One-Pan Pasta


All of your ingredients—pasta, tomatoes, onions, and olive oil—cook together in one pan.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

It's one of our most popular recipes—and for good reason. This is our original one-pot pasta recipe, inspired by a dish one of our food editors ate in Puglia, Italy. It uses a revolutionary technique: All the ingredients cook together in the same pan (a straight-sided skillet). You don’t even need to boil water first. 

You can use cherry or grape tomatoes for this recipe. You’ll also need onion, garlic, fresh basil (this is not a time to use dried), plus extra-virgin olive oil. All go into the pan with the linguine. As the pasta cooks, the water reduces, and the starchiness from the pasta transforms the remaining water into a creamy sauce. Don’t skip the Parmesan and more fresh basil to finish the dish!

One-Pan Pasta - pasta in bowls

Maxwell Cozzi

Why You Should Make One-Pan Pasta

Here's why we rate this recipe so highly.

  • Ingredients are minimal. The sauce is just cherry or grape tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, plenty of garlic, fresh basil, extra-virgin olive oil, and a garnish of Parmesan, but they combine to create a rich flavor. There's culinary magic here: The linguine cooks in water that will ultimately become the sauce—none of the liquid is thrown away. As it reduces, all the lovely starchiness from the pasta transforms the remaining water into a creamy sauce that coats every strand.
  • Cleanup is a snap. This recipe fits so well with our fewer pans equals fewer dishes strategy. All you need equipment-wise for this pasta dinner is a small paring knife, a straight-sided skillet, and a pair of tongs, which are much easier than a spoon for tossing the pasta in the sauce to coat.
  • It comes together so quickly. Prep is short, and then you just bring everything to a boil and cook, stirring and turning the pasta frequently (using those tongs!). Dinner is ready in 20 minutes from start to finish.
  • The technique is revolutionary. The recipe is inspired by a pasta one of our editors tried in Puglia, Italy. Cooking the dried pasta in a skillet, not the usual large pot, along with the other ingredients seemed radical, but now we consider this dish one of our "back pocket" recipes. Soon you will, too.


  • 12 ounces linguine

  • 12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered if large

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes

  • 2 sprigs basil, plus torn leaves for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 4 ½ cups water

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


One-Pan Pasta - ingredients

Maxwell Cozzi

  1. Combine ingredients in pan and bring to a boil:

    Combine pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, red-pepper flakes, basil, oil, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and water in a large straight-sided skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat.

    One-Pan Pasta -ingredients in pot

    Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Cook, stirring:

    Boil mixture, stirring and turning pasta frequently with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has nearly evaporated, about 9 minutes.

    One-Pan Pasta - cooked pasta and tomatoes

    Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Season and serve:

    Season to taste with salt and pepper, divide among 4 bowls, and garnish with basil. Serve with oil and Parmesan.

    One-Pan Pasta - in pot

    Maxwell Cozzi

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of pasta?

This one-pot pasta recipe was developed with and tested using linguine, which cooks in the same times as the other ingredients, about nine minutes. You could substitute another pasta that has the same cooking time.

Should I use a pot or pan?

The terms pot and pan are often used interchangeably. Generally, a pot is larger than a pan; a pan has one handle and a pot has two small handles. For our one-pan pasta recipe, we use a large straight-sided skillet. It has one handle so we’d consider it a pan. You can use other pans for this recipe but don’t use a small pan that would crowd the ingredients or a very large pot with tall sides that would make it difficult to stir the pasta in.

Try Our Other One-Pot Pasta Recipes:

Updated by
Victoria Spencer
Victoria Spencer, senior food editor,
Victoria Spencer is an experienced food editor, writer, and recipe developer. She manages the Martha Stewart recipe archive and is always curious about new ingredients and the best techniques. She has been working in food media for over 20 years.
Related Articles