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This easy orzo alla vodka with chicken recipe is a delicious twist on a classic! It’s a one pot meal that’s ready in just 30 minutes, family friendly, and feels a little special.
You may also like my Spicy Vodka Pasta Bake next.
This post is sponsored by our long-term partner DeLallo – thank you for supporting the brands that keep Salt & Lavender cooking! I only work with brands whose products I love. All opinions are my own.
Why you’ll love it
This vodka orzo recipe is like penne alla vodka but upgraded. It has that distinctive vodka sauce flavor you crave. My one pot orzo recipes are always a hit since they’re like a risotto but way easier. Fewer dishes, and ready in half an hour!
The key to a great vodka sauce is high-quality ingredients. That’s why I use DeLallo products here. Only their silky tomato paste will do for the base of the velvety vodka sauce! Pair it with DeLallo orzo and chicken, and you’ve got a winning dish for pasta night.
Can you taste the vodka?
- Nope! The alcohol cooks off, and magic happens. Vodka helps the ingredients meld and extracts flavor from them even more to develop a complex taste. It’s hard to describe, but it’s why vodka sauce is so beloved.
What you’ll need
- Olive oil and butter – for sautéing
- Onion and garlic – the tasty aromatic base
- Vodka – the star of the sauce!
- Tomato paste – it’s superior to fresh tomatoes in vodka sauce for concentrated tomato taste. I use DeLallo tomato paste in a tube.
- Chicken broth – for more savory depth in the sauce
- Heavy cream – to add luxuriousness
- Orzo – my go-to is DeLallo orzo. It’s a teeny tiny pasta that looks like rice.
- Chicken – we’re using rotisserie chicken for convenience to add some protein and make it a meal
- Parmesan – for a cheesy touch. Always grate your own.
- Basil – the perfect fresh complement to tomato-based sauces
Did you know?
- DeLallo is a family-owned company that started in Pennsylvania and prides itself on authentic Italian goods at affordable prices. They’ve got tons of items, everything from olives to pasta to Italian desserts!
- You can find their products at grocery stores nationwide, or just order from their website and have everything delivered right to your door.
How to make orzo alla vodka
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a soup pot, sauté the onion in oil and butter until golden. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. Pour in the vodka, let it bubble for about 30 seconds, then stir in the tomato paste. Stir in the broth, cream, and orzo. Bring to a boil.
Cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Turn it down to maintain a constant simmer. Add the chicken, and warm through. Remove from the heat, and stir in the parm and basil. Cover, let it thicken for a few minutes, and season with salt & pepper as desired.
- As with any one pot recipe, stoves and pots vary, so use your discretion. If the liquid is getting too low and the pasta isn’t yet cooked, add another splash of chicken broth or cream. Orzo soaks up liquid fast, so if there’s too much liquid at the end of the recommended cooking time, simply let it sit (covered) or cook it gently for a little longer.
- I always keep a wedge of parmesan cheese in my fridge and grate it for recipes. It’s minimal effort for the best flavor payoff and meltability.
Substitutions and variations
- The vodka adds something special to this recipe, but if you must sub it, a dry white wine would add a lovely flavor.
- Try adding in a handful of fresh spinach at the same time as the basil and parmesan for some more greens.
- If you prefer, you can make it without chicken, and it’s a delicious side or meatless main course.
Leftovers and storage
- This will last for 3-4 days in the fridge, but keep in mind the orzo will soak up more of the sauce the longer it sits. If needed, add another splash of cream or chicken broth when reheating.
- Reheat slowly over a low heat until warmed through.
- I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
If you made this chicken orzo alla vodka, please leave a star rating and review below! You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Orzo alla Vodka with Chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 small onion chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/4 cup DeLallo tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1 cup uncooked DeLallo orzo
- 2 cups cooked/rotisserie chicken
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 handful fresh basil torn
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add the oil and butter to a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in the vodka and let it bubble for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Add in the chicken broth, cream, and orzo. Increase the heat to high. Give it a good stir to ensure the tomato paste has dissolved. Once it starts to boil, cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will need to turn the heat down at some point to maintain a constant simmer (medium or even medium-low) so it's bubbling but not furiously boiling.
- Stir in the chicken and let it warm through for a minute or so.
- Take the pot off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and basil. Cover for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened up to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.
- Troubleshooting tip: If the orzo is soaking up the liquid too fast (like before it’s 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 last step of the recipe and the orzo will absorb it quickly, or continue cooking it on a gentle heat.
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