A colorful pot filled with dry spaghetti noodles, tomatoes, and basil

8 Fast and Fun One-Pot Pasta Recipes

One pot pasta is a trend that’s destined to stick around for the long haul. Case in point? Pasta night is surely one of the most common dinners in the US. One poll found that 59% of American adults eat noodles or a pasta dish at least once a week, and the percentage simply has to be higher for parents of pasta-loving kids—aka almost all kids. And while some very tasty pasta recipes have been making their rounds on TikTok and Instagram recently (baked feta and tomato ring a bell?) making a separate pot of pasta and draining boiling water isn’t the most efficient or kid-cook-friendly method out there. 

Enter the one-pot pasta, a simply genius noodling method that requires no draining, since the pasta cooks in the same liquid that flavors it. It’s not only safer for young cooks, it saves time, makes cleanup easier, and results in pasta dishes that are way more flavorful. What’s not to love?!

Classic Spaghetti and Marinara in the Instant Pot

Sure, you could make your own marinara, but sometimes a last-minute, busy-day dinner emergency calls for three ingredients and some broken spaghetti noodles. File this one away under kid-friendly meals they can help with that won’t take all day!

One Pot Sesame Noodles and Veggies

On the other end of the time-to-cook spectrum, when you’ve got some extra time and want to practice those budding knife skills together, this vegetable-packed recipe requires a bit more chopping and dicing prep work but with a major flavor payoff.

One Pot Mac n Cheese

Talk about comfort food. This gluten-free, no-drain mac and cheese is tastier and faster than making the stuff out of the box, and can even be made dairy free in 20 minutes flat. 

Instant Pot Chili Mac

“Dump to dinner” isn’t the most appetizing phrase, we’ll admit. But honestly, what’s not to love about a fully homemade meal that requires little more than opening a few boxes and cans? This flavorful chili mac doesn’t even require stirring, so it’s a great bet for younger kitchen helpers who enjoy measuring and pouring ingredients into a pot.

One Pot Chicken Alfredo

This creamy, comforting recipe would be a great way to use leftover rotisserie chicken or vegan “chickn” strips.

One Pot Sausage and Sundried Tomato Pasta

Flavor packed and colorful, this recipe uses frozen broccoli and sweet Italian sausage, but you could definitely substitute your family’s favorite fresh or frozen veg and use a different sausage with a kick if you prefer.

One Pot Lemon and Basil Pasta

A taste of spring, this one’s begging for the addition of fresh peas or asparagus. Young kids can tear basil leaves with their hands, while older ones can hone their knife skills with a chiffonade.

Creamy Vegan One Pot Pasta with Curry Paste and Coconut Milk

We’re always looking for more ways to use a jar of curry paste, so this flavorful meal is a go-to at our house. Swap in any of your family’s favorite fresh or frozen veggies like you would for a kitchen-cleanout stir fry. Want to go the extra mile? Make your own curry paste from scratch—this recipe makes a large batch so you can cook once and have enough for several recipes, and you can control the spice level when you DIY together. 

P.S. All of these recipes work with gluten-free pastas, too! You may need to adjust the cooking time depending on the variety, size, and shape of pasta you go with. Our favorite gluten-free pasta is Banza, a protein-packed pasta powered by chickpeas!

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