This Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet is the perfect weeknight meal loaded with flavorful chicken sausage, tender orzo, tons of garlic and leafy spinach easily made in just 20 minutes all in one pan!  

This Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet is the perfect weeknight meal loaded with flavorful chicken sausage, tender orzo, tons of garlic and leafy spinach easily made in just 20 minutes all in one pan!  
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You all are going to love this cozy, comforting creamy chicken sausage orzo skillet!  An easy one pot dinner made in just 20 minutes with pantry ingredients that is perfect for busy weeknights when you need something quick.  Not only is this hearty dish packed with lean protein, but you also get a boost of potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C from the spinach.  This has quickly become a meal the entire family loves and I just simply adjust the spice level for my 4 year old accordingly.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Packed with protein and so much flavor!
  • Easy one pan dinner made in just 20 minutes.
  • Made all in one skillet for easy preparation and clean up.
  • Can be served as a main dish or a hearty side dish.
This Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet is the perfect weeknight meal loaded with flavorful chicken sausage, tender orzo, tons of garlic and leafy spinach easily made in just 20 minutes all in one pan!  

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • chicken sausage – I used this spicy Italian chicken sausage, but any type of Italian sausage will work in this recipe or you could even use ground chicken, turkey, pork or beef.
  • orzo – orzo pasta is small, rice-shaped pasta that cooks quickly and has the magical ability of soaking up all these delicious flavors!  If you don’t have orzo, any type of small pasta or even rice will work in this dish.
  • garlic – you can use fresh chopped cloves garlic or minced garlic from the jar.
  • chicken broth – feel free to use chicken broth, vegetable broth or any stocks you have on hand.
  • coconut milk – this helps makes this orzo dish extra creamy, but you could also use heavy cream, half and half, or even regular milk.
  • soy sauce – adds a boost of flavor!
  • parmesan cheese – freshly grated parmesan cheese adds to the creaminess of this orzo and adds more flavor.  Other cheese options include asiago, pecorino romano cheese or gruyere.
  • spinach – adds a boost of nutrition and a pop of color.
  • fresh thyme – this is optional, but adds some earthiness and flavor.  Fresh chopped sage, rosemary or parsley would taste great too!
  • seasonings – combination of onion powder, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper.  Feel free to use as much or as little of the red pepper flakes depending on how much spice you want in this dish.

How to Make Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet

  1. Cook the chicken sausage.  Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken sausage until browned and cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Add in minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, being careful not to burn it.
  2. Add in the orzo.  Add in the dry orzo and toast in the pan along with the chicken sausage and garlic for about 60 seconds.  Pour in the chicken broth (or chicken stock) to deglaze the pan then add in the coconut milk, soy sauce, seasonings and fresh thyme, mixing well.
  3. Cover and simmer.  Bring the orzo mixture to a boil then turn the heat down, cover and let the orzo simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Orzo is ready once it is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Mix in the spinach and cheese.  Stir in the spinach leaves and cook until they are wilted then add in the freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes, if needed, and enjoy this creamy orzo skillet!
This Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet is the perfect weeknight meal loaded with flavorful chicken sausage, tender orzo, tons of garlic and leafy spinach easily made in just 20 minutes all in one pan!  

FAQS

Can I make this dairy-free?  Absolutely!  Just make sure to use coconut milk (not heavy cream) and leave out parmesan cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese to make this dairy-free.

What if I don’t have chicken sausage?  No problem!  Feel free to use chicken breasts (sliced or whole), ground chicken, ground turkey or ground sausage, or feel free to leave the protein out completely for a meatless dish.

What are some other variations?  You could add in sun dried tomatoes for even more flavor along with sliced mushrooms, bell peppers or green veggies such as broccoli, asparagus or zucchini.

Is orzo the same as risotto?  Orzo is a form of wheat pasta while risotto is a rice dish and while they are cooked very similarly, orzo cooks much faster making it perfect for an easy weeknight meal.

What can I serve with this orzo dish?  I like to serve this with a side salad for even more nutrition along with some crusty bread to sop up all that delicious sauce!

This Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet is the perfect weeknight meal loaded with flavorful chicken sausage, tender orzo, tons of garlic and leafy spinach easily made in just 20 minutes all in one pan!  

Meal Prep and Storage

Leftovers should be stored in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge and will last up to 3 to 4 days.  Keep in mind, the orzo will soak up all the sauce as it sits overnight so this dish tastes best enjoyed fresh as possible.

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4.56 from 45 votes

Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet

This Creamy Chicken Sausage Orzo Skillet is the perfect weeknight meal loaded with flavorful chicken sausage, tender orzo, tons of garlic and leafy spinach easily made in just 20 minutes all in one pan!  
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 oz spicy Italian chicken sausage, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup orzo, dry
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
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Instructions 

  • Drizzle olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken sausage until browned and cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Add in minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, being careful not to burn it.
  • Add in the dry orzo and toast in the pan along with the chicken sausage and garlic for about 60 seconds.  Pour in the chicken broth to deglaze the pan then add in the coconut milk, soy sauce, seasonings and fresh thyme, mixing well.
  • Bring the orzo mixture to a boil then turn the heat down, cover and let the orzo simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.  Orzo is ready once it is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Stir in the spinach leaves and cook until they are wilted then mix in the freshly grated parmesan cheese.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and enjoy this creamy orzo skillet!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4th of recipe | Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 28.9g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 16.2g | Saturated Fat: 5.6g | Sodium: 1147mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 1.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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As a self-proclaimed foodie and fitness enthusiast, I have a passion for cooking and a huge desire to show that living a healthy lifestyle can actually be easy and fun!  Feel free to use the meal guide above to find your new favorite meal ideas or the dietary guides to the right to narrow things down even more!

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38 Comments

  1. Nikol says:

    5 stars
    Delicious!
    My one suggestion would be, if you use heavy cream or any dairy instead of the coconut milk, you’re going to want to add it after the pasta cooks. Do not boil with dairy in it! It can curdle and ruin your recipe.

    But otherwise an absolutely delicious, fantastic recipe! Super easy and going to become a staple in my house!

  2. Margot says:

    4 stars
    Recipe was delicious! I would recommend adding less thyme. It was a bit strong.

  3. Amber Johnson says:

    How would adding in Boursin change anything in this recipe?

    1. Kelly says:

      I haven’t tested that to be sure, but I would think it would make a great addition! 🙂

  4. Sam says:

    If I added chopped bell pepper, when would you recommend adding that in?

    1. Kelly says:

      That would taste great! 🙂

  5. Hope Kerr says:

    Could II use chicken apple sausage?

    1. Kelly says:

      Sure!

  6. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    Added both mushrooms and sundried tomatoes and cut the dried thyme to like 1/3 tbsp and it was an 11/10. Will definitely add to our regular recipes!

    1. Morgan says:

      5 stars
      Each time I make this I vary it up on protein, veggies, less soy sauce, Italian seasoning because I don’t have just thyme, a dash of Worcestershire sauce. It’s so good! Hard to make it wrong and just fun to try it new ways!

  7. Mary says:

    Followed the recipe but turned out incredibly salty. Not sure why.

    1. Kelly says:

      Did you use low sodium chicken broth and low sodium soy sauce as recommended? That will help reduce the sodium in this dish!

  8. Ashley says:

    5 stars
    Really good recipe. I added marscapone cheese for extra creaminess. Probably will put a little less thyme next time. Otherwise really great dish!

  9. Mary says:

    5 stars
    So good! Substituted coconut milk with evaporated milk and left out the thyme only because I’m not a fan. This was a terrific recipe, so glad I came across it!