Perfectly cooked Instant Pot orzo is ready in just 2 minutes! Plus recipe ideas for turning orzo into an easy family dinner.
Why Cook Orzo in the Instant Pot?
When orzo is cooked in a pressure cooker, each small grain of pasta becomes plump and tender, without getting mushy. A bowl of Instant Pot orzo has a slightly creamy texture that you won't get from orzo cooked on the stove in boiling water. The creaminess comes from letting the pasta absorb the water it's cooked in, rather than draining it off.
A similar affect happens with One-Pot Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Kale. In this magical recipe, the starchy pasta water creates a flavorful "sauce" for the spaghetti.
This orzo can be served warm, or you can chill the orzo and make a cold pasta salad. One of my favorites is Tuna and Orzo Pasta Salad.
How Long Should Orzo Cook in a Pressure Cooker?
The greatest risk when cooking pasta in a pressure cooker is overcooking the noodles. If the pasta turns to mush, dinner is ruined.
I find the 2 minutes on high pressure with a quick release is the best cook time for Instant Pot orzo.
After 2 minutes, the pasta is still al dente but will continue absorbing any remaining water in the pot and continue cooking in the residual heat. Let the pasta sit for 3 to 5 minutes with the lid loosely covering the Instant Pot, until the orzo has the texture you want.
Using this method, rather than cooking orzo slightly longer in the Instant Pot, insures that it won't overcook.
You only need 4 ingredients to cook orzo in your pressure cooker (or 5, if you add salt!)
- Heat olive oil and garlic briefly in the Instant Pot
- Add the orzo
- Optional for more flavor: Saute the orzo for 3 to 5 minutes to toast the orzo
- Add water
- Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes, with a quick release
After removing the lid, stir the orzo and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes to absorb any remaining water. During this time, the pasta will finish cooking in the residual heat.
How to Serve Orzo
Orzo pasta is perfectly delicious with just grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top (my kids also like butter!) But there are plenty of ways to turn cooked Instant Pot orzo into a flavorful dinner.
- Add 2 cups grated cheese and ½ cream or milk to make creamy Instant Pot orzo mac n' cheese
- Add handfuls of baby spinach (let it wilt in the warm orzo)
- Add chickpeas or other beans
- Add raw shrimp right after removing the lid, and the shrimp will cook in the residual heat.
- Add marinara sauce and fresh basil
- Cool the orzo, toss with oil, and make cold pasta salad
Frequently Asked Questions About Orzo
Yes, risoni and orzo are the same thing
Yes, orzo is just pasta. It's a short pasta that is shaped like rice.
No. Orzo is pasta that is made from flour. However, you can buy gluten-free products that are similar to orzo, like Banza "Rice" made from chickpeas.
More Pasta Recipes
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Greek Chicken Pasta with Orzo
- Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Shrimp Linguine with Arugula Pesto
- Instant Pot Artichoke Spinach Dip Pasta
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