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How To Cook Orzo

Orzo is a versatile rice-shaped pasta that is easy to prepare and makes a great addition to any meal!  I’m sharing a simple recipe on How to Cook Orzo, as well as some serving ideas for this delicious side dish.

Let’s talk Orzo.  Is it a grain?  Is it pasta?  What exactly is it?  Well, Orzo is a rice shaped pasta!  This delicious and easy to prepare pasta is great in so many recipes.  In fact, I like to have orzo in my pantry at all times.  Orzo is a great alternative to the usual rice or quinoa as a side dish, but I also like to substitute it into any pasta dish.  And my kids love it too…it’s always guaranteed to disappear at dinner time.

How To Cook Orzo

Orzo is really easy to prepare.  You can boil it like you would regular pasta and drain off the water, but I prefer to prepare it in a skillet.  When orzo is made in a skillet, you have the opportunity to add a rich toasty flavour to it by first toasting the orzo in melted butter.  In the picture below, you can see lightly toasted pieces of orzo which make this pasta extra tasty!

How To Cook Orzo

Once the orzo is lightly golden, you add water or stock (using the same ratio as rice: 1 cup orzo, 2 cups liquid), and let it simmer until all the broth is gone.  I like to use vegetable stock when making orzo, because it adds extra rich flavour.


How To Cook Orzo

A pan of toasted orzo

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Orzo is a versatile rice-shaped pasta that is easy to prepare and makes a great addition to any meal.

  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 cup Orzo pasta
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • 2 tsp butter


  1. In a skillet over low-medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Then add the uncooked Orzo, and mix well to coat the pasta in the butter.  Stir continuously until the pasta is lightly golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the water or broth, and bring to a low boil.
  4. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

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Delicious Ways to Serve Orzo Pasta:

The great thing about orzo is that you can pretty much substitute it into any recipe that has pasta as an ingredient…things like side dishes, soups, pasta salads and more.  I’m sharing some ideas below:

  • Substitute Orzo for your favourite pasta in almost any dish.
  • It’s great in pasta salads.
  • Serve it plain as a simple side dish.  My kids love it with a little butter and parmesan cheese.
  • Toss it with parmesan cheese and minced fresh basil for a side dish.
  • Add it to soups.

Have a delicious day!

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  1. Just saying I wanted the proportions of Orzo to water. Thank you for making it simple. other sites are just- well being polite- you know!

  2. Hi! Do you think it’d be fine if I added some spices to the orzo when I add the broth? Or do you think it would mess up how it cooks?

  3. these ideas about orzo and chick peas that ive found sounds Amazing . to me a lovely healthy swap and change my usual thank you from Oxford.will tell my friends and family to try it.

  4. 5 stars
    Great recipe starter – First time visit to your site. Browning and tried chicken broth – both are winner techniques.
    Now working on phase 2 of the recipe. Thinking parmesan , onions, garlic, parsley. Making it creamy but light !
    Thank you for the tips.
    Best Orzo ever.

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Thank you so much. I add homemade pesto to the mix, make a salad and voilà an easy meal, done!

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks, Jo-Anna! This was my first time finding your site, and we’re making some Greek chicken orzo bowls by blending a bunch of different recipes. This was a great base for the orzo portion! Added to it will be chicken in a Mediterranean marinade, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, crumbled feta, and a dollop of tzatziki!

  7. 5 stars
    Thanks for the tips Jo-Anna! This is the best way to cook Orzo. Can you tell me what brand your pan is that’s pictured above?

  8. Hi Jo-Anna, will substituting rice for orzo work to make egg fried orzo, as not everyone likes rice in our family.


    1. Hi Graham! I’m not too sure…I think it would work, although the texture is a little different as orzo is a pasta. But the flavour of orzo is mild enough that it could work. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

  9. 5 stars
    Great and simple recipe. I had to add about one more cup of broth to complete cooking the orzo. Flavor was great.

      1. Hi, I’m in France and Orzo is difficult to find here. I read that Turkish Orzo is the same as Portugese Bagos and they certainly look alike and are made from wheat. It is easily available here. I have tried frying Bagos lightly as you propose and then making rice Pilaf by the water evaporating method (bringing it to boil and then simmering).
        However, on each occasion I found the Bagos (Orzo) somewhat hard and chewy
        I am wondering what the remedy might be? To boil the rice and Bagos longer so the fried Bagos obviously cooks longer and become more like soft rice? Many thanks and nice homely site

        1. Hi! I’m in Portugal. I tried this last night with 125g of Bagos (orzo) and used a pint of vegetable broth. I added a light drizzle of olive oil before serving to make the pasta less clumpy. What a tasty success! My family greatly enjoyed the orzo which I served alongside lemon chicken picatta. Many thanks Jo-Anna!

  10. Hi from England, bought some orzo for making a soup and ended up with a big bag left and wanting ideas what to do with it. Thank you !

  11. 5 stars
    This is a FANTASTIC recipe – so hearty and tasty. The best Orzo I’ve ever made. It’s the toasting in butter and olive oil first (I added pine nuts and minced garlic ) before adding broth – and cooking in the pan until the liquid boils down. I also added chopped fresh spinach at the end and stirred. Absolutely delicious.

  12. I have made this recipe many times with white onion, garlic, and mushrooms for a hot dish. It is delicious!!
    Do you have any suggestions for using this amazing toasting/broth technique and then using the finished orzo for a cold pasta salad? Anything that might keep it from clumping up since I can’t run it under cold water? Thank you!!

    1. You can rinse it with the cold water. I always double this recipe, then put leftovers in the fridge and the next day put it in the strainer and run enough hot water to just melt and rinse off the butter, then immediately rinse with cold water, and voila, your orzo is ready to be mixed in salad. If it goes into soup or stew, I don’t even bother with rinsing.
      Hope this helps.

  13. I have orzo sitting on the shelf for months! I didn’t know what to do with it. I will definitely try this orzo recipe tonight.

    Thank you for the explanation!

  14. Hi, Jo-Anna,
    I seem to have misplaced a recipe using Rosmarino, chicken, tomato … I’ll get there … but stumbled across this very simple use of Orzo and am now winging my way to a very quick Sunday lunch with chopped chorrizo and fresh mint out of my kitchen garden, either mushrooms or cherry tomatoes … the recipe is so simple that it lends itself to so many variants, as your other readers have shown! THANK YOU and Greetings from the the Overberg region of South Africa xx

  15. I’m making a pasta salad I don’t hear anyone talking about cooling the pasta first. The orzo came out really nice.

  16. I have never made orzo. Search pulled up your site first and glad that it did. Orzo came out perfect to go along with chicken thighs in sauce using the crockpot. Thank you so much!!!

  17. I sauté onions until they caramelize then add that to the Orzo with some canned mushrooms. I use consume for the both (do not dilute) and bake it

  18. I’d never made or eaten orzo pasta before but bought a box of it on a lark, then realized I didn’t have a clue what to do with it and ended up here. So glad I did…this process of ‘butter toasting’ it is so insanely good and easy/fun to make, we can’t get enough orzo now and can’t wait to try a million different variations. Love it! 🙂

  19. Love it!
    So buttery and yummy.
    I used 2 bags of concentrated chicken broth mixed in 500 ml of boiling water.

  20. Hi
    I made this today. Valerie Bertenelli made orzo and added in chicken thighs, caramelized onions and poppedbin the oven for 20 minutes. The idea of sauteeing the orzo in butter first gives the pasta a wonderful nutty flavour.