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. Joanne Manopella says

    This is just delicious! A “go-to” side in my house.
    I do saute the minced garlic in a little butter for a minute or two before adding the broth and orzo. Other than that, I follow the recipe exactly and it is a huge hit! Thank you so much!!

  2. jess says

    I am a broke college student and have been making it for the past 2 weeks since it is so budget friendly (like $3 per portion) with roasted yams, brocolli and cauliflower and it is SO GOOD! It takes like 30 mins to make all of it and lasts for dinner and the next 3 days lunches!
    TIP – add diced shiitake mushrooms when you add the orzo for some extra flavour and amino acids!

  3. Mike Read says

    Holy smokes, this was incredible! I am a self-taught cook, love to be in the kitchen, there are very few recipes I don’t riff on. I followed this quite close, but did make two changes I’d recommend. First, I dry toasted the orzo in a medium-hot skillet until it was a beautiful golden brown color before cooking it. I followed the recipe from there, but substituted fresh dill for the parsley, as parsley has just never done anything for me. This is an excellent side dish.

  4. Robin says

    This was amazing!!!! I will make it again and again. I used better than bullion chicken stock, jarred minced garlic. Added a little more water to cook the orzo longer but turned out scrumptious!

  5. Yvonne says

    Made this last night and my family raved about it and begged me to make it again and soon. It was awesomely good and very easy to make. I doubled the recipe so I would have enough and it was all gone.

  6. Marion says

    Made last week, was excellent!
    Used an Italian made pasta (Delallo brand) so needed way more chicken broth.
    Added pea’s for color and flavor!
    Perfecto ❤️

  7. Alyssa Lynn Stanley says

    This isn’t a comment more of a question. I stink at math so could anyone tell me how to adjust this recipe to a single one person serving? I am 24 and living with my health obsessed parents and they’d turn their nose up at any dish including a cream sauce. I wanna learn how to make a dish for my self other than regular pasta with jar sauce on top

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Alyssa, it’s super simple, everything would be 1/4 of what is listed for example the broth would be 1/2 cup but honestly it would be more cost effective and less time consuming to make the whole dish and then freeze the remaining pasta in portions and freeze. Hope this helps!

  8. Shar says

    I added this garlic parmesan Orzo Pasta to our Halloween Dinner party and it was a crowd fave! It is so easy and simple yet it turned out incredibly delicious and pleasing! Must-keep!

  9. Erin says

    I’m all about one-pot recipes, and if they have cheese, I’m all in! Love this recipe because it’s easy and yummy.

  10. Ann Bair says

    This was a side dish for Kielbasa & Red Peppers. My son said, “I hate Orzo!” I told him this is a new recipe that’s really good. He had three helpings by the end of dinner!! So wonderful made just as the recipe directs.

  11. Charm says

    Made this last night and it made a nice side dish for my breaded chicken. I used light cream because that is what I had on hand. The recipe was easier than expected. However, I might add more garlic and substitute chopped green onion for the parsely.

  12. Kelly says

    This was a good recipe. I do think that I will add 3 cups of chicken broth instead of 2.5 because the orzo was a bit undercooked. I would add 1/2 cup of Parmesan to make it a bit cheesier.

  13. Clarissa says

    I made this recipe as indicated but used better bullion chicken flavor (did not have broth on hand) and came out great! I will definitely use this recipe again.

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