Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo is a perfect side dish for dinner tonight! This tasty twist on mac and cheese will have you going back for seconds!

Garlic Parmesan Orzo Recipe

Mornin’ loves! (<– that feels like cheating, I’m totally writing this the night before!)

I’m going to attempt to keep things short and sweet today because I have a huge stack of books next to my bed that are calling my name. They’re also TRIPPING me every time I get out of bed. Jerks.

My book obsession is getting a bit out of hand as my TBR list increases almost daily. Right now I’m about halfway through What Alice Forgot and don’t want to put it down! I may start carving out designated binge-reading nights so I can catch up. Sleep? What’s that?

I don’t need no stinkin’ sleep!

Lies! I need all the sleep! And of course some cheesy pasta to dream about!

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo

This totally luscious one-pot garlic parmesan orzo pasta makes an all-star side dish. You may even want to go ahead and make it a main course!

I’m thinking a big piping hot bowl of  cheesy, garlicky orzo with a side of roasted broccoli or asparagus… maybe even a little side salad action to pack in extra veg… YES PLEASE!

This jazzed up cheesy pasta is ready to rock your plate. Print out the recipe card below and meet me in the kitchen!

Garlic Parmesan Orzo Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Garlic Parmesan Orzo

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo is a perfect side dish for dinner tonight! This grown up twist on mac and cheese will have you going back for seconds.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Parmesan Orzo
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 272 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons


  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large shallot* (1/4 cup minced)
  • 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach


  1. Melt butter in a large pan (grab one that's deep enough for your orzo + sauce) over medium-high heat and sauté your shallot and garlic until tender, adding the garlic towards the end to prevent burning. If extra butter is needed, feel free to add as desired.

  2. Add your milk, broth, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir with a whisk to deglaze the pan.
  3. With your burner set to medium (I had mine set to 6) add the orzo and stir. Set timer for 10 minutes. Once the orzo starts to really boil and bubble, reduce heat to low (2 worked great on my stove) and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the pasta is al-dente or your ideal softness, remove from heat. Sauce will be thin and thicken as it cools. Add your parmesan cheese and chopped spinach and fold into the orzo.
  5. Season to taste as desired, garnish with any additional cheese your heart desires and dig in while it's hot!

Recipe Notes

* No shallot? No problem! Finely minced white or yellow onion will totally work here.

Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Garlic Parmesan Orzo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 957mg42%
Potassium 294mg8%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 1981IU40%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 321mg32%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you get a chance to try this tasty garlic parmesan orzo recipe, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

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Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo is a perfect side dish for dinner tonight! This tasty twist on mac and cheese will have you going back for seconds! #onepot #onepan #orzo #pasta #garlic #parmesan #spinach #vegetarian

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  • Peter Nichol

    I made this to your recipe. The only change I made was I put in a chopped sweet red pepper .
    It made a lovely lunch with some smoked salmon. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Love the added red pepper!! Thanks Peter!

  • Louise

    Do you have the nutritional values for the wonderful recipe?

  • Louise

    Loved this ! I only had half cup orzo so i subbed in ditilli pasta. Increased salt and pepper and garlic powder to half tsp. Im sure it would have been just as good following the recipe exactly. I did use freshly grated parmesan as i was out of the Kraft parmesan and im sure it would have been only half cup . Yum!

  • Kassie

    Have you tried using almond milk instead of milk?

    • Hi Kassie! I haven’t but let me know if you get a chance to experiment! xo

  • Julia

    So good! Will definitely make it again!

  • Stephanie

    Cut the recipe in half for two of us. So easy and delicious! Perfect side to go with our pork chops and tasted so much better than any boxed pasta. Thanks!

  • Ali

    Can you make ahead and reheat?

    • Hey Ali! You can! The only thing is, and this happens with most pasta dishes, is that the pasta soaks up the sauce in the fridge and the orzo gets extra fluffy and drier.
      I would maybe make some extra sauce to swirl in while you reheat, keep both the pasta and the sauce separate in the fridge and combine when reheating, or you can just stir in a little milk while reheating it and then adjust the seasoning to taste based on how much is added.

  • Dee

    This was DELICIOUS! I’m a vegetarian, so I followed the recipe. But for my husband, I marinaded chicken breast in garlic and herb marinade the night before, baked it and he cut it up and mixed it in the pasta. Thank you for sharing!

  • Melissa

    Delicious side dish made for a neighborhood party. Used green onions and doubled recipe. Took a while longer to cook, but I’ll be making this again!

    • Thank you Melissa – I’m so stoked it’s making repeat status! Woot!

  • Diana

    This is OUTRAGEOUS! My family loved this & it’s so simple!

  • Tamiya

    This was amazing! I used half milk half heavy cream.

    • Yay!! So glad you enjoyed it Tamiya!

  • Ramona

    This recipe is one that gets categorized as a ‘family favorite’! Made it for the firs time and we all LOVED it! I had some mushrooms that were lonely in the fridge, so I threw them in too! Turned out fantastic!

  • Stephenie

    I have no orzo in my pantry. Do you think a small pasta like ditalini might make an okay substitute?

    • They have a much longer cook time so I’d have to test it to know for sure but LMK if you get a change to experiment! xo

      • Ooh and you could also just make the pasta in a separate pot-o-water, strain, and add then it to the dish. This way it would 100% work since the longer cook time wouldn’t be a factor here! Hope this helps!

  • Girl, you’re speaking my language with that orzo! There’s never enough garlic in the world for me! 🙂 YUM!

    • YES! Come over for dinner and we can garlic it up!

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