Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo

71 reviews / 5 average

Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo! The BEST combo. Quick chicken meatballs, tangy tomato sauce with garlic and peppers, and a silky-creamy pile of hot orzo on the side.

Chicken meatballs with peppers and orzo = the actual dinner BOMB, like, in a really good way.

This recipe just really gets me excited.

Not to be dramatic but in my experience there’s something magical about the combination of panko and Parmesan loaded quick chicken meatballs (remember these Baked Chicken Meatballs?), tangy tomato sauce with garlic and sautéed peppers, and a silky-creamy-delicious pile of hot orzo on the side. This is the kind of recipe that just calls you straight home to the dinner table, you know?

Basically this recipe has two prep steps.

  1. Roll your chicken meatballs.
  2. Chop your peppers.
Peppers and garlic in a bowl.

Now cook them and combine them.

Add a can of tomato sauce and capers because YUM. So salty and briney.

Chicken meatballs and peppers in a pan.

And pile onto hot, creamy, cheesy orzo.

I made mine creamy with mascarpone cheese but honestly, you don’t need to be that extra about it. Just get something that’s going to creamify the orzo a bit and toss it together while the orzo is hot.

Chicken meatballs with peppers and orzo in a bowl.

Mostly I’d like to go on record and say that this just tastes like heaven in a bowl.

The ideal bite involves a cut piece of golden brown chicken meatball, plus a good coating of tomato sauce, a few pieces of pepper and maybe even some bitey capers, plus a little scoop of creamy, cheesy orzo all up in there to balance it all out.

Yes to that, times 100 more bites.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo:

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A picture of Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo

Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Chicken Meatballs with Peppers and Orzo! The BEST combo. Quick chicken meatballs, tangy tomato sauce with garlic and peppers, and a silky-creamy pile of hot orzo on the side.


Units Scale

Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, and kosher salt


  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 cups sliced peppers (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup capers (optional)
  • one 14-ounce can plain tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (more or less to taste)

Creamy Orzo:

  • 8 ounces uncooked orzo
  • 1/4 cup of something creamy – I used mascarpone, but you could also use cream cheese, goat cheese, cream, or butter
  • kosher salt, Parmesan, and parsley for finishing


  1. Meatballs: Mix meatball ingredients together. Roll into meatballs. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a swizzle of olive oil. Add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. (Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs – fresh or frozen – at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.)
  2. Sauce: Add peppers and garlic to the same pan, plus a little more oil if you need it. Get all the yummy browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Sauté for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Sauce: Add meatballs into the pan. Stir in tomato sauce and capers. Bring to a low simmer and let it hang out (add a little water if it gets too dry).
  4. Orzo: Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and toss with something creamy. Season with salt, Parmesan, and parsley.
  5. You’re Done: Plate and serve! Top with more Parmesan and parsley because you are just that fancy.


Peppers: I used mini peppers which are small and sweet! You can also use regular bell peppers if you cut them into thin strips or small pieces.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired

Keywords: chicken meatballs, orzo pasta, one pot meal, weeknight recipe, easy recipe

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One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our favorite bell pepper recipes page. Check it out!

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Recipe rating


  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    After looking at this image, I had a thought about a good Brooklyn style delicious Italian meatball sandewich with extra cheese! 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks yumm! Orzo is not easily available in India but ever since you mentioned adding mascarpone to it, I’m dying to try this. What else can that be added to apart from orzo? I’ve never actually added mascarpone to anything apart from tiramisu let alone to any savoury dish, hence the confusion :/

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Do you think you could cook everything and freeze? Or how could I turn this into a freezer meal? Sounds yummy!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Hi! I have the hardest time keeping the outside of my meatballs from getting too crispy. Any suggestions?

      I love your recipes – making this one right now!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          Have made this recipe several times and it is a hit every time. Made as is with no changes at all. Thank you so much for this wonderful dinner! I appreciate your site very much

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Is there enough sauce for the meatballs to just go straight in to cook … rather than browning first? Just curious. Thank you!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe was so GOOOD!! And SO easy for a weeknight meal! I had extra garlic and chive cream cheese on hand for the orzo and it came out great!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Would greek yogurt work as my “something creamy” or would that come out tasting funny?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      We haven’t tested this using Greek yogurt yet, so it’s hard for us to say. If you do try it out, we’d recommend using full fat Greek yogurt to avoid it being too tangy.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This was delicious!!! I overcooked the chicken meatballs but that’s on me 🙂 Used cream cheese bc it’s what I had and it turned out delicious and rich. The fresh parsley really added a nice zing too.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Michelle Wissmeyer

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!! The only thing I changed was I made my own marinara sauce instead of using canned tomato sauce. Thank you for the awesome recipe!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this last night and it was so good! Came together in 30 min and made for great leftovers the next day. Adding it to my rotation.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks great. I’m going to make it tonight. I make your chicken meatballs regularly so this will be a nice change. I think I”ll still bake them first though and then add to the sauce. Seems easier to me – though probably not as moist. Thanks!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yum! Could you add ricotta cheese for the “something creamy”? Or would that end up with the wrong texture?

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this for dinner as I had ground turkey in the fridge. It was delicious and easy! It will definitely become part of our rotation.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nicole H

    As always, perfect recipe that everyone loved. Why haven’t I thought to make creamy orzo before!? Didn’t change a thing, just added some pasta water to the pan to get a bit more sauce. Can’t wait to make again and pass this recipe along 🙂

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this last night and it was a HIT. I ended up doubling the sauce recipe when I realized I had cooked a 16 oz package of orzo, but doubled perfectly. Thanks for another great recipe.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe was amazing! I cut the sauce/orzo in half but made all the chicken meatballs. Included half the meatballs in this recipe, baked and froze the other half (because I cook for only myself and it’s a pain to save 1/2 lb ground meat). I love orzo but this was my first time using mascarpone, and I thought they were perfect together.

    One complaint is my meatballs started to burn in the pan before they were cooked through, and I’ve noticed that’s a problem when I cook chicken with olive oil. I probably should’ve realized that ahead of time and subbed a different cooking oil, but I managed to save them before they got too brown and I simmered in the tomato sauce with some extra water to get them cooked all the way. Ended up being really juicy and delicious!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I rate this a 20 out of 10. WOW. I could drink this sauce. No really, I thought about it! This one is a keeper!