Someone encountering orzo pasta for the first time may mistake it for rice. It looks very similar, being about the same size and shape, and it can also be cooked and served much the same way, so it’s easy to confuse the two.
There are several differences between orzo and rice, however, including the following:
- Rice is a grain and comes from the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). Orzo is a type of pasta typically made from white flour or wheat semolina flour.
- Though both orzo and rice deliver about the same number of calories and carbohydrates per serving, orzo is typically much higher in protein. Both are low in fat.
- Orzo cooks faster than rice—usually in about half the time. This makes it perfect when you’re rushed for dinner!
- Orzo is considered more versatile than rice, as you can use it in soups (like minestrone), salads, and casseroles, or as a side dish.
Orzo and rice can be used together and often are in rice pilaf, for example. But more often, the two are used in separate dishes. To make basic orzo, all you have to do is boil it for about 10 minutes until it has a firm, chewy texture (never allow it to become mushy), then drain it and serve immediately. You can stir in a little butter or olive oil for flavor and to keep the pasta from sticking together.
We recently reviewed dozens of different brands of orzo pasta, looking at a variety of factors like ingredients used, any additives or flavorings, and cost. All of these top-rated orzo brands can be purchased online at Amazon.
We’ve identified RiceSelect Orzo Whole Wheat Pasta as our number-one pick. It’s made with 100 percent whole wheat durum wheat flour, which means it packs a punch when it comes to fiber content.
The 5 Top-Rated Pretzels
|Best Orzo Pasta Overall||RiceSelect Orzo Whole Wheat Pasta||4.7|
|Best Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta||Delallo Gluten Free Orzo Pasta||4.3|
|Best Budget Orzo Pasta||Dal Raccolto Orzo Pasta||4.7|
|Best High-Protein Orzo Pasta||Proti Kind High-Protein Orzo Pasta||5|
|Best Alternative Grain Orzo Pasta||Agrozimi Spelt Greek Orzo Pasta||4.1|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change.
Best Orzo Pasta Overall: RiceSelect Orzo Whole Wheat Pasta
Cook up a healthy side dish tonight with our top pick, RiceSelect Orzo Whole Wheat Pasta. It’s made from 100-percent whole-wheat durum wheat flour, providing 9 grams of fiber per serving—that’s more than a third of your daily requirement! Even better, it has nothing else in it. No artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives, and no sugar. It’s naturally low in fat and cholesterol and contains about 39 grams (13 percent) of carbohydrates.
RiceSelect gives you more to feel good about by ensuring this product is Non-GMO Project verified and Star-K Kosher certified. Ready in just 12 minutes, this pasta is the perfect pantry staple for delicious and satisfying meals, plus it works great in Mediterranean-style salads, stirred into soups, or tossed with grilled veggies for a fast side dish.
Reviewers love the high-fiber content and note that this orzo pasta makes a great addition to your emergency-preparedness shelves as it lasts a long time.
RiceSelect Orzo Whole Wheat Pasta Key Features:
- Made from 100-percent whole-wheat durum wheat pasta
- Provides over one-third of your daily supply of fiber in one serving
- Low in fat with no sugar
- Non-GMO Certified
- Versatile & tasty
Best Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta: Delallo Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta
Just because you’re on a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fun of orzo pasta. Delallo Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta is made with corn and rice flour, so there’s no gluten to worry about. Other than those two flours, you won’t find any other ingredients in this product—no artificial flavorings or preservatives, for instance.
The fiber content is lower on this one, but that’s to be expected when the ingredients are corn and rice. DeLallo does make a whole wheat orzo pasta, but of course, that won’t work on a gluten-free diet. This gluten-free option is low in fat and has no sodium or sugar.
You can use this pasta as you would any orzo pasta, and in fact, reviewers comment on the fact that it tastes just like regular orzo and works great in all orzo-related recipes like soups and salads. They also note that it’s equally tasty warm or cold.
Delallo Gluten-Free Orzo Pasta Key Features:
- Gluten-free orzo pasta
- Tastes like regular pasta and holds up well in soups
- Low in fat with zero sodium and sugar
- Made only from corn and rice flour—no other ingredients
Best Budget Orzo Pasta: Dal Raccolto Orzo Pasta
Coming in at under a quarter an ounce, Dal Raccolto Orzo Pasta is the perfect pasta for budget-conscious families. A genuine artisanal pasta, it’s a traditional bronze die-cut pasta made from 100 percent durum wheat semolina and water. Another advantage: it cooks fast, taking only 6-8 minutes according to the manufacturer.
In case you want to know what “bronze die-cut” means, Dal Raccolto explains on the back of their packages. They knead the semolina with the water to create the dough, then extrude it slowly through bronze-dies, after which they dry it on looms or wooden trays for up to 20 hours. The result tastes better than packaged orzo, they say, and follows time-honored Italian traditions.
Like other orzo pasta, this one is low in fat with no cholesterol or sodium. There are a low two grams of naturally occurring sugar and two grams (8 percent) of fiber. Reviewers note that the traditional pasta-making process creates an orzo that’s slightly textured, so sauces tend to cling to it better than to smoother types. Others say that it tastes great.
Dal Raccolto Orzo Pasta Key Features:
- Great-tasting orzo pasta for a reasonable price
- Made with the traditional Italian bronze die-cut process
- Low in fat, sodium, and sugar
- Simple ingredients: wheat semolina and water
Best High-Protein Orzo Pasta: Proti Kind High-Protein Orzo Pasta
If you’re following a high-protein diet right now, or if you simply prefer high-protein pasta, try Proti Kind High-Protein Orzo Pasta. It’s made specifically to provide more protein per serving—18 grams in this case, or nearly a third of the recommended daily allowance. On top of that, this is a low-carbohydrate food (only 6 grams or 2 percent), so if you’re on the keto diet, this will also help satisfy your pasta craving without destroying your progress.
The recipe consists of a unique protein blend including pea protein isolate and dried egg white, along with durum wheat semolina, and a little extra fiber. It’s not as simple as the other products listed here—there is also some acacia gum and mono and di-glycerides on the ingredient list—so if you prefer the simple, organic approach, choose our organic pick instead. But if you want a high-protein boost at dinner, this may be perfect for you.
Note that there is wheat semolina in the ingredients, so it’s not a gluten-free product.
Proti Kind High-Protein Orzo Pasta Key Features:
- Provides a whopping 18 grams of protein per serving
- Also a low-carbohydrate product
- Low in fat and sugar
- Perfect for those on high-protein or keto diets
- Made with durum wheat semolina and a protein blend of pea and egg
Best Alternative Grain Orzo Pasta: Agrozimi Spelt Greek Orzo Pasta
Some people are sensitive to wheat. When they eat it, it doesn’t sit the best on their tummies. Maybe you’re one of them. You can eat wheat and you don’t have to go gluten-free, but still, you feel better when you eat less of it.
Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat and it still contains gluten, but it has a reputation for being a little easier to digest. Its gluten has more water-soluble proteins that may break down more easily. If you’d like to try it and see, check out the Agrozimi Spelt Greek Orzo Pasta. Fans of spelt also say that it has a texture that holds onto sauce better than wheat, with nutty notes to the flavor that makes it especially tasty.
Spelt has even more advantages when it comes to your health. It’s naturally higher in fiber than wheat pasta, with this product giving you 4 grams (16 percent) per serving. It is high in carbohydrates, so no keto dieters here, but it gives you 7 grams of protein.
Agrozimi prides itself on providing an artisanal product that’s bronze die-cut and slowly air-dried for superior flavor and texture. They make this pasta from 100 percent spelt flour with no preservatives, additives, artificial colors or flavors.
Agrozimi Spelt Green Orzo Pasta Key Features:
- Made with 100 percent spelt four
- No preservatives, additives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors
- Good source of fiber
- Low in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium
- May be easier for some to digest than wheat-based pasta