Orzo recipe: how to cook this pasta perfectly

Wondering how to cook orzo pasta? A fun alternative to rice or couscous, it's great in salads, soups, and stews

orzo pasta
(Image credit: Getty)

Looking for an easy orzo recipe? Or wondering how to cook this kooky pasta in the first place? The great news about orzo pasta is that it can be cooked in a number of ways, depending on how you're planning to use it. Because of the small size and rice-like shape, it can be cooked in much the same way as rice. However, as it is technically a type of pasta, you can also cook it in exactly the same way as any other pasta. Find out more about the different methods below – plus, the easiest way to enjoy orzo for lunch. 

Find more easy recipes and food prep tips at our hub page. 

Orzo pasta: three preparation methods

Method 1:

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the orzo and cook for 8-9 minutes. Drain.

Method 2:

Place the orzo in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Season and bring to the boil. Taste frequently for doneness as soon as the water begins boiling.

Method 3:

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add a finely chopped onion and the orzo, and sauté for two to three minutes. Then cover with hot vegetable or chicken stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes.  

Method 4:

If using orzo in a stew or soup, simply add it in the last five minutes of cooking. 

Orzo pasta recipe: the best way to enjoy orzo for lunch

After cooking, let the orzo cool down a little. Then simply add some cherry tomatoes and feta and drizzle with a little olive oil. For a more substantial lunch option, add some cooked chicken breast. Top off with Parmesan.