Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 servings

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This Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta is a one-pot recipe for tender orzo tossed in a light and cheesy cream sauce. It’s simple to make and comes together in a total of 20 minutes!

overhead image of skillet of garlic parmesan orzo pasta with wooden spoon stuck in
Table of Contents
  1. What is orzo pasta?
  2. Key Ingredients
  3. How to make Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta
  4. FAQs
  5. Variations on this recipe:
  6. Serving suggestions
  7. More pasta recipes you’ll love
  8. Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta Recipe

Anything that has garlic and parmesan in it is bound to be good, right? Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken Stew, Garlic Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes, Pesto Parmesan Instant Pot Chicken Breast and Potatoes…Yeah. It’s a pretty killer combo.

Add pasta to the mix, especially orzo pasta, and you’ve pretty much reached the epitome of good food. 😉

This Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta recipe is a recipe you don’t want to miss!

It’s a decadent side dish or vegetarian entree that’s fancy enough to be served for a dinner party but also quick and easy enough that you can whip it up for a simple weeknight dinner.

Just one pot, a few simple ingredients, 20 minutes, and it’s ready to go!

If you love simple pasta recipes, check out this Sun Dried Tomato Pasta and this Creamy Tomato Rigatoni Pasta, too!

What is orzo pasta?

Orzo is a small, oval-shaped pasta that resembles grains of rice. It can be cooked either like a pasta (boiled and then drained) or it can be cooked in the same way rice would be cooked (simmered in liquid until it’s fully absorbed.)

This garlic parmesan orzo pasta recipe utilizes the second cooking method. The orzo is simmered in broth until the liquid is absorbed, then cream and cheese are incorporated to create a light cream sauce. This method results in a creamy consistency very similar to risotto as the starch from the pasta mixes with the liquid to create a thicker, creamier base for the sauce.

close up image of creamy orzo pasta in skillet with wooden spoon

Key Ingredients

  • Chicken Broth: I usually use low sodium chicken broth. If you use regular chicken broth, you may want to adjust the amount of salt you add so it’s not too salty.
  • Dry Orzo Pasta: you can find orzo pasta at most grocery stores!
  • Garlic: use fresh garlic for the best flavor. Garlic powder just isn’t the same!
  • Salt and Black Pepper: thanks to the broth, garlic, and cheese, you don’t need much when it comes to seasonings. A simple duo of salt and black pepper is all you need!
  • Cream: any kind will work! Use heavy cream for a richer flavor. Light cream will be a bit thinner but will still be delicious.
  • Parmesan Cheese: freshly grated parmesan is the way to go. Pre-shredded cheeses contain an anti-caking agent which can cause a grainy texture.
  • Parsley: I love to use a sprinkle of fresh parsley to add freshness and add a pop of color.
ingredients needed for garlic parmesan orzo pasta

How to make Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta

This orzo pasta recipe is a quick and easy recipe that’s made in just one pot for super easy cleanup!

  1. Cook the pasta: In a skillet, combine broth, pasta, garlic, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Make sure to stir often!
  2. Finish and serve: Mix in cream, parmesan, and parsley then serve and enjoy!

FAQs

Is orzo pasta or rice?

While orzo is often mistaken for rice because of its small rice-like shape, it is in fact a pasta!

Can you use another pasta?

Yes! You can use any smaller pasta shape in this recipe and it should yield similar results. You can also substitute the orzo out for Arborio rice to get a similar consistency. Keep in mind the cook time will change, so make sure you cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, adding more liquid if necessary to cook the pasta.

How long will cooked orzo keep?

Cooked garlic parmesan orzo pasta will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat, add a splash of broth or cream to thin and moisten and warm on the stove or in the microwave until fully warmed.

Can orzo be frozen?

Yes! You can freeze this orzo pasta by packing it in an airtight container then storing it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then warm on the stove or in the microwave with a splash of liquid to moisten.

close up image of garlic parmesan orzo pasta in grey bowl with spoon

Variations on this recipe:

  • Add veggies. You can mix in any cooked veggies you like to give this pasta dinner a boost of nutrition. Try it with peas, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, you name it.
  • Make it meaty. Fill out the meal by mixing in cooked chicken, sausage, or bacon.
  • Spice it up. If you like your pasta with a kick of heat, try adding in red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • Brighten it up. Add another layer of flavor with a splash of lemon juice.

Serving suggestions

This garlic parmesan orzo pasta makes a delicious vegetarian entree with a side of roasted vegetables or garlic bread.

It also makes the perfect side dish next to your favorite protein. Serve it with Slow Cooker Chicken Breast, baked tuscan chicken, or Instant Pot Whole Chicken!

More pasta recipes you’ll love

For more pasta inspiration, check out more of my easy pasta recipes. Here are a few of my favorites!

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Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta

4.98 from 142 votes
This Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta is a one-pot recipe for tender orzo tossed in a light and cheesy cream sauce. It's simple to make and comes together in a total of 20 minutes!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Cuisine American, canadian
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 4 servings
Calories 279cal

Ingredients

  • cups low sodium chicken broth
  • cups dry orzo pasta (about 278 grams)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • cup cream (any kind — heavy cream will give richer flavor, light cream will be a bit thinner)
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Combine broth, pasta, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium skillet.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer, stirring often (you can cover or leave uncovered). Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is cooked to your preference. (If you want to cook the pasta further but the liquid is gone, just add a splash more broth).
  • Stir in cream, Parmesan and parsley. Serve.

Notes

Storage:
Cooked garlic parmesan orzo pasta will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. To reheat, add a splash of broth or cream to thin and moisten and warm on the stove or in the microwave until fully warmed.
You can also freeze this orzo pasta by packing it in an airtight container then storing it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then warm on the stove or in the microwave with a splash of liquid to moisten.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 205grams | Calories: 279cal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 279mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords orzo pasta

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Dionne Drayton says

    This was amazing. I needed a quick side dish and I found this. I love orzo, and it was quick, flavorful, and comforting! It paired beautifully with the salmon I made.
    My kids raved about it! Thank you so much. It’s now in my recipe repertoire.

  2. Ashley says

    Just made this and I love it! Adding it to my recipe book. Thank you so much for sharing this! Definitely a fan and checking out more recipes from you!

  3. stephanie says

    hi I’ve made it with original recipe and it’s delicious. ugh today I’m out of heavy cream is there a substitute ?

  4. Nikki says

    Oh my goodness this is so delicious 🙂 we have made this so many times and now we double the recipe because it goes so fast !! Thank you so much !!

  5. Lisa says

    Would this recipe work with a gluten free pasta? My brother has celiac and I’m always looking for sides I can bring to Thanksgiving that he can eat. Thank you in advance!

  6. Stephanie says

    I made this last night. I sautéed an onion first like you’d do with risotto. It didn’t help. I found it quite bland. I liked the concept so I’ll try it again but I’ll bump up the flavor. And it definitely needs more stock or broth. It becomes a sticky clump shortly after serving.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Jackson, yes. You can freeze this orzo pasta by packing it in an airtight container then storing it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
      To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then warm on the stove or in the microwave with a splash of liquid to moisten.

  7. Katy says

    This was so delicious. It tasted like a much fancier rice a roni – and that is a high compliment, trust me. I used to LOVE rice a roni. It was also incredibly easy to make. My husband and one year old loved it.

      • RM says

        This was delicious! I made it exactly as directed and it turned out great. The only thing I will say is that it does need to be served immediately, otherwise it gets clumped together and the texture isn’t as nice.

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