It’s hard to beat this easy One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake…it’s a favorite with everyone! Kind of like broccoli cheddar soup meets cozy weeknight casserole. It’s well balanced, so darn easy, and so darn delicious. And the best part? This dish is all made entirely in one pot in under an hour. Grab some orzo pasta, plenty of herbs, and all the broccoli from the garden or market. Cook everything together on the stove, add sharp cheddar cheese, and finish it off in the oven to get crispy and crunchy on top. This one is simple but SO GOOD. The perfect weeknight family-style dinner to enjoy.
Welcoming Monday, and saying goodbye to August, with a dinner that’s going to make everyone happy. Who doesn’t love a little broccoli cheddar in their lives? It’s everyone’s favorite, right?
I think so, but then I’ve loved broccoli cheddar anything since I was a kid. I’ve said this before, but the Panera bread broccoli cheddar soup was my fall staple growing up. Especially on days that were rainy and dreary. Growing up in Cleveland we had many beautiful fall days. But they were also interspersed with a few drearier days as well. If you’re from northeastern Ohio then you know what I am talking about.
Anytime I was out with my mom and it was raining, I’d beg her to stop at Panera for lunch. It was a hard sell since back then we were always trying to save money, and eating out was a splurge for us. A household full of seven kids, five of them being hungry boys, means you spend your money wisely.
But I’d beg, and since my mom also loved a good bowl of Panera broccoli cheddar, I was usually able to talk her into it. The two of us, sometimes with the brothers – sometimes not, would sit and eat and tear those bread bowls apart. Comfort food to the T and we loved every bite. Though neither of us was ever able to actually finish our bowls.
The point is broccoli cheddar was our favorite, and really, it still is to this day. Which is apparent from the amount of broccoli cheddar focused recipes we’ve got here on HBH. In year’s past, I’ve shared broccoli cheddar soup (and many variations), broccoli cheddar mini pies, broccoli cheddar chicken and rice casserole, and probably others too. Love them all.
Today’s orzo bake/casserole is just another delicious addition to my collection of broccoli cheddar focused recipes…and shocker, it’s a favorite.
Broccoli Cheddar is great, amazing actually, but add orzo and herbs? Even better. Bake it all in one pot? Simply the best.
While it’s not anything crazy creative by any means, it’s crazy delicious and just the flavors I’m craving this time of year. It’s weird, Labor day is so late this year and it’s throwing me off a bit. My mind is still in summer since Labor Day hasn’t taken place yet. But the calendar (and our weather here) is telling me September is here.
So, I guess this is my summer meets early autumn bake.
Now, let’s get to the details.
This is another one skillet/one pot recipe, which means the process is pretty simple and straight forward.
I created this recipe start to finish in my Staub skillet, but you can use any large oven-safe pot or skillet you have. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, simply transfer the orzo to a baking dish once you’ve finished cooking.
Since I wanted to keep this similar to the flavors of broccoli cheddar soup, I also cooked up an onion with some mushrooms. Then add lots of orzo, broccoli, and fresh thyme. Pour in a little wine, some broth, add a few other things, and simmer until the orzo is al dente.
This process takes only a few minutes, so it’s a nice quick-cooking dinner.
Once the orzo is cooked, stir in a little milk to keep things creamy, then add all that cheese. I like to use a mix of sharp cheddar and a nutty, slightly salty, manchego cheese.
The next step is key. Bake the orzo for ten or so minutes to melt that cheese, Then switch the oven to broil and let the cheese start to bubble up. Just be sure to watch closely, the broiler works quick.
As soon as you pull this out from under the broiler, add fresh thyme and basil. And that’s it.
Pretty simple, quick, and easy, right?
The orzo stays creamy, but the cheese and broccoli pieces on top become crisp, and the edges even get a little crunchy too. Just delicious.
Loving this as an easy meatless Monday dinner that’s equally great any time of the week. If you wanted to add a bit more protein, you could certainly toss in some cubed chicken. That would be great too! Either way, the family is going to love this.
Bake it up tonight, but keep this one in mind for Labor Day gatherings. Perfect for bringing along as an easy meatless main dish or simple side.
Looking for easy weeknight back to school dinners Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make this one skillet cheesy broccoli cheddar orzo bake be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake
Calories Per Serving: 486 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 pound dry orzo pasta (use gluten free, if needed)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for topping
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine such, as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
- 3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less to taste
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 cup whole milk or canned coconut milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated asiago or manchego cheese
- fresh basil, for serving
- 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add the butter, orzo, broccoli, and thyme, and cook until golden and toasted, 5 minutes. Add the wine, broth, bay leaf, garlic powder, cayenne, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer 8-10 minutes until the orzo is al dente, stirring often.3. Once the orzo is cooked, stir in the lemon zest, milk, and 1/2 cup of the cheddar. If needed, transfer the orzo to an oven-safe casserole dish. Scatter the remaining cheeses overtop of the casserole. 4. Transfer to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Switch the oven to broil and broil 1-2 minutes, until the cheese on top is becoming crispy. Serve warm with fresh thyme and basil.
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To Make Ahead: Prepare the bake through step 3. Let cool, then cover and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove from the fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven preheats. Bake as directed. To Freeze: Prepare the bake through step 3. Let cool, then cover tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 2-3 hours. Bake as directed. Gluten Free Orzo: I love DeLallo brand gluten free orzo.