This baked Greek chicken orzo ticks a lot of boxes. It’s simple and comforting, full of classic yummy Greek flavours, and made in one pot. And it’s on the table in just 45 minutes!
What’s Greek chicken orzo, anyway?
You might find that orzo is sometimes called risoni, but basically it’s pasta shaped like large grains of rice.
It’s really good at soaking up liquid, just like rice does when you make risotto. So it’s perfect for making a one pot pasta dish. Speaking of risotto, if you happen to be a fan you’ll also love this one pot creamy chicken, bacon and mushroom orzo.
A version of this Greek baked chicken orzo is a pretty commonly made every day type meal over in Greece. It’s called ‘yiouvetsi’ – meaning any kind of meat baked with tomato, spices and orzo.
There are good reasons that it’s so popular because this is perfect super easy, tasty and family friendly winter comfort food.
How to make this one pot pasta meal
As I’ve already told you, this Greek orzo is super easy to make:
Step 1: Brown chicken thighs for a couple of minutes on each side, remove them from the pan and soften a chopped onion in the left-over fat and juices.
Step 2: Add a stick of cinnamon and the dry orzo. Stir that around on the heat for a short while until the orzo gets coated with the juices and oil, then add the chicken back into the pot.
Step 3: Sprinkle over paprika, oregano and a bit of allspice. Throw a whole load of tomato sauce mixed with some chicken stock over the top. Give it all a quick mix around and then bake the dish for about half an hour until the chicken is cooked and the orzo has absorbed some of the sauce and is cooked through.
Step 4: Then simply serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and plenty of cheese (I used to use ‘kefalotiri’ cheese in Greece, but any sharp white salty cheese is fine – actually, feta would be great, as well!)
What’s the best cooking pot to use?
If you’re looking for ways to use your Le Creuset cast iron cooking pot, or any big pot that can go from the stove top to the oven, this Greek chicken orzo is the perfect recipe.
The great thing is that there are many many cheaper copies of Le Creuset cast iron pots available. There’s this one, for example, or I’ve seen them going for a song in TK Maxx on occasion or even in the cook-shop sections of larger supermarkets.
As long as they have a lid handle that can withstand the heat of your oven then you’re good to go!
My Le Creuset pot is relatively easy to clean. I just fill it with some hot water and the mess cleans off easily a short while later.
What if you don’t have a stove top to oven pot? No worries! Just use a saucepan and then tip the ingredients into an ordinary medium-sized baking pot or deep dish for the oven-baking part.
Pro tip: keep an eye on your dish while it’s cooking in the oven, giving it a brisk stir a couple of times so that the orzo doesn’t stick too much. The pot will be pretty messy when the meal is ready with some sticky bits of tomato-y pasta on the bottom, but don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be.
OK, so how does it taste?
This one pot orzo ends up sort of like a cross between a risotto, a pasta dish and a tomato-y, spiced casserole. I would be delighted if you’d figuratively journey to Greece with us and give it a go some time soon!
More delicious orzo recipes
- One pot creamy chicken, bacon and mushroom orzo (you HAVE to try this one!)
- You can make cold pasta salads with orzo too! Try this spinach, pesto and parmesan orzo salad. It’s great served as a salad side with grilled meat or fish.
- Orzo salad with feta, asparagus and chickpeas
- Did you know orzo’s also great in a soup? You have to try this creamy lemon chicken orzo soup. It’s incredible – and ready in 30 minutes!
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One pot baked Greek chicken orzo
Equipment (affiliate links)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
For the baked chicken orzo
- a little olive oil for cooking
- 17.5 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup orzo rice-shaped pasta
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 1/2 cups passata sieved tomatoes mixed with 1 cup chicken stock.
- chopped parsley and hard white cheese use Greek kefalotiri if you can find it but if not use any hard white cheese – I used English Cheshire! Feta is great, too!
- salad and fresh crusty bread
- Greek yoghurt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
- Heat a little (about 2 tablespoons) olive oil in a heavy-bottomed oven-proof pot (see notes), then brown the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pot onto a plate and set aside.
- Add the onion to the pot and stir for a few minutes until it softens. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so longer, then add the oregano, cinnamon and orzo and stir again for a minute or so until the orzo is coated with the juices/oil.
- Take the pot off the heat and then put the chicken back into the pot, then quickly sprinkle with the paprika, allspice, salt and pepper. Finally, pour over the passata and stock and give the pot a good stir.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Check and stir the pot a couple of times during cooking to stop the orzo from sticking too much. If at any time the dish looks too dry, just add an extra splash of water.
- Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and plenty of cheese to serve. Serve with the salad, bread and a splodge of Greek yoghurt (if you like).