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Swedish Meatball Orzo

One pot meals are my favorite for a quick weeknight dinner. Less clean up, less hassle, no boxes. Bonus. Swedish Meatball Orzo is a perfect example. It isn’t actual meatballs, but it DOES have all the flavor of your favorite Swedish Meatballs and none of the hassle of rolling actual meatballs.

Swedish Meatball Orzo

Swedish Meatball Orzo

I know. I thought the same thing. How can I call this Swedish MEATBALL orzo when ahhh, there’s no actual meatballs in it?

Because I said so. That’s why.

I’ve got that phrase down to a science in its delivery, with 7 kids in the house.

Really though? I couldn’t think of another good thing to call this that would convey the same message. This tastes JUST LIKE your favorite Swedish meatballs recipe, but it takes about 30 minutes to make, and is way way less work than its more traditional counterpart.

We LOVE this orzo recipe. I love pasta in almost any form, and rice and I have a carby thing going on, and orzo is basically rice shaped pasta sooooo – Yup. My new favorite. It also is easy to cook, quick, and does a lighting fast side dish, or in this case – a main dish!

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30 minutes, one pot, and no weird ingredients here.

Try all of our Easy Orzo Recipes!

Swedish Meatball Orzo-3

Swedish Meatball Orzo shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Beef broth
  • Orzo
  • Sour cream

Try our Green Greek Salad with this!

Swedish Meatball Orzo

How to make Swedish Meatball Orzo

This is just the overview so you can see what you’re actually getting into here. When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.



Put the ground beef and onion in a medium to large saute pan and season with the garlic salt, pepper, onion powder, and nutmeg. Break apart. Add the diced garlic during the last 1 minute of cooking.

(Get a meat masher if you don’t have one. It’ll change your ground beef life!)

Drain excess fat.



Add the beef broth and orzo, cover, and reduce the heat to low to medium-low, so the mixture stays at a low simmer.

Stir occasionally to prevent stinking and clumping.

Cook until the orzo is tender.



Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.



Serve with a green salad and a loaf of crusty bread!

Try my Smoked Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup!

Swedish Meatball Orzo

Swedish Meatball Orzo FAQ

Here are some questions we get fairly often from readers. If you have additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below! We read and answer all of our comments.

What’s the best way to store and reheat leftovers?

These leftovers are simple and reheat really well! Orzo also holds up without getting mushy, too. This makes our Swedish Meatball Orzo recipe perfect for make-ahead lunches. It reheats in the microwave. Throw a splash of milk on there to loosen things up if you like it saucy.

Can you use another type of ground meat?

Sure! If you want to make it more authentic, you can use some ground veal and/or ground pork in the ground meat mix. A dash of allspice will also add another flavor note too, if you are feeling adventurous!

Are there any other one-pot pasta dishes here that make great quick dinners?

You know it! That is kind of our speciality, so don’t skip out on our Homemade Hamburger Helper, Traeger Cheesy Italian Shells, and the Parmesan Noodles with Asparagus.

Try our Swedish Meatballs Recipe too!

Serve this with…

Pick a few of your favorites! These would all work well next to our Swedish Meatball Orzo.

More delicious recipes and posts to see!

Swedish Meatball Orzo
Yield: 6 servings

Swedish Meatball Orzo

Swedish Meatball Orzo

Want Swedish Meatballs but not all the work? Turn it into a pasta dish that has all of the same flavors, but none of the manual labor.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Put the ground beef and onion in a medium to large saute pan and season with the garlic salt, pepper, onion powder, and nutmeg.
  2. Break apart.
  3. Add the diced garlic during the last 1 minute of cooking.
  4. Add in the beef broth and orzo and reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  6. Continue cooking and stirring until the orzo is tender.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.
  8. Serve hot with crusty bread and a green salad.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 759mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 37g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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Nicole Johnson
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Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.


Wednesday 15th of May 2024

The recipe calls for a garlic clove, but no instructions on addition to recipe

Nicole Johnson

Wednesday 15th of May 2024

Good catch! Fixing that now. You can really add in whenever, and it'll be great, but ideally it would be added during the last minute or two of sautéeing the beef and onion.


Saturday 19th of March 2022

I was looking for an easy meal using ground beef when I saw this and tried it last night. I really enjoyed it with a side of fresh mushrooms and spinach sauteed in olive oil. Thank you for this simple recipe!

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 20th of March 2022

That's awesome! I bet it was perfect with the mushrooms and spinach. Sounds delicious! I need to make this again soon. It has been a while!

Hanna B

Monday 10th of December 2018

Found this recipe in a google search for one pot orzo recipes. The Swedish meatball flavor is spot on! I found it a little soupy so would probably reduce the amount of beef broth next time.

Nicole Johnson

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Thanks, Hanna! I'm glad you liked it, and thanks for the notes! The thickness can definitely vary based on what ingredients you used. I hope it turns out perfect for you!

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