3-Ingredient One Pot Pasta
Just 3 ingredients is all you need to make this easy One Pot Pasta recipe! It’s a cozy, comforting dish that you can make in just about 45 minutes with very little effort. A delicious meat sauce with your favorite pasta is cooked together in one pot for a flavorful, hearty, no-fuss meal!
Pasta and meat sauce is one of those go-to dinners that we enjoy often, especially on busy weeknights! The whole family loves this meal and it’s easy enough, but sometimes it can be a bit of a hassle. There’s always at least two large pots and a colander to clean, which can feel like a lot of work at the end of the day.
So, I decided to do some experimenting with my traditional pasta and meat sauce recipe. And I’m so glad I did – the end result was this one pot pasta meal! It’s unbelievably easy: just one pot, three ingredients and about 45 minutes are all you need!
Dinner is a warm, hearty, satisfying pot of pasta with meat sauce, minus all the fuss. My family loves it and we can’t wait to hear what you think!
One Pot Pasta Recipe Ingredients
This one pot pasta recipe is extremely versatile! All you really need for this dish are three basic ingredients – ground meat, marinara sauce and pasta. We love to garnish our bowl of pasta with parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Here’s a note on each key ingredient:
- Ground meat. You can really use any ground meat, you have on hand. I typically use either lean ground beef or turkey. For a bolder, zesty taste, try using Italian sausage.
- Marinara sauce. Chances are you have a favorite store-bought marinara sauce. We love either Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce or Organico Bello Marinara Pasta Sauce. If you’re feeling extra fancy, try my easy homemade marinara.
- Pasta. I typically use rotini, rigatoni or farfalle noodles, but feel free to use any pasta shape you’d like. Gluten-free pasta works, too.
How to make one pot pasta
This one-pot meal is very simple and straightforward. You only need one pot and just about 10 minutes hands-on time! Here’s a quick rundown of the process, but for full instructions, reference the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Cook ground meat. In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown ground meat, breaking into small pieces.
- Add marinara. Reduce heat and stir in marinara and water.
- Simmer pasta. Add pasta, stir and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of water, stir again and continue to cook about 15 minutes longer and until pasta is tender.
- Serve. Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve and enjoy!
Customize this recipe
This one pot pasta meal is delicious as-is, but feel free to change things up to customize it to your family’s preferences and what you have available.
- Pasta. I love using rigatoni in this dish because the tube-shaped noodles with ridges on the outside hold all of the delicious meat sauce. If you can’t find rigatoni at your local grocery store, penne is a good substitute. Really any pasta, even fettuccini or regular spaghetti noodles work great.
- Protein. Instead of using lean ground beef, try this recipe with ground turkey, bison or Italian sausage.
- Herbs. Not a fan of basil? Garnish with fresh parsley instead.
- Vegetables. Want to sneak in some veggies? The addition of sautéed veggies in this dish would be great. Try adding sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, onion or bell pepper. Olives, sun dried tomatoes or artichoke hearts would also be tasty additions.
Love spicy food? For just a little kick of heat, add about 1/4 teaspoon (or more) crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce.
One pot pasta really couldn’t be any easier, but I do have a some tips, so you have the best results every time:
- Meat. I use 90% lean ground beef – it has plenty of flavor, but is not overly greasy. If you use meat with a higher fat content, just be sure to drain off any excess fat before adding in the marinara sauce.
- Sauce. Use a high quality marinara sauce. My favorite store-bought brands are Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce or Organico Bello Marinara Pasta Sauce.
- Cheese. If adding a garnish of parmesan cheese, I suggest using freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pre-shredded cheese often contains stabilizers and anti-caking agents. Also, a high-quality parmesan cheese will add such wonderful flavor to this meal. I typically shop the speciality cheese counter of my local grocery store.
What to serve with one pot pasta
This easy pasta dish is great on it’s own, but you can also serve it with a variety of side dishes! We love it served with my favorite Italian salad and crusty garlic bread! You could also whip up a simple green salad. Just toss mixed greens with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add toppings to your salad such as red onion, cherry tomatoes, and croutons.
Storage leftovers. Place any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to about 4 to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. The pasta may have absorbed some of the liquid, leaving it dried out. Feel free to add a bit of water, oil or chicken broth before heating.
Freezing. Let the pasta cool completely, and then transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Write the date on the container and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy, allow the pasta to thaw completely and reheat in individual servings in the microwave or in a large pot on the stovetop. You’ll most likely want to add a bit of water to revitalize the sauce.
This one pot pasta was a MAJOR hit with my family and I know your family will love it too!
MORE DELICIOUS PASTA RECIPES TO TRY
If you love pasta as much as we do, give these other easy, delicious recipes a try!
- Grandma’s Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Pasta with Sausage and Fire-Roasted Tomatoes
- Lemon Pasta
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
If you try this One Pot Pasta recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
3-Ingredient One Pot Pasta
- 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 jar (approx. 25 oz.) marinara sauce
- 12 ounces pasta, we like rotini, rigatoni or farfalle
- Optional garnish: grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef. Cook, breaking beef into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add salt.
- Reduce heat to medium and add marinara sauce to pot with beef. Fill empty marinara jar with water (approx. 3 cups) and add to the pot as well. Stir to combine. Add pasta and stir again.
- Bring pasta and sauce to a simmer (just barely bubbling). Cook, for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure pasta does not stick to the bottom. Add 1 more cup water and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes more.
- Garnish with parmesan and fresh basil. Serve immediately.