Creamy One Pot Chicken and Orzo with Bacon is an easy, comforting and soul-satisfying dinner that's also super versatile!
The inspiration behind this recipe:
Remember the days when Mom had dinner figured out? All you had to do was go to school, go home, do your homework then help Mom out by setting the table. A few cartoons and the next thing you know, you were being called to a wonderful, hot meal on the table that seemed to appear out of nowhere!
If you’re like me, you’d love to have those days back. However, now it’s time for adulting and we have to figure this hot meal thing out for ourselves.
Creamy One Pot Chicken and Orzo “Risotto” with Bacon is an easy dish that tastes like it took more time than it actually did. This recipe is perfect for a small household; it serves two to three people. Add a salad and vegetable side dish and you can probably feed four.
A traditional risotto, which is generally made with Arborio rice, can take more time and energy than you may have after a long day. A traditional risotto requires constant stirring so that the rice is uniformly cooked. Instead, this riff on risotto uses orzo, which is rice-shaped pasta. (Gluten-free orzo is also available.)
What is orzo?
Orzo, also called risoni is pasta that is shaped like a grain of rice. It can be made with regular white flour or whole wheat flour. Because it is made with wheat, it generally is not gluten-free like rice is. However, DeLallo makes gluten-free orzo.
I love that it cooks so quickly and is so versatile! Rather than stirring and having to pay attention to traditional risotto, this version simmers away on the stove giving you more time to get another thing or two done--or time to relax!
How to make Creamy One-Pot Chicken and Orzo:
- Start by cooking the bacon. I like to take full strips of bacon, cut them in half and then cut them in half lengthwise to create little “mini” strips of bacon for a unique garnish. I just think they’re super cute and they cook faster this way too.
- When the bacon strips are crisp and nicely browned, drain on paper towels and set aside the prettiest ones for a garnish.
- Crumble the remainder to add to the risotto right before serving.
- Then, proceed as you would for a traditional risotto. Save some of the fat from the bacon, add a little butter, cook the onion and garlic then toss in the orzo pasta.
- Stir briefly until it turns golden in color.
- Add chicken broth, a dash of cream, some cheese, diced cooked chicken and let it simmer away!
And you have a wonderful creamy comforting meal that hardly took any time at all.
This super-easy dish is also super-versatile! To change it up, add veggies such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus or mushrooms!
Creamy One Pot Chicken and Orzo “Risotto” with Bacon. We’re talking an easy and delicious dish with minimal effort! For another super easy pasta dish, be sure to try my Gnocchi with Cherry Tomato Puttanesca!
More easy chicken dinner recipes:
- Pesto and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Roma Tomatoes
- Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
- Korean Braised Chicken Thighs
- Southwestern Chicken, Orzo and Black Bean Skillet
- Sheet Pan Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Green Beans, Olives and Lemon
- Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil
Creamy One Pot Chicken and Orzo
- 8 slices bacon - halved and sliced lengthwise to make 16 mini strips
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion - finely chopped (approximately 1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 heaping cup dried orzo pasta
- 2-3 cups chicken broth - or as needed
- ¼ cup heavy cream - or whipping cream
- ½ cup grated Asiago cheese - or Parmesan or Romano cheese, plus more for serving
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- Chopped fresh parsley - optional
- Place the bacon in a high-sided skillet or sauté pan. Heat to medium-high. When the bacon begins to cook, reduce heat to medium and brown until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. When cool to the touch, crumble half the bacon leaving the remaining mini strips for garnish.
- Save 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest.
- Add the butter to the bacon fat in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 8 – 10 minutes or until onion is very soft. (The salt is going to help sweat and soften the onion and keep it from browning.)
- Add the garlic and cook briefly until fragrant (15 seconds). Add the orzo and stir 1 – 2 minutes or until it turns golden in color.
- Slowly add 2 cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer uncovered for 12 – 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and much of the liquid has been absorbed. (If necessary, add additional broth to keep it from becoming dry.)
- Stir in the cream, cheese and chicken. Continue to stir until the cheese has melted and the chicken is heated through. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Season to taste with salt if desired.
- Serve in bowls with additional cheese if desired. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired and reserved bacon strips.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
Renee Gardner says
I love orzo and I love risotto, but I have never browned orzo like a risotto prior to adding the liquid. I'm going to have to give this a try!
Erin @ The Speckled Palate says
This looks like comfort in a bowl after a looooooong day. As someone who misses the days of someone else figuring out dinner, this could come in handy, and I have no doubt my fam will love this "risotto!"
Claire @ The Simple, Sweet Life says
I love that you topped this with big pieces of bacon! And made it in one pot!
Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen says
This sounds wonderful. Orzo and chicken work so well together, and then there's bacon! You can never go wrong with bacon. Love that this is a one pan dish, too. Makes cooking and clean up so simple. Adding this to my menu of Fall foods to try.
Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade says
Everything is better with bacon! Man this looks like an amazing bowl of comfort. I'm definitely pinning this recipe and making it soon
I'm not sure where to begin. Quick? Easy? Bacon? This looks and sounds delicious and would be perfect for a workweek dinner.
This looks delicious! Love that it's a one pot recipe. So perfect for a delicious weeknight dinner this fall!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
Our kitchen is never without orzo -- I love how versatile it is. It's quick to cook and tastes delicious in any way you cook it. And the idea of cooked chicken chunks you can use in recipes is great. Your recipe is such a great way to fix a tasty meal quickly but without sacrificing on goodness. The chicken would also be great in a stir fry! And that bacon? You've got my mouth watering!! Have a great weekend.
Tina Lindquist says
I love the orzo trick, I am going to try that:) Seriously Carol, your photos are AMAZING, you should teach!
That is so kind of you. Thanks!
I love the idea of using orzo as risotto! Throw in on top of that, that this is a one dish meal ready in under 30 minutes and I am sold. This is perfect for nights where I have to run home after work, cook something up and then run our the door again for cheer or football or whatever my kids have going on. And the flavor combo sounds amazing! Trying this tonight for sure!
I love on pot meals. I also love risotto. This is the perfect cheat. The combination of flavors in this recipe sound amazing. I can't wait to give this a try.