Orzo may look like rice, but it’s actually a tiny pasta. You can use it as a substitute for rice in any dish, and it offers the same starchy quality.
Orzo is one of those foods you want to keep stocked in your cupboard at all times just because of how versatile it is and how quick and easy it is to cook orzo.
How to Cook Orzo Pasta
I’ll be walking you through the cooking process for this in just a few steps.
- 2 teaspoons of butter
- 1 cup of orzo pasta
- 2 cups of water
- Start by melting the butter in a skillet on low to medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, you can add in the orzo and mix it together with the pasta until it is well coated.
- Keep stirring and allowing it to cook until the pasta has become lightly browned, which should take around 4 minutes.
- Add in the water, mixing with a whisk, and bring the water to a low boil.
- Once you water starts boiling, bring the heat down to low and cover the skillet.
- Allow the orzo to simmer until the liquid has been absorbed into in the past, which should take about 15 minutes.
This is one of the simplest methods for how to cook orzo, and you can use it as a baseline for a lot of orzo dishes.
How to Cook Orzo with Chicken Broth
Did you know that you can use chicken broth, vegetable broth, or some other kind of broth in place of water to cook your orzo?
I do this often to help make it more flavorful, and you can use broth while cooking orzo so that you don’t need to season it as much. It helps add a lot of flavor to the pasta.
How do you cook orzo in broth? Just use the same method I gave you above, replacing the water with broth and follow the same directions.
How to Cook Orzo Al Dente
You can cook orzo al dente so that it has a little bit of resistance when you bite into it. That way, it’s not overly soft and mushy.
To do this, make sure you boil it in a pot of salted water and then drain it out when it’s done cooking.
How long does it take to cook al dente? Orzo should cook al dente in around 9 minutes. Using one cup of raw orzo yields around 2 cups of cooked orzo.
How to Cook Orzo in Instant Pot
You can make orzo in Instant Pot as well, but it may not be as simple and straightforward as you might like.
Start by cooking the orzo in a skillet little bit of olive oil. Sautee it lightly in the oil for about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the orzo as it cooks so that it does not burn.
Then, pour your orzo into the Instant Pot, adding in 3 1/4 cups of water for every two cups of orzo pasta. Lock the Instant Pot lid in place and set to cook for two minutes on the high pressure setting.
When the orzo is done cooking, use quick release to let the pressure out and then stir the orzo to get any pieces off the bottom that might have stuck there.
Allow the orzo to sit for about four minutes to soak up the water and then scoop it out of the Instant Pot. It’s ready to serve up now, and this is a great method for how to cook orzo in soup as well.
You can just add your soup ingredients to the Instant Pot and cook it with the orzo in the water.
How to Cook Orzo for Salad
If you want to use orzo in a pasta salad, you can make it using the methods above for how to cook orzo on stove or in an Instant Pot, just make sure that you cook it really soft.
Orzo used in salad isn’t meant to be al dente, but it should be soft instead. Make sure that it’s cooked well so that it will work properly in the salad.
How to Cook Orzo in Microwave
A quick and easy method to cook orzo is to use your microwave. Just use a microwave safe dish and put the orzo in it, along with a little oil and salt.
Add boiling water to the dish that is adequate to cover the orzo and then microwave on high for two minutes. At that point, stir the orzo and check to see if more water is needed.
Then, microwave for an additional two minutes and stir again, adding more water if needed. Do this one additional time for a total of 6 minutes and then see if the orzo is ready to eat.
There’s not a simpler way to cook up orzo than using the microwave, so it’s a great way to prepare this dish in a pinch.
How to Cook Orzo without Draining
You can treat orzo like any other kind of pasta, cooking until it’s soft and then draining off the water and rinsing it to prepare to be eaten. However, you could also cook orzo without draining the water.
You just need to put enough water to barely cover your pasta, and then cook the orzo until the water has been absorbed. This works best on a skillet, as water is absorbed into the pasta more easily this way.
How to Cook Orzo without Sticking
Your pasta can stick to the bottom of a skillet or pot if the temperature is too high and there’s not enough water in there.
With some cooking methods for orzo, you didn’t need to stir the orzo every now and then and scrape the bottom of the pot off for any orzo that is stuck there.
Frequent stirring and a low heat with adequate water ensure that the orzo doesn’t stick to your pot or skillet, though.