Easy One-Pot Pasta Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight
In addition to being quick, tasty, and comforting, these one-pot pasta recipes keep cleanup to a minimum. Start with our original one-pan pasta, then make all the other easy, delicious options, including skillet lasagna, shrimp with orzo, and stovetop mac and cheese.
One-pot meals may seem like just another internet food trend, but they've been around since the invention of pots, and we expect that they're here to stay. This simple, clever method of cooking means you're able to get dinner on the table with the least amount of collateral (dish) damage possible, which has made them been a favorite among our editors and readers. They're versatile, too, as evidenced by the fact that our team has made one-pan dinners six ways from Sunday, and we still haven't grown tired of them.
From quick sheet-pan suppers to Dutch-oven masterpieces, there are so many different methods of "one-pot" cooking to consider. If you're asking us to choose just one favorite, though, then one-pot pastas would be the all-seasons winner in the weeknight dinner category: Comforting carbs are perfect for warming up bellies on a chilly night, but they can also be great for the summer when you don't want to overheat your kitchen. The Campanelle with Pistachio-Mint Pesto pictured here is the perfect example of a dish you'd want to dig into when the weather turns warm. Most of our recipes require just 15 or 20 minutes of simmering on the stovetop, and with only one pan to wash after dinner, these easy dinners will surely put a spring in your step.
And let's talk about ease: Once you get the general idea of a skillet pasta down pat, you can make them whenever you want a homemade meal that doesn't require a great deal of production (read: a tricky recipe with a mess waiting for you at the end). And there's no need to lug out your giant stockpot just to boil some spaghetti when there's a great recipe on hand to show you how to do it right in your skillet.
One last note before we get to the actual recipes. It's important to understand the seemingly magical way that one-pot pastas manage to taste so great: it all comes down to the water. For a while now it has been an open secret of chefs and Italian grandmothers that ladling in a bit of starchy pasta water at the end of cooking a traditional pasta will make it better. This special starchy water can add body to a thin tomato sauce, or even become the actual sauce when a little butter and cheese is added at the same time. Skillet pastas take this idea even further, making it the key ingredient from the very beginning. Whether you decide to go tomato-based or cheese, the end result of a one-pot pasta will be a flavorful forkful of perfectly sauced and seasoned noodles.
This is the one that started it all. But before this recipe went viral, its method was discovered in the Puglia region of Italy, where a member of the Martha Stewart test kitchen watched in amazement as a chef placed all of the ingredients for this pasta—including the dried spaghetti—into a skillet with a fraction of the water it usually takes. Fifteen minutes later, they were given a bowl of perfectly al dente pasta enrobed in a creamy sauce of its own making; the rest is history!
Cheater's Mac and Cheese
Skillet Shrimp and Orzo
Three-Cheese Skillet Lasagna
One-Pan Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Olives
Minestrone with Broccoli
With this great 30-minute recipe in your back pocket, you'll never need bring out more than one pot in order to make a comforting bowl of minestrone for dinner.
Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans
The Ligurian region of Italy claims the inspired combination of pasta, pesto, potatoes, and green beans as their own. Considering the fact that it's also the birthplace of pesto, who are we to argue? Mangia!
Shrimp Scampi with Yellow Squash "Noodles"
Greek Chicken One-Pan Pasta
A recipe like this bright and lemony chicken pasta is the perfect choice when you want a balanced bowl for dinner. You don't have to start from scratch, either—there are instructions if you'd rather use cooked chicken instead.
One Pot Pasta with Broccoli and Lemon
This one-pot pasta keeps it simple with a pared-down ingredient list and method that boils the pasta and broccoli in the same pot. Staggering their time in the water ensures both come out perfectly cooked.
One-Pan Creamy Tuna Pasta
We like this lighter take on classic tuna noodle casserole that uses the creamy, starchy simmering sauce to bind together fresh ingredients including asparagus and arugula with oil-packed tuna and pasta.
Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
One could definitely make the argument that we saved the best for last. Stovetop mac and cheese was the original one-pot pasta before it was considered cool. Looking to add a little extra something to the mix? This recipe also boasts variations like mushroom-fontina and bacon mac.