Table of Contents
  1. Why use apricots in a savory dish?
  2. What is orzo?
  3. Watch how to make this apricot chicken recipe
  4. One Skillet Apricot Chicken with Orzo Recipe

I’m always a fan of using an ingredient in a new way. Sometimes, we get stuck thinking that what has always been will always be. Apricots already take a backseat to peaches and are usually relegated to preserves, pies, or maybe a chutney. All of those uses are a wonderful way to use in-season fruit, but what if you want something on the savory side?

This one skillet dish breaks the boundaries and opens up the door to the use of apricots as part of a savory dish. The sweet but slightly sour flavor of apricot is the perfect vehicle to elevate chicken. Once cooked, it adds an almost marmalade-like consistency, but with a greater depth of flavor.

You’re going to love this recipe, especially if you love to make one dish meals!

Two hands holding white plate with fork holding piece of chicken after being scooped out of skillet underneath

Why use apricots in a savory dish?

A lot of times, we look to balance out meals with something sweet. Dressings have sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Meats use rubs with brown sugar. And why is that? Sweetness creates an equilibrium in a dish.

Apricots are a step above plain sugar. They have obvious sweetness, but also the perfect amount of sour. As they bake in the oven, they become soft and almost spreadable, which is just the right texture when mixed with the orzo. The apricot flavor is perfect with rosemary and sage and the enhances their herbal notes.

Top down view of cooked chicken thighs nestled among orzo with apricots and herbs sitting as well

What is orzo?

One skillet dishes sound amazing but can be difficult to develop. The idea of everything cooking at the same temperature and time sounds amazing, right? But, in reality, it’s an uphill battle. Finding an ingredient that can cook alongside the chicken without becoming mushy or underbaked takes some practice. With that in mind, say hello to ozro!

Orzo is actually a pasta that looks like a large grain of rice or barley. The small uniform shape lends to a quick cooking time on the stovetop but can be also be used for a slower bake in the oven. The best part is that as the chicken bakes on top, the orzo underneath soaks up the drippings and pulls in all the flavor. It’s a win-win all around!

Top down view of black skillet with spoon sitting after taking scoop out and putting on white plate filled with orzo and chicken all on white countertop
Top down view of spoon scooping out orzo from black skillet also filled with cooked chicken thighs
While it’s not a traditional-looking pasta, orzo has a deliciously creamy texture once cooked in this recipe.

Watch how to make this apricot chicken recipe

Top down view of black skillet with cooked and browned chicken thighs sitting amongst orzo and apricots and herbs with extra apricots and herbs spread around

One Skillet Apricot Chicken with Orzo

5 from 8 votes
There's nothing better in a cook's eye than only needing one pan to complete a dish! And with this apricot chicken baked together with orzo and herbs, that's exactly what you get! It's super simple, goes together in a pinch, and is perfect for a weeknight meal!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp salt separated
  • 1 ½ tsp pepper separated
  • 1 cup sliced leek
  • ½ lb apricots
  • ¼ cup chopped sage
  • 2 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a 10- or 12-inch cast-iron (or oven-ready) skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper on all sides. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down. Sear until the chicken skin is deep golden brown and releases from the skillet easily, 6-8 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add prepared leeks. Sauté until soft and just beginning to turn golden, 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add orzo, apricots, rosemary, and sage. Stir to combine and add the orange juice and chicken stock. Nestle the chicken thighs skin side up. Add 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
  • Bake in preheated oven until the orzo is tender and the chicken thighs reach 160°F, 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 536kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 61.6gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 259.3mgSodium: 1599.1mgPotassium: 1038mgFiber: 4.4gSugar: 9.7gVitamin A: 103.1IUVitamin C: 14.2mgCalcium: 106.3mgIron: 4.4mg
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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15 Comments

  1. Hi Kaleb! If I can’t find fresh apricots, do you have a recommendation for a substitute? I was thinking peaches, but they aren’t as complex as apricots…

    1. Hey Erica, I am going to use dried apricots. I’m pretty sure that will work. Those should be easy to find…

  2. Hi Kaleb, my hubbie is not eating carbs/pasta. What can I substitute for the orzo? Would Quinoa work? If so, would I need to change cooking time or maybe the amount of chicken stock?

  3. Hey Kaleb – been following along for more than a year and just love, love, love your posts, your videos, and your blog. And, of course, Kip. Never has such a small cutie had SO many people pulling for him! I am going to make this chicken/orzo dish tonight I do not have any fresh apricots but do have a huge bag of dried apricots. They aren’t totally dried out and crispy, they are still soft, but I’m wondering if I should re-hydrate them. They will probably plump up and re-hydrate while cooking, I’m thinking. I’ll let you know what happens if I don’t hear from you. ❤️

    1. 5 stars
      Excellent! I substituted Quinoa for the Orzo because Hubbie is off pasta. I still would like to taste it with Orzo. I also squeezed the juice of a whole orange into it! We loved it! Thanks for a great one-pan recipe!!

    2. 5 stars
      Excellent! I substituted Quinoa for the Orzo because Hubbie is off pasta. I still would like to taste it with Orzo. I also squeezed the juice of a whole orange into it! We loved it! Thanks for a great one-pan recipe!!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! Came out perfect. You didn’t say in the recipe where or when to put in the orange juice, so I added it along with the chicken broth.

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious. Easy to follow for someone who doesn’t cook much. This is a dish that tastes even better the next day. Even without the chicken the orzo and other ingredients together make a good dish.

  6. 5 stars
    I just made your recipe. Epic!!! So good. So enjoy watching you, so glad I found Wyse Guide 👊
    Sara

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious! Shared with friends and we all raved about the flavors! Making again for Sunday dinner!

  8. 5 stars
    Love this dish. The sweetness of the cooked apricot is so delicious mixed with the perfect bite of chicken and orzo. The best orzo I’ve had.