One Pot Pasta recipes are the solution to the question, What am I going to make for dinner tonight? Quick, easy, and with minimal clean up, you’ll be making these one pot pasta recipes your go-to dinner plan.

Collage image of one pot pasta recipes.

My family loves pasta: spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, rigatoni, fettuccine, you name it. There’s something so satisfying about a big bowl of pasta smothered in sauce. But then the dishes! That big old pasta pot (probably the biggest pot you own, right?), a colander sitting in the sink, a frying pan that you used to sauté the meat and vegetables, maybe a saucepan for simmering the sauce….all stuff you usually can’t stick in the dishwasher. Aargh! Kind of makes you want to order carry-out, doesn’t it? Hmmm, maybe you should have had that extra glass of wine at dinner after all…

But take heart! These one pot pasta recipes are going to make your life so much easier! They are made in….ONE POT! Did you hear it? One pot! Won’t that make clean up so much easier? You are going to love it! The pasta cooks right in the sauce. 

So, now you may be wondering two things: how do one pot pastas measure up taste wise, and how are they made? I can assure you that your family will love how these one pot pastas taste.  Read on to find out how you can make a delicious, one pot pasta recipe for your dinner–maybe tonight!

Best Tips for making One Pot Pasta

Use a good-sized pot. This recipe isn’t for little saucepans. For these recipes, you should grab a dutch oven or a large deep skillet. You’ll be cooking everything in one pot so it has to be big enough to accommodate all the ingredients, including quite a bit of liquid to cook the pasta. And this is important: It needs a cover. This helps the pasta cook evenly even if it’s not all completely submerged in liquid the entire time. 

So here’s a quick run down: 

Sauté meat (ground turkey, ground beef, bite sized pieces of chicken,  sausage, etc.). Add in chopped vegetables like onions, garlic, carrots, or whatever you like. Cook until nearly tender. If you like to add greens (spinach, kale, etc.) to your pasta, wait for these. They’ll be added a little later. 

Next, you’ll be adding your sauce ingredients, such as tomatoes, wine, broth, water. You can use milk in a one pan pasta, but be careful because milk can curdle at high heat and there’s no turning back from that. Stay clear of skim or low-fat milk; if you’re going to cook the pasta in a mixture that includes milk, you need to use full fat. It will seem like a lot of liquid at first but don’t worry, the pasta will absorb it as it cooks. Bring it all up to a simmer.

Add the dry pasta of your choice, uncooked. This is the good part: the pasta cooks right in the sauce! You know how a lot of recipes tell you to save a cup or so of the pasta water to put into your sauce? The reason you do this is because the cooking water is full of starches from the pasta and that thickens up your sauce and makes it slightly creamy. The fancy term is that it emulsifies your sauce. In one pot pasta recipes, the pasta is cooking in the sauce so that starchy goodness stays right in there. 

Give your pasta a stir pretty frequently to keep it cooking evenly and to prevent it from sticking together or sticking to the bottom of the pan. At the end of the cooking time, I like to cover the pan for a few minutes and let everything settle. 

Can you boil pasta and vegetables together?

I like to sauté the firmer vegetables in the pan before I add the sauce and pasta. If you’re adding spinach, or kale, or green peas, put those in the pan the last few minutes of cooking so they don’t get overdone. I also like to throw in a few chopped herbs at this point.

Helpful Tools for One Pan Pasta Recipes

You’ll need the right sized pan to make one pot pasta recipes. These recipes just won’t work in a pan that’s too small. Your pasta will boil over and you’ll be cleaning up a big mess on your stove top. We sure don’t want that to happen! Other than the right sized pan, you really don’t need much else. A nice big strong spoon will be helpful. Maybe you can enlist a big strong person to do the stirring while you whip a quick green salad to go along with your one pot pasta.

  • Dutch oven – The Dutch oven (otherwise known as French oven) is such a workhorse in the kitchen! This is the perfect pot for these types of recipes. A bonus is that they’re often oven-safe, so if you want to broil the top to crisp up pasta or melt cheese, it can go straight from the stove to the oven.
  • Deep, straight side skillet – You can’t go wrong with one of these pans! I use my deep skillet for so many things, but it’s especially great for one pan pasta recipes.
  • Instant Pot – You’ll notice that some of the recipes are made in an Instant Pot. The great part about those is that you don’t have to stir while the pasta cooks! The pressure in the Instant Pot cooks everything evenly.

What to serve with one pot pasta:

Pasta is endlessly versatile, so based on which recipe you select, you might want to choose different sides. The great thing about these recipes is that most really provide an entire meal (protein, carb, veggies) in one pot, so sides are optional. Here are so ideas if you’re looking for side dishes:

One Pan Pasta Recipes