How To Cook Orzo (2 Ways)

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Learn how to cook orzo with my easy tutorial. You can use orzo in so many different recipes, such as soups and salads. Trust me, this recipe is versatile and super easy to make!

Front shot or cooked orzo.


 

Orzo is one of my favorite pastas. Because of its unique shape, it has many uses. My chicken orzo soup is a favorite and so is the ginger lemon shrimp orzo that you can enjoy as a quick weeknight dinner. Today I’m going to show you how to make orzo using two different methods, both giving equally delicious results.

What Is Orzo?

Orzo is type of pasta that’s shaped like rice, but is bit larger. It’s very versatile and can be used in different recipes including salads and side dishes. Once cooked, orzo has a smooth texture and can be served warm, at room temperature or even cold. Thanks to its small size and neutral flavor, you can easily incorporate orzo into different dishes and season it to your liking.

Dry orzo in a bowl.

How To Cook Orzo

When it comes to cooking orzo pasta, there are two methods that you can follow. First is the boiling method, where you simply boil the pasta in water and then drain it. The second method involves toasting the orzo before cooking it in water, which imparts a delightful subtle toasty taste to the pasta. Let me explain both methods in detail below.

Method 1: Boiling

Boil orzo in water. Drain and rinse.
  1. Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Add 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt to the water and add the orzo.
  3. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes until the orzo is fully cooked.
  4. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drizzle some olive oil on the cooked orzo and give it a good stir, this will prevent the orzo from sticking together.

Method 2: Toasting

Toast orzo in olive oil then cook in water.
  1. Heat the olive in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Toast the orzo for a few minutes until it smells nutty.
  3. Add in the salt and water. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat to medium low.
  4. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.

What To Do With Orzo

There are many ways to serve orzo. You probably have all the ingredients you need to make a delicious Mediterranean orzo salad in your fridge or pantry. Another way to enjoy orzo is to simply add some chopped parsley and lemon juice then serve it as a side dish with Italian skillet chicken, garlic chicken, Greek marinated chicken or Greek meatballs.

Storage And Reheating

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon water and the lid on.

Can I freeze cooked orzo? Yes, transfer cooled orzo to a freezer safe bag or container and freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a pan.

Orzo cooked in water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use gluten-free orzo for this recipe?

There are several types of orzo available including gluten free orzo and orzo made with lentils or chickpeas. The ratios and measurements here are for regular orzo and they could change for other types of orzo. I recommend checking the package instructions.

What is the ratio of water to orzo?

You need 2 cups of water for 1 cup of orzo. If boiling, there is no need to measure the water since you’ll be draining the orzo.

How much does 1 cup of orzo serve?

This depends on how you’re planning to use it. If using orzo as an addition to salads or soup, 1/4 cup uncooked orzo per person should be enough.

Do you need to rinse orzo before cooking?

Since orzo is practically pasta, there is no need to wash it prior to cooking.

Overhead shot of orzo cooked and served in a bowl.

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How to cook orzo.
5 from 2 votes

How To Cook Orzo

Learn how to cook orzo 2 different ways with my easy tutorial. You can use orzo in different recipes including soups and salads. It's so versatile and easy to make.
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions 

Method 1: Boiling

  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Add in the salt and orzo.
  • Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the orzo is fully cooked.
  • Drain into a colander and rinse the orzo with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and give it a good stir. This will keep the orzo from sticking together.

Method 2: Toasting

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Toast the orzo for 5 minutes so it starts smelling nutty.
  • Add in the salt and 2 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and then turn the heat to medium low.
  • Cover the pan and cook the orzo on medium low for about 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.

Video

Notes

  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 4 days. Reheat in a pan with 1 tablespoon water over medium heat. 
  • You can freeze cooked orzo in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating. 
  • If using gluten free orzo, check the instructions on the box since the water ratio could be different. 

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Shadi HasanzadeNemati

I'm here to show you how to make delicious Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food at home. My easy to follow recipes will bring exciting new flavors to your table!

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