Chicken/ Hearty Dinners

Spanish Style One Pot Chicken Orzo

May 23, 2019 (Last Updated: June 18, 2020) by Chris Collins

This Spanish Style Chicken Orzo is not only bursting with flavour, but is all made in one pot, making it THE perfect weeknight dinner!

I really don’t do enough one pot meals on this blog and quite frankly I don’t know why. I hate washing up just as much as the next person. I guess this time round I just couldn’t face the dishes 😂 Any who, thank god I couldn’t, the result is beyond delicious. Follow me…

overhead shot of chicken on top of orzo garnished with parsley

Chicken Orzo

Chicken and orzo is a match made in heaven. If you’re bored of chicken and rice or chicken pasta, orzo is the perfect compromise. For this recipe we’ll be using bone in skin on chicken thighs. These work great because you get a gorgeous crispy skin, which works as a nice contrast to the soft orzo. Having the bone in also allows the chicken to cook through more evenly and arguably leaves it more tender.

Spanish Chicken

I’ll use the term ‘Spanish’ fairly loosely, just so I don’t anger people 😂 But for me, the flavours and ingredients in this dish offer a nice Spanish ‘kiss’. Starting with the chicken itself, I highly recommend marinating it, even if just for 30mins. This will inject flavour into the thighs and tenderize the meat. Here’s what you’ll need for the marinade:

  • Olive Oil & Lemon Juice
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper

I suggest marinating over night, but like I said, even just whilst you prep the other ingredients will benefit.

Process shots: Add your marinade ingredients into a small bowl (photo 1), combine until evenly blended (photo 2), pour over chicken thighs in a separate larger bowl (photo 3), cover and marinate (photo 4), place skin side down over medium high heat until crispy, then turn down to medium, flip and cook until white through the centre (photo 5).

how to make Spanish chicken - 5 step by step photos

One Pot Chicken Orzo

The perfect thing about this dish is that the orzo cooks in the pan with all the other ingredients. No pre-cooking needed.  The starch from the orzo actually helps to create a silky, creamy sauce which goes down an absolute treat. Almost like a risotto.

What consistency should this be?

When you’re doing a one pan orzo there’s two ways you can go about it.

First is to make it with dry/fluffy orzo, almost like a Paella. To do this simple cut down the liquid a little bit and when it’s almost cooked, pop on the lid and turn the heat to low. Second is to make it more saucy, more like a risotto. As you can tell this is how I prefer mine. Like I said earlier, the starch from the orzo is useful in making creamy sauces, so why not utilise it?

How to make One Pan Orzo (quick summary)

  1. Fry red pepper and onion until soft.
  2. Add chorizo and garlic, fry for a minute or so longer, then add sun dried tomatoes and olives.
  3. Stir in tomato puree, then add orzo.
  4. Gradually add chicken stock until desired consistency and add seasoning
  5. Give it a final mix to ensure it hasn’t stuck to the pan.
  6. Add chicken thighs back on and garnish with parsley.

How to make One Pot Chicken Orzo - 6 step by step photos

And there we have it! All my top tips for making the most glorious chicken orzo.

If you like this sound of this Spanish chicken orzo definitely make sure you check out my Spanish Chicken Tray Bake!

Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?

One Pan/Pot Chicken Dinners

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this Spanish Chicken Orzo shall we?!

1 chicken thigh in a white bowl with orzo garnished with parsley

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How to make One Pot Chicken Orzo (Full Recipe & Video)

1 chicken thigh in a white bowl with orzo garnished with parsley

Spanish Style One Pot Chicken Orzo

This Spanish Style Chicken Orzo is not only bursting with flavour, but is all made in one pot, making it THE perfect weeknight dinner!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Marinating time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 960kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4


  • Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Small Bowl (for marinade)
  • Large Bowl & Cling Film (for marinating)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Jug (for stock)

Ingredients (check list):


  • 4-6 Chicken Thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 2 tbsp EACH: Olive Oil, Lemon Juice
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1.5 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp each: Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper

One Pot Ingredients

  • 2 cups Orzo
  • 3-4cups / 750ml-1litre Chicken Stock, or as needed (see notes)
  • 5.3oz / 150g Chorizo, diced
  • 3/4cup / 75g Sun Dried Tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 medium White Onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium Red Pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2cup / 40g Olives, diced
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomate Paste in US)
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp each: Smoked Paprika, Oregano
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parsley, to serve


  • In a small bowl mix together your marinade, then combine in a larger bowl with your chicken. Cover and marinate for up as long as you have time for (up to 12hours). Even 30mins will benefit.
  • Fry chicken thighs skin side down over medium-high heat until crispy, then flip, turn down to medium heat and fry until white through the centre. Remove from pan and pour out excess fat, leaving around 1 tsp.
  • Add your onion & pepper and fry until soft. Add your chorizo & garlic and fry for a couple of minutes longer, then add your sun dried tomatoes and olives. 
  • Fry off your tomato puree for a few mins then stir in your orzo until completely coated. Gradually start pouring in your stock, stirring so the orzo doesn’t catch to the pan. Use more/less stock depending on consistency preference (see notes). Season with smoked paprika, oregano and salt & pepper when almost cooked.
  • Add chicken thighs back on top to heat through and garnish with fresh parsley.

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Consistency - I like mine Risotto style i.e more liquidy, so I tend to use more stock. If you like your orzo more like dried rice, then only add enough liquid until it's just about cooked, then pop on a lid, turn heat to a low and let the orzo steam to finish cooking. Either way if you run out of stock then use water.
b) Calories - Based on sharing 6 thighs between 4 people (hefty portions!)


Nutrition Facts
Spanish Style One Pot Chicken Orzo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 960 Calories from Fat 336
% Daily Value*
Fat 37.34g57%
Saturated Fat 11.187g56%
Trans Fat 0.091g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.272g
Monounsaturated Fat 17.029g
Cholesterol 306mg102%
Sodium 306mg13%
Potassium 1382mg39%
Carbohydrates 84.06g28%
Fiber 6.6g26%
Sugar 6.57g7%
Protein 69.7g139%
Vitamin A 3150IU63%
Vitamin C 29.7mg36%
Calcium 90mg9%
Iron 6.5mg36%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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  • Reply
    June 9, 2019 at 4:24 am

    5 stars
    I tried so many “Spanish rice” skillet recipes with chicken thighs and never liked them until now. I love this recipe. I think the addition of sun-dried tomatoes really took it over the top – I drizzled some oil from the sun-dried tomatoes into the rice before serving. Great dish.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 9, 2019 at 10:34 am

      That’s awesome to hear Jack! Thanks for coming back and sharing the feedback 🙂

  • Reply
    May 24, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Oh my this looks delicious!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2019 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks Karly 🙂

  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    5 stars
    So easy and tasty! Love this recipe!

    • Reply
      May 24, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Thanks Kim 🙂

  • Reply
    Anita @ Daily Cooking Quest
    May 23, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    5 stars
    I love preparing new food to celebrate long weekend like the coming Memorial Day weekend, and I think I just find what I want to cook this time. Thanks for sharing this lovely one pot chicken orzo recipe. 🙂

    • Reply
      May 24, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Thanks so much Anita! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    5 stars
    And now I have dinner for tonight lol. Thank you. I was looking fr something like this!

    • Reply
      May 24, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Enjoy!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    May 23, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner and had smiling faces all around the table! Delicious, indeed!

    • Reply
      May 24, 2019 at 11:12 am

      So glad you enjoyed it Sara!

  • Reply
    Lisa | Garlic & Zest
    May 23, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    5 stars
    My stomach is growling in response to reading this post. Wonderful flavors in the recipe — and I love that you used cayenne (I’m a sucker for spice). This would make a great weeknight dinner for the whole family.

    • Reply
      May 24, 2019 at 11:12 am

      Thanks Lisa! So perfect for a weeknight dinner!

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