Made entirely in one skillet and packed with bold, spicy flavors, these blackened chicken thighs and orzo are quick to whip up and the perfect weeknight dinner!
One pot dinners rule all and these zippy chicken thighs and orzo are sitting pretty at the top of that list. I blame it mostly on the homemade blackened seasoning mix that brings some serious attitude to this dish.
Anyways, we’re ticking SO many dinner boxes today with doing it all in one pot, keeping prep time under 1 hour, and using easy pantry ingredients.
For all these reasons…welcome to your newest dinner staple.
Even if you’re not a fan of too much heat in your food, keep reading! It’s so easy to dial the heat up or down in this recipe and make it adaptable to a variety of palates.
Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this one in your dinner life.
This Blackened Chicken features…
- Juicy seared chicken thighs coated in a homemade blackened spice mix
- Tender orzo cooked in lots of bold, spicy flavors
- Made entirely in one skillet in under an hour
Making the Blackened Chicken
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Chicken thighs
- Unsalted butter
- Vegetable oil
- Yellow onion
- Diced tomatoes
- Chicken broth
Choosing Your Chicken
We recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. This cut of chicken is best suited for skillet meals like this because it cooks up super quick and juicy coated in the flavorful blackened spice seasoning.
Bone-in chicken thighs may also be used in this recipe, however, you will need to bake them separately in the oven after searing because they will take a bit longer to cook than boneless.
If you don’t have thighs on hand, boneless skinless chicken breasts will work great instead. They won’t cook up quite as juicy as thighs but they will still be delicious.
Tips for Perfect Blackened Chicken
- Use homemade seasoning mix – this adds some serious flavor to the chicken and orzo, plus it uses simple everyday spices you probably have in your pantry!
- Save part of seasoning mix for orzo – we’re going to rub about 1 tablespoon seasoning on the chicken and save the rest for flavoring the orzo.
- Sear chicken thighs – this adds a ton of flavors to the thighs, as well as fully cooks them.
- Toast orzo with aromatics – toasting the orzo with the onion, jalapeno, garlic, and seasoning mix flavors it perfectly.
- Simmer orzo – once the tomatoes and chicken broth are added, keep the orzo at a low simmer to fully cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom.
Try these ideas for a different twist on this chicken.
- Adjust heat level – skip the jalapeno for a milder flavor. For an extra-spicy dish, use a spicier pepper such as habanero or serrano.
- Skip the meat – you can easily skip the thighs in this recipe OR use a vegetable such as summer squash, mushrooms, zucchini, butternut squash, or sweet potato in its place.
Make Ahead Instructions
Follow these instructions for make-ahead tips.
- Make seasoning mix – the blackened seasoning stores well in a sealed container at room temperature up to 1 month.
- Chop vegetables – speed along prep by chopping the onion, jalapeno, and garlic and storing in refrigerator up to 3 days.
- Storing leftovers – once the chicken and orzo is assembled, leftovers will store well in the refrigerator up to 6 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave 2-3 minutes.
There is absolutely no shortage of bold flavors in this chicken and orzo! The chicken is soo insanely juicy and perfectly coated in spices, while the orzo cooks up beautifully tender and loaded with flavor.
One pot dinners like this one for life, please!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More killer orzo recipes to try next!
Skillet Blackened Chicken Thighs and Orzo
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Blackened Seasoning Mix
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Chicken Thighs and Orzo
- 1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (3-4 thighs)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 small jalapeno, minced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 1 cup canned petite-diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Blackened Seasoning Mix
- In a small bowl, combine all spices. Set aside.
Chicken Thighs and Orzo
- Place chicken thighs on a plate and rub 1 tablespoon blackened spice mixture evenly all over thighs. Set aside remaining seasoning mix for later.
- Heat 1 tablespoon butter and vegetable oil in a 9-in cast iron skillet (or a high-walled stainless steel skillet) over medium-high heat until pan is hot. Add chicken and sear 3-4 minutes on first side, then flip to opposite side and add remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes on opposite side until chicken is golden brown and registers 165F. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- In same pan over medium heat, sauté yellow onion and jalapeno in pan drippings until tender. Add remaining blackened seasoning mix, garlic, and orzo and cook an additional 1-2 minutes until orzo is slightly toasted.
- Pour diced tomatoes and chicken broth into skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer orzo 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally until orzo is almost tender and most of liquid is evaporated.
- Reduce heat to low and season orzo with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange chicken on top and simmer an additional 3-5 minutes on low until chicken is heated through. Top skillet with parsley and serve immediately while warm. Enjoy!