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One Pot Pasta

This Cheesy One Pot Pasta changes the game for one pot recipes! It’s incredibly easy to make – no draining of the pasta needed – and it’s loaded with cheese, marinara and perfectly cooked penne pasta!

Cheesy One Pot Pasta

After a long stressful day, it’s so easy to find yourself going through a drive-thru or picking up something pre-made at the grocery store. No shame – we’ve all been there!

However, you deserve something truly delicious as well as easy to make after such a long day, and that’s where this Cheesy One Pot Pasta recipe comes in. It is all made in one pot, you don’t have to drain the pasta and it’s ready in under 30 minutes!

This recipe is a classic go-to dinner in our kitchens. After all, who doesn’t love cheesy, saucy, garlicky pasta? This is a hands down family favorite, and believe us when we tell you that everyone always asks for seconds!

If you want to add a little something more to it, feel free to toss in some meatballs, ground beef or grilled chicken, but it’s great as is for an easy Meatless Monday dinner as well!

Pasta noodles are covered in delicious red sauce

How To Serve One Pot Pasta

One of the best things about this pasta is how versatile it is. Do you love super garlicky foods? Toss some more garlic in the pot! Not a big cheese fan? Cut the cheese in half or take it out altogether. If the kids aren’t eating with us, we even like to toss in some crushed red pepper flakes to turn up the heat a little bit.

As far as side dishes go, the options are pretty limitless! You can compliment this pasta with a side salad, broccoli, peas, garlic bread, or just about anything else that sounds good to you.

A tall glass of wine also goes fantastically with this dish! As long as you serve up this one pot pasta nice and hot, you’re going to have an amazing dinner.

The ingredients for one pot pasta are placed on a white surface


These 9 simple and inexpensive ingredients are all you need to whip up your new favorite easy one pot dinner:

  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Marinara Sauce: use your favorite spaghetti sauce!
  • Chicken Broth: or water, may need extra salt to taste at the end if you use water.
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Penne Pasta: can also use spaghetti, rigatoni, elbow and farfalle noodles.
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Shredded Parmesan

We usually garnish our pasta with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley, too!

Garlic is being sautéed in a large dutch oven
Marinara sauce is poured into the dutch oven

How To Make One Pot Pasta

Step 1: Using either a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, add olive oil and the diced yellow onion. Cook over medium heat until the onion is softened.

Step 2: Add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.

Note: If you’d like to add ground beef (or ground turkey) to the sauce, toss it in the pot with the onions and garlic. Diced mushrooms can also be added at this stage of the recipe if you are a mushroom fan!

Chicken broth is poured into an empty marinara jar

A helpful tip: Instead of pouring the chicken broth directly into the pot, pour it in the empty marinara jar first! They are the same size – you will need 24 oz of liquid (water or chicken broth) and 24 oz of marina sauce!

Adding the chicken broth this way will also grab any of the marinara sauce that was left behind in the jar and add it to the pot. It’s a great way to make sure you’re not missing out on any flavor and one less measuring cup to wash!

A spoon sits in a dutch oven full of red sauce
Seasoning is being sprinkled on top of the red sauce

Step 3: Add the marinara sauce and chicken broth to the pot. Mix until fully combined, then bring to a boil.

Step 4: Sprinkle Italian Seasoning into your delicious sauce!

Penne noodles are stirred into the red sauce

Step 5: Pour in the penne noodles. Stir well, and reduce the heat from a boil to a simmer. Make sure to stir often to keep the pasta from sticking!

Continue cooking at a simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is fully cooked and the sauce is reduced by half.

Cheese is poured on top of the cooked pasta
A wooden spoon is stirring the pasta and cheese, mixing them together

Step 6: Add the mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the pot. Stir to combine. Serve immediately, and enjoy!!

Freshly cut parsley garnishes a bowl of one pot pasta

Can I make this sauce creamier?

Yes, you most certainly can! If you prefer a creamier pasta sauce, you can add half a cup of heavy cream to the recipe. Adding cream to marinara sauce creates your own homemade version of Vodka Pasta Sauce. Just mix it in after you stir together the marinara and chicken broth.

You can also add a cup of Alfredo sauce instead and create your own version of “pink sauce”. This is a popular flavor combo as well to change up your weekly pasta dinner!

Can I use different noodles?

While penne noodles are our favorite with this recipe because they hold their shape well, you can use any kind you’d like! This sauce also pairs well with spaghetti, rigatoni, elbow and farfalle noodles. With a sauce this delicious, it’s hard to go wrong!

A forkful of penne noodles are lifted from a bowl

Once you make this one pot pasta, you’ll see why we’re so obsessed. It’s truly the definition of a simple, delicious dinner! So next time you have a long day, skip the drive-thru and treat yourself to the easy one-pot dinner you deserve!

Looking for more easy dinner ideas? Try out our favorite Crockpot French Onion Chicken, Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs or Crockpot Mexican Chicken!

A wooden spoon is holding a spoonful of pasta
4.5 from 44 votes
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Yield: 4 servings

One Pot Pasta

This Cheesy One Pot Pasta changes the game for one pot recipes! It's incredibly easy to make – no draining of the pasta needed – and it's loaded with cheese, marinara and perfectly cooked penne pasta!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 24.5 ounce marinara sauce
  • 24 ounces chicken broth, or water
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan


  • In dutch oven or large heavy bottom pot, add olive oil and onion sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, sauté 30 more seconds. Add marinara and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Pour in pasta, stir well and reduce heat to simmer. Stir often to keep pasta from sticking.
  • Continue cooking for 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked and sauce is reduced by half. Add mozzarella and Parmesan cheese stir to combine. Serve immediately!


How to add ground beef/turkey: Add the ground meat with the onion and cook, breaking apart, until no pink remains. Drain any excess grease and continue on with directions!


Serving: 1, Calories: 390kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 1229mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g

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12 comments on “One Pot Pasta”

    1. Yes you can use water, but you will likely want to add a little extra salt at the end, to taste.

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