This one pot spinach bacon orzo recipe takes everyone's favorite pasta and pairs it with fresh spinach and crispy bacon! It's creamy, quick, and like a risotto but easier.
Got orzo to use up? Try my reader favorite Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup next.
Why you'll love it
Readers always tell me how much they enjoy my one pot orzo recipes (Boursin Orzo, anyone!?), so I'm happy to oblige with even more of them. My sister likes to joke that I invented orzo. Here we're making orzo pasta with the classic combo of bacon and spinach to make this 30-minute weeknight wonder.
Add in a little cream and parmesan, and you've got a company-worthy meal that's simple enough to make after work any old weeknight. Something about this creamy orzo seems fancy, but the one pot process is super easy to do in your own kitchen!
What you'll need
- Bacon - the salty, crisp bacon goes so well with spinach. Everything is better with bacon.
- Garlic - I'm pretty generous with the amount, but if you really love garlic, add even more
- Italian seasoning - it's our favorite dried herb blend around here. This versatile blend comes all in one convenient jar.
- Orzo - you'll find this rice-shaped pasta in the dry pasta aisle of the grocery store
- Broth - I chose chicken broth for deeper flavor, but veggie broth works
- Heavy cream - it makes it irresistibly rich!
- Parmesan - always grate your own for best taste and texture
- Spinach - baby spinach adds a pop of freshness
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha's favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- I use this Dutch oven for many of my recipes. It's great for the one pot method.
- Kitchen shears are useful for cutting up the bacon.
- A garlic press makes mincing garlic hassle-free. No sticky fingers involved!
- This grater is what I use for the cheese.
How to make spinach bacon orzo
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a soup pot, fry the cut-up bacon until crispy. Add in the garlic, Italian seasoning, and orzo. We're not draining the bacon grease. Cook for a couple of minutes to toast the orzo gently. Stir in the broth and cream.
Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring often, without letting it boil furiously. Once the orzo is cooked and liquid is reduced, remove it from the heat. Stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover for a few minutes until thickened and the spinach has wilted. Season with salt & pepper.
Tips for success
- Don't drain the bacon grease after frying the bacon! It imparts a wonderful flavor in this dish.
- Since cookware and stoves vary, use your best judgment to guide this recipe. If it's looking like it needs more liquid before the orzo is cooked, add a splash more broth. On the other hand, if there appears to be too much liquid still, cover the pot and simmer. Orzo quickly absorbs it.
- Use your discretion for substitutions. For instance, subbing the cream with a lower fat alternative may result in a less rich sauce that could curdle. Half-and-half should be ok, but our kitchen has not tested it.
What to serve with spinach bacon orzo
- I designed this one to be a hearty main course, so you can simply serve it with a side salad with my Creamy Balsamic Dressing (Easy, No Blender!) or Garlic Bread to round it out.
- You can definitely serve it as a creamy side dish to go along with your favorite protein, though. Try my Easy Baked Pork Tenderloin or Chicken Milanese.
Leftovers and storage
- Store leftover orzo in the fridge in an airtight container for a couple of days, but be mindful that the pasta will definitely soak up the liquid as time goes on.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat and slowly. Feel free to pour in a splash of broth or cream while reheating if it looks like it needs it.
- I do not recommend freezing this one.
Leave a review below if you made this spinach bacon orzo recipe, or drop a question if the post didn't answer all of yours. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram!
Creamy Spinach Bacon Orzo
- 6 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cut the bacon into small pieces (this is quick and easy with kitchen shears) and fry it in a soup pot until crispy.
- Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and orzo to the pot (don't drain the bacon grease, and leave the bacon in the pot). Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often (this infuses the orzo with more flavor and toasts it a bit).
- Stir in the chicken broth and cream. Once it starts bubbling, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will likely need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
- Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. The orzo will absorb the liquid quickly, so if it still seems like there's too much, just wait a little bit longer. Season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Orzo is pasta. If you want to swap it with rice, you may have to adjust liquid measurements and cooking time.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Sandy Clark says
I have made this recipe several times. I add sun dried tomatoes to mine…..it is delicious!
Fantastic!! Love that addition!
Super yummy. This is a great addition to my quick weekday dinner list. Used only half the cream as that’s all I had left in my fridge and subbed for extra stock and it still tasted creamy and delicious.
Chanlatte Zimmermann says
Question: have you tried adding a splash of citrus (probably lemon) to this dish, or a similar creamy orzo dish? I’ll likely add some anyways, but wanted to see if you’ve experimented with it. I’ll post a review after I make it, it looks and sounds great!
I think that would be good! I have a lemon chicken version of this dish and readers love it. 🙂
Made this for dinner tonight and it was sooo good!
Thank you so much!
Do you need to rinse the pasta first?
No. The starch helps thicken the sauce.
Recipe was great. I grilled some chicken and cut it up and added it into the pasta after it was finished. It had amazing flavor. I think I would maybe use some half and half or lighter cream next time just to take away a bit of the richness and to make healthier. I absolutely loved the recipe and this is the first time I've cooked or eaten orzo!!!
Love all your recipes I've tried
Thank you!! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it!
Dewanna Samms says
AMAZING! Definitely a hit with the family!
Valerie Schultz says
Loved the orzo bacon cream. Next time will cook spinach in broth before turning off heat.
I'm so glad you liked it!