This Creamy Cajun Chicken Orzo dish is bursting with flavor. Made in one pot, it features tender chicken, flavorful Cajun seasoning, creamy orzo pasta, and refreshing vegetables for a satisfying and tasty meal. The best part is that this delicious recipe calls for basic ingredients and comes together in 40 minutes – perfect for busy nights!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission when you click on the links and make a purchase. I will never recommend a product that I don’t support 100%. You can read my full disclosure here.
And this creamy Cajun chicken orzo does not disappoint. This dish will become your new favorite with tender chunks of chicken, spicy Cajun seasoning, and creamy orzo pasta.
This comfort food is hearty, tasty, and easy to make, coming together quickly and effortlessly. It’s simple enough to whip up on a busy school night, yet jazz it with some fresh herbs, and it’s luxurious for a special occasion with friends and family.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Quick and easy: This one-pan meal comes together quickly in under 40 minutes, making it a convenient option for busy weeknights. It also makes clean-up a breeze! It uses simple ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store.
- Satisfying and flavorful: This dish is packed with flavor thanks to a combination of creamy and spicy Cajun sauce, savory orzo pasta, and tender chicken.
- Family favorite: This skillet dinner is versatile, and you can easily customize it to fit your personal tastes and preferences. Tone down the Cajun seasoning for sensitive palates, or add more veggies to make it a complete meal. You can easily tailor this recipe to work for you and your family!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Creamy Cajun Chicken Orzo:
Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces are the main source of protein. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Pasta: Orzo pasta provides the main starch and satisfying texture. Orzo pasta is a type of short pasta that is shaped like a large grain of rice. Its compact size makes it suitable to cook in one pan along with other ingredients.
Vegetables: A combination of onion, garlic, and red bell pepper adds flavor and texture to the dish. They also help balance out the carbs from the pasta and protein in chicken, making this one-pan dish a well-balanced and complete meal.
Cajun seasonings: This is a blend of spices that originates from Louisiana and typically contains paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and other spices like oregano and red pepper flakes. You can make homemade Cajun seasoning or use a store-bought blend.
Diced tomatoes: Canned tomatoes add moisture, flavor, and texture.
Chicken broth: Adds moisture and flavor as it is used as the liquid to help cook the vegetables and pasta. You can also use chicken stock.
Half and half: Heavy cream or half and half adds richness and creaminess, helping to balance the heat from Cajun and the acidity in the tomatoes.
HOW TO MAKE CAJUN CHICKEN ORZO: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add chicken in an even layer. Brown chicken on one side, flip, and brown chicken on the other.
Step 2: Then, add diced onion, bell pepper, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Stir and continue to cook until onion is soft and translucent.
Step 3: Next, add the diced tomatoes, orzo, chicken broth, and Cajun seasoning. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover.
Cook for about 12 minutes until the orzo pasta is al dente, stirring frequently.
Step 4: Once the orzo is tender, stir in the half-and-half or heavy cream.
Step 5: Then stir well to combine everything. Lastly, garnish with freshly chopped green onions and squeeze lemon juice if desired.
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- Cook pasta al dente. For the best flavor, cook orzo pasta until it is firm to the bite. Overcooked pasta will be mushy and won’t hold up well in the skillet.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. Overcooked chicken will be tough and dry. Make sure to pan-cook it until it is no longer pink in the center. Also, don’t overcrowd the chicken when browning it. You want plenty of space for proper airflow so it browns and not steams.
- Use fresh ingredients. Fresh vegetables always make the dish taste better. And ensure to cut them into small, bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
⭐️ CONFIDENCE TIP ⭐️
Balance the flavors and textures! Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasonings, add more vegetables or cream as needed to find the perfect combination for your taste.
STORAGE & REHEATING
- Storage: Leftover creamy Cajun chicken orzo can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: To reheat, warm Cajun chicken pasta in the microwave until heated through. Alternatively, you can heat it on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated. You may need to add a splash of milk, broth, or water to thin it out. This is especially convenient when you are reheating for more than one serving.
- Freezing: This dish is not best for freezing. The cream may not hold up well during the freezing and thawing, resulting in a watery or mushy texture.
ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Use rotisserie chicken: Hit the easy button and use previously cooked chicken instead. Simply add the chicken pieces in step 3 along with the tomatoes, orzo, and chicken broth.
Other tomato products: Out of diced tomatoes? No problem, use a few tablespoons of tomato paste, thin it out with water, and add some sun-dried tomatoes for delicious flavor.
Cheese: Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add a nutty flavor profile.
Other veggies: Consider adding diced zucchini or mushrooms for extra vegetables.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cajun seasoning is a combination of herbs and spices, typically including paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. This seasoning blend is commonly used in Cajun and Creole cuisine to flavor dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and other southern-style dishes.
You can prep the ingredients beforehand, but cooking the dish before serving is best. The pasta may become mushy and overcooked if you make the dish ahead.
Yes, you can use frozen vegetables, but be sure to thaw them first before adding them to the skillet. Frozen vegetables may release more water when cooked, so adjust the cooking time as needed. Ensure the water is cooked down or evaporated before adding the rest of the ingredients.
TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE
Rate this recipe! I love your feedback!
TRY THESE NEXT…
Creamy Cajun Chicken Orzo
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced the best garlic chopper!
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 1 cup chicken broth or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup half and half can substitute heavy cream
- chopped green onions/scallions and a squeeze of lemon juice, to taste (optional)
- Cook Chicken: In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add chicken in an even layer. Brown on one side (about two minutes), then flip and brown chicken on the other side (1-2 minutes longer).
- Add: Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, salt, and pepper. Stir, and continue to cook 3-5 minutes more until onion is soft.
- Add: Add the diced tomatoes, orzo, and chicken broth, and Cajun seasoning. Give everything a big stir. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cover. Cook for about 12-14 minutes until the orzo is al dente. Stir frequently.
- Finish: Once the orzo is cooked, stir in the half & half. Cook 2-3 minutes more until creamy and liquid is mostly absorbed, Add green onions and a squeeze of lemon juice (optional) and serve right away!