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This one pot ground beef orzo recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is a creamy, comforting, and delicious meal for busy weeknights!

Try my Italian Sausage OrzoLemon Chicken Orzo, and this Creamy Garlic Spinach Orzo next.

one pot ground beef and orzo in two white bowls

Why you’ll love it

A quick, cozy, and hearty meal that the kids will eat too, and it’s made all in one pot!? Yes please. Since I know you guys are very fond of ground beef, it was a natural fit to pair it with orzo and a homemade creamy tomato sauce. You can’t really go wrong with beef and pasta.

This orzo with ground beef recipe is sort of like a quick risotto, to give you an idea of the texture. Of course, orzo is pasta and not rice, but I find it so much easier to make than risotto after a long workday when you don’t have the energy to put in a ton of effort!

What you’ll need

  • Ground beef – I prefer at least 90% lean
  • Onion and garlic – for a tasty aromatic base. Sweet (Vidalia) onion is my go-to.
  • Red pepper flakes – it’s optional, but they add a mellow, gentle heat without being spicy
  • Italian seasoning – it comes in a single jar and has a blend of dried herbs
  • Orzo – it’s a small oval-shaped pasta that you’ll find in the pasta aisle
  • Canned tomato sauce – the foundation for the tasty tomato sauce. For my U.K. and Australian readers, it’s similar to passata.
  • Beef broth – it adds a deep, rich layer to the sauce
  • Cream – heavy cream gives this sauce a luxurious creamy touch
  • Worcestershire sauce – gives savory, umami flavor. Don’t skip it!
  • Parmesan cheese – to top it all off
  • Spinach – for some contrast and freshness
ingredients for ground beef orzo with a tomato sauce

Pro tip

As with any one pot pasta recipe, I recommend keeping an eye on it since stoves/cookware/etc. vary. If it seems like the liquid is getting too low and the orzo isn’t cooked yet, you may want to turn the heat down and/or add a splash more liquid. If the cooking time has elapsed and there’s a lot of liquid, I recommend taking it off the stove, covering the pot, and letting it sit for a few minutes (the orzo absorbs liquid quite quickly).

How to make ground beef orzo

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing ground beef in a soup pot and adding onions, orzo, and seasonings

Add the ground beef to a soup pot and let it brown, undisturbed, for a few minutes. Stir in the onions, breaking up the beef with a spoon, and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, and orzo. Cook for another minute.

adding tomato sauce, parmesan, and spinach to a pot of ground beef orzo

Pour in the tomato sauce, broth, cream, and Worcestershire sauce. Letting it gently bubble, cook until the sauce reduces and the pasta is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, and stir in the parm and spinach. Cover for a few minutes to thicken, then season with salt & pepper.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • Use a classic wooden spoon to stir this orzo and a garlic press to mince the garlic with ease.
  • Grating your own parmesan cheese is a game changer. It tastes and melts much better than the pre-grated kind. I use my handy Microplane to grate it.
  • This is the Dutch oven I use.

Substitutions and variations

  • There’s a chance that replacing the cream with something lower fat will lead to curdling due to the acidity of the tomatoes and the heat the dish is cooked at, so be aware of that if you make a substitution. It’ll also be less rich, so I don’t recommend it.
  • I have not tested this recipe with rice. If you want to attempt it, you may need to adjust cooking time and liquid measurements.
  • You can leave out the red pepper flakes if that’s not your thing (or increase them if you’re a fan).

What to serve with ground beef orzo

Leftovers and storage

  • They will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Keep in mind that as time goes on, the orzo will soak up more liquid. You could revive it with a splash of cream when warming it up.
  • Reheat over a low heat in a saucepan, or try microwaving in smaller increments.
  • I wouldn’t recommend freezing leftovers since the texture will get soft and weird.
ground beef orzo in a yellow pot

If you made this ground beef orzo recipe, talk to me in the comments below! Please leave a star rating and review. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.

one pot ground beef and orzo in two white bowls
4.91 from 133 votes

Ground Beef Orzo with Tomato Cream Sauce

This one pot ground beef orzo recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is a creamy, comforting, and delicious meal for busy weeknights!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Add the ground beef to a soup pot/Dutch oven and break it up a little bit with your spoon. Let it cook, without stirring, over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the onion to the pot and stir/break the beef up into small pieces. Let it cook for another 5 minutes or so. If there's a lot of excess fat (like if you didn't use lean beef), spoon some of it out. Otherwise, leave it in the pot.
  • Stir in the garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and orzo. Cook for about a minute.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, beef broth, cream, and Worcestershire sauce. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often (so the orzo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot). You will likely need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. boil (you don't want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked).
  • Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for about 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately. See more troubleshooting tips in the blog post and notes below.


  • Serves 4-6 depending on portion size/what else it’s served with.
  • Tomato sauce in North America is similar to passata in the U.K./Australia/etc.
  • As with any one pot pasta dish, the liquid quantities work as tested in my kitchen, but pots/stoves/temperatures can vary, so if you feel like it needs more liquid, add another splash of cream or broth. If it seems too liquidy, let it sit for a bit longer, and it’ll soak any excess liquid up within a few minutes.


Calories: 595kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 163mg, Sodium: 1010mg, Potassium: 1022mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2899IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 239mg, Iron: 5mg

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

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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4.91 from 133 votes (25 ratings without comment)

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  1. Katrina says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner and it is delicious! I had macaroni noodles in the cupboard so I substituted about 1 1/3 cup of noodles for the orzo and it was still perfect. I will make it again!

    1. Natasha says:

      So happy it worked out!! Thanks for your review, Katrina!

    2. Beth says:

      5 stars
      Made as recipe was delicious and so easy. It’s in our rotation now

      1. Natasha says:

        Wonderful!! Thank you, Beth!

  2. Anne-Marie Madore says:

    Hello, my daughter send me this recipe and last evening I made it. Great meal after a busy day. Recipes like this one gives me opportunites to incorporate spinach in my meals, and I’m discovering I really like it.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Anne-Marie!

  3. Kori says:

    5 stars
    Easy and delicious! Definitely a winner!

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks, Kori!!

  4. Mimi B says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner and OMG this is SO good! Quick, easy and really flavorful for how simple it is! Definitely will be making this again! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! Sent it to two of my friends as well 🙂

    P.S. I know this recipe doesn’t call for fresh basil, but I had fresh basil sitting in the fridge so I added a touch at the end, really good. It’s good with or without!

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      You’re very welcome, Mimi!! Fresh basil would be a great addition here. 🙂

  5. Jessica says:

    When were we supposed to add the onions?

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      Step 2. See also the step-by-step photos in the blog post.

  6. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    My husband said “This is perfect.” and requested that it be added to our meal rotation. All of the kids ate it. Not a bite leftover! We have a dairy-free kid, so I subbed our dairy-free cream (Country Crock) for the heavy cream and let everyone add their parmesan after. It turned out great. Love the tiny hint of spice from the red pepper.

    1. Natasha says:

      I love that!!!

  7. Jovana says:

    5 stars
    THIS IS PHENOMENAL! Even my 3 year old loved it and she’s picky

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww that’s so nice to hear!!