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Creamy Ground Turkey and Mushroom Orzo

This one pan ground turkey and mushroom orzo combines lean Italian ground turkey with brown butter sage mushrooms, creamy orzo, lemon, and parmesan. Complex flavors, simple recipe—that’s the goal!

ground turkey mushroom orzo in a bowl garnished with grated parmigiano reggiano

Making One-Pan Mushroom Orzo with Ground Turkey

If you’ve never made brown butter before, have no fear, it’s super easy. Cooking butter over a low heat allows the butterfat and milk solids to separate and sink to the bottom, which causes them to brown and create a toasty caramelized flavor. Adding sage not only makes your house smell amazing, it elevates the flavors even further.

Take a look at the photo below for an idea of what your brown butter should look like. Vanessa’s brown butter chocolate chip cookies recipe has more photos and in-depth instructions, in case you need them.

brown butter with sage in a stainless steel sauté pan

What better way to soak up all that flavor than with nature’s sponge, mushrooms. The mushrooms will begin to brown in about six to eight minutes over medium-high heat. They’ll continue to pick up color as you push them to one side and add the ground turkey to the other.

sautéing mushrooms in brown butter

Give the ground turkey plenty of time to brown on one side before breaking apart to fully cook. A good three to four minutes should do the trick. Pat the turkey dry with a paper towel for even better browning.

browned ground turkey one one side of a skillet with sautéed mushrooms in the other

After you’ve browned one side of the ground turkey, break it apart and cook until no pink remains. Then mix the mushrooms and turkey together before adding orzo, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Stir everything together for a minute or two to slightly toast the orzo before adding the broth.

orzo and dijon mustard added to the pan with the cooked ground turkey and mushrooms

Use chicken broth to deglaze the pan and let everything cook together for about ten minutes until the orzo is cooked. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the pan and add broth as needed (a tablespoon or two at a time) to make sure the orzo is al dente.

chicken broth with orzo, ground turkey, and mushrooms

Once the orzo reaches that point, reduce the heat and stir in a cup of milk. Follow the milk with two ounces of grated parmigiano reggiano or parmesan cheese. You don’t want to throw the full four ounces in at once, or you may end up with clumps.

grated parmigiano reggiano on top of cooked ground turkey and mushroom orzo

Stir until the mushroom orzo is thick and creamy before taking off the heat and adding freshly chopped parsley. And that’s it.

Top with fresh herbs and more freshly grated cheese, and you’re ready to serve.

ground turkey and mushroom orzo in a stainless steel sauté pan garnished with parsley

Unlike risotto, the ground turkey and mushrooms alleviate any need for a protein pairing with this dish. I recommend something bright and fresh like a caprese, arugula, or caesar salad. Add some garlic bread or toasted baguette slices to take it to the next level.

By the way, I recently made this recipe while traveling and included it in a video about meal prepping. Check out the video below if you’d like to see this recipe in action and see four more one pan, high protein recipes to make next.

And that’s everything you need to know. There’s a printable recipe card below with a few extra notes about ingredient substitutions and modifications. If you still have a question about the recipe, drop it in the comments at the bottom of this post.

And if you try this ground turkey and mushroom orzo and love it, I always appreciate recipe reviews.

ground turkey and mushroom orzo in a stainless steel sauté pan garnished with parsley

Ground Turkey and Mushrooms with Creamy Orzo

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

A one-pan pasta recipe with Italian ground turkey, brown butter sage mushrooms, and cheesy orzo.


  • 3 Tablespoons (42g) Unsalted Butter
  • 4-6 small Sage Leaves
  • 10 oz Sliced White Mushrooms
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 pound Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/3 cup (220g) Orzo*
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) Dijon Mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Skim Milk
  • 4 oz Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
  • 2 handfuls Fresh Parsley, chopped


  1. Add the butter to a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, swirling often, until the butter turns a golden brown color and smells nutty and caramelized. Once browned, add the sage leaves and fry for 15 seconds before adding the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Increase to a medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until they begin to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Push the mushrooms to one side of the pan and add the ground turkey. Brown one side before breaking apart to fully cook.
  3. Add the seasoning, orzo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and broth. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente, about 10-12 minutes. If the broth cooks off before the orzo is al dente, add more broth a couple tablespoons at a time.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the milk, gradually followed by the grated cheese and chopped parsley. Fold everything together and serve immediately.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and more grated cheese. An arugula salad and bread are great pairings.


*Orzo is a pasta that's shaped like rice (also known as risoni). You can swap it for another pasta if you don't have orzo on hand, or you could substitute for rice. My Korean ground turkey and rice cooks short grain sushi rice for 12-15 minutes over low heat in a covered pan. Check out the chickpea rice in my Greek chicken and rice skillet for a lower carb option.

If you're not calorie-conscious, you might use another tablespoon or two of butter, deglaze with white wine instead of lemon juice (add the lemon juice at the end), swap half and half for skim milk, and use Italian pork sausage instead of ground turkey.

To reduce the calorie and fat content, on the other hand, you can swap the brown butter sage and just lightly sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil. You could also make do with as little as 2-3 oz of cheese.

For a creamier sauce, check out the ricotta based sauce in my creamy Italian chicken soup and lemon ricotta ground turkey and broccoli pasta recipes.

To make this dairy free, use olive oil for butter, coconut cream or a non-dairy milk, and nutritional yeast or a non-dairy parmesan replacement.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: about 9 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 17gCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 29g

Audrey O.

Tuesday 12th of September 2023

We are moving out of state and I am trying to use up as many ingredients as I have on hand, without buying any more. Right now I’m looking to use up Turkey and mushrooms and this recipe looks and sounds great. I don’t have orzo or rice on hand, unfortunately, but I do have multiple packages of couscous. 🤦🏾‍♀️ Do you think couscous would work ok in this recipe, and if so, what changes in cooking would you recommend? I only have the “regular” couscous, not the Israeli. Thanks so much in advance. I’m looking forward to trying this.

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 19th of September 2023

I want to say couscous would be a great substitute. Let me know how it goes if you end up trying it. And good luck with the move!

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