This orzo rice recipe is the perfect stovetop pilaf dish you can make to complement any main dish for lunch or dinner. Cooked with 5 pantry staple ingredients, this recipe takes just 30 minutes to make and has a perfect flavor and texture that will keep your family requesting more!

This is an easy side dish for any meal! Orzo rice goes great with chicken dishes like dijon chicken, Italian grilled chicken, crispy baked chicken drumsticks, or Roman chicken.

Orzo Rice in a brown bowl on a wooden cutting board.

Why This Recipe Works

  • This Orzo rice pilaf recipe is perfect because it is not bland! Thanks to the butter, garlic, and chicken broth this dish has a beautiful, subtle flavor that isn’t overpowering.
  • Thanks to the delicious, subtle flavor, this recipe pairs well with many different main dishes. See my recipe tips below for suggested dishes to pair with this.
  • This recipe requires minimal ingredients and is super easy to make.

Ingredients

Ingredients used to make Orzo rice.
  • Orzo: A rice-shaped pasta that is a bit bigger than traditional grains of rice, this is the main component of the orzo rice dish.
  • Rice: I used long grain white rice, but feel free to use jasmine rice, basmati or any other fragrant rice. Brown rice can be used but you will need to add a touch more liquid and cook it for slightly longer than what’s called for in this recipe. 
  • Chicken Broth: This will provide much more flavor to your dish than if you were to use just water.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Melt the butter on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until the orzo is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more or until fragrant. 
  1. Stir in the rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. 
  1. Remove from heat and fluff the mixture with a fork.
Cooked Orzo Rice in a saucepan.
  1. Season the orzo rice with salt and pepper and serve warm.
A gold spoon in a large brown bowl full of Orzo Rice.

Recipe Tips

Rice: You can use a different rice variety if you’d like. Jasmine rice, basmati or any other fragrant rice would work beautifully in this recipe. Brown rice can be used, you may need to add a touch more liquid and cook it for slightly longer than what’s called for in this recipe. Recipe makes 6 1/4 cups of orzo rice, about 6 servings worth, depending on your serving size. 

Rice pilaf traditionally has a yellow tinge to it. This is usually due to added turmeric to the dish. This recipe doesn’t include turmeric, but if you want to you it for that yellow color and to add flavor, you can add turmeric.

Storing: Store cooked orzo rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To reheat: Place desired amount on a microwavable plate and heat for 20-30 seconds or until warmed through. 

Variations

Add vegetables to the orzo rice. Chop the vegetables and add them when you add the rice. You can do peas (not chopped), carrots, red pepper, broccoli, etc. It’s a great way to add additional vegetables in your meals.

Make it a meal by adding chopped grilled chicken.

What To Serve with Orzo Rice

It can also go well with fish such as my lemon glazed salmon, sheet pan chili lime salmon , or brown sugar-crusted salmon.

If you’ve made the orzo rice into a meal by adding chopped grilled chicken or salmon, there are more delicious side dishes on my website that will pair well with this rice pilaf as a main dish. Options include: corn avocado feta salad, cherry tomato caprese salad, or crunchy cabbage salad.

FAQs

Is orzo a pasta or rice?

Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that is about double the length of a traditional grain of white rice. It’s a soft, chewy pasta when cooked.

What is the difference between rice and pilaf?

Plain rice is typically just boiled in a pan of water or cooked in a rice cooker. Pilaf is rice that is cooked with broth and seasonings.

Is orzo gluten free?

Since orzo is a pasta, it is NOT gluten free. However, like other pastas, you can typically find a gluten-free option.

Is orzo healthy?

Like other pastas, a whole grain option will provide more fiber and protein than a traditional pasta. Typically rice contains half the amount of calories as the same amount of orzo.

Orzo rice in a brown bowl with a golden spoon inside the bowl.

More Delicious Rice Dishes

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Orzo Rice in a brown bowl on a wooden cutting board.
Print Review
5 from 5 votes

Orzo Rice

Delicious Orzo Rice requires 5 pantry staple ingredients and takes just 30 minutes to make. This is an easy side dish for any meal!
Prep Time: 3 mins
Cook Time: 27 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 3 tablespoons butter - salted or unsalted
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt & pepper - to taste

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until the orzo has turned golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more or until fragrant. 
  • Stir in the rice and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. 
  • Remove from heat and fluff mixture with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

Notes

Rice: You can use a different rice variety if you’d like. Jasmine rice, basmati or any other fragrant rice would work beautifully in this recipe. Brown rice can be used, you may need to add a touch more liquid and cook it for slightly longer than what’s called for in this recipe. 
Rice pilaf traditionally has a yellow tinge to it. This is usually due to added turmeric to the dish. This recipe doesn’t include turmeric, but if you want to you it for that yellow color and to add flavor, you can add turmeric.
Storing: Store cooked orzo rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To reheat: Place desired amount on a microwavable plate and heat for 20-30 seconds or until warmed through. 
Variations
Add vegetables to the orzo rice pilaf dish. Chop the vegetables and add them when you add the rice. You can do peas (not chopped), carrots, red pepper, broccoli, etc. It’s a great way to add additional vegetables in your meals.
Make it a meal by adding chopped grilled chicken.
What To Serve with Orzo Rice
It can also go well with fish such as my lemon glazed salmon, sheet pan chili lime salmon, or brown sugar-crusted salmon.
If you’ve made the orzo rice into a meal by adding chopped grilled chicken or salmon, there are more delicious side dishes on my website that will pair well with this rice pilaf as a main dish. Options include: corn avocado feta salad, cherry tomato caprese salad, or crunchy cabbage salad.
Recipe makes 6 1/4 cups of orzo rice, about 6 servings worth, depending on your serving size. 

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal (13%)Carbohydrates: 44g (15%)Protein: 6g (12%)Fat: 7g (11%)Saturated Fat: 4g (20%)Trans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mg (5%)Sodium: 627mg (26%)Potassium: 222mg (6%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 178IU (4%)Vitamin C: 11mg (13%)Calcium: 27mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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