5 Ingredient Easy Orzo Rice

a bowl of yellow orzo rice

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5 from 3 reviews

This is a blend of toasted orzo pasta and basmati rice simmered into a buttery pilaf topped with fresh herbs. Orzo rice has a mild, nutty flavor that makes it a favorite, easy side dish for family dinners. 


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh chopped herbs, for garnish (fresh parsley, dill, or your favorite herb)


  • Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan that has a lid. 
  • Add the orzo and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until the orzo turns a golden brown color. Stir the orzo frequently, making sure it browns evenly and doesn’t burn. Take care not to burn the orzo, and turn the heat down if needed. 
  • Add the broth and bring the heat up to medium-high heat so the broth comes to a boil. 
  • Add the rice, turmeric and salt and bring the broth back to a boil. Stir the rice to make sure none of the grains are sticking to the bottom of the pot. 
  • Turn the heat down to LOW. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Try to resist the urge to lift the lid, as you don’t want to release steam that is cooking the rice. 
  • After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Fluff the rice with a fork and add more salt to taste  (use a fork, not a spoon because a spoon can smash the rice and make the texture mushy, not fluffy).
  • Top with fresh herbs before serving (optional)


Make sure the heat is on low, not medium low, when the rice and orzo are simmering for 20 minutes. If the heat is medium low, it's likely the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot.

Olive oil or sunflower oil can be substituted for the butter but the dish won't have as much flavor.

The orzo is toasted to give it a nutty flavor and to also slightly harden the pasta, so when it cooks for 20 minutes with the rice it holds its shape doesn't get mushy.

Storage and Re-heating

Orzo rice can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days, although it tastes best if eaten within 3 days. To reheat, sprinkle a tablespoon of water over the rice and microwave until heated. The water helps add moisture back to the rice, which gets dry when refrigerated.