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Garlic Butter Prawn Orzo

July 10, 2023 (Last Updated: April 17, 2024) by Chris Collins

This orzo is loaded with juicy prawns and wrapped in a silky garlic butter sauce. It’s also all made in one pot!

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so simple to make. It doesn’t require a long list of ingredients and the method couldn’t be more straightforward! Follow me…

close up over head shot of garlic butter prawn orzo in large white bowl with silver fork

Preparing Prawns

I like using king prawns for this recipe, just so they stand out in the dish. In terms of preparing them, here’s two important steps:

  • Dry – I always pat my prawns dry before I fry them. This will remove excess moisture and allow them to fry more efficiently without steaming. This in turn will allow them to develop more flavour in the pan.
  • Season – Give them a good seasoning of salt and pepper, but don’t leave them sat around otherwise the salt will begin to ‘cook’ the prawns and turn them rubbery.

How do I know when the prawns are cooked?

They’ll turn from translucent to opaque and start curling up. Generally speaking you to avoid them curling up into a tight ‘O’ shape, as this usually means they’re overcooked. They won’t take long at all, especially since they’re being added back into the sauce at the end to warm through. I find just a minute on each side to develop flavour does the trick.

Process shots: dry prawns (photo 1), coat in oil and seasoning (photo 2), add to pan (photo 3), fry then remove (photo 4).

4 step by step photos showing how to pan fry prawns

One Pot Garlic Butter Orzo

After you’ve fried the prawns there will likely be some flavour stuck to the pan. You can use your wooden spoon to gently scrape this off when you melt in the butter. Don’t waste that bonus flavour!

Why cook the orzo in the same pot?

I like to cook the orzo in the sauce for a few different reasons:

  • Starch – The orzo will release its starch, which helps turn the sauce a little creamy.
  • Flavour – The orzo will soak in all the gorgeous garlic/buttery flavours as it cooks.
  • Ease – Less washing up!

Orzo consistency

You want the orzo to still be a touch hard and for there still to be a slight excess of sauce before finishing with the parsley, parmesan and extra butter. By the time everything has been stirred through at the end you should reach the perfect consistency of sauce and texture of orzo. The consistency is very easy to adjust by slowly stirring in more stock.

Process shots: fry garlic in butter (photo 1), add orzo (photo 2), stir (photo 3), add stock (photo 4), stir/simmer (photo 5), stir in parsley, parmesan, prawns and butter (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make garlic butter prawn orzo

Garlic Butter Prawn Orzo FAQ

Can I use frozen prawns?

You sure can, you’ll just need to thaw them in the fridge beforehand.

How garlicky is this recipe?

I use 4 cloves of garlic and it’s a good level of garlicky. I wouldn’t use any less, but if you absolutely love garlic you could increase the amount up to 6 cloves.

Why do you use unsalted butter?

Using unsalted butter just gives you a little more control over the saltiness of the dish. Because there’s such a large amount of stock, and a fair amount butter too, using unsalted butter just prevents the dish turning out too salty no matter what your preference is.

overhead shot of garlic butter prawn orzo in large white bowl

Serving Garlic Butter Prawn Orzo

To serve, I like to finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. This is important to brighten up the dish and cut through the richness of the stock/butter. Plus prawns, garlic, parsley and butter all LOVE lemon! Alongside the lemon I usually finish with a pinch more parsley and parmesan too.

For another delicious prawn pasta recipe check out my Creamy Prawn Linguine!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this garlic butter prawn orzo shall we?!

close up shot of garlic butter orzo in large white plate with silver fork

How to make Garlic Butter Prawn Orzo (Full Recipe & Video)

close up shot of garlic butter orzo in large white plate with silver fork

Garlic Butter Prawn Orzo

This orzo is loaded with juicy prawns and wrapped in a silky garlic butter sauce. It's also all made in one pot!
5 from 2 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian / Western
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 649kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4

Equipment:

  • Large Deep Pan & Tongs
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Small Bowl & Kitchen Roll (for prawns)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Fine Cheese Grater

Ingredients (check list):

  • 500g / 1lb Raw Peeled King Prawns/Shrimp (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 tbsp / 60g Unsalted Butter
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
  • 400g / 2 cups Uncooked Orzo
  • 1 - 1.125 litres / 4 - 4.5 cups Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
  • 3 tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley, plus more to serve if desired
  • 20g / 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve if desired
  • 1 Lemon, quartered to serve

Instructions:

  • Pat the prawns dry to remove excess moisture (this will help them caramelise in the pan more efficiently). Combine in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Place a large deep pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot add in half of the prawns. Quickly spread them out and leave them to fry for 1 minute. Use tongs to flip them over then leave for a further minute. Remove them from the pan and repeat with the second batch. Ensure they don't completely curl to an 'O' shape as this means they're overcooked. They'll carry on cooking as they rest and when added back to the orzo. Just focus on getting a bit of colour on both sides.
  • Lower the heat to medium and melt in 3 tbsp of butter (save the final tbsp for later). Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds or so, just before it starts to brown. Stir in the orzo, then pour in 1 litre/4 cups of the stock. Give it a good stir then bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer until the orzo is al dente and the sauce has thickened to a risotto-style consistency, stirring occasionally. If the sauce dries out before the orzo has cooked, just stir in more stock a splash at a time. If you run out of stock just use boiling water.
  • Stir in the parsley, parmesan and cooked prawns (alongside any resting juices). Stir in the final tbsp of butter until it blends through the orzo, then check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • Serve individual portions with more parsley & parmesan if desired, alongside a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Prawns - Most pre-packed prawns will come ready to cook (deveined etc). You can use frozen, just make sure you thaw them first. General rule of thumb: 'hangs straight' (raw), 'C shape' (cooked) and 'O shape' (overcooked). They won't need long at all, especially since they'll carry on cooking as you toss them through the orzo.
b) Orzo Consistency - You want the orzo to still be a touch hard and there still to be a slight excess of sauce before adding in the prawns/parmesan/butter etc. By the time everything has been stirred through you should reach the perfect consistency of sauce and texture of orzo. The consistency is very easy to adjust by slowly stirring in more stock.
c) Garlic - I typically go for 4 quite large cloves and find the final result garlicky enough. I have gone up to 6 cloves before, so feel free to add a couple more if you love garlic!
d) Lemon - This is essential to finish the dish. It brightens up the flavours and cuts through the richness of the butter/stock. Plus prawns love lemon! As does garlic, parsley and butter.
e) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 4 without extra parmesan.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Garlic Butter Prawn Orzo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 649 Calories from Fat 209
% Daily Value*
Fat 23.25g36%
Saturated Fat 9.671g48%
Trans Fat 0.539g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.576g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.081g
Cholesterol 217mg72%
Sodium 1331mg55%
Potassium 451mg13%
Carbohydrates 82.56g28%
Fiber 11.2g45%
Sugar 0.07g0%
Protein 28.99g58%
Vitamin A 1076IU22%
Vitamin C 4.7mg6%
Calcium 139mg14%
Iron 1.51mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart
Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

For another delicious prawn recipe check out my Tomato Prawn Pasta, Prawn Linguine and Spicy Prawn Noodles!

For more similar recipes check out these beauties:

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane
    July 26, 2023 at 12:45 pm

    5 stars
    Made this last night. I added a couple of chopped shallots when frying the garlic and a glass of chardonnay with the stock.
    It was so good! Will definitely be making it again.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 26, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      Love the additions, Jane! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Tricia
    July 10, 2023 at 10:43 pm

    5 stars
    Lovely and creamy! I followed directions and ingredients. So easy and fast to make. Everyone loved it.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 12, 2023 at 7:39 am

      So great to hear, Tricia! Thanks for the review. C.

    5 KNOCKOUT

    DINNERS

    YOU'LL NEVER STOP MAKING!

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