Garlic Parmesan Orzo recipe

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings

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This Garlic Parmesan Orzo Pasta recipe 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

Love orzo? Try this Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, this Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Orzo recipe, One Pot Lemon Orzo pasta or one of The 10 Best Orzo Recipes!

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

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. 😉

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!

Reader Review!

“This was so delicious. Easy to make too. This week become a staple in our house.” — Rebecca

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If you love simple pasta recipes, check out this Sun Dried Tomato Pasta and this Creamy Tomato Rigatoni Pasta, too! If you’re an orzo lover, or try this One Pan Tuscan Orzo with Chicken next.

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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 creamy 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

Garlic Parmesan Orzo Recipe 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.

The Best Way to Mince Garlic

My favorite way to make sure I always have fresh garlic on hand is to peel a whole whack of cloves, process them in the food processor just until minced, scoop them into 1 teaspoon balls and flash freeze.

Simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and freeze the balls of minced garlic until firm (about 1-2 hours) then place in a large zip-top bag for up to 4 months!

Now you’ll have fresh garlic (minus the mincing!) whenever you need it.

ingredients needed for garlic parmesan orzo pasta

How to make this easy Orzo Pasta recipe

This orzo recipe is a quick and easy recipe that’s made in just one pot for super easy cleanup! Scroll down to the recipe card for more detailed instructions.

  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!

Orzo Pasta 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!

How is orzo different than pasta?

Orzo is simply a specific shape of pasta, although it differs from other cuts of pasta in the way that it is prepared.

Orzo can be cooked like pasta or it can be toasted in a dry pan before adding liquid to cook it. It can also be cooked using a similar method to risotto.

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.

Is orzo pasta healthier than rice?

The term “healthy” is relative these days, and what’s healthy for one person may not work for another. Orzo is a pasta and rice is a grain, so they bring different things to the table.

In a 140 gram serving, orzo has 316 calories and roughly 11 grams of protein.

In a 158 gram serving, long grain white rice has 205 calories but only 4 grams of protein.

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 recipes 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 orzo 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.

Orzo Pasta 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 Recipe

4.98 from 314 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 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
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. Julie says

    This is my favorite go to recipe now!!! I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth because that is all I had and it was so good. I ended up using the full 32oz carton by the time I was done. I also used dried parsley since I didn’t have any fresh. Best orzo recipe ever!!! Thank you for sharing! ♥️

  2. Anna says

    This was so good! Like other reviews, I needed more liquid and longer cooking time. My guess is I had it on too high of a simmer and the liquid evaporated too fast. I had a parm/reggiano/Asiago blend that needed to be used up, so was perfect in this dish. Definitely going to make again and try adding in different veggies!

  3. Andrea says

    Thank you for this recipe! It was delicious! I was looking for a side dish for a party we are having. This will work perfectly. So happy I found your site. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thank you!!

  4. Summer says

    I used lactaid milk and grated parm instead of heavy cream and shredded parm. It turned out great! The cheese thickened it so no need for cream or flour or anything. The fresh parsley really gave it a beautiful flavor 🙂 My first attempt at orzo was a huge success and my whole family is begging for more! (Also love only needing to wash one small pot!)

  5. Ashley Bee says

    I made this tonight for dinner . Absolutely delicious. I did add some spinach at the end and it was a big hit ! Definitely will be making again. <3

  6. Sara says

    Serving this for the second time tonight..so simple to make but tastes as if you mastered a culinary miracle.. I will be serving it with sauteed shrimp with sundried tomatoes, capers and lots of garlic..Dinner ready under 20 mins..

  7. Kim says

    Excellent dish. I used heavy cream and parmigiano Reggiano and it was awesome. Add a bit of fresh lemon juice for a little brightness!

  8. Chrissy says

    So easy and versatile. I found I needed to add more liquid and cooking time to get it to the firmness that I prefer. Not a big deal at all. Just added a 1/4 cup at a time and just kept stirring. Next time, I’ll add some spinach or fresh peas to it. This totally hit the spot. Thanks 😊

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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 ?

  12. 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 !!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

4.98 from 314 votes (261 ratings without comment)

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