One Pan Tomato Basil Baked Orzo


If you follow me on Instagram you may have caught a little sneak peek of this recipe a few weeks back. Okay, it was honestly SO good that I knew we had to put it on the blog.

This tomato basil baked orzo is made in one pan with super simple ingredients and might just be your new favorite weeknight dinner. I originally made it with my fav brand of tuna and all of my boys (Tony included) gobbled it all up.

I mean, tender pasta, saucy goodness, fresh basil, and melty cheese — what more could you ask for? I think it would be wonderful with any of your fav proteins mixed in, so be sure to scroll through and get some inspo. Cook this beautiful one pan baked orzo up ASAP and enjoy!

tomato basil baked orzo in a skillet

Everything you’ll need to make this tomato basil baked orzo

This easy dinner is truly one of those clean-out-the-fridge meals that you can come back to time and time again. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Produce: we’re adding beautiful cherry tomatoes, an onion, and garlic. You’ll also get an extra boost of veggies by stirring in 2 full cups of spinach!
  • Olive oil: you’ll need a little olive oil to cook down the veggies.
  • Sauce: feel free to use your favorite store bought basil pesto and tomato basil sauce in this recipe. If you’re feeling adventurous, try my Cilantro Pistachio Pesto and my Homemade Tomato Sauce!
  • Orzo: this baked orzo recipe, of course, needs orzo! You’ll cook it right in the same pan with the sauces and a little water or broth.
  • Herbs & spices: you’ll need salt, Italian seasoning, and fresh basil for garnishing.
  • Cheese: can’t forget about that gooey cheese! We’re mixing shredded mozzarella right into the pasta and then adding more on top to get nice and melted.

cooking tomatoes in a skillet for a tomato baked orzo recipe

Add your favorite protein

When I first made this baked orzo I stirred in a can of my favorite tuna to give it a delicious boost of protein. The kiddos still gobbled it up! This recipe would also be perfect with:

  • Cooked, cubed or shredded chicken (a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken!)
  • Ground Italian pork or turkey sausage
  • Sliced chicken sausage
  • A can of your favorite tuna!

Simply cook your protein of choice and stir it in after you fold in the orzo.

cooking tomato basil orzo in a skillet

Can I make it gluten free?

Sure! Simply use gluten free orzo or your favorite gluten free short pasta. Easy!

one pan baked orzo with tomatoes and basil in a skillet

Go veggie-heavy

Along with the tomatoes and spinach, you could also add tons of different vegetables to really make this dish your own. Feel free to cook some bell pepper, zucchini, or even mushrooms with the tomatoes and enjoy a veggie-packed pasta!

easy baked orzo with tomatoes and basil in a skillet

One pan baked orzo in 5 easy steps

  1. Make the sauce. Start by cooking down the onion, tomatoes, and garlic in a little olive oil and salt until the tomatoes break down. Stir in the spinach, pesto, tomato sauce, and broth or water.
  2. Bake the pasta. Stir the orzo right into the pan with more salt and Italian seasoning, plus any extra protein if you’d like, then bake it all at 400 degrees until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the pasta is cooked.
  3. Cheese it up. Remove the pan from the oven, stir in half of the cheese, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake the pasta again until the cheese is melted. Finish it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get nice and golden brown.
  4. Garnish & serve. Finally, top the dish with fresh basil and red pepper flakes and devour!

tomato basil baked orzo in a skillet

Storing tips

You can store any leftover homemade hamburger helper in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Simply reheat in the microwave.

one pan baked orzo in a skillet and in two bowls

More pasta recipes you’ll love

Get all of my pasta recipes here!

I hope you love this one pan tomato basil baked orzo! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

One Pan Tomato Basil Baked Orzo

tomato basil baked orzo in a skillet

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 35 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

Serves6 servings

Cozy one pan tomato basil baked orzo made with gorgeous burst cherry tomatoes, basil pesto, and layers of mozzarella cheese. This easy baked orzo recipe is wonderful on its own and delicious with your fav proteins mixed right in. Kid-friendly and perfect for busy weeknights!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil⁣
  • 1 yellow onion, diced⁣
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved⁣
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced⁣
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt⁣
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped⁣
  • ¼ cup basil pesto⁣ (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup tomato basil sauce⁣ (or your favorite pasta sauce)
  • 2 ½ cups water or broth⁣
  • 1 pound orzo⁣
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt⁣
  • ½ teaspoon italian seasoning⁣
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided⁣
  • Fresh julienned basil, to garnish⁣


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.⁣

  • In a large oven-safe skillet, warm oil over medium heat. Add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and salt and saute until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach, pesto, tomato basil sauce, water/broth and mix until well combined. Next, add the orzo, salt, and italian seasoning and stir until well combined.⁣

  • Bake uncovered until the liquid is mostly absorbed and pasta is cooked though, 10 to 12 minutes.⁣

  • Remove from the oven and stir ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese into the orzo. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese on top. Place the skillet back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, 5 minutes. Switch oven to the broiler, and broil until the cheese is slightly golden in places, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Recipe Notes

See the full post for tips, tricks, and ways to add your favorite proteins!


Serving: 1servingCalories: 430calCarbohydrates: 52.8gProtein: 16.9gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7.3gFiber: 10.7gSugar: 7.7g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats


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