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This Meatball Orzo Bake is made all in one dish, simple to make and full of flavour. BONUS… it’s ready in around 30 minutes, making it a perfect midweek no-fuss family dinner!

An oven dish filled with cooked Meatball Orzo Bake, straight out of the oven, topped with cheese and ready to serve.

I am loving creating something new and different with my orzo recipes right now.

Not only are they delicious and packed with flavour, but they’re so versatile and quick, usually allowing us to cook everything together in one pan (total win, right?)

This brand new Meatball Orzo Bake recipe comes off the back of the success of my Meatball Pasta Bake and my Broccoli Orzo Bake recipes. 

They’ve both gone down so well, I thought I would come up with a hybrid recipe! Enjoy.


Why you’ll love this Meatball Orzo recipe

⭐️ Quick, easy and made in one pan

⭐️ Delicious, rich and comforting

⭐️ Ready in about half an hour


A close up of meatballs, orzo and cheese, cooked in one dish together in the oven. A spoon is showing, ready to serve.

About this Meatball Orzo Pasta recipe

We’ve made sure we’ve made this a complete meal by adding tomatoes and broccoli, so there’s no need for extra sides. 

I like to make this in the oven as a baked ‘al forno’ method, but you can make it on the hob too (I’ve added instructions below for this method).

Oh, and not forgetting a note on the meatballs you use… I use ready-made meatballs for speed and convenience, and I also find they hold their shape better in a recipe like this where everything is cooked together. 

BUT if you’d prefer to make your own for this, go ahead!

You can follow my easy Meatballs and Spaghetti recipe here for regular ones, or you could try my Ikea-style Swedish Meatballs instead.

Pre-order my brand new ONE POT book and get it in your kitchen on the day it is released! 📚 Amazon 🇬🇧


What is orzo?

Orzo is pasta, in the shape of large grains of rice. It’s sometimes know as ‘risoni’. The name means ‘barley’ in Italian because it looks a little like grains of barely.

It’s really easy to use as it cooks in a sauce, taking on the flavour and giving a creamy, comforting texture.

Try my Marry Me Chicken Orzo, Orzo Bolognese, Halloumi & Butternut Squash Orzo Bake, Broccoli Orzo Bake or Slow Cooker Lamb Orzo Stew.


Meatball Orzo Ingredients

Ingredients for a meatball orzo bake recipe all laid out on a counter.
  • Olive oil – Or sunflower, just NOT extra virgin
  • Meatballs – Your favourite type
  • Onion – Fresh or pre-chopped frozen is fine
  • Garlic – Same as above
  • Broccoli
  • Chilli flakes
  • Sweet smoked paprika
  • Dry orzo
  • Passata
  • Vegetable stock – A cube is fine
  • Mozzarella – I used grated, but you could swap for another cheese if you prefer
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make Meatball Orzo Bake

How to make Meatball Orzo Bake, step 1. All the raw ingredients for Meatball Orzo being poured into a dish together.

1. Add the oil, onion, garlic, broccoli, meatballs, paprika and chilli flakes into a baking dish. Season and bake as per the recipe below.

How to make Meatball Orzo Bake, step 2. Broccoli, orzo and meatballs in a dish, ready to go in the oven.

2. Add in the orzo, pasta and stock. Stir well and put it back into the oven, covered.

How to make Meatball Orzo Bake, step 3. Cooked orzo, meatballs and broccoli cooked in a dish.

3. Bake as per the recipe.

How to make Meatball Orzo Bake, step 4. Cheese is sprinkled over the dish with orzo, meatballs and broccoli in a tomato sauce.

4. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake until golden.

Hint: If the mixture becomes too dry before the orzo is cooked, add a splash of water.


Substitutions

  • Vegetarian – You can make this without meat by substituting the meatballs for veggie meatballs. It will work just as well. 
  • Vegan – Do the same to make it vegan-friendly, but also omit the cheese or find an alternative.

Leftovers & reheating Orzo Pasta

In the fridge Orzo can become a little gloopy after you’ve initially cooked it, so add a splash of water or an ice cube before you reheat it to stop it drying out. Use the microwave to reheat until piping hot.

In the freezer Orzo is always at its best when cooked and eaten immediately, but that’s not to say it won’t still be delicious if it’s out of the freezer. The texture can just become very stodgy. See the tip above for reheating.

Top tips

How to cook orzo

If you haven’t cooked with orzo before, just be aware that this type of pasta (which was traditionally used in soups in Italy) cooks quickly and can also dry out quickly and stick to the bottom of the pan as it absorbs the liquid. 

The quantities of stock in this recipe should be fine, but do keep an eye on it in case it needs a little extra.

Just add a little extra at a time until it’s cooked through to the right consistency and is no longer crunchy. 

How to make this on the hob
  • Heat oil in a sauté pan and add onion and garlic and meatballs. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the meatballs have browned.
  • Add in the broccoli, chilli flakes, paprika, salt, pepper, orzo and vegetable stock.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
  • When the orzo is soft, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and place under the grill for 5 minutes until golden.

Meatball Orzo Bake FAQs

Can you recommend an ideal pan to use for this recipe?

Use a NON-STICK pan for this. It will make your life so much easier.

See my one pan recommendations here.

Can I use a different pasta?

I wouldn’t recommend it.

This recipe has been tested multiple times specifically to work with orzo.

Orzo works here because it is sturdy, cooks so quickly and has a rice-like texture. Feel free to try but you will need to adjust the stock levels and cooking time.

OR you might prefer my Meatball Pasta Bake recipe instead.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

4.98 from 49 votes

Meatball Orzo Bake {One Pot}

This Meatball Orzo Bake is made all in one dish, simple to make and full of flavour. BONUS… it's ready in around 30 minutes, making it a perfect midweek no-fuss family dinner!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 340 g Meatballs
  • 1 Onion, Peeled and chopped.
  • 3 Garlic cloves, Peeled and chopped.
  • 300 g Broccoli
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp Sweet smoked paprika
  • 300 g Dried orzo
  • 500 g Passata
  • 600 ml Vegetable stock
  • 75 g Mozzarella
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • In a baking dish, add the meatballs, onion, garlic, broccoli, chilli flakes, paprika, oil and salt and pepper. Toss everything so it's all coated. Bake (uncovered) for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, add the orzo, passata and stock. Mix well, cover with a lid (or tin foil). Bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cheese over. Bake for a further 5 minutes, uncovered.
  • Check that the orzo is cooked through and serve.

To make on the hob:

  • Heat oil in sauté pan and add onion and garlic and meatballs. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the meatballs have browned.
  • Add in the broccoli, chilli flakes, paprika, salt, pepper, orzo and vegetable stock.
  • Bring to a simmer, cover with lid and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
  • When the orzo is soft, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and place under the grill for 5 minutes until golden.

Notes

Consistency: If the mixture becomes too dry before the orzo is cooked, and before you add the cheese on top, add a splash of water.

Nutrition

Calories: 674kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 33gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 832mgPotassium: 1288mgFiber: 8gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 2122IUVitamin C: 83mgCalcium: 194mgIron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food
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Sarah Rossi founder of TamingTwins.com and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this on the hob with the same weight of mushrooms instead of broccoli (several broccoli haters in the house). It was delicious and with a few more meatballs would have easily served 5-6 people

  2. 4 stars
    Tasty and easy to make – went down very well with the kids. I did have to cook the orzo for longer than in the method (might have been a problem with my oven) but at least I know for next time we have it! Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    Another winner for kids and adults. I added more meatballs because we are a greedy hungry family, but other than that I followed recipe to the letter and it was plentiful. Clean plates all round. Delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, loved how simple the recipe was and all in one pan. Will definitely be making it again.

  5. 5 stars
    Tried this one tonight and it was delicious! My husband isn’t a fan of orzo but was completely converted. It had a lovely smoky flavour and tje cheesy topping was so good! One pan, not much chopping, super easy!