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One Pot Pasta

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

Why You’ll Love This One Pot Pasta Recipe

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! But instead, check out one of our favorite one-pot meals and why it’s the perfect solution for a busy weeknight!

  • So Easy: 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!
  • Family Favorite: 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!
  • Easy to Change Up: 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!

If you love this one pot pasta, you’ll love some of our other one-pot meals too! Check out our tender crockpot pot roast, crockpot pepper steak, or instant pot white chicken chili.

Ingredients for One Pot Pasta recipe.

What You’ll Need

With just a few inexpensive ingredients, you’re ready to whip up one of our favorite one-pot meals in no time at all! Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Olive Oil
  • Veggies: We’ll just be using yellow onion and fresh garlic.
  • Marinara Sauce: We love our homemade marinara sauce, but you can use your favorite store-bought version as well.
  • Chicken Broth: Feel free to use chicken broth, veggie stock, or water here.
  • Pasta: Penne works great in this dish, but any pasta will do!
  • Cheese: Grab some fresh mozzarella and parmesan.
Freshly cut parsley garnishes a bowl of one pot pasta

How to Make One Pot Pasta

Easy pasta recipes are meant to be … easy! This one comes together in just about 30 minutes. Check out the recipe card for detailed instructions.

  • Saute: Heat up some olive oil and saute the onion followed by the garlic. If you’d like to add ground meat, go ahead and do that now. Diced mushrooms or other veggies can also cook up a bit in this step.
  • Sauce: Add the marinara sauce and chicken broth to the pan and mix carefully until it’s a cohesive sauce. Bring it to a boil and add in the Italian seasoning.
  • Pasta: Stir in the penne noodles and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. You should also notice that the sauce will have reduced by about half and is nice and thick. Make sure to stir occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick!
  • Cheese: Add the cheeses to the pot, give it a good stir, and enjoy!
Pasta noodles are covered in delicious red sauce

Tips for Best Results

Here are a few helpful tips from our kitchen to make your one pot pasta perfect every time.

  • Chicken Broth: 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!
  • Don’t Overcook: Keep an eye on the cook time of your pasta once you put it into the sauce. You want to cook it just long enough so it’s perfectly al dente.
  • Prep: This recipe comes together really quickly, so we find it helpful to have everything prepped and ready to go before we start cooking. That way, we’re not scrambling around trying to find something at the last minute!
A forkful of penne noodles are lifted from a bowl

What to Serve With 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.

A wooden spoon is stirring the pasta and cheese, mixing them together

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

The one pot pasta recipes holds up really well in the fridge and the freezer. Here’s how to store and reheat those tasty leftovers.

  • Refrigerate: Keep your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: We usually heat up individual bowls in the microwave for maximum convenience. You may need to add a little more marinara sauce if the noodles soaked up a lot overnight.
  • Freeze: Place leftover pasta in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. We typically will freeze individual portions so reheating is easier.
Freshly cut parsley garnishes a bowl of one pot pasta

FAQs

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!

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 meals you deserve!

More Easy Pasta Recipes

A wooden spoon is holding a spoonful of pasta
4.5 from 45 votes
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Yield: 4 servings

One Pot Pasta

This Cheesy One Pot Pasta changes the game for one-pot meals! 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

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!

Nutrition

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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