Spice Up Your Weeknights With One-Pot Cajun Chicken Orzo

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Quick and easy weeknight meals don’t have to be boring! This Cajun chicken orzo pasta is a one-pot dinner perfect for busy nights. Chewy orzo pasta combines with tender chicken bites in a creamy sauce spiced with Cajun seasoning. 

The spicy Cajun seasoning pairs with the creamy texture of the orzo and the rich nuttiness of Parmesan cheese. This one-pot pasta recipe is total comfort food. The beauty lies in its simplicity. There is no need for a million pots and pans – everything cooks together in one pot, minimizing cleanup and maximizing your free time.

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Even your picky eaters will be begging for seconds! In this post, I’ll explain the simple steps to creating this delicious Cajun dish and share my top tips and tricks to ensure your Cajun chicken orzo is nothing short of spectacular. I will also show you how to adjust the recipe to suit your family’s spice preference, making it an excellent option for everyone around the table. 

Try my one-pot creamy sausage and red pepper pasta, French onion casserole, or chicken parmesan casserole for more delicious weeknight dinner pasta options. 

🥘Ingredient Notes

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Chicken breast
  • Oil
  • Cajun seasoning: Store-bought Cajun seasoning adds excellent flavor to this dish without the need to measure all the individual spices.
  • Onion
  • Bell peppers: I used red and yellow bell peppers, but orange or green bell peppers would also taste great. A mix of peppers gives this dish a nice pop of color.
  • Garlic
  • Orzo pasta
  • Chicken stock
  • Half and half
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Spinach
  • Salt: Some Cajun seasoning mixes contain salt, so you might or might not need to add salt. 
Ingredients for cooking laid out on a marble countertop, including orzo pasta, vegetables, chicken, cheese, and seasonings, all labeled.

🥣How to Make Cajun Chicken Orzo

  1. Prep all the ingredients. Dice the onion, pepper, and garlic. Grate the Parmesan cheese. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Sauté chicken in olive oil until browned. Season with one tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning. Save the rest of the Cajun seasoning for later. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
  3. Sauté onion and pepper in the same pan until tender. Add garlic and orzo, toasting for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to the pan and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add half-and-half and cook, stirring often, until it is absorbed and the orzo is al dente. If needed, add a little extra water or chicken stock.
  6. Reduce heat and stir in Parmesan cheese until melted. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
  7. Taste the orzo and finish seasoning to taste. Add additional Cajun seasoning and salt, if needed. Some Cajun seasoning blends already contain salt, so you may not need any.
Cooked chicken pieces in a skillet with spices, surrounded by ingredients including chopped vegetables, parsley, and cheese on a marble countertop.
Cook the chicken.
Overhead view of a skillet with sautéed colorful bell peppers and onions; ingredients like orzo pasta, parsley, salt, and pepper around the skillet.
Add the bell peppers.
A pot containing uncooked orzo pasta mixed with chopped red and yellow bell peppers on a kitchen counter, surrounded by ingredients like spinach, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Add the orzo pasta.
A hand pours chicken broth into a skillet with chicken, rice, and vegetables, surrounded by spinach, parsley, and seasoning containers.
Pour in the chicken stock.
A hand pouring half and half into a skillet with chicken, rice, bell peppers, and herbs on a kitchen counter surrounded by fresh ingredients.
Add the half and half.
A skillet of creamy pasta with fresh spinach leaves on top, surrounded by parsley, more spinach, salt, and pepper shakers on a marble countertop.
Stir in the spinach.

🍴Serving Ideas

This creamy Cajun chicken orzo will bring a little New Orleans flair to your dinner routine. Pairing it with classic Southern sides can turn this dish into a true Cajun feast. 

Think of a light, crispy coleslaw to cut through the richness or some buttery cornbread on the side to sop up all that creamy goodness. And for those who like it hot, a dash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of extra Cajun seasoning will kick it up a notch.

This dish is also versatile enough to be a show-stopping potluck contribution or the centerpiece of a casual dinner party, served with a simple green salad and crisp white wine.

A wooden spoon holds a serving of Cajun Chicken Pasta with bell peppers and spinach, over a full plate of the same dish.

💭How to Store

If you have leftovers, simply let them cool, then spoon them into airtight containers and pop them in the fridge. They’ll keep for 3-4 days, making your weekday lunch prep a breeze.

When it’s time to reheat, a splash of water or chicken stock can help loosen things up since it will thicken in the fridge. Warm it over medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally until it’s heated through. You can also reheat it in the microwave if you’re in a pinch—cover it with a damp paper towel to keep the moisture in.

Wooden spoon lifting creamy chicken and vegetable risotto from a large pot.

⭐Tips

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • When cutting your chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, aim for uniformity
  • Start with a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and add extra to the finished dish after tasting it. It is easy to add more, but it is impossible to remove it if you start with too much.
  • Don’t forget the greens. That baby spinach isn’t just for color; it’s for a sneaky health kick. Toss it in right at the end so it wilts and blends in.
  • Orzo is a great pasta shape for one-pot meals because it cooks quickly. You can substitute another small pasta shape, like elbows. Check the pasta package and adjust the cooking time if needed.

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A wooden spoon scoops up a serving of creamy chicken and vegetable orzo from a large pot.
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Cajun Chicken Orzo

Published By Anne
Creamy Cajun Chicken Orzo is an easy weeknight meal. This creamy dish comes together in one pan for minimal cleanup and maximum flavor.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning divided
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 bell peppers diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups dried orzo pasta one pound box
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 4 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

Instructions

  • Prep the ingredients. Dice the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Grate the Parmesan cheese. Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
    1 small white onion, 2 bell peppers diced, 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated, 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces. Stir in one tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
    2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and the orzo to the pan and stir for 2-3 minutes to toast the orzo.
    2 cups dried orzo pasta
  • Add the chicken stock and pieces to the pan and bring them to a low simmer. Reduce to medium heat, and let the orzo simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until almost all the chicken stock is absorbed. Stir it frequently.
    3 cups chicken stock
  • Add the half-and-half. Cook another few minutes, stirring frequently, until the orzo is al dente. If it is still not cooked enough, add a little extra water or chicken stock.
    1 cup half and half
  • Reduce to low heat, and stir in the fresh-grated Parmesan cheese and spinach.
    4 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • Taste the orzo and finish seasoning to taste. Add additional Cajun seasoning if desired. Add salt if needed. Some cajun seasoning blends already contain salt, so you may not need any.
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Garnish with some fresh parsley, and serve!

Notes

  • When cutting your chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, cut it uniformly so it cooks evenly.
  • Start with a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning and add extra to the finished dish after tasting it. It is easy to add more, but impossible to remove if you are overly generous.
  • Orzo is a great pasta shape for one-pot meals because it cooks quickly. You can substitute another small pasta shape, like elbows. Check the pasta package and adjust the cooking time if needed.
  • When reheating, a splash of water or a dab of butter will bring back the creamy texture. Just warm it over low heat and stir until it’s just right.

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 827mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 4398IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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Fork lifting a serving of creamy chicken and vegetable pasta from a plate, with more dishes in the background.
anne

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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