Creamy Orzo

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One pot creamy orzo pasta with plenty of veggies and an easy parmesan cream sauce. Kid-friendly and simple to make!

Pair this one pot creamy pasta with a light side dish such as this Italian salad or this cucumber salad.

Overhead photo of finished creamy orzo pasta with spoon in the pot

When I’m not sure what to make for dinner but know I need to get some veggies in my kiddos, this is the dish I make. It’s loaded with veggies, but still such a kid-friendly meal thanks to the creamy sauce and orzo pasta.

This creamy orzo pasta is also a dish I love making because it’s inexpensive, simple to make, and keeps my dishes to a minimum! A one pot minimum that is 🙂 

Image of the orzo pasta spilled out uncooked

Creamy orzo pasta tips

  • Prep everything before you start cooking. This is a dish where the cooking goes pretty quickly so you want to make sure to have everything cut up and ready to go before starting.
  • Cut the broccoli and chicken small: small pieces of chicken and broccoli not only helps both cook quicker (and gets dinner on the table faster), but you’ll also get a more even dispersion of the two throughout.
  • Whole milk: while 1% or 2% milk will work, I highly recommend whole milk in this recipe. I would not recommend skim milk or a dairy milk alternative.
  • Don’t be hesitant on the seasonings: this dish doesn’t have a whole lot of seasoning because it’s relying on the chicken stock (which has a lot of seasonings already), the cheese, and the salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to add more salt and pepper! I occasionally add lemon pepper for a fresh flavor twist.
  • Don’t substitute rice for the orzo! It’s a common misconception the two can be interchanged, but they are different and won’t cook the same in this creamy orzo pasta.

Process shot-- image of the frozen vegetables and fresh broccoli being added to the sauce pan

Creamy orzo pasta variations

  • Feel free to switch up the veggies. You can also use fresh veggies, it will just require more prep (chopping the fresh veggies) and a bit longer cooking time to get them tender.
  • Use chicken thigh instead of chicken breast if you prefer the darker meat in this creamy orzo pasta.
  • Use freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese in place of the Parmesan if that cheese is preferred (my kiddos like cheddar!). If going that route, you’ll likely want a bit more (around 1 and 1/4 cups)

Up close image of the creamy orzo all cooked and ready to eat

More one pot/skillet meals:

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Creamy Orzo Pasta

5 from 2 votes
One pot creamy orzo pasta with plenty of veggies and an easy parmesan cream sauce. Kid-friendly and simple to make!
Print Recipe

Creamy Orzo Pasta

5 from 2 votes
One pot creamy orzo pasta with plenty of veggies and an easy parmesan cream sauce. Kid-friendly and simple to make!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword creamy orzo pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 507kcal
Cost $4.52

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 12 ounces (~1 large) chicken breast, cut into small bite size pieces
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (or use lemon pepper if desired)
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen diced vegetables (I use the blend of carrots, sweet peas, corn, & green beans)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup broccoli (~1 floret), chopped into very small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock (chicken broth works)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 and 1/2 cups dry orzo pasta
  • 1 cup freshly (and finely) grated Parmesan cheese, separated
  • fresh parsley, optional

Instructions

  • PREP: cut veggies and chicken before starting to cook; the process goes quick! Finely chop the onion, finely mince the garlic, cut the chicken breast into small pieces, and chop the broccoli into small pieces. Grab out the rest of the ingredients.
  • COOK: Heat olive oil in a large (nonstick) pot over high heat. Add onion and stir around for 1-2 minutes and then add in garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chopped chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add in all the frozen vegetables (no need to thaw) and finely chopped broccoli. Stir for 2-3 minutes or until veggies are thawed and chicken is cooked through. Broccoli should be crisp tender. Transfer this entire mixture to a plate and cover with foil.
  • COOK CONT.: Return pot to burner. Add butter and melt over medium high heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk for 1 minute. Gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly. Add in the milk and all the UNCOOKED orzo. Add in the Italian seasoning.
  • FINISH COOKING: Bring mixture to a simmer then lower the heat until it is just barely and gently bubbling. Cook for 7 minutes without a lid, stirring occasionally and making sure to scrape the bottom so orzo does not stick. After 7 minutes the pasta should be almost tender (mixture will still be liquidy). Add the plate of set aside ingredients into the pot and stir. Add 3/4 cup parmesan and stir to melt. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Don't be afraid to add a bit, the salt and pepper really pulls all the flavors together.
  • SERVE: Consistency should be similar to risotto and very creamy. (Add a splash of milk if needed to thin consistency a bit.) Serve with additional 1/4 cup parmesan if desired and some freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy while hot.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 507kcal

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Nutrition facts in creamy orzo

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25 Comments

  1. Beautiful! I think broccoli is terribly unterutilized. It’s kale this and that. But broccoli is a marvelous vegetable! Love this dish!!!

  2. I’m a big fan of orzo!! However, I never buy it 🙁 This looks like a great way to eat it! Throw yourself a grilled chicken breast on top?? Or even steak would be nice! This post also made me realize, I haven’t bought broccoli in ages! Haha, thanks Chelsea! Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!! You seem like a great mama!

    1. You could try it! I’m not really sure exactly how it would taste not having it tried it myself, would love to hear the results!

  3. This might be a stupid question, but when you say freshly (and finely) grated Parmesan, do you mean grated fine like powder, or grated like strips (shredded)?

    1. No thank you so much for clarifying! I mean small grated strips like when you grate the cheese on the small grate side of a cheese grater! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

    1. I haven’t tested anything else in this so I really can’t say for sure, I’m so sorry! You could try ditalini pasta, but not sure exactly how it would end up.

  4. 5 stars
    I try tons of recipes and usually don’t leave a review, but this recipe quickly became a favorite of mine. I have made this several times with a variety of vegetable combinations (my favorite is peas and mushrooms). I’ve even swapped 1/2 cup of milk for 1/2 of heavy cream (it doesn’t make a difference so it’s not worth doing unless you ran out of milk like I did). Nevertheless, this recipe turns out amazing every time I make it. The leftovers are great and I look forward to eating them every time.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Hannah! I really appreciate you sharing some of the vegetable substitutions that have worked for you, they sound amazing! 🙂

  5. I made this tonight for supper and it was delicious!!! My husband ate three helpings and continued to pick out of the pot. That’s a huge win in our house!

    1. This is such a win! I’m so happy you guys loved this creamy orzo so much! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I stumbled across your website recently and I’ve been trying a lot of your recipes. I made this one for dinner tonight because I had half a box of risoni in the back of my pantry that I needed to use. Quite easy to make with staple ingredients I always have on hand – plus a great opportunity to use up some frozen veg lying around. Will definitely make again.

    1. I’m so happy to hear this Amy! So glad you were able to work with what you had! Thanks so much for your kind comment! 🙂

  7. This is a great recipe. Thank you so much. I’ve been making it with leftovers from a whole baked (crockpot) chicken and steamed broccoli. I just make the orzo and stir in the frozen veg, broccoli, and chicken. Thanks so much.

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