July 12, 2020



If you like Rice-A-Roni, you are going to like this copycat orzo version. Orzo and broken spaghetti are toasted until nutty and simmered in a chicken flavored broth. It’s a perfect all-purpose side dish for any meal.

Orzo Roni
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My husband loves Rice-A-Roni. If he had his way, it would be on the dinner table at least once a week. While this sounds fine, he always wants the same flavor—chicken. A little variety once in a while would be nice. Unfortunately for those of us who have to dine with him, he is man who knows what he likes and sticks to it! Often times, it’s easier to have what he has rather than add another item to the menu.

Orzo Roni is the result of my desire to change things up just a bit while being mindful of the picky hub’s preferences. It tastes just like Rice-A-Roni, maybe with a slightly different mouthfeel, as the orzo is larger and slightly more chewy than rice. Frankly, if you weren’t told in advance there is orzo instead of rice, you wouldn’t probably notice at all.

The recipe is easy and uses minimal ingredients. I like that it can be on the table in 20 minutes. Plus, the majority of it is simmer time. That’s the kind of side dish I don’t mind making!

Recipe highlights:
  • Brown orzo, and broken spaghetti in butter in a medium skillet.
  • Add water and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Cook loosely covered until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  • See recipe card for detailed instructions.

Orzo and broken spaghetti cooking in a skillet

Orzo Roni

Make Orzo Roni Vegetarian:
Sodium free chicken bouillon flavors this dish. Use vegetarian bouillon (affiliate link) for a vegetarian version. Reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by 1/8 teaspoon if your bouillon is not sodium free. Otherwise, the Orzo Roni might be too salty. You can always add more at the end to taste. 

Orzo Roni

Orzo Roni is good with so many main dishes: chicken, pork, steak, even seafood. I won’t lie, the hubs would rather have the real McCoy, but he couldn’t deny this orzo version is just as tasty. Another win against the picky eater battle for me! 

The next time you're looking to use up some orzo, try making Orzo Roni!!


Orzo Roni


4 ounces orzo
1 1/2 ounce spaghetti pasta, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sodium free chicken flavor bouillon (affiliate link)
scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 cups water

  1. Add butter, orzo, and broken spaghetti into a medium skillet on medium heat. Stir constantly until orzo and spaghetti turns light to medium brown, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add water and the remaining ingredients. 
  3. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cook loosely covered until liquid is absorbed, about 5 additional minutes.
  6. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Recipe Note:
  • If your bouillon is not sodium free, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon. Add more salt at the end to taste, if needed.

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  1. I used to eat rice-a-roni all the time! How fun to do a home version!

    1. Thank you Inger. It’s fun and easy. I’ll have to jazz it up and add some veggies for me :)