A Spicy Perspective

Instant Pot Italian Chicken Orzo

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Instant Pot Italian Chicken Orzo Recipe – An easy one-pot pressure cooker meal with robust Italian flavors of tomato, rosemary, thyme and basil.

Chicken Orzo

Comfort Food

Sometimes I just need a little edible comfort in the form of pasta. Who’s with me?

Even in the summer, when I’m supposed to be sticking to barbecue and watermelon, I’ve got to have a carby pasta dish on occasion. It just makes me feel like all is right with the world.

Today’s Italian Chicken Orzo is a fabulous recipe year-round, yet I especially like to make it in the summer and early fall when my herbs are growing tall.

It’s also great for summer cooking, because the entire recipe is made in an Instant Pot, so you don’t have to turn on your oven or stovetop and heat up the house. It’s also fabulous for the fall back-to-school hustle and bustle of busy week nights.

Italian chicken

To Instant Pot or Not to Instant Pot

Although I may get stoned for saying this, Instant Pots are not great for every type of recipe. 

There are times when you’re better off using a skillet to intensify flavor and produce a better overall texture. (Like this Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Skillet, or Carne Asada.)

However, I have found with recipes like this Italian Chicken Orzo dish you can pressure cook your chicken to tender perfection, and boil your pasta at the same time… In just 4 minutes!

Of course, you do have to account for the time it takes to build pressure in the Instant Pot, and the time it takes to release the pressure. So in all honesty, it takes about the same time on the stovetop. 

Therefore, if you love using your IP, go for it! Yet if you don’t own an Instant Pot, you can still make this recipe on the stovetop in about the same amount of time.

herbed chicken

Italian Chicken Ingredients

  • Bone-In Chicken Thighs (You can also use boneless thighs if desired.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Onion
  • Garlic Clove
  • Water
  • Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
  • Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • Dry Orzo Pasta
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper

This cozy Instant Pot Chicken Orzo recipe is a quick Italian meal your whole family will love.

comfort zone

How to Make Instant Pot Italian Chicken Orzo

Seriously, Instant Pot Chicken Orzo is so easy to make. Make sure to check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for any updates to the layering of the ingredients in the newest Instant Pot models. 

  1. Sauté the chicken thighs in the pot to create some caramelization on the skin.
  2. Next add in onions, garlic, orzo, tomatoes, and fresh garden herbs. Stir in water and position the chicken thighs on top.
  3. Then pressure cook the pasta and chicken together.
  4. I like to stir in fresh basil leaves at the end, so you have the deep herby undertones of the pressure cooked herbs, balanced by a pop of fresh sweetness from the raw basil.

This simple meal is so satisfying, it’s sure to end up on your regular dinner rotation.

And if you don’t have an Instant Pot, remember, you can still make it on the stovetop.

Instant Pot Chicken

Get The Full (Printable) Recipe Below For How To Make Instant Pot Italian Chicken Orzo.

Orzo Pasta

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does this recipe last?

You can store this in the fridge for 4 to 6 days in an airtight container. 

Can the bone-in chicken be swapped for boneless chicken thighs?

Of course! Boneless chicken thighs will work just as well.

Could I use chicken breast in this recipe?

Absolutely! You can swap out the chicken thighs with chicken breast and cook for the same time at the same temp! 

What about swapping the fresh herbs for dried?

 When substituting dried herbs, I usually reduce the herbs down to 1/3 of the fresh proportions. So 1 tablespoon of fresh would equal 1 teaspoon dried.

Can I substitute the orzo pasta with brown rice? 

Yes, you can, although this would change the cooking time a little bit. Brown rice usually takes about 15 minutes on high pressure. 

Italian Comfort Food

More Amazing Instant Pot Recipes

Check out our recipe card below…

Instant Pot Herb Chicken Orzo Recipe (Pressure Cooker Italian Pasta)
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4.84 from 12 votes
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Instant Pot Italian Chicken Orzo

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Instant Pot Herb Chicken Orzo Recipe - An easy one-pot pressure cooker meal with robust Italian flavors of tomato, rosemary, thyme and basil.
Servings: 4 +


  • 2-2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (4-6 thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 28 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 12 ounces dry orzo pasta
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Salt and pepper


  • Place the oil in the Instant Pot and set on Sauté. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides. Then place them skin-side-down in the Instant Pot. Sauté for 5 minutes per side, then remove from the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a metal spatula to loosen any chicken skin.
  • Next, add the onions and garlic to the pan juices. Sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in the water and use a metal spatula to thoroughly deglaze the bottom of the pot. (Any skin or debris stuck to the bottom of the pot could later result in a "burn" notice.)
  • Add the fresh herbs and diced tomatoes. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and stir well. Set the chicken thighs back in the pot. Then pour the orzo on top. Lock the lid into place and set the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook High for 4 minutes. (It's important that the orzo goes in last so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.)
  • Once the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot and perform a Quick Release. When the steam valve button drops, it's safe to open the top. Remove all herb stems. Taste the orzo, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the fresh basil and serve.



RECIPE UPDATE: On the newer IP models, the "burn notice" is very sensitive. Make sure your rubber seal in the lid is very clean. Then be sure to scrape, deglaze, and layer the ingredients as directed to make sure the pasta cooks properly. We have changed the layering technique in this recipe to account for this, so if you watch the video, the steps may look slightly different. 
If a burn notice goes off, most common on the 8 quart model, cancel the cooking session, perform a quick release, and Sauté the ingredients until the pasta has cooked through.
STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: Follow steps 1 and 2 in a large 6-8 quart saucepot, set over medium heat. Layer the ingredients as directed in step 3, then cover and bring to a boil. Boil the chicken and orzo as directed on the orzo package, usually 7-10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and salt and pepper as needed. Then stir in the basil. If the chicken thighs are well-seared at the beginning, they should have no issue cooking through.
You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs if desired.


Serving: 1thigh + orzo, Calories: 407kcal, Carbohydrates: 76g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 324mg, Potassium: 233mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 935IU, Vitamin C: 7.8mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 2.4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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28 comments on “Instant Pot Italian Chicken Orzo”

  1. This recipe did not work well for me. First, the instant pot was too crowded to brown the chicken. I added all the ingredients but used only two cups of water instead of three since there were warnings in the comments that it was too soupy. To be fair I had to guess the amount of orzo to put in because I didn’t have a scale, but I guessed based on the weight of my package (about half being 12oz) so I shouldn’t have been too far off. The result was that I had a LOT of water remaining and the orzo was a little undercooked and clumped up. I would not recommend this recipe for instant pot, but something similar on the stovetop would be nice. The flavours were good (I finished mine with feta, basil, fresh squeezed lemon, and cracked pepper) but I don’t recommend trying this recipe.

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for you recipe.
    I found out that your Conversion to metric seems way off: 2-2 1/2 pound is actually 0.9 – 1.13 kg not 2 kg.

  3. Hi, made this tonight, followed the recipe for 2 people, but I was left with loads of liquid, so maybe I’ll cut it down next time. Annie

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  6. Can I use frozen chicken if I increase the time? Or will increasing the time ruin the orzo texture?

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  8. Is it possible to use frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs? If so, does it change the cooking time at all? Thanks.

  9. This turned out amazing and so flavorful but hear me out because I made some changes:
    – 1 1/3 cup of onions (2 medium sized) and 4 garlic cloves because I love them both
    – 3/4 cup of sherry to deglaze
    – 2 big cups of water
    – 2 tsp. of Better than Bouillon chicken base
    – An unknown but definitely generous amount of sliced Kalamata olives
    No additional salt/ pepper were needed outside of what was used on the thighs.
    Of course there were others like adding 8 chicken thighs because my fiancé is a chicken fiend as well as using dried rosemary and thyme just because I already have those ingredients but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it.

  10. This is a perfect dinner after a busy work day! Such a hit!

  11. I loved how easy this is to make! So good and really delicious!

  12. We love using our instant pot for all different kinds of recipes! This was so good!

  13. Just amazing and the fact that its in the instant pot is even better! but make sure to read those notes at the bottom of the recipe card, life saver!

  14. Love, love, LOVE this! I made a couple of adjustments per my preference.

  15. Hello. I was wondering if fresh herbs and bone in chicken could be swapped out for boneless chicken thighs and dried if that’s what is on hand.

  16. Love this one

  17. Looks delicious-do you think chicken breasts would work in this recipe? Boneless, or on the bone?

  18. I had difficulty with the burn notice on this recipe. Even scraping the skin off the bottom of the pot, the orzo sank to the bottom and burned.  I’m wondering if it is layered differently, not stirred, but with the orzo non top of everything but the chicken maybe it won’t have the same issue? 

    • Hi Susan,

      Sorry about that! One thing I’ve noticed after posting IP pasta recipes, is that there are several models and sizes and they don’t all cook exactly the same. :(

      Try adding another 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water. Or you could definitely try layering it differently. If you figure something out with your Instant Pot, please report back!

    • Burnt 3 times in a row. Couldn’t stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the instant pot. 

      Very very frustrating. Not super happy with the recipe. Added water, nothing. Emptied out the entire thing and scratched off everything added water again, burnt again. If anyone can give me some sort of guidance that’d be great. 

  19. Could you swap out the orzo for brown rice?

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