Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo

published Jan 8, 2024
Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo Recipe

Everything you love about spaghetti and meatballs made so much easier in this one-pot, no-chop dinner.

Serves4 to 6

Prep10 minutes

Cook18 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Overhead shot of creamy beef and orzo in a white speckled bowl, topped with cheese and basil.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

I live for lazy recipes all year long, but especially as the tinsel settles at the start of a new year. Recipes that can be made on a sheet pan or require the bare minimum of ingredients, but still taste cozy and nourishing are the ones I always return to. 

This recipe for creamy beef with orzo has all of the best parts of classic spaghetti with meatballs, but it’s even easier. Everything from the tender pasta to the ground beef and the creamy sauce cook in a single pot so that every bite is full of flavor, and nobody is left with a pile of dishes at the end of the meal. Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients in Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo

  • Ground beef: Use lean ground beef so that there is no need to drain excess rendered fat.
  • Herbs and spices: Opt for dried herbs and spices so that you can skip the chopping and get right to cooking. 
  • Beef broth: You can use either 1 (14.5-ounce) can or 2 cups regular beef broth. If you pick up unsalted or low-sodium beef broth, taste and add more salt, if necessary.
  • Canned tomato sauce: Use a can of plain tomato sauce, rather than jarred marinara sauce.  
  • Heavy cream or half-and-half: A mere 1/4 cup of heavy cream or half-and-half adds enough creamy richness to the tomato sauce. 
  • Parmesan cheese: You can’t serve a bowl of pasta and creamy tomato sauce without cheese. Stir it in at the end and top each serving with a bit more.
Credit: Photo: Vicky Wasik ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

How to Make Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo

  • Brown the beef. Add lean ground beef to a Dutch oven (or pot) and let it cook for a few minutes to brown, before breaking it up. Continue to heat until it is cooked through. 
  • Add the orzo and liquids. Add orzo, beef broth, and tomato sauce, then cook until the orzo is cooked through. Stir almost constantly to make sure that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, and you’ll be rewarded with a rich, saucy risotto-like dinner.
  • Finish with cream and Parmesan. Stir in heavy cream or half-and-half plus the Parmesan cheese to finish off this one-pot meal.

Tips for Making Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo

How to Store Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four days. Add more broth or water to return to desired consistency when reheating.

This is part of How to Be a Lazier Cook, highlighting the super-easy recipes, cooking tricks, and grocery items you need to start off the year a little lazier and a lot more delicious.

Creamy One-Pot Beef Orzo Recipe

Everything you love about spaghetti and meatballs made so much easier in this one-pot, no-chop dinner.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 18 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese (1/2 packed cup freshly grated or 1/4 cup store-bought grated), plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

  • 2 cups

    or 1 (14.5-ounce) can beef broth, plus more as needed

  • 1

    (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup

    dried orzo pasta (about 6 1/4 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup

    heavy cream or half-and-half

  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Finely grate 1 ounce Parmesan cheese on the small holes of a box grater if needed (about 1/2 cup), or measure out 1/4 cup store-bought grated. Grate more for serving if desired.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if using, in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add 1 pound lean ground beef and season with 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, breaking up the meat into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add 2 cups or 1 (14.5-ounce) can of beef broth, 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce, and 1 cup dried orzo pasta. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring constantly so that the orzo doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is al dente, about 8 minutes or according to package instructions. (If the orzo isn’t completely cooked at this point, add more broth or water to the pot and continue to simmer until it has.)

  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half and the Parmesan, and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Serve topped with more Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil leaves if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Add more broth or water to return to desired consistency when reheating.