This Instant Pot Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo is a quick and easy weeknight meal that the whole family will love. With its creamy and tangy sun-dried tomato sauce, this delicious, vegetarian-friendly recipe can be served as a main or a side dish.
Are you feeling like a magician in the kitchen tonight? Well, you’re in luck because this Instant Pot Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo recipe will make you look like a culinary wizard in no time!
With just a handful of ingredients and a little help from the Instant Pot, you’ll have a dish that is both satisfying and scrumptious. This orzo recipe is creamy, tangy, a touch sweet and savory and can be served as a main dish or a side with an extra protein of choice.
Besides orzo, the key ingredient in this dish is sun-dried tomatoes, which creates the most delicious flavor base. A bit of cream and Parmesan cheese is used to give this dish the most luxurious, creamy, risotto-like finish.
Orzo – this is a type of pasta that is shaped like a large grain of rice. It is also known as “risoni” in Italian and is commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, and can be served as a side dish, in salads, or as a main course. It has a slightly chewy texture and a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of ingredients and sauces. It’s a fun alternative to Arborio rice.
Flavor base – onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes – most of the flavor will come from these guys, which are sauteed in a little olive oil to release their magic. You want to use sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil as they are softer and easier to work with than dried tomatoes. Some sun-dried tomatoes come as whole halves or strips, you can slice them up into small pieces. They will soften and integrate into the sauce during cooking.
For the broth – chicken or vegetable stock can be used here.
To finish – Heavy cream and Parmesan cheese will thicken the sauce and make it super creamy; the cream will also mellow out the tanginess of tomatoes. If you want to cut down on calories, you could use lower-fat cream.
Salt and pepper – we suggest seasoning after cooking; we specifically don’t add any salt during the cooking part as you will get a lot of seasoning from the broth, the sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, which might be sufficient enough for many people. Taste for salt once all ingredients are added and add more as desired.
You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below.
There are three stages to making this orzo recipe in the pressure cooker. The first stage is to saute the onions, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. The second stage is to pressure cook the orzo in broth. The third stage is to finish the dish with cream, Parmesan and extra salt and pepper. Fresh basil is perfect for garnish.
Let’s break it down with step-by-step photos and video. You can use a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.
Step 1. Set your Instant Pot to Sauté mode on Normal and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Step 2. Then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and stir for about 30 seconds.
Step 3. Add the orzo pasta and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and give everything a good stir.
Step 4. Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 3 minutes. Once the timer goes off, use the quick release to release all pressure.
Step 5. Open the lid. Stir in the heavy cream and grated Parmesan cheese until everything is combined and the cheese has melted. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit more broth or cream to thin it out.
Step 6. Season with pepper and taste for salt.
Garnish with fresh basil and extra sun-dried tomatoes. Serve hot and enjoy as a side dish with chicken, fish or as a vegetarian main.
Here are some tips to help you achieve the best creamy orzo with sun-dried tomatoes:
- Quality ingredients: The flavor of the dish is heavily reliant on the ingredients you use. So, be sure to choose high-quality orzo, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken broth, and heavy cream.
- Saute the onions, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes: By sauteing these ingredients in the Instant Pot before adding the orzo and broth, you’ll help to release their flavors and create a richer, more complex sauce.
- Use heavy cream: Heavy cream is essential for creating a creamy and indulgent sauce. Make sure to add it after the orzo has cooked and the pressure has been released, so it doesn’t curdle.
- Parmesan cheese: Parmesan cheese adds a nutty, salty flavor to the dish and helps to thicken the sauce. You can also use Pecorino or other aged, hard cheese. If these are not available, a little grated Cheddar will also do the trick.
- Don’t overcook the orzo: Overcooked orzo can turn mushy and lose its shape. Be sure to follow the cooking time suggested in the recipe and release the pressure quickly to avoid overcooking.
- Garnish with fresh basil: Fresh basil adds a fragrant and slightly sweet flavor that compliments the dish perfectly. Sprinkle some on top just before serving for a pop of color and flavor.
What To Serve With Creamy Orzo
This creamy, sun-dried tomato orzo is great as a main dish or a side. Here are some foods that would pair well with it:
- Salad: A crisp green salad or Garden salad can add some freshness and balance to the richness of the orzo. A tangy shredded cabbage salad would be great too. Avoid salads with creamy dressings as that would be too heavy and rich for this orzo dish.
- Garlic bread: A few slices of garlic bread would make a nice compliment to this dish.
- Vegetables: Lightly steamed or grilled broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus or any other green vegetables would make a great addition.
- Grilled chicken or fish: If you’d like to serve this orzo as a side to a protein main, we recommend simple grilled chicken or fish here. Something simple and not too heavy as the orzo is creamy and rich.
- Wine: When it comes to pairing wine, you want to choose one that can complement the richness of the dish without overwhelming it. Chardonnay with a buttery, oaky finish can complement the creaminess of the dish and balance out the acidity of the sun-dried tomatoes. Pinot Grigio is light-bodied and can provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of the dish, with its citrusy and mineral notes. Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and acidic and can cut through the creaminess of the dish and bring out the herbaceous notes of the fresh basil if you’re using it. Merlot is great for a medium-bodied red with soft tannins that can complement the sun-dried tomatoes and add a fruity richness to the dish.
Storing Cooked Orzo
If you have leftover orzo or you’re making this dish ahead of time, here are some storing tips:
- Store in an airtight container to help prevent moisture from getting in and keep the orzo fresh.
- Store cooked orzo in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Cream-based dishes can spoil quickly, so it’s important to refrigerate them promptly.
- When reheating creamy orzo, it’s important to add a bit of liquid to prevent it from drying out. Add a splash of chicken broth or heavy cream and gently stir the orzo while reheating.
- Cream-based dishes should be consumed within 3-4 days of cooking.
- Don’t freeze! Creamy orzo does not freeze well due to the dairy content. Freezing can cause the texture to become grainy and the sauce to separate. It’s best to consume orzo within a few days of cooking, rather than freezing it.
MORE ORZO INSTANT POT RECIPES
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Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo (Instant Pot Recipe)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced finely
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped or sliced into strips
- 1.5 cups orzo pasta risoni
- 2.5 cups broth chicken or vegetable
- ½ cup heavy cream more can be used
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt or to taste, add after cooking
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped, for garnish
- Set your Instant Pot to Sauté mode on Normal and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and stir for about 30 seconds.
- Add the orzo pasta and stir to combine.
- Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and give everything a good stir.
- Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 3 minutes. Once the timer goes off, use the quick release to release all pressure.
- Stir in the heavy cream and grated Parmesan cheese until everything is combined and the cheese has melted. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit more broth or cream to thin it out.
- Season with pepper and salt to taste.
- Garnish with fresh basil and extra sun-dried tomatoes. Serve hot and enjoy as a side dish with chicken, fish or as a vegetarian main.
MORE INSTANT POT PASTA RECIPES
- One-pot Ricotta Lemon Pasta
- Instant Pot Pasta Primavera
- Creamy Instant Pot Mushroom Pasta
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Pasta Bake
Can you use sundried tomatoes not in oil. If so what would you do before adding them to the pot?
Hey Marsha, great question! You have to rehydrate them in a bowl of warm water so they are softer and easier to cut. Leave them to soak for 5-10 minutes.