This cheesy orzo recipe is comforting, creamy, and simple to make in one pot! It's a delicious side dish for a variety of main courses.
This cheese orzo is a nice alternative to mac and cheese. It's less involved to make but something a little different and every bit as delicious with a combo of cheddar and parmesan. Think of it as a sort of cheesy risotto... but with orzo!
How to make cheesy orzo (overview):
In a soup pot, sauté the onion in the oil and butter for 3-4 minutes, then stir in the garlic and uncooked orzo and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Stir in the broth and cream, and then reduce the heat and simmer it for 10 minutes once it starts to bubble. Take the pot off the heat, stir in the cheeses, and then cover the pot and let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens up a bit more. Season with salt & pepper as needed. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- I recommend grating your own cheeses for the best results (they will taste and melt better than the bagged kind). I'd use an old/sharp cheddar. To grate the cheddar, I use this grater, and to grate the parmesan I use my Microplane.
- Troubleshooting tips: As with any one pot recipe, stoves and pots can vary, so you may need to use your discretion. If the pot appears to be going dry before the pasta has cooked, turn down the heat (and you may need to add a splash more liquid). If there seems to be too much liquid once cooking time as elapsed, simply cover the pot and let it sit a bit longer (the orzo will absorb the liquid fast and thicken more as it cools).
- As this is a one pot recipe, if you want to use a different kind of pasta, you may need to do a little experimenting as the liquid measurements may need to be adjusted.
What to serve with cheesy orzo?
Can't get enough orzo? Try these recipes:
Questions about this cheesy orzo recipe? Let's chat in the comments below.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups sharp cheddar grated
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and orzo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often (this infuses the orzo with more flavor and toasts it a bit).
- Stir in the chicken broth and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will likely need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). You want it to gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
- Take the pot off the heat, stir in the cheeses, and cover the pot for 4-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking (this recipe is meant to have a lot of sauce but will thicken a little more as it cools - orzo absorbs liquid quite fast). Season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Orzo is pasta. If you want to make this with rice, you may have to adjust liquid measurements and cooking time (it would be a different recipe).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.