This Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish. It is comforting and creamy, with the perfect amount of garlic and parmesan!

A serving bowl of creamy orzo. There is a wooden spoon in the pasta and the pasta is mixed in a creamy white sauce with fresh thyme leaves. There are fresh thyme leaves and a couple of forks laying next to the bowl.

Super Easy Orzo Recipe

This one pot recipe can be on your table in less than 15 minutes, which is exactly the type of recipe I need for those busy school nights.

You all know how I feel about carbs (YES PLEASE!). Normally I’m touting different bread recipes, like our herbed focaccia bread because…hello, bread is straight from heaven! But pasta recipes are a close second when it comes to the glorious-ness of carbs.

This creamy orzo recipe is simply sublime!

What Ingredients Do I Need for Garlic Parmesan Orzo?

The detailed measurements for each ingredient can be found below in the recipe card, but here is a quick list for everything you will need:

  • Orzo
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Broth
  • Half and Half
  • Thyme (fresh)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pepper
  • Salt

A bowl of creamy garlic parmesan orzo. It has a creamy white sauce and freah thyme leaves over it. There is a fork next to it and small containers of ingredients in the background. The bowl is sitting on a white tea towel.

How to Make Creamy Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Don’t blink! You might miss how to make this dish! It really is that quick and easy:

  1. Add olive oil and butter into a skillet over medium heat and then add the orzo pasta. Stir it occasionally until it gets toasted (30-60 seconds).
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for a few seconds and then add the thyme.
  3. Slowly add the broth stirring constantly until it comes to a boil. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat down and let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  4. After the orzo is tender, add the half and half and let it warm through.
  5. Add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve it up immediately! We like to top individual servings with more cheese because there can’t ever be too much cheese!

How Long to Cook Orzo?

As you just read, this Parmesan orzo pasta recipe is so easy to make. The only “hard” thing about it is cooking the orzo, but that’s just because most people haven’t made it before!

In total, the orzo needs to cook for roughly 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it’s tender (just sneak a quick bite from the pot to tell when it’s done). See? Cooking orzo is simple!

A close-up view of creamy garlic parmesan orzo. It is creamy and has fresh thyme leaves mixed into it.


What to Eat with Orzo Pasta

If you’re eating this cheesy orzo recipe as a side dish, it goes great with several of our main dishes. These are a few of our favorites:

Is Orzo a Pasta?

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta. While it is similar to rice in shape and texture, it takes way less time to cook and is a great alternative if you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner.

How Long Will Cooked Orzo Keep?

Cooked orzo should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cooked orzo will keep for 3-5 days.

Can Orzo Be Frozen?

Orzo can be frozen.  It should be placed in a heavy duty freezer bag. Orzo freezes best if it is in a sauce.

How to Reheat Orzo

To reheat this cheesy Parmesan orzo, add 1 Tablespoon liquid to each cup of orzo and reheat in the microwave or on the stove top. This will keep it from drying out as it reheats.

What Can I Add to Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo?

Can you tell that I love this recipe? If you aren’t sold yet, here is another reason to put this in your regular meal rotation…it is incredibly versatile! You can add veggies or a protein to change things up or make it a main dish. Here are a few options:


  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Broccoli


  • Chicken
  • Bacon
  • Sausage

You can customize this orzo pasta recipe to exactly what your family loves!

Creamy garlic parmesan orzo in a serving dish. There is a wooden spoon in the pasta. The pasta has been mixed with a creamy white sauce and fresh thyme leaves. Two forks are laying beside the bowl of pasta.

Tips for Making This Orzo Pasta Recipe

  • Parmesan cheese: Use freshly grated Parm, if possible. Freshly grated cheese has a better texture and melts more evenly than the pre-shredded kind.
  • Half and half: We much prefer using half and half in this recipe since it makes for an ultra creamy orzo. However, if you don’t have half and half on hand, you can achieve similar results using whole milk. Just avoid using anything low-fat, otherwise the Parmesan orzo will be too thin.
  • Chicken broth: Depending on how salty you like your food, you may want to use low-sodium chicken broth in this dish. Parmesan cheese is naturally quite salty, and if you think the orzo needs extra salt you can simply add more in!

Let me review what makes this creamy garlic parmesan orzo so dang good…one pot, creamy, less than 15 minutes, versatile, cheesy, simple and downright DELICIOUS!

Looking for more EASY PASTA RECIPES?

Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo

4.63 from 8 votes
Servings: 4
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes


This Creamy Garlic Parmesan Orzo can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish. It is comforting and creamy, with the perfect amount of garlic and parmesan! 


  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Cups Orzo Pasta, dry
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Half and Half
  • 1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil, butter and pasta.
    1 Tablespoon Olive oil, 1 Tablespoon Butter, 2 Cups Orzo Pasta
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 30-60 seconds.
  • Add garlic and stir it in followed by thyme.
    5 Cloves Garlic, 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • Add the broth, a small amount at a time.
    2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • Bring to a boil, cover the skillet with a lid and turn down to a simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta has absorbed most of the water and is tender.
  • Remove the lid and add the half and half and let simmer till warmed clear through.
    2 Cups Half and Half
  • Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
    1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Cracked Black Pepper, Salt


To reheat, add 1 Tablespoon of liquid per cup and heat in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 651kcalCarbohydrates: 64gProtein: 28gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 1111mgPotassium: 468mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 832IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 601mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 50 of our Best Easy Pasta Recipes
Cuisine: Italian

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A serving bowl of creamy orzo. There is a wooden spoon in the pasta and the pasta is mixed in a creamy white sauce with fresh thyme leaves. There are fresh thyme leaves and a couple of forks laying next to the bowl.


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