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This one pot Cajun chicken orzo recipe is a 30-minute meal with bold Cajun-inspired and Italian flavors! The irresistible creamy sauce has a kick while being ultra comforting.

You may also enjoy my Creamy Cajun Chicken or Cajun Chicken Pasta next.

a bowl with cajun chicken orzo

Why you’ll love it

I love both Italian food and Cajun food and thought it’d be fun to bring some of their flavors together. Enter this Cajun orzo with chicken! It’s quick and perfect for busy weeknights. It uses mostly pantry ingredients, and there’s the convenience of using rotisserie chicken.

There’s nothing authentically Cajun about this dish. Nada. I’m just a fan of the flavors, and the idea of doing a one pot orzo with a little zing was so appealing! The pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese add a little Italian flair to create one tasty crossover dish.

What you’ll need

  • Olive oil and butter – for sautéing
  • Onion and garlic – I like sweet (Vidalia) onions
  • Sun-dried tomatoes – Cajun cooking typically doesn’t use tomatoes (Creole does), but it works here for bringing Italian flavors together
  • Cajun seasoning – I use Tony’s Original. If you’re sensitive to salt, there are low-sodium and no salt varieties. Be sure to taste before adding any extra salt to this recipe.
  • Orzo – it’s a rice-shaped pasta that you’ll find in the dry pasta aisle
  • Chicken broth – be sure to use the low-sodium variety!
  • Lemon juice – for a touch of acidity to balance everything out
  • Heavy cream – it’s what makes this dish irresistibly luxurious
  • Chicken – rotisserie/already cooked chicken makes it easy
  • Parmesan – always use freshly grated for best taste and meltability
ingredients for cajun chicken orzo in prep bowls

Helpful tips

  • This recipe is not particularly spicy. Some Cajun seasonings can have a little kick, but the cream and pasta mellow it out.
  • A lot of factors influence one pot pasta recipes, everything from cookware to altitude! If you find the liquid is reducing too quickly before the orzo is done, add more broth or cream and/or turn down the heat.
  • Conversely, if it’s not reducing fast enough, turn up the heat or let the orzo sit for longer until it absorbs the sauce.

How to make Cajun chicken orzo

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing onion in a dutch oven and adding in sun-dried tomatoes and orzo

In a large pot, sauté the onion in the oil and butter until softened. Add in the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and orzo. Cook, stirring often, to toast the orzo for a few minutes.

adding broth and cajun seasoning to a pot of orzo then simmering and adding in chicken and parmesan

Stir in the broth, lemon juice, and cream. Let it gently bubble, stirring every so often, until the pasta is al dente. Stir in the chicken and parmesan. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it sit until thickened up.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • I use my trusty Dutch oven for my orzo recipes.
  • Mince the garlic without peeling the cloves first with a garlic press, and chop the onion with a quality chef’s knife.
  • Parmesan melts better when it’s freshly grated from a block (and tastes better too!). I use my Microplane zester for it.

Substitutions and variations

  • Add a handful or two of fresh baby spinach towards the end for some greens if you wish. Some fresh basil would also work.
  • You may be able to get away with using half-and-half instead of the heavy cream if that’s what you happen to have in your fridge, but the end result may be a thinner sauce.

What to serve with Cajun orzo

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftovers of this pasta for 3-4 days in the fridge in a covered container.
  • Reheat over a low heat, adding another splash of cream or chicken broth if the orzo has soaked up too much liquid.
  • I don’t recommend freezing dairy or cooked pasta.
a pot of cajun chicken orzo with a serving spoon

If you made this Cajun orzo with chicken, please leave a star rating and review below! I’d love to hear from you. Tag me on Instagram if you made this or any S&L recipe.

a bowl with cajun chicken orzo
5 from 2 votes

Cajun Chicken Orzo

This one pot Cajun chicken orzo recipe is a 30-minute meal with bold Cajun-inspired and Italian flavors! The irresistible creamy sauce has a kick while being ultra comforting.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning see note
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 2 cups cooked shredded/rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

  • Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and orzo to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will probably need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
  • Stir in the chicken and parmesan.
  • Take the pot off the heat, and cover it for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking.

Notes

  • Many Cajun seasonings are quite salty and replace salt & pepper in recipes such as this one (I used Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning). Be sure to give it a taste before adding extra salt. And be sure to use low-sodium chicken broth if you’re sensitive to salt. There are low/no salt Cajun seasonings available if needed.
  • If the pasta is soaking up the liquid too fast (like before the orzo is cooked), turn the heat down and/or add a splash more broth or cream. If there’s too much liquid, cover the pot for longer than suggested in the recipe and the orzo will absorb it quickly.

Nutrition

Calories: 640kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 146mg, Sodium: 379mg, Potassium: 713mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1678IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 189mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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5 from 2 votes

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4 Comments

  1. Alli says:

    5 stars
    This is very easy to make and super yummy! Made it for four and should have doubled the recipe, my husband and son both wanted seconds.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it was a hit, Alli! Appreciate your review!

  2. Gina says:

    5 stars
    This dish was easy and very tasty. My husband doesn’t like tomatoes, so I left those out. It’s a keeper!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy it was a hit, Gina!! 😀 Thanks for your review!