In The Kitchen/ pasta/ recipe/ side dish

How To Cook Orzo

A pan of toasted 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.

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A pan of toasted orzo

How To Cook Orzo

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


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



  • 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.

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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  • Reply
    August 22, 2019 at 7:14 PM

    Thanks Jo-Anna! Not too shabby…. not… too… shabby.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2020 at 3:03 PM

    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!

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      March 22, 2020 at 6:27 PM

      You are so welcome! Enjoy!

      • Reply
        March 31, 2020 at 5:22 PM

        YUMM….I added it to Greek salad for a more hearty lunch!! Delicious ?

  • Reply
    March 25, 2020 at 12:24 PM

    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?

  • Reply
    sue smith oxford
    April 2, 2020 at 4:26 AM

    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.

  • Reply
    Jeannette Stewart
    April 21, 2020 at 1:01 PM

    Love toasting it first! Nice touch!

  • Reply
    Jo Ann
    May 15, 2020 at 11:14 AM

    When you toast orzo, fo you add oil or toast without?

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      May 16, 2020 at 9:54 AM

      Hi Jo Ann! I toast it in melted butter…my recipe uses 2 tsp. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    May 22, 2020 at 6:58 PM

    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.

  • Reply
    Joan Grubert
    May 31, 2020 at 5:02 PM

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

  • Reply
    July 22, 2020 at 4:34 PM

    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!

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      July 23, 2020 at 12:16 PM

      Hi Tory! I’m so happy you found my site, and that you enjoyed this recipe!!

  • Reply
    August 25, 2020 at 4:57 PM

    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?

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      August 26, 2020 at 3:53 PM

      You are so welcome Erin! And that pan is a Masterchef pan! 🙂

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