This One Pan Chicken Meatballs with Orzo recipe is so delicious, and only takes 45 minutes to make! Homemade chicken meatballs are cooked in a creamy Parmesan sauce with Orzo pasta to make a satisfying dish the whole family will love!
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We are meatball obsessed and this easy one pan meal is one of our favorites!
This Chicken Meatballs recipe is cooked in a creamy garlic parmesan sauce with orzo pasta, making it a full meal deal that is ready in record time.
This one pan orzo recipe makes a deliciously comforting meal that’s perfect for lazy weekends or even busy weeknights. It has so much flavor that your guests will love it, too!
Add a salad or some colorful veggies on the side and dinner is done.
If it’s your first time making meatballs, you’ll be surprised how easy it is! Meatballs are a great thing to stash away in the freezer for easy dinner prep and they are so versatile.
For classic Italian meatballs, see this Easy Meatball Recipe, then check out my Sweet and Sour Meatballs, my Swedish Meatballs Recipe, and these Easy Meatballs in Orange Sauce to keep weeknight meals fresh and exciting.
- Chicken: use lean ground chicken for the best flavor. You can also use pork or turkey.
- Breadcrumbs: any brand of breadcrumbs will work, or you can make your own in a food processor. Fine bread crumbs work best.
- Cheese: use freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you can — it has the best flavor!
- Milk: any kind of milk will do here to help bind the meatball ingredients together (you can even sub water in a pinch!).
- Egg: to bind the meatballs.
- Seasoning: use a combination of fresh parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, fresh garlic, onion powder, and black pepper to give the chicken mixture loads of flavor.
Garlic Parmesan Orzo
- Seasoning: use freshly minced garlic, salt, and pepper for this orzo recipe.
- Broth: I use a low-sodium chicken broth to better control the saltiness of this dish.
- Orzo: use dry, uncooked orzo pasta. You will find it in the pasta aisle of your local grocery store.
- Cream: you can use any kind of cream to make this creamy orzo, but heavy cream will work best and give the richest sauce.
- Cheese: use Parmesan cheese that you grate yourself for the best flavor.
How to Make One-Pan Chicken Meatballs with Orzo
This recipe takes a bit of prep time but it’s well worth it! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Mix meatball ingredients: In a large bowl, combine chicken, bread crumbs, cheese, milk, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, onion powder, and pepper. Mix well, then let it sit for a bit before using it.
- Cook meatballs: Roll the meat mixture into 1-1¼” balls, put them into a hot pan with oil, and sear until golden brown.
- Make sauce and add orzo: Sauté the garlic, add the broth, and deglaze the pan. Bring it to a low boil, then add the orzo, cream, parmesan, salt, and pepper, and stir.
- Add meatballs: Place the meatballs on top of the sauce, cover, and simmer to cook. Taste and serve.
One Pan Chicken Meatballs with Orzo FAQs
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
The best way to make this recipe ahead of time is to make the meatballs and freeze them to use later on. Freeze them either before or after searing them. Allow them to cool, then put them on parchment paper on a baking tray in a single layer. Flash freeze them, then store them in Ziploc bags in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can also freeze the finished dish. Just pop cooled leftovers into a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 3 months. This is a great way to prep meals for one or two people!
Absolutely! You can save yourself some time by using prepared meatballs, either fresh or frozen. If they are fully cooked, you can skip the searing and simply add them to the orzo to reheat.
Tips and Notes
- Meatballs. You can use pre-made meatballs here, even pre-cooked frozen meatballs, or leftover meatballs from another meal! Simply add them to the pasta and continue cooking until heated through.
- Orzo. Any kind of small pasta works here, but you are aiming for the same cook time since the meatballs need to finish cooking through in the time it takes the pasta to cook to al dente. With another type, you may need to add additional broth to cook to al dente. (Got extra orzo? Try my One Pan Tuscan Orzo with Chicken next!)
- Cream. I do not recommend using lighter cream or milk since the extended cooking time can cause it to curdle. High fat dairy works best!
- Broth. You can use chicken stock or vegetable broth for a milder chicken flavor.
One-Pan Chicken Meatballs with Orzo Variations
- Use different type of chicken. You could use any kind of chicken with this recipe. Chicken thighs or diced chicken breast would be great too. Just make sure they’re cooked thoroughly before serving.
- Mix up the meat. Next time, try making these meatballs with ground turkey or use my recipe for Turkey Meatballs for a similar flavor. You can also use ground beef or ground pork for a different flavor. Check out my Easy Meatball Recipe for more tips on making other kinds of meatballs.
- Change the seasoning. I’ve used Italian seasoning in this recipe, but you can use other fresh herbs, dried herbs, or spices to make it your own.
- Add some heat. Turn up the heat with some red pepper flakes or hot sauce added to the chicken meatball mixture.
The great thing about this one-pan meal is that it can be made and served on its own!
To make it a larger meal or to make it go further, you can make some delicious vegetable side dishes to go along with it.
More Easy One-Pot Recipes to Try
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One Pan Chicken Meatballs with Orzo
- 1 pound ground chicken (454 grams)
- ½ cup dry breadcrumbs (55 grams)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (35 grams)
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup fresh parsley (finely chopped) optional
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Garlic Parmesan Orzo
- 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
- 2½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1½ cups dry orzo pasta (about 278 grams)
- ⅔ cup cream (any kind – heavy cream will give a richer flavor, light cream will be a bit thinner)
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, bread crumbs, cheese, milk, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, onion powder, and pepper. Mix well but don’t overmix; make sure there are no clumps of bread crumbs in the mixture. Let sit for 10-20 minutes for the bread crumbs to absorb excess moisture.
- Roll into 1-1¼” balls.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and sear the meatballs on all sides until golden brown.
- Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Garlic Parmesan Orzo
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Bring it to a low boil.
- Add the orzo, cream, parmesan, salt, and pepper, and stir. Place the meatballs on top, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until the orzo is al dente. It might look liquidy at first, but it will thicken quickly!
- Taste and serve.
- Meatballs: you can use any kind of meatballs here, even pre-cooked frozen meatballs. Simply add them to the pasta and continue cooking until heated through.
- Orzo: any kind of small pasta works here, but you are aiming for the same cook time since the meatballs need to finish cooking through in the time it takes the pasta to cook to al dente.
- Cream: I do not recommend using lighter cream or milk since the extended cooking time can cause it to curdle.
- Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
- Make-Ahead & Freeze: The best way to make this recipe ahead of time is to make the meatballs and freeze them to use later on. Freeze them either before or after searing them. Allow them to cool, then put them on parchment paper on a baking tray in a single layer. Flash freeze them, then store them in Ziploc bags in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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