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This creamy dump-and-bake chicken orzo recipe is an easy dinner with just 10 minutes of prep. You don’t even have to boil the pasta before the casserole goes into the oven!

Overhead shot of a bowl of creamy chicken orzo.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Easy Chicken Orzo Recipe
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to Make this Chicken Orzo
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage Tips
  6. Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Chicken Orzo Recipe
  8. Dump-and-Bake Chicken Orzo Recipe Recipe

If you’re looking for even more dump-and-bake recipes, don’t miss this dump-and-bake Italian sausage casserole, my kids’ favorite sesame chicken noodles, a pan of tuscan chicken pasta, an easy dump-and-bake chicken potato casserole, and this dump-and-bake white chicken chili and rice, too!

Why You’ll Love this Easy Chicken Orzo Recipe

  • One Dish. Nobody wants to wash a sink full of dishes at the end of a meal! Fortunately, you can stir everything together in a single baking dish, minimizing the pots and pans that you have to clean later.
  • Minimal Prep. You don’t even have to cook pasta or prep any ingredients, and the noodles come out tender and perfect every time! It might not be fancy, but you’re going to appreciate the dump-and-bake method of cooking on busy weeknights!
  • Quick. Since orzo is a small pasta, it cooks faster than other shapes. This means less time in the oven, and dinner on the table sooner.
  • Versatile. Omit the chicken and make it vegetarian, use pre-cooked (or frozen) meatballs, or try sliced fully-cooked Italian sausage. You can also play around with different vegetables, taking advantage of the ingredients that you have on hand.
Overhead image of a white pan full of the best chicken orzo recipe on a wooden dinner table.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for baked chicken and orzo. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chicken broth: adds flavor to the pasta and sauce as the ingredients cook together in the pan. Chicken stock also works well.
  • Alfredo sauce: I keep it simple with a jar of store-bought sauce, but you can certainly use your own homemade Alfredo with heavy cream if you prefer. You’ll need a total of about 2 ½ cups, which is approximately one very large 22-ounce jar, or 1 ½ 15-ounce jars.
  • Garlic: use fresh garlic cloves that you mince or grate yourself, or grab a jar of pre-minced garlic for a shortcut.
  • Chicken: you’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, or see my notes below for other options.
  • Orzo: a type of pasta that is shaped like rice. Do not substitute with rice in this recipe.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes: we like the extra flavor from the fire-roasted variety, but you can sub with regular diced tomatoes if that’s your preference.
  • Fresh baby spinach: this is optional, but it adds great color, texture, and nutrition to the dish.
  • Lemon juice: a fresh acidic note to brighten up the casserole at the end.
  • Shredded Italian cheese blend: we like the flavor variety that you get with a blend of shredded Italian cheeses, but you can sub with shredded mozzarella cheese if you like.
Square overhead shot of chicken orzo recipe served with a side salad.

The Best Chicken to Use in this Baked Orzo Recipe

You’ll need cooked chicken for this recipe, and a variety of options will work. Pick the most convenient method for you:

  • Boiled and Pulled Chicken: Boil about 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs until cooked through (about 15 minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop or pull the chicken and use in the recipe.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: This is a great shortcut! Purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred the meat, and use in the recipe as instructed.
  • Purchase Cooked Chicken: Instead of a rotisserie chicken, you can purchase cooked pulled chicken or cooked diced chicken at the grocery store.
  • Leftover Chicken: If you have leftover grilled or baked chicken, put those extras to good use in this casserole.
  • Canned Chicken: Yep, you can even use canned chicken in this casserole!
Ingredients for the best creamy chicken and orzo recipe in a white pan before baking.

The Best Casserole Dish for Baked Orzo

We rounded up the best casserole dishes you can buy, including 2 that I personally own and love! While I use different-sized casserole dishes for different dump-and-bake meals, the Staub Ceramic Rectangular Baking Dish earned the top spot. You can buy it on Amazon for $78.95 or at Target for $79.95. That said, I also love the beautiful, Scandinavian style of the Dansk Kobenstyle Baker shown here, available for $135.

The total baking time for this recipe will vary depending on your individual oven, and on the type of dish that you choose. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the pasta. The orzo should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.

Process shot showing how to make chicken orzo recipe.

How to Make this Chicken Orzo

Start by preheating your oven, because there’s very little prep work necessary for this creamy chicken and orzo bake! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Combine the uncooked orzo, Alfredo, broth, tomatoes, garlic, and chicken in a greased baking dish.
  • Cover tightly and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach and lemon juice, top with cheese, and bake for 5 more minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese, and serve!
Overhead shot of a pan of creamy baked chicken orzo recipe.

Serving Suggestions

Since this casserole includes pasta, a creamy sauce, and veggies, you’ve basically got an entire meal in one pan. If you’d like to round out the main course with a side salad or other options, here are some easy sides that go well with the creamy chicken orzo recipe:

Horizontal side shot of a fork in a bowl of creamy baked chicken and orzo.

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: You can assemble the casserole a few hours in advance, or even leave it covered in the fridge overnight before baking. The pasta will start to soften and absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so you may need to decrease the baking time slightly. You don’t want to overcook the casserole or you’ll end up with gummy, mushy pasta.
  • Storage: This casserole is best enjoyed immediately from the oven. Leftovers will  keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The pasta will dry out a bit as it sits, so you may need to stir in some additional Alfredo sauce or stock when you reheat the dish. Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes.
  • I do not recommend freezing this casserole because pasta has a tendency to get gummy and mushy when thawed.
Two bowls of the best chicken orzo recipe on a wooden dinner table.

Recipe Variations

  • Don’t have orzo? You can substitute with other similar short pasta shapes such as penne, ziti, rotini, elbows, or medium shells. Just pick a pasta that has a similar cooking time as orzo (about 7-8 minutes recommended on the package for al dente) — otherwise you’ll need to adjust the casserole’s baking time in the oven.
  • Cooking for a Smaller Family: Cut all of the ingredients in half and bake the casserole in an 8-inch square pan. Check the pasta after 25 minutes, as it may be done slightly sooner than the larger pan.
  • Add extra vegetables. You can stir frozen peas into the dish at the end (along with the spinach), or include broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini at the start. If using frozen broccoli, just thaw it and stir it right into the dish. If using fresh broccoli florets, you might need to par-boil or steam them first so that they’re a little bit tender when you add them to the casserole.
  • Use homemade Alfredo sauce instead of a jar of store-bought sauce.
  • Add herbs for even more flavor. Good options include fresh or dried parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. An Italian seasoning blend would also be fine, since it combines a lot of these spices in one convenient package.
  • Give it a Mediterranean spin by adding feta cheese, roasted red bell peppers, kalamata olives, and extra lemon juice and lemon zest.
Close up side shot of a serving spoon in a white dish of baked chicken and orzo.

Tips for the Best Chicken Orzo Recipe

  • Pick a high-quality, flavorful Alfredo sauce (or make your own). With so few ingredients in the casserole, each individual ingredient is very important! A delicious sauce will yield a delicious meal. I like Rao’s brand if you can find it, but any similar variety (like a 22-ounce jar of Prego) will work.
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the orzo. The pasta should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Gently stir the orzo by fluffing with a fork. A larger spoon may compress the individual pieces, causing it to clump together.
  • Be careful not to overbake the casserole or the orzo will become mushy.
  • Make it spicy by stirring in some crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs like basil or parsley for a bright, fresh touch. A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese is also delicious!
Close overhead image of chicken and orzo in a brown and white bowl.

More Dump-and-Bake Chicken Casserole Recipes to Try

For even more inspiration, check out this convenient collection of 65+ favorite dump-and-bake dinners!

Square overhead shot of chicken orzo recipe served with a side salad.

Dump-and-Bake Chicken Orzo Recipe

3.67 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 493 kcal
This creamy baked chicken and orzo is an easy dinner in one dish with just 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (22 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce (about 1 very large 22-ounce jar or 1 ½ 15-ounce jars) (approximately 2 ½ cups total)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked shredded or diced chicken (such as meat from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, optional
  • 1 ½ cups Italian blend cheese (or sub with shredded mozzarella cheese)
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs such as basil, oregano, and parsley for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish, whisk together the broth, Alfredo sauce, and garlic. Stir in the chicken, uncooked orzo, and diced tomatoes. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
    Ingredients for the best creamy chicken and orzo recipe in a white pan before baking.
  • Uncover; stir the orzo gently with a fork. At this point you should check the orzo to make sure that it is al dente (firm but with a tender bite). If it’s still too hard after 30 minutes, just cover the dish again and return it to the oven until the orzo is al dente. Then move on to the next step.
    Process shot showing how to make chicken orzo recipe.
  • Stir in the spinach and lemon juice. Sprinkle the cheese over top. Bake uncovered for about 5 more minutes (or until the cheese melts and the pasta is tender). If you want the top crispy and brown, place it under the broiler for a minute or two (keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn). Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan or chopped fresh herbs, if desired.
    Overhead image of a white pan full of the best chicken orzo recipe on a wooden dinner table.

Notes

  • Pick a high-quality, flavorful Alfredo sauce (or make your own). With so few ingredients in the casserole, each individual ingredient is very important! A delicious sauce will yield a delicious meal. I like Rao’s brand if you can find it, but any similar variety (like a 22-ounce jar of Prego) will work.
  • Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan that you use and your individual oven. Glass or ceramic baking dishes will take longer than metal pans, for instance. To know when your casserole is done, taste a bite of the orzo. The pasta should be tender and much of the liquid should be absorbed.
  • Gently stir the orzo by fluffing with a fork. A larger spoon may compress the individual pieces, causing it to clump together.
  • Be careful not to overbake the casserole or the orzo will become mushy.
  • Make it spicy by stirring in some crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Garnish the casserole with fresh herbs like basil or parsley for a bright, fresh touch. A sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese is also delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the casseroleCalories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 27gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 1000mgPotassium: 375mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 773IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: baked orzo, chicken and orzo, chicken orzo recipe, easy chicken orzo recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Amber Emmons says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is delicious! We added the red pepper flakes and basil and the flavor was great! Super easy and comfort food approved!

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Amber! We’re so glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Elaina says:

    1 star
    Sorry you need to manage your website. I get that you put in a lot of effort and want the ad revenue but I can’t even watch the video (jump to video tab doesn’t work for me either). I have scrolled up and down this page a dozen times and am met with multiple ads/videos loading and cannot even tell where it is.

  3. Elaina says:

    5 stars
    Sorry didn’t want to bring the average down that much.