This Cheesy Chicken Orzo Casserole Recipe makes an easy, delicious and filling meal any night of the week. It’s the perfect way to use up leftover chicken (or turkey) too!
My family could eat meals with cheese just about every day of the week. I have yet to find a dish with cheese they will push away.
They are also big fans of pasta and bacon, so a lot of our casseroles have those tasty ingredients as well.
This week I experimented with a Cheesy Chicken Orzo Casserole recipe I thought would be yummy.
While we like just about any casserole with chicken breast, I wanted to ramp up the flavors a bit, so I added bacon and added peas.
For the chicken itself, we had grilled out the night before and I had leftover chicken, so that’s what we used.
The result? Probably the best chicken casserole I have ever made. Seriously! My family asked for seconds of this creamy chicken orzo, and then thirds!
I bet your family will love this Cheesy Chicken and Orzo Casserole as much as mine does!
For the chicken in this recipe you can use a rotisserie chicken that you have shredded, but if I’m not going with recent leftover chicken, then I prefer to use pre-cooked shredded chicken that I make in the crockpot and store in the freezer.
That shredded chicken breast stored in the freezer is very convenient for all kinds of chicken recipes – including this one!
If you prefer, you can also make this recipe with chicken thighs. I went with chicken breast since that’s what my family likes, but if your family prefers thighs (or you find them on sale) then go for it!
Cheesy Chicken Orzo Casserole Recipe
1-pound chicken, cooked and cubed
½ pound bacon, chopped.
1 tbsp. garlic
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
How to make chicken orzo casserole:
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium skillet, cook bacon on medium high until crispy. Move to a paper towel to drain.
Save ¼ of the bacon drippings. Cook garlic 1-2 mins.
Reduce heat to medium and whisk in flour. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook for 5 mins., whisking occasionally.
Add Monterey jack cheese, salt and pepper and blend well. Set aside. In a large pot, cook orzo according to instructions, but cook 2 minutes less. Drain.
Add back to pot along with the chicken, the peas and ¾ of the bacon and mix gently. Add cheese mixture and blend well.
Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with vegetable oil. Add mixture.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese and remaining bacon. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is browning and bubbly.
How to Make Cheesy Chicken Orzo Casserole as a Freezer Meal:
If you want to prepare this dinner ahead of time and store in your freezer. Make according to the recipe up to the point where you put it in the casserole dish.
Before putting it in the dish, line your casserole with aluminum foil with overhang on all sides. Fill it with your chicken and orzo mixture, fold up the foil and put it in the freezer to freeze overnight.
Once it’s frozen solid, lift the foil out of the pan, wrap with another layer of foil, label your package and put it back in the freezer.
The day before you want to cook your frozen casserole, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake as usual.
Cheesy Chicken and Orzo Casserole
- 1- pound chicken cooked and cubed
- ½ pound bacon chopped
- 1 tbsp. garlic
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1 pound orzo
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In a medium skillet, cook bacon on medium high until crispy. Move to a paper towel to drain. Save ¼ of the bacon drippings and cook garlic 1-2 mins.
- Reduce heat to medium and whisk in flour. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly.
- Cook for 5 mins., whisking occasionally. Add Monterey jack cheese, salt and pepper and blend well. Set aside.
- In a large pot, cook orzo accordingly to instructions, but cook 2 minutes less. Drain.
- Add back to pot along with the chicken, the peas and ¾ of the bacon and mix gently. Add cheese mixture and blend well.
- Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with vegetable oil. Add mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and remaining bacon.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is browning and bubbly.
Ooh, yummy! I don’t think there’s a single thing in there that I don’t love. Need to try this!
Ellen Christian says
That looks absolutely delicious. It would definitely be a huge hit at our house.
Barb W. says
Sounds and looks delicious! I think my kids would enjoy it. Have to try making soon!
This looks like a delicious option to make up for the family! Thanks for sharing.
This casserole looks so delicious! My kid will eat anything as long as there is cheese. This recipe will add variety to the dishes she likes to eat.
Darla Peduzzi says
This looks so good! I am going to pin it and give it a try. I just might need to tweek the peas because my big kid (hubby) picks them out if there are too many 🙂
What did you use for a substitute for peas?
Julie Wood says
I have never cook with orzo before and this recipe look so yummy and I want to try it. Thanks for sharing. It looks like an easy recipe!
rochelle haynes says
This looks good love to try this
G K says
Chicken and pasta are two of my favorite things. Surprisingly, I’ve never had orzo before.
Looks delicious! I am going to try this recipe
Kimberly Flickinger says
This cheesy chicken casserole looks delicious, I will definitely have to try this!
Hannah C says
Yummy, this looks fantastic!
Jerry Marquardt says
I can’t wait to try out your special recipe for this Cheesy Chicken Orzo Casserole. I think it looks delicious, and hope I do as good as you did in the mouthwatering photos.