This ONE PAN harissa spiced chicken with olives and orzo is incredibly delicious. Tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken thighs meet orzo pasta, castelvetrano olives, and crumbled feta. Perfect weeknight dinner!

harissa spiced chicken thighs in white skillet with olives and orzo

I’m just going to come right out of the gate with it and say how much I love me some chicken thighs, y’all. They are the literal greatest part of the chicken, in my humble opinion, of course. You might even argue with me on this but please save it because I don’t care, ha! Ain’t nothing like that dark meat (in more ways than one but ya girl will stay on topic hehe). Also, chicken thighs have the right amount of meat too. It’s not giving you too much, like a breast piece; and also not too little, such as a wing piece. Chicken thighs >>>>.

Around these parts, we love us a one pan/one skillet/one pot meal that is easy to make but doesn’t sacrifice flavor! I am willing to bet that you appreciate meals like this too, yes?! It’s one of my favorite dishes to whip up with minimal effort just about any time. Within my typical dinner routine, this one graces the table at least twice a month. So many different flavors/textures going on with this harissa chicken dish. Let’s discuss!

harissa chicken thighs with olives and orzo in skillet

What Is Harissa?

Harissa is a spicy paste or dry spice blend with Tunisia/North African origin that is comprised of red chiles, garlic, paprika, and sumac, to name a few. This spice is commonly used in a lot of Middle Eastern dishes as well. Harissa has a nice smoky, earthy, peppery, and spicy taste to it. When found or made in a paste format; dried red chiles are rehydrated and blended with spices, citrus juice, and vinegar. Alternatively, harissa spice blend is a regular dried seasoning, this is the one called for in this recipe.

Ingredients For This Harissa Chicken Dish

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • chicken thighs: bone-in and skin-on, these babies are the perfect size for fitting nicely into a skillet alongside the orzo and everything else, so flavorful!
  • harissa spice blend: you should be able to find harissa seasoning in your local grocery store.
  • kosher salt: extra flavor, feel free to use sea salt or regular table salt too.
  • olive oil: used to help coat the harissa spice onto the chicken thighs.
  • unsalted butter: for pan-frying the chicken thighs and giving this harissa chicken more flavor!
  • garlic cloves: every single dish is better with garlic, nuff said.
  • orzo pasta: a lot of folks tend to confuse orzo for rice; but orzo is actually a very small shape of pasta that you can find right amongst all the other types of pasta in grocery stores.
  • white wine: adds some acidity and depth, pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc will do!
  • chicken stock: ups the overall chicken flavor and used to cook the orzo.
  • lemon juice: fully recommending freshly squeezed over that bottled nonsense, ha!
  • castelvetrano olives: these are pure deliciousness you guys- they’re super light, buttery, and salty with no bitterness whatsoever. you can also use any other olive of your choice.
  • feta cheese: this cheese adds some lovely bites of tanginess and saltiness!
harissa chicken thighs in skillet and on plate on marble surface

Chicken Dinner, Winner!!!

Listen, we love a good chicken dinner but especially one that is made in ONE PAN and on the table in under one hour, oh yeah! The harissa chicken is so flavorfully perfect with some spiciness but not too overwhelming at all. The orzo and olives round out this dish and truly make it so filling.

How To Make Harissa Chicken With Olives And Orzo

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete + full instructions.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the chicken and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the chicken on both sides.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a cleaned plate and set aside.
  5. Add more butter into the skillet and cook the garlic.
  6. Toss the orzo into the skillet and lightly toast.
  7. Deglaze the skillet with the wine.
  8. Pour in the stock and lemon juice and allow the orzo to cook.
  9. Add the harissa chicken back in the skillet and place into the oven.
  10. After cooking, top with olives and feta cheese, and serve!

More Easy Weeknight Meals You’ll Love

harissa chicken with olives and orzo in white skillet

Can I Use Other Chicken Parts?

You sure can! I recommend using boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts (cut in half lengthwise) as the next best alternatives. Boneless cuts of chicken will also cook a whole lot faster too!

Storing This Harissa Chicken Dish

This meal will keep stored away in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Simply microwave or reheat as necessary- I like to add a splash of chicken broth or stock to help give it back some moisture!

What To Serve Alongside This Meal

The possibilities are endless but some great options include broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and other veggies. Additionally, you could pair with some garlic bread or other breads like my loaded olive cheese bread, yum!

harissa chicken with olives and orzo on small speckled plate with silver fork




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harissa spiced chicken thighs in white skillet with olives and orzo

Harissa Spiced Chicken With Olives and Orzo

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


This ONE PAN harissa spiced chicken with olives and orzo is incredibly delicious. Tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken thighs meet orzo pasta, castelvetrano olives, and crumbled feta. Weeknight winner!


  • 4 bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs, excess skin trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon harissa spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup dried orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup pitted/halved castelvetrano olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • freshly chopped parsley for garnish, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl; combine the chicken thighs, harissa spice blend, salt, and olive oil together. Use your hands (with disposable gloves, if desired) to rub the spices into the chicken all over. Gently lift the chicken skin and be sure to rub the spices under there as well. Then cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and transfer it into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Using a large oven-safe cast iron skillet (at least 10-inches or larger), melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is sizzling, add in the chicken thighs, skin side down (don’t overcrowd the pan, cook in batches if you need to). Cook the chicken thighs on both sides for about 10 minutes. Then transfer the cooked chicken to a cleaned plate. Note: the chicken will likely not be cooked through completely but will finish cooking through later.
  4. Add in the remaining four tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is sizzling, add in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute while stirring throughout. Then toss in the orzo and stir together and allow the orzo to lightly toast for about 2-3 minutes. Next, deglaze the pan by adding in the wine and stir around. Add in the stock and lemon juice, and allow the mixture to come up to a boil; cooking for about 4-6 minutes, while stirring together every so often until the orzo cooks through.
  5. Add the chicken thighs along with any residual juices back into the same skillet. Transfer the uncovered skillet into the oven to cook for another 10-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through completely. Remove the skillet from the oven and carefully nestle in the olives.
  6. Serve the chicken with orzo and olives and garnish with crumbled feta cheese and parsley. Enjoy!


  1. Storing: This dish will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days when stored in an airtight container.
  2. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks. 

Keywords: one pan, chicken, orzo, olives, easy