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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. Hi Tieghan!

    This recipe looks so delicious! I’m planning on making it this week for my boyfriend, can I sub chicken broth in instead of vegetable broth? Thank you! 🙂

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

        1. Hey Gabriella,
          Happy Friday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks so much for making it and happy holidays!❄️ xTieghan

    1. Hey there,
      Happy Friday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks to much for giving it a try!! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    So good! Made this today but substituted orzo for rice and added a little extra liquid for the rice. Amazing! That crispy cheesy top? we gobbled this up. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hey Becki,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed. Have a great Saturday! xTieghan

      1. 5 stars
        This is delicious and pretty easy/quick! The orzo in addition to the rice is key – such great texture. Thanks for another easy and good recipe!

        1. Hi Jamie,
          I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for trying it out! Have the best day:) xT

  3. 5 stars
    This was wonderful! I added about 1/2 cup water before baking but I probably would have been fine without it, too. Delicious, warm and comforting, and in the table in under an hour.

  4. 5 stars
    Such a delicious yet easy dish to make! So happy I stumbled upon this when looking through your recipes. This will definitely be a staple- thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Suzanne,
      I’ve never tested cauliflower rice with this recipe, so I am unsure of what the results would be. Please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  5. 4 stars
    Loved this recipe! The only feedback I have is that I accidentally skipped the step of toasting the broccoli/orzo/thyme because the steps were all combined as one. Maybe these could be separated as different numbered steps?

    1. Hey Morgan,
      Happy Wednesday! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks for making it:) Thanks for your feedback. xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    This is SO GOOD and absolutely a household staple now. I might even venture to say it’s helped get us through quarantine times! Do you have any recs for how to cut down on the time spent getting the thyme leaves off their stalks? That takes me forever. Could you use dried thyme? (It seems like the flavor won’t be as robust then though…)

    1. Hey Melissa,
      Fantastic! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed!! Sure, dried thyme would be just fine to use. Have a great Tuesday. xxTieghan

  7. 5 stars
    I made this but changed a few things to use what we had. It was so delicious! I cooked diced chicken breast, replaced Greek seasoning for the thyme, replaced parmesan for asiago or manchego, and I didn’t have any mushrooms so I added extra broccoli. I’d love to make this exactly as the recipe says, but this was a delicious dinner for our little family! Definitely will repeat!

    1. Hey Stefanie,
      Fantastic! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    This broccoli cheddar orzo bake of yours is.. UNBELIEVABLE!! The family is raving about it, going for seconds and thirds. Thank you!! Cannot wait to make it again! I didn’t have mushrooms on hand but added orange pepper, zucchini and asparagus tops. So so so good!!

  9. 5 stars
    Let me start by saying that I am very much a beginner in the kitchen. (Thank goodness for a husband who can cook!) BUT I wanted to make dinner for my husband and knew I wanted to try orzo. Found this recipe… and it was so so good. My husband ate it as leftovers twice, so you know it was a big hit. I subbed cooked chicken for the mushrooms and did everything else according to the recipe. Not too heavy but just enough for a great meal. Thanks for an amazing and easy to follow recipe!

    (ALSO, please make the honey butter salted parker house rolls to go with….AMAZING!!)

  10. 5 stars
    I made this last night and my family DEVOURED it!!! I added chicken breasts to it – marinated lemon/herb chicken breasts that then I cooked in my instant pot earlier in the day, and before I added the vegetable broth, I cut the 3 chicken breasts into cubes and threw them in with everything else on the stove. Absolutely fantastic recipe! Thank you, yet again!! I was hoping for leftovers, but none remain. I guess I’ll just have to make it again another night xD!!!

    1. Hey Allie,
      I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thank you so much for giving it a try! xTieghan

  11. 2 stars
    The orzo took way longer than 8-10 minutes to cook, and I had to keep adding more broth because it kept drying out before it was cooked through. Also there was not enough cheese in the filling, I would have added like twice the amount that the recipe called for.

    1. Hey Veronica,
      So sorry you had issues with this recipe, please let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan

  12. 3 stars
    I felt the ratios were way off and it ended up being mostly dry-ish orzo. So much orzo and very little vegetables. I’d make again but double the veggies and scale back on the orzo.