Chicken in a hearty tomato-based stew with orzo that comes together in one pan!
This Greek skillet chicken and orzo youvetsi is another delicious one-pot dinner for busy nights. It’s a traditional Greek youvetsi made over and over again in Greek households with chicken, beef, or lamb. I’m using chicken in this recipe to keep it simple and ready in under an hour.
It’s such a homey and comforting dish. The chicken melts in your mouth, the sauce is warm and delicious, and the whole family will enjoy it. Try it, and you may end up adding it to your weekly menu rotation.
Why will everyone love this?
juicy chicken with
tender, chewy orzo,
light aromatic and
flavorful tomato sauce.
What are the ingredients for Greek chicken and orzo youvetsi?
Boneless skinless chicken thighs -they stay juicy even if you overcook them a bit. You can substitute bone-in thighs or legs, but keep it skinless because it gets soggy.
Chicken broth -steaming hot, so when you add it to your skillet, it keeps everything cooking.
Olive oil -I use a simple light olive oil to fry with. You can use your favorite light oil.
Onion -finely chopped, allows the onion to distribute evenly throughout the youvetsi.
Garlic cloves -grated or minced is best. I buy garlic cloves in bulk and put them in the processor.
Crushed tomatoes -a good quality can of crushed tomatoes is best so the sauce stays light and robust.
Tomato paste adds to the sauce’s rich thickness but tends to be a bit bitter. So, you may want to add a pinch of sugar or half a teaspoon of honey to balance it out.
Orzo pasta -adding the uncooked pasta to your skillet allows it to soak up all the delicious flavors of the sauce.
Salt & freshly cracked black pepper -seasons everything for the best flavor.
Crushed red pepper flakes -add as much heat as you’d like, or you can omit it.
Cinnamon stick –this is optional but adds so much aromatic flavor. My kids don’t care for cinnamon in their stew, so I don’t even add it. Try it at least once, though!
Parsley -I like to sprinkle fresh parsley on top to add freshness to the rich sauce.
Parmesan or Kefalograviera cheese -grated or shredded sprinkled over the finished dish melts into the sauce.
How do you prepare your ingredients?
This recipe moves quickly once you get started, so prepare the ingredients before you get started. Pat the chicken dry and season both sides with salt and black pepper. Then, pour the broth into a pot and let it simmer on low heat.
How to make Greek chicken and orzo youvetsi?
Heat a large (5.5 qt) skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Brown the chicken in a few batches until golden on both sides and transfer it to a plate. It will not be fully cooked.
Reduce the heat or turn it off completely if the pan is too hot, and add the onion. Cook over medium heat until soft and golden. Add the garlic and warm through for a few seconds until fragrant.
Next, add the tomato paste to the garlic and onions and warm through. I also like to add about a teaspoon of sugar to get rid of the acidity of the paste.
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes with the lid on.
Put the chicken back in the skillet with the orzo and oregano, and season to taste. I add a teaspoon of salt per cup of orzo. Then, add the steaming hot broth and mix.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 15 minutes until the pasta is al dente. There will be a lot of liquid, but as the dish cools, the liquid will thicken and be absorbed by the pasta.
Turn the broiler on High and place the skillet (uncovered) under the broiler for 7-8 minutes to get some color. Taste to adjust the seasoning if needed, and fish out the cloves and bay leaves. Then, sprinkle the shredded cheese and parsley on top of the entire skillet before serving.
How do you reheat this for make-ahead or leftovers?
This dish tastes best fresh. However, if you’re making it beforehand, add some warm broth when reheating so it isn’t dry.
What can you serve with this dish?
There will be a lot of liquid even after you pull it out from under the broiler, but let the dish cool for about twenty minutes, and most of the liquid will thicken and be absorbed by the pasta. Feta and olives are a great side because some people like to add them to their youvetsi. If you’d like to add a green veggie to the meal, a Greek salad or spanakopita salad is light and balances out the hearty dinner. To make sure you soak up every drop of sauce, serve a crusty baguette, Greek Horiatiko Psomi Country Bread, or homemade flatbread. Kali Orexi!
More One-Skillet Meal Ideas:
- Chicken & Cabbage with Rice Skillet
- Lamb Spinach & Orzo Stew
- One-Pan Chicken & Chickpeas in the oven
- Greek Lemony Chicken & Rice
Watch the Video:
- 2 pounds (1kg) boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 quart chicken broth, steaming hot
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 15 oz (425g) crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
- salt, to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- 2 cloves
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
- Finely chopped fresh parsley (2 tablespoons)
- grated or shredded Parmesan or Kefalograviera cheese
- feta and olives
- Greek salad
Pat chicken dry and season both sides with salt and black pepper.
Place the broth in a pot and let it simmer on low heat.
Heat a large (5.5 qt) skillet over mediu heat and add the olive oil. Brown the chicken in a few batches until golden on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate. It will not be fully cooked.
Reduce the heat or turn it off completely if the pan is too hot and add the onion. Cook over medium-heat until soft and golden. Add the garlic and warm through for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and warm through. I also like to add about a teaspoon of sugar to get rid of the acidity of the paste.
Add the tomatoes, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes with the lid on.
Add the chicken, the orzo, and oregano. I add a teaspoon of salt per cup of orzo. Season to taste.
Add the steaming hot broth and mix.
Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 15 minutes until the pasta is al dente.
There will be a lot of liquid. As the dish cools the liquid will thicken and be absorbed by the pasta.
Optional: Turn the broiler on High and place the skillet (uncovered ) under the broiler for 7-8 minutes to get some color.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Garnish with parsley and shredded cheese.
This dish tastes best fresh. If you're making it ahead of time, add some warm broth when reheating so that it is not dry.
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Cuisinart Stainless Steel, 5.5 Quart Sauté Pan w/ Cover, Helper Handle, Chef's Classic, 733-30H
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