides over medium-high heat and add in a drizzle of cooking oil. Into the hot pan, add half the chicken.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then fry it for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. It doesn’t need to be 100% cooked at this point.
  3. Remove the browned chicken onto a separate plate, then fry the second batch. Frying in batches will prevent overcrowding and will allow the chicken to brown nicely. Set all the browned chicken aside until later.
a large round pan filled with chicken orzo and cranberries

How to Make Cheesy Chicken Orzo

Here’s how to put this easy chicken dinner together. I’ve updated the instructions slightly from my original video tutorial.

  1. Into the same sauté pan, add the sliced mushrooms. Cook them over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add in the butter and shallots next. Keep sauting this mixture until the mushrooms are well browned.
  2. Next, add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Season the pan with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Pour in the white wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it’s completely reduced.
  3. Return the chicken back into the pan, add in the orzo pasta, and stir everything together. Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream; it should be about ½-inch over the pasta. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the orzo pasta is done.

Garnishing & Serving the Chicken Orzo

Once the orzo is al dente, remove the pan from heat. Add in the dried cranberries, pecans, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the top. Stir everything together until the cheese is melted.

This creamy chicken orzo can be enjoyed right away. I like to garnish the top with more pecans and fresh parsley.

a close up of cheesy chicken orzo in a bowl with cranberries

More Recipes

Enjoyed this easy chicken dinner dish? Make sure to check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Easy Chicken Rice Pilaf: my mom’s recipe for chicken ‘plov’ – an easy and aromatic chicken rice dish with onions, garlic and carrots.
  • Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Noodles: another incredible comfort food dish! Imagine all the flavors of pot pie, but made much easier with noodles.
  • Potato & Chicken Casserole: have this dish in the oven in 10 minutes! An easy casserole with baby potatoes, a creamy wine sauce, and bone-in, juicy chicken.
  • One-Pot Pepper Chicken Rice: juicy, bone-in chicken cooked in an aromatic pepper rice. This easy, one pan chicken dinner is a family favorite!

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Creamy, Cheesy Chicken Orzo Recipe (video)

20 mins prep + 30 mins cook
6 servings
Quick and easy, creamy cheesy chicken orzo pasta recipe with dried cranberries, pecans, and parmesan cheese! An easy, one-pan dinner recipe!

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, about 6 thighs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 10 small mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound orzo pasta
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

Preparing the Chicken:

  • Cube the chicken into small, bite sized pieces. Preheat a large sauté pan with deep sides over medium-high heat and add in a drizzle of cooking oil. Into the hot pan, add half the chicken.
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then fry it for 7 to 8 minutes, until golden brown. It doesn’t need to be 100% cooked at this point.
  • Remove the browned chicken onto a separate plate, then fry the second batch. Frying in batches will prevent overcrowding and will allow the chicken to brown nicely. Set all the browned chicken aside until later.

Frying the Mushrooms & Seasoning:

  • Into the same sauté pan, add the sliced mushrooms. Cook them over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add in the butter and shallots next. Keep cooking this mixture until the mushrooms are well browned.
  • Next, add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Season the pan with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Pour in the white wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it’s completely reduced.

Cooking Instructions:

  • Return the chicken back into the pan, add in the orzo pasta, and stir everything together. Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream; it should be about ½-inch over the pasta. Allow the broth to come up to a simmer, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the orzo pasta is done.

Serving:

  • Once the orzo is al dente, remove the pan from heat. Add in the dried cranberries, pecans, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the top. Stir everything together until the cheese is melted.
  • This creamy chicken orzo can be enjoyed right away. I like to garnish the top with more pecans and fresh parsley.

Nutrition

Calories: 756kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 1194mg | Potassium: 693mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1142IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 3mg