This Chicken and Broccoli Orzo is a super quick 20-minute dinner recipe that’s creamy, a little bit cheesy, and totally satisfying.
I’m here today with another quick and easy dinner recipe for you, 20-minute Chicken and Broccoli Orzo.
This recipe feels like classic childhood comfort food. It’s a big old skillet of diced or shredded chicken, broccoli florets, and creamy parmesan orzo that is completely irresistible, and it comes together FAST.
- Cooked chicken: To speed things up, this recipe starts with cooked chicken. Leftover roasted chicken works great or you can grab a rotisserie chicken and chop up the white meat to use here. In a pinch, you can even use (warmed) canned chicken if that’s something you keep on hand. But, as always, if you don’t have precooked chicken, don’t sweat it. There are instructions in the recipe card for starting with raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Heavy cream, half and half, or milk: You can use heavy cream, half and half, or milk in this recipe. I recommend using heavy cream as it gives you the richest, creamiest results, but you can use what you have on hand. If you use heavy cream and have some left over, check out this post What to Do With Leftover Whipping Cream for ideas to use it up.
How to Make Chicken and Broccoli Orzo
- Cook orzo according to package instructions, and in the last 3 minutes of cooking time add broccoli to the water so it cooks while the orzo is finishing.
- In a large skillet, brown garlic in butter, and then add the drained pasta, cream, and Parmesan. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Stir in cooked chicken and then gently fold in the broccoli.
- Serve topped with more Parmesan cheese if desired, and enjoy!!
Tips and Tricks
A Note on Reheating: Creamy pastas need a little help to be at their best after reheating since they tend to either absorb all the liquid while sitting in the refrigerator or reheat lumpy and weird.
For best results, add a splash of heavy cream or milk and a sprinkle of shredded parmesan before microwaving. Once heated, stir everything together. The extra liquid and cheese will help return the orzo’s creamy consistency.
Can I freeze this dish?
I don’t recommend freezing creamy pasta dishes like this. The pasta texture does not hold up well to freezing. Looking for recipes you can freeze? Go check out my favorite freezer recipes!
Can I use different vegetables?
Sure. This recipe is great for using up leftover roasted or steamed veggies. Just reheat them and stir them in at the end instead of the broccoli. You can also make this with fresh asparagus. Simply chop the asparagus into 1-inch pieces and cook it with the orzo for 3 to 4 minutes instead of the broccoli.
How can I make this creamier?
If you want a really creamy decadent pasta experience, you can double the heavy cream and add more Parmesan to taste. If needed, gently heat everything over medium heat until the cheese is melty.
More Quick and Easy Recipes
- Creamy Sausage Pasta
- Chicken Fajitas
- Salsa Chicken
- Tri-tip in the Oven
- Chicken in White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce
- Naan Pizzas
Chicken and Broccoli Orzo
- 8 ounces (about 1 ⅓ cup) orzo
- 12 ounces broccoli florets chopped
- 2 tablespoons (28g) butter
- 2 cloves garlic chopped or minced
- ¼ cup heavy cream, half and half, or milk
- ½ cup (2oz) shredded Parmesan cheese plus more for topping
- 2 cups warm cooked chicken diced or shredded*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook orzo according to package instructions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add broccoli. When timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove broccoli and transfer to a plate. Drain the orzo and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add drained pasta, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chicken and then gently fold in broccoli.
- Serve, top with more Parmesan cheese if desired, and enjoy!
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