5 from 2 votes

Parmesan Orzo

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our read the Privacy Policy

Orzo, a rice-shaped pasta, is quick, easy, and delicious to make as a simple side dish! And there are so many different orzo side dish recipes out there! 

I am excited to share this creamy Parmesan Orzo with basil, an excellent complement to chicken breast recipes. This simple recipe is flavorful and versatile and has a rich buttery taste with great fresh herb flavors. 

spoonful of orzo.

Why you will love making Orzo.

 When most people think of a type of pasta, they automatically consider a spaghetti recipe or pasta shells. Very few consider the tiny grains of pasta that resemble a grain of rice but are anything but. 

This easy side dish can be flavored in multiple ways, one of the more popular being Parmesan, and it is a perfect side dish idea to mix up the plate. 

Because it’s cooked similarly to all pasta (boiled in a liquid), it also tends to be much quicker than traditional rice. Plus, you can eat it chilled, which makes this ingredient perfect for pasta salads

plate of orzo with parmesan and basil.

Simple Ingredients

  • butter
  • dry orzo pasta
  • chicken broth
  • grated Parmesan cheese + shredded Parmesan cheese
  • chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper 

How to make Parmesan Orzo. 

  1. Place butter and orzo into a large skillet.
  2. Cook orzo over medium-high heat and frequently stir as the butter melts. Mix well to coat evenly. Continue to saute until the orzo is browned.
  3. Carefully pour in chicken broth and bring the liquid to a boil.
  4. Cover the skillet with a lid and reduce stove heat to simmer.
orzo side dish recipe with orzo in a skillet.
  1. Simmer orzo for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. This can vary depending on a gas or electric stove, so check about the 15-minute mark.
  2. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves. Mix well.
  3. Serve cooked orzo immediately, topped with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and two tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.
parmesan orzo with basil.

Expert Orzo Tips

As noted above, orzo dishes are easy to add fresh ingredients to or change with spices to complete a different meal. Add sun-dried tomatoes, cut cherry tomatoes, spicy pepper flakes, fresh lemon juice, and black pepper. 

Because this dish is one of those beige side dish options on a plate, sliced green onions, a piece of parsley, or chopped basil leaves bring out some color. 

orzo recipe on a plate with parmesan.

Crumbled cheeses are a great option with tender orzo! Try cooked orzo pasta with goat cheese or crumbled feta cheese

Orzo is typically found in the pasta aisle, not the rice aisle.

Make it a complete meal by cooking and adding chicken or ground sausage

I love pasta in my sides! 

My favorite recipes that include vibrant flavors are this creamy pesto bowtie pasta recipe, cold vegetable macaroni pasta, Ranch Pasta Salad, and old-fashioned macaroni salad.

5 from 2 votes

Parmesan Orzo with Fresh Basil

Cook Time 25 minutes
Orzo with Parmesan cheese, basil, and lots of butter, a delicious and easy orzo pasta side dish.


  • Skillet


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup Orzo Pasta
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil for topping
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese for topping


  • Place butter and uncooked orzo pasta into a large skillet.
  • Heat over medium-high heat and stir frequently as the butter melts. Mix well to evenly coat all grains of orzo pasta. Let continue to saute until orzo is golden browned. 
  • Carefully pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover skillet and reduce heat to simmer.
  • Simmer orzo for 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in grated Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil. Mix well. 
  • Serve Parmesan Orzo immediately topped with additional shredded cheese and 2 tablespoons basil.


Orzo is typically found in the pasta aisle, not the rice aisle.
Make it a complete meal by cooking and adding chicken or ground sausage. 


Serving: 1 | Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 805mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 476IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 203mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow Salty Side Dish on Pinterest and rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 2 votes

Leave A Comment

Have a question or want to provide feedback? Share your recipe reviews or questions here and I will do my best to help!

Recipe Rating

Where To Next?