Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet

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This Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo is a seriously cheesy, totally feel-good, one-skillet weeknight wonder! Juicy bites of chicken, tender broccoli, & toasted orzo pasta simmer in a rich chicken broth sauce infused with flavorful aromatics. The chicken and orzo skillet is topped with loads of melty cheddar & baked to creamy, cheesy perfection. A simple-yet-flavor-filled recipe perfect for a quick & easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will love!
Finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by fresh parsley and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper.

Easy, Cheesy, Weeknight-Friendly Goodness!

There’s something about the combination of chicken, broccoli, & melty cheese that’s simply so satisfying. This Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo recipe takes those crave-worthy, nostalgic flavors & translates them into an easy one-skillet dinner. It’s the kind of recipe that makes you feel like a kid again – pure comfort on every single level!

What makes this chicken and broccoli orzo skillet recipe really special is its rich flavor despite its ease – trust me when I say this recipe is EASY! Everything comes together in a single skillet & there’s hardly any active work involved. It’s perfect for when you’re craving some comfort but you don’t have a ton of energy to put into dinner.

Despite its ease, this chicken and broccoli orzo skillet packs a surprising punch of flavor! It’s made with just 10 simple ingredients, but a couple of smart add-ins like white wine & mustard powder elevate the classic flavors at play here. Perhaps the biggest flavor booster, though, is my newest weeknight cooking obsession – Zoup! Good, Really Good® Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth. This base – made with zero artificial flavors, ingredients, or fillers! – creates truly exceptional chicken broth on-demand. It’s as simple as whisking a little of the concentrate into water & the rich flavor is incredible.

A close up of finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by a closed jar of Zoup! Chicken Base with Bone Broth Concentrate, fresh parsley, a small white ceramic bowl filled with chopped parsley, and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper and a spoon rests inside the skillet with a portion scooped out.

Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Recipe Highlights

You’ll fall in love with this easy chicken and broccoli orzo because it’s…

  • NOSTALGIC. This combination of cozy flavors is pure nostalgia! Every perfect bite of juicy chicken, tender broccoli, orzo pasta, & gooey cheese will bring you back to the home-cooked flavors of your childhood!
  • BAKED TO CHEESY PERFECTION. A hot skillet of cheesy baked orzo is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven for the ultimate warm & cheesy coziness. Perfect for chilly evenings!
  • IDEAL WEEKNIGHT COOKING. Make dinner time super simple with only a few ingredients all in one skillet!

What’s not to love about that?! Cheesy baked orzo for the win! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!

Key Ingredients for this Chicken and Orzo Skillet

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: unsalted butter, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, yellow onion, garlic, mustard powder, orzo, dry white wine, Zoup! Chicken Bone Broth Concentrate, broccoli, and sharp cheddar cheese.

Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

The thing you’ll love most about this cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo is that it’s the perfect easy-yet-satisfying dinner when you’re short on time during the week. Made with just a handful of fresh & pantry-staple ingredients, you’ll have a super flavorful & incredibly simple dinner ready with less than 30 minutes of active cooking.

  • Chicken – I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this chicken and broccoli orzo recipe. Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces for easy cooking & eating!
  • Orzo – This short pasta is so underrated! I love cooking with orzo because its size & texture is similar to rice, but it has a much quicker cook time than most grains.
  • Broccoli – Cut one medium head of broccoli into bite-sized florets to mix into the cheesy orzo. You can also use cauliflower, too (or a delicious blend of both!) – whatever you prefer.
  • CheeseSharp cheddar is my go-to for this recipe, but any melty cheese will do! For best results, always grate your cheese fresh rather than buying pre-shredded cheese.
  • AromaticsYellow onion, garlic, & mustard powder create a strong base of flavor, while dry white wine adds a little brightness to balance the creaminess of the chicken and orzo skillet. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, feel free to substitute the wine with some extra chicken broth or water – you may want to squeeze a little fresh lemon juice into the mix to replicate the brightness of the wine.
  • Chicken broth – Last but not least, chicken broth helps this chicken and broccoli orzo skillet simmer to perfection. You can use any chicken broth you love – I’m newly obsessed with the Culinary Concentrate Chicken Bone Broth from Zoup!.
Ingredient Spotlight

Zoup! Good, Really Good® Culinary Concentrate™

Zoup! Good, Really Good® Culinary Concentrates™ are a total game-changer for home cooks! With 3 different varieties – chicken bone broth, beef bone broth, & savory no-chicken vegan broth – every jar is made in small batches and free of added hormones & without artificial flavors, ingredients, preservatives, or fillers. Zoup! also offers a lineup of traditional broths, and all products are available for purchase online at ZoupBroth.com.

To me, the biggest benefit of Zoup! Good, Really Good® Culinary Concentrate™ is its quality & its flavor. It’s high-quality enough to drink as a sipping broth & has amazingly rich “simmered-all-day” flavor that you just don’t find in other store-bought stocks & broths. (I swear, you can smell the roasted chicken as soon as you open the jar!) Plus, each jar yields 10 quarts of broth, making it super convenient & cost-effective to keep on hand. I use Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth in this recipe to create the rich sauce that simmers the chicken and orzo skillet. All you have to do is whisk one tablespoon into 3 cups of hot water & you’ll have a super flavorful broth ready to go – easy!

How to Make This Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Skillet

Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.

*Weeknight Prep Tip!

I highly recommend gathering & prepping all of the ingredients before you start cooking your chicken and broccoli orzo skillet. Once you begin cooking, it comes together super quickly – there won’t be too much time to multi-task, so having everything ready to go is super helpful. Dice the onion, cut the broccoli florets, grate the cheese, & measure out everything else, then place it all within arm’s reach of the stove. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more meal prep tips!

1

Brown the chicken. Melt some butter in an oven-safe skillet, then cook the diced chicken for a few minutes until golden-brown & set aside. It’s ok if the pieces aren’t cooked through all the way in this step. Why? ⇢ Browning the chicken creates a chemical process called the Maillard reaction that adds a ton of rich flavor to this orzo skillet. The chicken will cook through later as it simmers – this step is all about flavor, flavor, flavor!

2

Cook the aromatics & toast the orzo. To the same pan used to brown the chicken, add the onion & cook until soft & translucent. Stir in garlic & a little mustard powder, then reduce the heat & add the orzo into the pan. Stir constantly, allowing the orzo to toast & turn slightly golden-brown. Why? ⇢ Toasting the orzo enriches its flavor, adding a nuttiness from the browning.

3

Deglaze. Once the orzo is fragrant, pour the white wine into the skillet. Why? ⇢ As the liquid hits the hot pan, it creates steam that releases any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Use a spoon to scrape them up (they’re full of flavor!), then allow the wine to come to a simmer & reduce completely – the orzo soaks up the wine’s amazing brightness as it simmers!

4

Build the chicken and orzo skillet & bake. Finish off the skillet by adding the broccoli florets, browned chicken, & chicken broth into the pan. Allow everything to come to a simmer, then transfer the dish right into the oven to bake the orzo. The chicken and broccoli orzo should bake for about 15 minutes, until the orzo is tender. From there, sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over top & bake for another 5 minutes, until the skillet is gooey & perfectly melted. Don’t have an oven-safe skillet? ⇢ No worries! Simply transfer the chicken and orzo bake mixture from the stovetop into a lightly greased baking dish & then put into the oven.

A close up macro shot of finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper.

Easy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Recipe Variations & Tips

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s very versatile & easily adapted based on your preferences or what you happen to have on hand. Some simple variations & substitutions:

  • Chicken. Feel free to use chicken thighs for extra juiciness or shredded rotisserie chicken for ease.
  • Cheese. Any melting cheese works great in this cheesy orzo skillet. Havarti is an awesome option, as is smoked gouda or feisty pepper jack.
  • Vegetables. Cauliflower is a great substitution for broccoli here if you prefer it. Other hearty veggies like bell peppers or summer squash also work well too if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Orzo. Easily make this skillet gluten-free by subbing in a gluten-free orzo of your choice!

Other Time-Saving Tips!

Use rotisserie chicken instead of chicken breasts. Skip the entire step of browning the chicken & add shredded rotisserie chicken in with the broccoli & chicken broth to warm through as the skillet bakes.

Use cooked broccoli. If you have leftover cooked or roasted veggies that you need to use up – broccoli or otherwise! – add them to the broccoli orzo!

Meal prep in advance so you’re ready to start cooking as soon as dinner time rolls around. Dice the onion & cut the broccoli into florets, then store in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. It takes 10 minutes tops – check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.

A close up of finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by fresh parsley and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper.

Serving Baked Orzo

The great thing about this chicken and broccoli orzo is it’s a complete meal on its own. It has everything you need – hearty protein, fresh veggies, & comforting cheesy carbs! Once the chicken and orzo skillet comes out of the oven, give it a couple of minutes to cool slightly before serving. This allows all the cheesy orzo, chicken, & broccoli goodness to meld together, making serving a bit easier. From there, dig right in!

If you want to add an easy side, I’d go for a fresh green salad with my All-Purpose Vinaigrette to balance out the richness of the cheesy orzo. A side of crusty bread is also never a bad idea! 😉

Leftover Chicken and Broccoli Orzo

Leftover baked orzo makes for a fantastic weekday lunch! Dig into the chicken and orzo skillet at dinnertime & enjoy any leftovers throughout the week. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for full Storage & Reheating guidance!

A side angle shot of finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by fresh parsley and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper and a spoon rests inside the skillet with a portion scooped out.

I can’t wait for you to try this Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet! It’s so simple to prepare, so flavorful & cheesy, & so satisfying – you’re going to love it! If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!

Love easy one-skillet chicken dinners? Who doesn’t?! Be sure to try this One-Skillet French Onion Chicken, Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits, or these Skillet Red Curry Meatballs next. ♡ Happy cooking!

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Finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by fresh parsley, a small ceramic bowl filled with chopped parsley, and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, Chicken Recipes, Pasta Recipes
  • Method: Skillet Recipes, Stovetop, Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

There are few things more feel-good & nostalgic than Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo! This one-skillet dinner is quick & easy to throw together any night of the week, & the whole family will obsess over its creamy, cheesy, & classic flavor. 

One of the reasons you’ll love this recipe so much is the fact that it comes together in just one skillet – sear juicy bites of chicken breast, toast orzo pasta, & build a rich chicken broth sauce with flavorful aromatics. From there, top it off with tender broccoli & loads of shredded cheddar, then bake the chicken and orzo skillet to creamy, cheesy perfection. 

It’s simple-yet-flavorful, totally creamy & cheesy, & it comes together with just 30 minutes of active cooking. Weeknight cooking does not get better than that! 

Be sure to check the Recipe Notes, below, for meal prep tips!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo (roughly 9 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (see Recipe Notes)
  • 2 teaspoons Zoup! Good, Really Good® Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth whisked into 3 cups hot water
  • 1 medium head broccoli or cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (roughly 12 ounces or 4 cups florets)
  • 6 ounces sharp cheddar, freshly grated
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above – once you begin cooking, this chicken and broccoli orzo skillet comes together pretty quickly so it’s helpful to get any chopping & measuring done ahead of time (e.g. dice the onion, cut the broccoli florets, grate the cheddar, etc.). Place everything within arm’s reach of the stove.Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet ingredients arranged on a creamy white textured surface: unsalted butter, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, yellow onion, garlic, mustard powder, orzo, dry white wine, Zoup! Chicken Bone Broth Concentrate, broccoli, and sharp cheddar cheese.
  2. Brown the chicken: Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to an 11-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Season the diced chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Once the butter is hot & melted, add the chicken to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden & browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate & set aside. (The chicken will not be cooked through at this point, which is totally fine & expected!)How to make Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Orzo Skillet, step 2: brown the chicken. Bite-sized pieces of seasoned chicken brown in the bottom of a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  3. Cook the aromatics: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the same skillet used to brown the chicken. Once hot & melted, add the onion, seasoning with a pinch of kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened & translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic & mustard powder. Cook 30 seconds – 1 minute longer, until fragrant.How to make chicken and broccoli orzo, step 3: cook the aromatics. Bite-sized pieces of seasoned chicken brown in the bottom of a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  4. Toast the orzo & deglaze the skillet: Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Stir in the orzo. Toast the orzo 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until nutty & fragrant. Deglaze the pan by slowly pouring in the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Increase heat to medium-high, bringing the wine to a simmer, then cook 4-5 minutes or until reduced completely.How to make chicken and broccoli orzo, step 4: Toast the orzo. Raw orzo pasta is stirred into aromatics in a white double-handle skillet to allow the orzo to toast. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  5. Build the chicken and broccoli orzo skillet: Add the broccoli florets & browned chicken from Step 2  to the skillet. Pour in the prepared chicken broth. Stir to combine well. Cook 3-5 minutes, just until the skillet comes to a simmer.  How to make chicken and broccoli orzo, step 5: Build the chicken and broccoli orzo skillet. Broccoli florets and browned chicken are added to toasted orzo pasta and cooked aromatics in a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  6. Bake the chicken and broccoli orzo skillet: Transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook 15 minutes, until the orzo is tender. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the skillet, then return to the oven to bake 5 minutes longer, until melted. Finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by fresh parsley, a small ceramic bowl filled with chopped parsley, and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper.
  7. Serve: Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Allow to cool slightly as desired, then serve. Enjoy! 

Notes

  • Ingredients & Equipment Notes:
    • White wine substitute: I love using white wine in this recipe as it creates another layer of rich flavor & adds a little bit of brightness to help balance the richness of the creamy orzo. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, substitute with extra chicken broth or water. If you have a lemon on hand, you can squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the skillet to help recreate the balanced brightness of wine. 
    • No oven-safe skillet? If you do not have an oven-safe skillet, you can bake the cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Prepare according to Steps 1-5 of Recipe Directions, above, then transfer the orzo bake mixture to your prepared baking dish. Bake & serve as detailed in Step 6-7, above. 
  • Storage & Reheating: Leftover cheesy chicken broccoli orzo will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for this cheesy chicken broccoli orzo skillet comes from prepping the veggies. Take care of this in advance – it takes 10 minutes, tops – & you can jump straight into cooking during the week. Simply dice 1 large yellow onion & cut 1 medium head broccoli into bite-sized florets. Transfer to individual airtight containers & store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (>10 minutes active)

Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.

A side angle shot of finished cheesy chicken and broccoli orzo skillet fills a white double-handle skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface and is surrounded by fresh parsley, a small white bowl filled with chopped parsley, and a blue and white striped linen napkin. The skillet dinner has been garnished with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper and a spoon rests inside the skillet with a portion scooped out.

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Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 10.25.22
    Kaitlyn said:

    This recipe was so good! It was also super quick and easy. I made it for dinner, but it would also make the perfect lunch meal prep!

    • 10.26.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Yay, we’re so glad you loved it Kaitlyn! Thanks so much for taking the time to drop a comment!

  2. 3.23.22
    Jenna said:

    I made this according to recipe, it was so quick, easy and flavorful! And my husband and toddler loved it too, which is an added bonus.

    • 3.24.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Hi Jenna! We are so glad to hear that your whole family enjoyed it – it’s a perfect skillet dinner for weeknights! Thanks so much for sharing!!