Cajun Chicken Orzo is bursting with delicious cajun seasoning, packed with bell peppers and chicken and is ultra creamy! This meal is super easy to come together and is a fan favorite.  

If you love cajun recipes, then you should also try my Cajun Sausage Pasta! It’s similar to this recipe but uses delicious andouille sausage! Also try my Blackened Shrimp which uses cajun-inspired spices! Did you find yourself here because you are a big orzo fan? Then you’ll love my Caprese Orzo Salad

Cajun Chicken Orzo in a skillet with a wooden spoon scooping into the noodles.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Great way to use leftover chicken. This creamy cajun orzo is a great recipe to use any of your leftover chicken! You can use shredded rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, cooked chicken, or even the canned chicken from Costco if you are in a bind on a busy weeknight! 
  • Creamy cajun orzo. The cream cheese is a big winner in this cajun orzo recipe. It makes a delicious and creamy sauce. 

Ingredient Notes

Cajun Chicken Orzo ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a baking sheet.
  • Orzo Pasta: Orzo is a small pasta. It looks a lot like rice but it is pasta! The orzo will puff up slightly when cooked. 
  • Butter: You can cook the peppers and garlic in olive oil if you’d prefer. 
  • Red Bell Pepper & Green Bell Pepper: Feel free to add more peppers if you’d like! You can also use just red peppers or just green peppers or different colors like yellow peppers or orange peppers. I used green pepper and red pepper to have a nice color contrast.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: Feel free to use any chicken — cooked chicken that’s cubed, grilled chicken, etc. 
  • Cajun Seasoning: The amount of cajun seasoning called for in the recipe is family-friendly; however, I do 1/4 tsp less for my kiddos. If you want more or less feel free to adapt to your liking. 
  • Cream Cheese: If you use cream cheese that is a bit softened, it will melt into the cajun pasta sauce much more easily.
  • Milk: The milk will provide a liquid that will create a saucy texture for the cajun chicken orzo while still keeping things nice and creamy!

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cook the orzo. Cook the orzo pasta according to the package directions over medium-high heat. You want it to be al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Make the cajun chicken sauce. While the orzo is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the peppers and cook for about 3 minutes or until almost cooked. Add the chicken cajun seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is warmed through. 
Four photos showing how to make Cajun Chicken Orzo, process includes cooking chopped red and green peppers, adding chicken and spices, stirring and adding cream cheese and milk.
  1. Add the cream cheese and milk. Add the cream cheese and milk and stir until melted. Add the parmesan cheese and cooked orzo. Stir. Serve this creamy cajun chicken orzo immediately! 
Two photos showing the making of a Cajun Chicken Orzo pasta made in a skillet.

Recipe Tips

Having the cream cheese at room temperature will make it quicker to melt and incorporate into the sauce. 

You can use more or less cajun seasoning depending on the spice level tolerance of those you are feeding. My kiddos liked less so I used about 1 1/4 tsp of cajun seasoning. 

Feel free to add additional vegetables to the dish to bulk up the creamy chicken orzo: onion, zucchini, peas, etc!

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Some make ahead tips for this creamy orzo with chicken recipe is to pre-cook the chicken (if you aren’t using leftover chicken, canned chicken, or rotisserie chicken). You can also prep the veggies by cutting the bell peppers. 

Store any leftover cajun chicken orzo in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. 

While you technically can freeze this creamy orzo chicken recipe, note that pasta typically goes mushy if frozen then thawed. Also, the sauce is dairy based so it will separate upon freezing. With this in mind, I don’t recommend freezing cajun chicken orzo.

To reheat, add a splash of milk and microwave until warm. The milk will return the sauce to a creamy and saucy texture. 

Recipe FAQs

What is orzo?

Orzo is a small noodle that has the pasta shape similar to rice. 

Can you freeze chicken orzo?

You can, however, I’ve never been a big fan of freezing pasta because it can go mushy once thawed. However, with a smaller pasta like orzo, you may be fine on that note. The sauce is dairy based, so it will likely separate when frozen then thawed. Just keep that in mind if you do decide to freeze this cajun orzo.  

How long does orzo take to cook?

Orzo will cook like any other pasta. Bring water to boil and add the orzo. It will typically take anywhere from 7-10 minutes. Cook to al dente. 

Why is my orzo hard?

Orzo should not be crunchy! It is pasta, so you want it to be similar texture of pasta when it’s cooked to al dente. The orzo will puff up slightly when cooked through (as pictured) and should be soft to the bite but not crunchy, not hard, and not mushy.

A wooden spoon with Cajun Chicken Orzo on it.

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Cajun Chicken Orzo pasta in a skillet with a wooden spoon scooping the noodles.
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Cajun Chicken Orzo

This Cajun Chicken Orzo is seriously amazing! So easy to throw together, and the perfect way to use up leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken. Add more cajun seasoning if you want a nice punch of flavor! I think my favorite aspect to this dish though is just how creamy it is. YUM!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 8 oz orzo pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper - chopped, if the pepper is small you can use the full pepper
  • 1/2 green bell pepper - chopped, if the pepper is small you can use the full pepper
  • 8 oz rotisserie chicken - chopped, or any left over cubed chicken will work well!
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning - add more or less to taste
  • 4 oz cream cheese - softened
  • 1 cup milk - I used 2%
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese - freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain water and place noodles in a large bowl. 
  • While pasta is cooking heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the garlic cloves. Cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes then add the chicken, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and cook until warmed, about 1 minute or so.
  • Add the cream cheese and milk, stirring until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. 
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese and cooked orzo pasta. Serve immediately. 

Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
If freezing, note that pasta gets mushy once frozen and thawed; and dairy can separate when frozen and thawed. With those two things in mind, I don’t recommend freezing this meal. 

Nutrition

Calories: 587kcal (29%)Carbohydrates: 50g (17%)Protein: 34g (68%)Fat: 28g (43%)Saturated Fat: 15g (75%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 118mg (39%)Sodium: 950mg (40%)Potassium: 360mg (10%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 1692IU (34%)Vitamin C: 32mg (39%)Calcium: 347mg (35%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, French
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