INSTANT POT ORZO

INSTANT POT ORZO

Perfectly cooked Instant Pot orzo is ready in just 2 minutes! Plus recipe ideas for turning orzo into an easy family dinner.

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.

a bow of orzo and canned tuna with dill
Orzo Tuna 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.

4 INGREDIENTS
You only need 4 ingredients to cook orzo in your pressure cooker (or 5, if you add salt!)

ingredients needed to cook orzo
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
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
uncooked orzo in a pot
raw toasted orzo
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.
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.

 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
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

INSTANT POT ORZO

Perfectly cooked Instant Pot® orzo cooks in just 2 minutes! Read the blog post above for recipes and ideas that turn Instant Pot orzo into an easy family dinner.

Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 5 minutes to reach pressure + 2 minutes at high pressure + quick release

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups orzo (12.5 ounces)
3 ¼ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt (a generous ¼ teaspoon)
INSTRUCTIONS
Heat the olive oil using the Saute function on the Instant Pot. I like to saute using the “normal” setting instead of the default “more” setting so that the garlic won’t burn. (Read the notes below to learn how to change the heat setting)
Add the garlic, and saute about 30 seconds.
Add the orzo and mix well to coat in oil. For more flavor, lightly toast the orzo by sauteeing it for 3 to 5 minutes, so that the orzo is lightly toasted. Some pieces will turn a darker color, make sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
Add the water, stirring well to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Lock lid in place.
Program the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
Quick release the pressure immediately when the cooking time is complete.
Stir the orzo with a spatula, loosening any pieces that have stuck to the bottom. The orzo will be just a little watery and have a soft but slightly firm texture.
Let the orzo sit for another 3 to 5 minutes with the lid set loosely back on the Instant Pot until the pasta has fully absorbed the water and has the texture you want.
Scoop the orzo out of the Instant Pot into a serving bowl so it doesn’t keep cooking in the residual heat. Add more salt to taste if needed.
From here, you can serve the orzo with just grated cheese, or read the blog post above for other serving ideas. You can also chill the orzo and turn it into a cold pasta salad.

NOTES
This recipe is made in a 6-quart Instant Pot.