Guide to Preparing and Cooking Orzo Pasta

Orzo is a distinctive and versatile pasta, shaped like rice grains, which can be crafted at home using a basic pasta dough. It can be served as a side dish, incorporated into salads, soups, or baked meals, hot or cold. Its ability to blend seamlessly into various cuisines and flavour profiles makes it an all-around  ingredient. At its most basic, orzo can be prepared like any standard pasta: boiling in salted water until al dente, draining, and mixing with oil or butter.

Orzo with fried egg and tomatoes Orzo with fried egg and tomatoes

Understanding Orzo

While orzo might resemble rice, it is in fact a tiny pasta, also referred to as pastina, made from whole grain, semolina, or white flour. The term 'orzo' translates to barley in Italian, which is the grain this pasta mirrors. Known as 'risi' in Italy, meaning rice, this pasta type has a robust texture that readily absorbs flavours. It is a great fit for any recipe that requires a small pasta. Despite being a pasta and not a grain, it can replace rice in certain dishes.

Beyond the standard pasta cooking method, orzo can be prepared similar to rice for a creamier outcome. Simply maintain a 2:1 water to pasta ratio, bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed by the pasta. Orzo can also replace arborio rice in risotto, giving a 'pseudo' risotto effect. If you want to impart a nutty taste to your orzo pasta recipe, toast it in a bit of butter or oil before simmering it in a skillet with 2 parts water or broth to one part toasted orzo until the liquid is soaked up.

Creating an Orzo Pasta Dish Recipe :

With a simple homemade pasta dough, quickly whipped up in a KitchenAid® stand mixer, you can kick-start your orzo dish creation.



70 minutes, this includes 30 minutes for dough to rest


3-5 minutes (fresh pasta will cook in about half the time of dried pasta)


1 hour and 15 minutes

  • 2 ¾ cups (650 ml) 00 flour

  • 4 eggs

  • Pinch of a kosher salt

  • Butter, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh herbs or your preferred sauce

1. Exact ingredients will vary based on recipe



One cup of dried orzo cooks up to about 2 cups cooked.

2. Exact yields will vary based on recipe

KitchenAid® stand mixer with milk and eggs on counter

Step 1: Combining the Dough

Put flour into the stand mixer's bowl and make a well. Add 3 eggs and salt into the well's center. Using the flat beater attachment, mix until combined. If the dough appears too dry, add an extra egg. Conversely, if the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour.


KitchenAid® stand mixer with pasta ingredients on counter

Step 2: Kneading the Dough

Switch the flat beater with the dough hook accessory and mix until the dough forms a ball.


Dough being removed from bowl of KitchenAid® stand mixer

Step 3: Letting the Dough Rest

Take the dough ball out of the stand mixer, cover the ball with cling wrap and chill for roughly 30 minutes.


Hand sprinkling flour on fresh pasta

Step 4: Shaping the Orzo

Divide the dough into four equal parts. With one portion at a time (keeping the remaining dough refrigerated until needed), roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Slice the dough into strips with a sharp knife and roll the strips into 'snakes.' Using kitchen shears, cut the dough into pieces, each slightly bigger than a rice grain.


Hand lifting lid from large pot on cooktop

Step 5: Cooking the Orzo

Boil the homemade orzo in a pot filled with salted water until it's al dente, about 2-4 minutes. The pasta will start to float when it's done.


Drain and use for your preferred orzo dish, or serve with a dab of butter, a splash of oil, some freshly grated cheese, or a light sauce.



If you're incorporating orzo into a hot soup, cook it for half the recommended time before adding it to the soup. The orzo will continue to cook in the soup without turning mushy.


Making fresh pasta is a pleasure with the right tools. A great homemade pasta dough can be made with your KitchenAid® stand mixer. Use the dough for making orzo—the star ingredient of a great Mediterranean inspired salad—or, as a delicious side for grilled meats.

Grilled meat on creamy sauce Grilled meat on creamy sauce

Is Orzo Similar to Risotto?

While orzo is a wheat flour pasta resembling rice, risotto is a creamy Italian dish usually prepared with toasted arborio rice, stirred frequently while gradually adding hot broth, and finished with butter and cheese. Orzo is often added to various dishes, whereas a rich, smooth risotto can be a main course.

Orzo can replace arborio rice to produce a less labour-intensive "orzotto" or pasta variant of the traditional dish. Broth is simmered into the pasta, without constant stirring, to achieve a creamy, risotto-like consistency.


How Can I Season Orzo?

Orzo's neutral flavour profile means it can easily adopt diverse flavours. Since it's a small pasta, it's best paired with a simple sauce or dressing. Much like most pastas, orzo is a blank slate waiting to be transformed into something spectacular. Whatever you have on hand—zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, or herbs—can be diced, sauteed and mixed with orzo for a fulfilling dish. Top it with some grated parmesan and pair it with a crisp white wine for a light, summertime dinner.

For a classic Mediterranean-inspired "dressing" for orzo, combine olive oil, parsley, dill, and lemon. Add grilled shrimp, kalamata olives, and some crumbled feta for a delightful summer salad. Orzo can also be tossed with diced tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a delicious caprese-inspired dish. You could even add it to your next batch of homemade tomato soup for a novel twist on a classic. Alternatively, simply blend it with a handful of fresh herbs, a splash of lemon juice, and salt and pepper for a versatile side dish.


What Can I Pair with Orzo?

An orzo salad or side dish pairs excellently with all sorts of grilled or roasted fish and meats. For instance, pair an herby, lemon-dressed orzo with roasted chicken.


Can Cooked Orzo be Stored?

Orzo can be prepared in advance and stored for later meals. Cooked orzo can be stored in an airtight container for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. You can serve it cold or reheat it in the microwave, or on the stovetop, with a bit of water or broth.

Man pulling sheet of fresh pasta from refrigerator Man pulling sheet of fresh pasta from refrigerator

What is the Optimal Way to Store Fresh Orzo Pasta?

Freshly crafted orzo pasta can be stored and frozen like any other fresh pasta. If you can't use it right away, it's best to freeze rather than refrigerate your orzo to avoid potential taste and texture degradation.

To freeze your orzo, dust the pieces lightly with flour and let them dry in a single layer on a cutting board or baking sheet for an hour. Store it in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 8 months.

You can also dry fresh pasta and store it in an airtight container in a dry location for 2-6 months. As with frozen pasta, dust the orzo lightly in flour and let it dry on a baking sheet for 12-24 hours or longer, depending on your kitchen's humidity.


Enhance Your Orzo With KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and Accessories

Are you ready to elevate your culinary experience? Our KitchenAid® Stand Mixer and accompanying accessories are the perfect tools to help you create the ultimate orzo dish, among countless others!

With the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, kneading dough is no longer a taxing chore. It’s perfect for effortless and efficient mixing of ingredients.

For the initial dough mixing process, the KitchenAid® Flat Beater Accessory is a necessity. It's designed to achieve the ideal consistency with ease.

Transition smoothly to kneading with the KitchenAid® Dough Hook Accessory. Watch as it effortlessly forms your dough into a ball, ready for shaping and cooking.

So why wait? Begin your culinary adventure now!



A KitchenAid® Stand Mixer is an essential, multi-tasking appliance in any kitchen. Make your Stand Mixer even more versatile for pasta making and more with KitchenAid brand’s 10+ attachments3.

3. Sold separately