Learn how to cook orzo in this easy recipe! Orzo pasta is a delicious, small pasta that is shaped like rice and can be used in so many recipes. It’s super versatile and can be seasoned a variety of ways. Use it as a simple side dish, add it to salads or soups and use it to make pasta-based casseroles!

Orzo has quickly become one my favorite side dishes to make. This Orzo Pasta Salad is always a crowd pleaser! Orzo is inexpensive, very easy to make and is super versatile! You can serve it warm or cold and the texture is incredible! It’s so tender and smooth and makes the perfect base for salads, but it’s also great for adding to soups, stews and casseroles! 

What is orzo?

Orzo is a small, flat, oval-shaped pasta that resembles rice, only a tad bigger. Orzo is conveniently located in the pasta aisle of pretty much any grocery store. It’s is cooked just as most pasta is – boiled in salted water and then drained. It’s incredibly quick to make, and easy to incorporate into any pasta dish – you can use orzo like you would rice or in a variety of salad and soup recipes. If orzo is new to you, do yourself a favor and give it a try!

uncooked orzo pasta in a small bowl

How to cook orzo

Cooking orzo is very simple! If you’ve cooked any type of pasta, then you won’t have any problems at all. Here’s the simple method:

  1. Boil. Add the water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the salt.
  2. Simmer. Add in the pasta and stir. Continue to simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes until it reaches your desired tenderness. It should be at al dente around 7 minutes.
  3. Serve. Drain and use as desired!

FAQs

What does orzo taste like?

The tiny orzo noodles have a very neutral flavor. Because the noodles are so small, they instantly soak up flavor and become tender when mixed with other ingredients, making them great for salads and soups.

Is orzo gluten free? 

Like most pasta, usually not! Most varieties of orzo pasta are NOT naturally gluten free, but I have seen some gluten-free versions that you can look for online or in health food stores. Trader Joe’s makes a delicious plant-based orzo pasta that is fully gluten free!

Orzo substitute?

If you need to substitute orzo in a recipe, you really could use any pasta that you have on hand, but know that cook times will vary. I suggest picking a similarly-sized pasta, such as ditalini, acini di pepe, or orecchiette.

How many calories in orzo?

A quarter cup (2 ounces) of dry orzo delivers around 200 calories, 7 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber, and 41 grams of carbohydrates [source].

stirring orzo pasta with a wooden spoon

How to store leftover cooked orzo pasta

Refrigerate: Be sure to refrigerate any cooked orzo within two hours of cooking in an airtight container or a zip-top baggie. Orzo will keep well for about 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

Freeze: You can also freeze orzo in a zip-top baggie. It will keep well for up to about 3 months. Don’t forget to add the date to the packaging.  

Reheat: Orzo is great served chilled or simply reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop. Like any pasta, leftover orzo can dry out a bit, so you may need to add a bit of water before rewarming. You can also add a little lemon juice and season with salt and pepper for extra flavor.

orzo pasta on a wooden spoon

As usual, PLEASE let me know if you try cooking orzo and how it turns out! You can come back here and leave a comment or tag me on instagram (@foodwithfeeling).

More simple side dish recipes you’ll enjoy:

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stirring cooked orzo with a wooden spoon

How to Cook Orzo


  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Learn how to cook orzo in this easy recipe! Orzo pasta is a delicious, small pasta that is shaped like rice and can be used in so many recipes. It’s super versatile and can be seasoned a variety of ways. Use it as a simple side dish, add it to salads or soups and use it to make pasta-based casseroles!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 pound of dry orzo pasta
  • 3 ½ quarts of water

Instructions

  1. Add the water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the salt.
  2. Add in the pasta and stir. Continue to simmer and cook for 7-8 minutes until it reaches your desired tenderness. It should be at al dente around 7 minutes.
  3. Drain and use as desired!

Notes

Storing orzo: Be sure to refrigerate any cooked orzo within two hours of cooking in an airtight container or a zip-top baggie. Orzo will keep well for about 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

Freeze: You can also freeze orzo in a zip-top baggie. It will keep well for up to about 3 months. Don’t forget to add the date to the packaging.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: orzo, how to cook orzo, cooking orzo