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One Pot Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

This broccoli cheddar orzo can be served as a main dish or as the perfect side dish and is something the WHOLE family will love. This delicious recipe is pure comfort food made from simple ingredients and is a great way to incorporate fresh broccoli into an every day recipe.


It took 2 weeks, but I finally caved and admitted that whatever ailment I was suffering from was not going away. Enter: sinus infection extraordinnaire. Hello, antibiotics. I’m nearly 48 hours on the antibiotics and I’m starting to feel human again but MAN, me and many others are just beat up with the illnesses lately! It seems like illness started running rampant just after Thanksgiving and I dodged it until Christmas time.

Anyway, I’m glad to be back on the mend and starting to get mildly interested in cooking. I had hit a little groove right after Thanksgiving and then the Christmas holiday sent me off-course again. As I said recently, veggies never taste better than they do on New Years Day! My bestie sent me a TikTok of this recipe awhile back and I knew it was something we’d all enjoy. Who wouldn’t love a cheesy broccoli orzo situation? Tender broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese, and that delectable little orzo pasta is the perfect recipe combination!


  • Weeknight Warriors: On the table in 30 or less, this recipe uses minimal prep, quick-cooking orzo, and no meat to keep things zippy!
  • One Pot Dish: Whipping up this Cheesy Broccoli Orzo in a single, large skillet or Dutch oven is one of the biggest reasons you’ll fall in love with this easy meal!
  • Kid-Friendly: Pasta and cheesy broccoli are both quintessential “kid foods” — there’s nothing not to love, even for the littlest, more choosiest eaters!


  • Olive Oil: Avocado oil or unsalted butter can be used in place of olive oil, if preferred.
  • Onion: White or yellow onion works best, however red onion or shallots can be used as a substitute. 
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Adjust up or down, as preferred. Salt substitute can be used in lieu of salt to reduce the sodium slightly.
  • Garlic: Feel free to use jarred minced garlic or substitute in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, if you prefer.
  • Orzo: This rice-shaped pasta, sometimes called risoni, is quick cooking and perfect for skillet prep. Risoni is another option. However Ditalini or another very short-cut pasta can work. See FAQ below for more details.
  • Broth: Use a low-sodium variety of vegetable broth or stock to keep this vegetarian and sodium-controlled. Beef or chicken broth or stock can absolutely be substituted.
  • Milk: Milk with a bit of fat, like 2% or whole milk, offers a bit of fat to avoid the dairy from curdling or separating while being lower in calories and saturated fat than half and half or heavy cream. That said, any of those options work great to create a creamy orzo recipe. A non-dairy substitute that is unsweetened, such as almond, oat, or soy milk, works, too!
  • Broccoli: I like to buy 12 ounce bags of fresh broccoli florets, however frozen works, too. This recipe can also be made with cauliflower or a different vegetable, such as asparagus or green beans.
  • Cheese: I prefer a brick of shart cheddar that has been hand-shredded for maximum creaminess, however pre-shredded cheese of most any kind will work: mild cheddar cheese, Colby jack, etc. You can absolutely use a vegan, parmesan cheese, or other variety but do realize the taste and creamy cheese sauce consistency will change considerable.


  • When cooking the orzo before adding the broth and milk, you can add a bit of dry white wine to create a deeper flavor profile that you might find in a risotto meal
  • Expert Tip: Watch the heat on the cooking — medium heat may be too high depending on your stovetop. Start with medium-low if your range runs hot to avoid burning. Add a splash or broth and a quick stir, as needed, to continue cooking the pasta while avoiding burning.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days
  • If you prefer a bit of heat, add a bit of hot sauce (as the original writer did), or a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Feel free to add other veggies to make this skillet meal even healthier: bell pepper, additional onion, or another favorite vegetable of yours!


Can I use a different type of pasta in this meal?

Yes, however you may need adjust the liquid (broth and/or milk), as well as the cook time. The most commonly found alternative to orzo that can be found in most any grocery store is Ditalini or elbow pasta. You will need to adjust cooking time an additional 5 minutes or so for these small pasta varieties and may need up to 1 cup additional broth and/or milk.

Can I use leftover broccoli in this recipe?

Yes, please do! However, add at the very end versus half-way through the orzo cook-time to ensure the broccoli (and orzo!) remain al dente and not over-cooked and mushy!

What can you serve with this meal?

We served a whole grain biscuit and a side salad with this One Pot Cheesy Broccoli Orzo, however you can serve as-is for a main meal, with other sides, or paired with your favorite protein.


  • This meal is vegetarian
  • With less than 400 milligrams of sodium per serving, this meal is nicely sodium-controlled
  • With nearly 5 grams of fiber per serving, this meal is a good source of fiber
  • Broccoli is a superfood! It is high in vitamins C & K, potassium, iron, and fiber, as well as anti-oxidants

One Pot Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

One Pot Cheesy Broccoli Orzo

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This broccoli cheddar orzo can be served as a main dish or as the perfect side dish and is something the WHOLE family will love. This delicious recipe is pure comfort food made from simple ingredients and is a great way to incorporate fresh broccoli into an every day recipe.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry orzo
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • 12 oz small broccoli florets
  • 3 oz (3/4 cup) shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and stir; cook until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, and garlic; stir and cool until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the orzo and stir; cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the broth and milk. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  4. Spread orzo mixture into an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. Place lid over the orzo, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir and top with the broccoli; do not mix. Replace lid and cook over low for 5 minutes. Stir and continue cookung until orzo is al dente but cooked through.
  6. Top with cheddar cheese and place lid over the top. Cook 1 additional minute or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.


Recipe adapted from Fit Foodie Finds

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 385Total Fat: 11.8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 53.8gFiber: 4.8gSugar: 7.0gProtein: 16.0g

Did you make this recipe?

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 Looking for other vegetarian main dishes? Here we have it!

Be well,


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