19 Orzo Pasta Substitute To Try

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Do you love cooking orzo pasta but have none on hand? Don’t worry – you can use plenty of great substitutes instead. In this blog post, we will discuss some fantastic orzo pasta substitutes you can use in your favorite recipes.

Orzo Pasta

The best substitutes for orzo pasta are ditalini pasta, stelline, small elbow macaroni, fregola, couscous, broken spaghetti, and much more. You can use these substitutes instead of orzo pasta to get a similar texture in your dishes.

Orzo pasta, also known as risoni pasta, resembles large rice grains. It’s a popular ingredient in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine and used in soups, salads, and pilafs. You may need help finding orzo pasta in grocery stores. 

Therefore, these 20 lists of orzo pasta substitutes will help you to cook recipes instead. So, now let’s look at the substitutes in detail.

19 Orzo Pasta Substitute

Let’s look at the 20 orzo pasta substitutes below:

1. Ditalini Pasta

Dilatini Pasta

Ditalini pasta is a small tube-shaped pasta, similar in size and shape to Orzo, that you can use as a substitute in many recipes. 

Ditalini means ‘little thimbles’ in Italian, which describes the shape of the pasta.

One of the main differences between Orzo and ditalini is the texture. Orzo has a firmer texture and a rice-like shape, while ditalini is cylindrical and has a slightly softer texture. The shape makes the ditalini an excellent substitute for Orzo. You can use orzo pasta in soups, stews, and salads. This pasta best absorbs the flavors and blends well with the other ingredients.

2. Stelline


Stelline pasta looks like little stars. It’s popular in Italian cuisine as many kids love the shape of this pasta. Stelline is made from durum wheat and semolina, just like orzo pasta. It shares a similar texture to orzo pasta.

While orzo pasta is shaped like small rice grains, stelline pasta is shaped like miniature stars. The difference you will get in your dish using stelline pasta is that it will add a visual appeal. You can use stelline pasta in hot soups or a single pasta dish with some veggies. 

3. Small Elbow Macaroni

Small Elbow Macaroni

Small elbow macaroni pasta will be the best choice for making mac and cheese or pasta salad. They are small in size, but they add a nice texture to the dish. They are so versatile that you can replace them with any pasta.

Moreover, the elbow macaroni pasta is good with absorbing dressings too. So, if you are making pasta with vinaigrette dressing, the sauce will cling to the curves of the macaroni perfectly. So, you can consider them!

4. Fregola


Fregola pasta hails from the Italian island of Sardinia. It’s similar in size and shape to Israeli couscous but has a more uneven and toasted texture. 

Fregola is made from semolina dough. It is rolled into tiny balls with hands, then toasted in an oven to give them their signature nutty flavor.

It is a versatile pasta, too, because you can use it in various dishes, such as soups, stews, salads, and pilafs. The texture of this pasta will give you chewy bites in all the words.

5. Couscous


Couscous is a tiny, grain-like food made from semolina flour. It’s a staple in North African cuisine and is often served with stews, vegetables, and meat. It’s also a popular side dish in many parts of the world and can be flavored with various herbs and spices.

Couscous is different from orzo pasta in terms of shape and texture. But they both can be used interchangeably in many recipes. You can make salad and soups. Also, cooking couscous is relatively easy. Add them to the boiling water and cook for ten minutes. It’s ready.

6. Broken Spaghetti

Broken Spaghetti

Spaghetti is broken into small pieces. Yes, you heard me right! This spaghetti is mainly used in soups and stews because of its minor pieces that mix well with the broth. 

This broken spaghetti is a bit longer and thinner than orzo pasta. But they can be substituted easily. When using broken spaghetti, make sure what recipe you are using. Broken spaghetti might not be the perfect fit if some recipe calls for a delicate component. 

7. Orecchiette


Orecchiette pasta originated in the southern Italian region of Puglia. The name means ‘little ears’ in Italian because the pasta is shaped like small, concave disks.

Orecchiette is made from semolina flour and water. The dough is rolled out into long ropes, cut into small pieces, and then shaped by hand into the distinctive orecchiette shape.

This pasta has a chewy texture that’s perfect for holding onto sauces. It also has a unique shape that can add visual interest to a dish.

8. Quinoa


Quinoa is a versatile and tasty grain that can be an excellent substitute for orzo pasta. It’s a grain cultivated for thousands of years in South America, packed with protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s gluten-free, which makes it an excellent option for people with gluten sensitivities.

So, quinoa can be a great substitute if you are looking for a gluten-free or healthier option. Moreover, quinoa has a nutty flavor and texture similar to rice or couscous. 

When cooked, it can add a nice flavor and texture to dishes similar to orzo pasta, providing gluten-free dishes. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids our bodies need.

9. Arborio Rice

Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is an excellent substitute for orzo pasta in certain dishes. Arborio rice is a short-grain rice that originates from Italy. It’s primarily used in risotto dishes because of its high starch content, which gives it a creamy texture when cooked.

When using Arborio rice as a substitute for orzo pasta, the most significant difference you’ll notice is the texture. 

While orzo pasta is small, oblong-shaped, and has a slightly chewy texture, Arborio rice is round and plump, soft and creamy when cooked. It also has a nutty flavor that adds an exciting twist to your dish.

10. Brown Rice

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain that is retained in the process of making white rice. This bran layer is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making brown rice healthier than white rice. 

It has a nutty flavor and a chewier texture, giving your dish a more complex taste and mouthfeel. Brown rice can add a delightful twist to your dish, making it taste more wholesome and satisfying. 

Plus, brown rice offers many health benefits, such as increased fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s an excellent option if you are looking for a healthier version than using orzo pasta.

One thing to note is that brown rice takes longer to cook than orzo pasta. Also, it cannot replace orzo pasta for every dish but only specific words because the shape of orzo pasta is more extended and extensive compared to tiny grains of brown rice.  

11. Acini de Pepe

Acini de Pepe

Acini de Pepe is similar to orzo pasta in shape and size. It is a small, round pasta that looks like little balls or pearls. 

Regarding flavor and texture, acini de pepe has a different taste and texture than orzo pasta. It has a subtle nutty flavor. Moreover, it’s great for cold salads, soups, and other side dishes.

12. Pearl Barley

Pearl Barley

With its mild taste and similar size and shape to Orzo, pearl barley is an excellent substitute for Orzo, particularly in soups. Although it takes longer to cook than Orzo, pearl barley’s mild flavor makes it a great food.

Barley is both delicious and nutritious. Moreover, it’s packed with manganese, selenium, and phosphorus – making it a healthier choice. 

Look-wise, pearl barley is polished and goes well with casserole recipes.

13. Farro


Farro is a hearty, nutty-tasting grain that can be used as a healthy substitute for Orzo in various dishes. While it has a slightly deeper flavor than Orzo, it still works well in soups, orzo salads, and cold side dishes.

Because Farro is a whole grain, it contains more fiber, protein, and nutrients than refined pasta like Orzo. It makes it an excellent choice for anyone looking to add more wholesome, nutritious ingredients to their diet.

Farro can be cooked similarly to Orzo, although it may take longer due to its denser texture. 

14. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a versatile and nutritious rice that can be prepared in various ways, including stir-frying, roasting, steaming, sautéing, and air frying.

It can be made by grating or finely chopping cauliflower, resulting in a texture and appearance similar to rice. Unlike Orzo, cauliflower rice is naturally gluten-free, making it a healthy and nutritious option. Make various recipes from cauliflower rice, such as soups, casseroles, salads, and stir-fries.

15. Lentils


Lentils are a nutritious and delicious alternative to Orzo that can elevate any meal. Not only are they packed with vitamins and essential nutrients, but they’re also an excellent non-grain option that can work well in various dishes.

Lentils are a nutritious and delicious alternative to Orzo that can elevate any meal. You can use them in various dishes such as salads, stews, soups, casseroles, pilafs, and pasta.

There are many types of lentils, such as black and green. Depending on their color, they provide different flavors. Black and green lentils have an earthy, mildly peppery flavor, while yellow and red lentils have a sweeter, earthy flavor. You can use lentils in place of orzo pasta. 

16. White Rice

White Rice

Looking for a tasty alternative to Orzo? White rice or long-grain wild rice can easily fit in place of Orzo. While it can undoubtedly replace Orzo in soups, these rice varieties shine as a substitute in casseroles and hot dishes.

They have unique textures and bring delicious flavors to your meals. So, if you are looking for a decent, classic substitute, white rice is a good choice. 

17. Freekeh


Did you know that Freekeh is not a grain variety but a process that involves rubbing off young green wheat grains from their heads? Freekeh means “to rub” in Arabic.

This unique process results in a delicious and nutritious wheat product with a nutty flavor and a chewy texture, similar to brown rice. Although Freekeh is not gluten-free, it is packed with valuable nutrients.

Freekeh is a versatile grain that can be used in various dishes. Add it to stews, soups, salads, pilafs, stir-fries, and other recipes. 

You can even use it as a substitute for orzo pasta to create a flavorful and healthy dish. So, why give Freekeh a try?

18. Teff


Teff is a highly nutritious grain that has been a staple food in Ethiopia for centuries. It is a type of millet that is naturally gluten-free and comes in several varieties with different colors. 

Despite its small size, teff packs a nutritional punch with a mild nutty flavor and a hint of hazelnuts, making it a versatile ingredient in many different dishes.

One of the most popular ways to use teff is in flour form, as a gluten-free alternative to traditional wheat flour. Teff flour can be used in baked goods like cookies, waffles, bread, and crackers.

19. Millet


Millet is a small, gluten-free grain cultivated for thousands of years. It has a mild, nutty flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. Millet is a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

To use millet as a substitute for orzo pasta, cook it in boiling water for about 20-25 minutes or until tender. You can then use it in any recipe that calls for orzo pasta. Millet works well in salads, soups, and casseroles and can be flavored with herbs, spices, or sauces.

The great thing about using millet as a substitute for orzo pasta is that it is a healthier alternative with various health benefits. Plus, it is easy to find in most grocery stores and can also be a budget-friendly option.

Short Recap Of Orzo Pasta Substitutes

Here is a quick recap of the Orzo Pasta Substitutes

Best Orzo Pasta Substitutes In Terms Of Flavor and Texture –

  • Ditalini Pasta
  • Small Elbow Macaroni
  • Stelline

Best Orzo Pasta Substitutes That Are Easily Available

  • Small Elbow Macaroni
  • White Rice
  • Brown Rice

Orzo Pasta Substitutes Should Be Least Considered

  • Lentils
  • Freekeh
  • Teff
  • Farro

How To Use Orzo Substitute In A Recipe

Orzo Pasta

19 Orzo Pasta Substitutes To Try

Do you love cooking orzo pasta but have none on hand? Don't worry – you can use plenty of great substitutes instead. In this blog post, we will discuss some fantastic orzo pasta substitutes you can use in your favorite recipes.
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  • Ditalini Pasta
  • Stelline
  • Small Elbow Macaroni
  • Fregola
  • Couscous
  • Broken Spaghetti
  • Orecchiette
  • Quinoa
  • Arborio Rice
  • Fregola
  • Brown Rice
  • Acini de Pepe
  • Pearl Barley
  • Farro
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Lentils
  • White Rice
  • Freekeh
  • Teff
  • Millet


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and make the dish according to the recipe.
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Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s a versatile pasta that can be used in salads, soups, and casseroles. However, if you are still looking for Orzo in your local grocery store, you can use a few substitutes.

We covered four Orzo substitutes: small elbow pasta, ditalini pasta, stellini pasta, couscous, quinoa, and Farro. Each of these substitutes has a unique taste and texture that can work well in place of Orzo, depending on the recipe.

Now that you have learned about Orzo substitutes, it’s time to head to the kitchen and start experimenting with these new ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some excellent substitutes for orzo pasta?

Other small pasta shapes, such as ditalini, stelline, or pastina can be used as a substitute for orzo pasta.

Can I use rice instead of orzo pasta?

Yes, you can use cooked rice as a substitute for orzo pasta.

Is quinoa a good substitute for orzo pasta?

Yes, quinoa is a great substitute for orzo pasta.

Are there any gluten-free alternatives to orzo pasta?

Yes, there are many gluten-free alternatives to orzo pasta, such as quinoa, rice, and buckwheat pasta.

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