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Skillet Orzo Recipe: Quick and Delicious Weeknight Dinner

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Homemade Scrumptious Skillet Orzo Recipe

If you’re looking for an easy, one-pan meal that’s both delicious and satisfying, a skillet orzo recipe is the perfect choice. Cooking everything in one pan not only saves you time but also makes clean-up a breeze.

The key to a great skillet orzo is the combination of tender chicken, flavorful spices, and fresh vegetables. Whether you’re adding spinach and tomatoes or trying a Greek twist, this dish can be customized to your taste. Plus, the creamy texture of the orzo will make it a family favorite in no time.

What makes this recipe even better is how quick it is to prepare. From sautéing the chicken to simmering the orzo, you’ll have a hearty meal ready in under 30 minutes. So, let’s dive in and cook up something wonderful tonight!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Here are the ingredients you will need to make a tasty skillet orzo dish:

  • Orzo: You need about 1 cup. Substitute: Any small pasta like ditalini or couscous.

  • Chicken: Use 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Substitute: Turkey or tofu for a vegetarian option.

  • Spinach: 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves. Substitute: Kale or Swiss chard.

  • Chicken Stock: 2 cups. Substitute: Vegetable stock or water.

  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons. Substitute: Canola oil or butter.

  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced. Substitute: Garlic powder.

  • Onion: 1 medium, chopped. Substitute: Shallots or leek.

  • Tomatoes: 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes. Substitute: Fresh tomatoes or tomato sauce.

  • Cheese: ½ cup of grated cheese like Parmesan. Substitute: Pecorino Romano or nutritional yeast for a dairy-free option.

  • Lemon Juice: from 1 lemon. Substitute: Lime juice or a splash of vinegar.

  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

  • Herbs: 1 teaspoon each of dried oregano, basil, and parsley. Substitute: Fresh herbs or Italian seasoning mix.

Feel free to mix and match these ingredients based on what you have on hand!


1. Heat the skillet:
Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add some butter or olive oil.

2. Toast the orzo:
Add the orzo to the skillet, stirring occasionally until it turns light golden. This usually takes 3-5 minutes.

3. Add liquid:
Pour in enough vegetable broth or water to cover the orzo. Stir well.

4. Let it simmer:
Bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

5. Stir in other ingredients:
You can add chopped onions, garlic, or herbs like oregano and thyme. Stir well and let them cook for a few more minutes.

6. Season:
Add salt and pepper to taste. For extra flavor, you can toss in some grated Parmesan or feta cheese.

7. Add veggies:
If you like, add some cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, or spinach. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the veggies are tender.

8. Finish and serve:
Once everything is well combined and cooked through, remove from heat. Serve your skillet orzo warm, garnished with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Toast the Orzo: Before adding liquid, toast the orzo in a skillet with a bit of butter. This step gives it a nutty flavor and a lovely golden color.

Cooking Liquid: Use broth instead of water for more flavor. Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth all work well.

Stirring: Stir the orzo occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the skillet. This will also help it cook evenly.

Cooking Time: Keep an eye on the cooking time. Orzo cooks quickly, in about 8-10 minutes, so be sure to taste it to ensure it’s al dente.

Cheese and Herbs: After cooking, stir in some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs like parsley or basil for extra flavor.

Leftovers: Store leftover orzo in an airtight container in the fridge. It should keep for up to 3 days.

Reheating: When reheating, add a splash of water or broth to prevent it from drying out. Microwave until warm, stirring halfway through.

Freezing: If you need to freeze the orzo, let it cool completely first. Portion it into freezer-safe bags or containers. It can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Reviving Frozen Orzo: To revive frozen orzo, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Then reheat gently with some broth or water until warm.

Experiment: Feel free to get creative. You can add vegetables, proteins like chicken or shrimp, or different spices to suit your taste.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Recipe Variations

There are many ways to change up a skillet orzo dish:

  • Vegetarian: Skip the chicken and add your favorite veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach.
  • Seafood: Swap out the chicken for shrimp or scallops. They cook quickly and add a nice flavor.
  • Spicy: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or stir in some diced jalapeños.

Flavor Boosts

  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro can add a burst of flavor.
  • Cheese: Mix in some grated Parmesan, feta, or goat cheese for a creamy texture.
  • Broth: Use vegetable or beef broth instead of chicken broth for different flavor profiles.

Serving Suggestions

Try these ideas:

  • Salad: Serve with a side salad. A simple mix of lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes works well.
  • Bread: Pair with garlic bread or a warm baguette.
  • Wine: A glass of white wine, like Chardonnay, complements the dish nicely.


Orzo leftovers can be repurposed:

  • Lunch: Pack it for lunch the next day. It microwaves well.
  • Soup: Stir into a soup for added texture and flavor.
  • Salad: Use cold orzo in a pasta salad with vinaigrette and veggies.
Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.