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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.

overhead photo of One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake with spoon in skillet

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.

process photo of Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo in skillet before adding cheese and before baking

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.

overhead close up photo of One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake with spoon in skillet

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.

overhead photo of One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake on dinner plate with spoon

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.

overhead photo of One Skillet Cheesy Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Bake with spoon in skillet

Looking for easy weeknight back to school dinners Here are a few ideas: 

Souper Creamy Lemon Butter Cheesy Zucchini Orzo

Homemade Chicken Noodle Casserole

One Skillet Cheesy Cuban Chicken Rice Bake

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

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 913 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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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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. 

Notes

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
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This turned out well, although I did add an extra half cup of broth because it was getting pretty dry after 10 minutes on the stovetop and sticking to the pot. The rice/orzo really got burnt on in the oven, so I think next time I’ll bake it in something non-stick. Still, in the end, it was delicious and something I’ll be making again!

    1. Hey Helen,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review:)

      1. Hi again, Tieghan! I accidentally wrote my review for Broccoli Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole here, so it probably sounded a bit strange to you, like what rice ;-). I was intending to print this but realized I made it a while ago and loved it. Anyway, I’ll put this review in the right place.

  2. Absolutely love this recipe. I make it all the time – especially as it’s getting colder! I’ve been experimenting by adding varying amount of veggies and broth/wine, and it got me wondering if there’s an option where users can put Notes on recipes that they save to their Recipe Boxes? Thanks so much!

    1. Hey Selena,
      Happy Tuesday!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out tasty for you! You should be able to add notes to your recipe box recipes that have been saved! xT

      1. 5 stars
        yay! thank you!!! it took me a hot second but we got there!

        (if this is helpful for anyone else who sees this comment and is internet-inept like I am: if you click “My Recipe Box” and select the collection you are making a note in –> under the “Recipes” heading there is a “Click to set name” heading –> at the far Right of the “click to set name” heading there is a “+” sign called “Add Item” –> select this –> under “Add Item” there is a tab with a drop down called “Search Recipes” –> select the drop down tab on the far Right and select “Add Note” and you’re golden!!!)

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and was so yummy! Subbed acv for white wine and whipping cream for milk. Excellent with my GF Delallo orzo! Thanks for the recipe

    1. Hey Amy,
      Happy Tuesday!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out tasty for you! xT

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Excatly what we needed in our house on a cold fall evening. Curious – is there any way to make this recipe with some sort of protein mixed in during the cooking process? If so, at what step? Or would you make that on the side and add at the end to serve over this? With or without th ataddition, this was simply perfect and we will be making again soon 🙂

    1. Hey Alexandra,
      Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for making this dish and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! I would add pre-cooked and shredded chicken right before baking! xT

  5. 4 stars
    A few suggestions after making this a few times .. I’d suggest a dice rather than a rough chop on the broccoli (to make sure it cooks evenly) and I used way more broth than 3 cups, more like 4-5 to ensure the orzo cooks and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Oh and a squeeze of lemon at the end to brighten it up!

    1. Hey Noelle,
      Happy Friday!👻 Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try and sharing your review! I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xT

  6. Made this tonight, we enjoyed it. I used eggplant instead of mushrooms and cream instead of wine, because our toddler eats with us.
    I like to top my pasta with Creole seasoning and that worked great with this one.

    1. Hi Lulu,
      Yes, that should work well for you! Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan

  7. This was so easy to make and made our kitchen smell so yummy! I added tofu for some extra protein 🙂

    1. Hi Irene,
      Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xx

  8. Hi Tieghan!

    Are you supposed to cook the orzo and broccoli at all before toasting it in the pan or do you toast them raw then let the simmering then oven do the cooking?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      No need to cook the orzo and broccoli before hand, you can follow the steps as written:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love the recipe!! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    This was delicious – so flavorful and loved the combination of textures – crunchy and cheesy! I used frozen broccoli so added it when I added the liquid instead of earlier (and omitted mushrooms) and used dried spices (used 1 tbsp dried thyme and then sprinkled dried thyme and basil on top). Definitely will make this again!!

    1. Hi Ellie,
      Awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed! xx

  10. 5 stars
    This was a hit in our house. Be sure to use a deep enough skillet or it makes it harder to stir things near the end. We also have made it a bit different a few times by adding a cubed, pre-cooked chicken breast near the end before it goes into the oven, although we had to cut back on the broccoli to get everything to fit in the pan!

      1. Hey Rachel,
        Sure, I bet that would work well for you! Let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xTieghan