This creamy Orzo Mac and Cheese packs a ton of flavor in every bite! It's savory, comforting, and so easy to make. The best part is that it comes together in less than 30 minutes!
Mac and cheese is a big crowd-pleaser and making it with orzo takes it on a whole another level. Due to the orzo's small shape, this dish has a risotto-like texture and turns out so cheesy and creamy.
Serve it at a family dinner alongside a fresh salad for a complete meal that everyone will enjoy!
- Orzo: If you can't find orzo in your regular grocery store, try going to a local Greek store, they probably have it there. And if not, you can make this recipe with any type of short pasta.
- Milk: You can use any type here, even plant-based milk. We like to use soy or almond milk.
How to make it
First, add orzo to boiling water and cook until al dente. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. In the meantime, start with the cheese sauce.
Then, make the roux. Over medium-low heat melt your butter. Once bubbling, add the flour and whisk until it dissolves.
Next, make the bechamel sauce. Gradually add the milk while whisking constantly to prevent any clumps from forming. Then, add dijon mustard, and spices and mix again.
Add your shredded cheese and stir with a spatula until it melts.
Add the cooked orzo and stir until everything is well coated. Taste and season with some more salt and black pepper if needed. That's it! Serve right away.
- When making the roux, keep it to low heat. This is an essential part of the recipe. When melting the butter, it should bubble gently and should not go brown.
- Switch up the cheese. The best thing about this dish is that you can make it different every time by switching up the cheese. You can go for a milder flavor with something like mozzarella or for a stronger taste with a sharp cheese like hard cheddar.
- Add vegetables. Peas, broccoli and even asparagus can be great here! You can cook them with the pasta, or prepare them separately and add them on the side.
The main requirement here is for the cheese to melt well. You can use Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, Havarti, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Fontina, and Brie (without the white part). You can also do a combination of hard and soft cheeses for even more flavor (e.g Parmesan + Havarti).
Make sure that you have a good ratio between pasta and cheese sauce. If you have too much pasta, it may turn out dry. Just follow our instructions and you'll be fine!
You can easily replace the butter and cheese with vegan alternatives. Make sure to choose a vegan cheese that melts well. When it comes to the milk, we suggest using soy or almond milk.
Yes, you can! Let any leftovers cool to room temperature then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
Orzo Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 2 ½ cups orzo
- 3 tablespoon butter*
- 4 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups milk*
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (optional)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar*
- 1 cup shredded smoked gouda
- Cook your orzo in boiling salted water until al dente, following the packaging instructions. In the meantime, make the sauce.
- Into a medium pot or a cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once it starts to gently bubble, add the flour and whisk until a paste is formed. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, bubbling gently.
- Gradually add the mix while mixing constantly to prevent clumps from forming. Add in the dijon mustard (optional), ground nutmeg (optional), garlic powder (optional), salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
- Add the shredded cheese and use a spatula to stir until it melts.
- Add the cooked orzo and stir until it's well coated. At this point, you can taste and adjust the flavor if needed, maybe adding more salt or black pepper if desired. Serve right away!