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With just 10 minutes of prep and a few pantry staples, this one pot pasta with ground beef is a quick and easy dinner recipe that kids and adults will love! Top it with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, and serve it alongside a Caesar salada basket of garlic bread, or a loaf of crusty baguette. The penne and homemade meat sauce is always a weeknight winner!

Overhead shot of one pot pasta with ground beef

One Pot Pasta with Sauce

You can’t beat the ease of a simple, family-friendly, one pot pasta! There’s no need to boil the penne before you add it to the ground beef and sauce. Everything cooks together in a single pan for a flavorful, family-friendly meal!

Cooking ground beef in a pot

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a one pot pasta recipe. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef: you can also substitute with ground Italian sausage or ground turkey.
  • Onion and garlic: add savory flavor to the dish. You’ll need about 4 small cloves garlic to equal about 2 teaspoons minced or pressed.
  • Crushed tomatoes: the base of the tomato sauce.
  • Italian seasoning: a convenient blend of dried marjoram, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano and other herbs.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Sugar: to balance the acidity in the tomatoes.
  • Penne: just the dry pasta — no need to boil it first.
  • Water: thins the sauce so that you have enough liquid to boil the pasta in the pot.
Pouring penne into a pot

How to Cook Pasta and Sauce in One Pot

Nobody likes washing extra dishes, and that’s why this easy one pot pasta recipe will soon earn a spot in your regular dinner rotation!

  1. Brown the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off the excess grease.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, sugar, and a teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and water. Increase the heat and simmer until the pasta is al dente and the pasta sauce has thickened, about 16-18 minutes.
  4. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  5. Serve in individual bowls or on separate plates. Garnish with chopped fresh basil or other herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Square overhead shot of one pot pasta with ground beef and fresh herbs

Serving Suggestions

Here are some easy sides that go well with the easy one pot pasta dish:

Bowl of one pot pasta with ground beef, salad, and bread on a table

Storage

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the meal in a covered skillet over low heat just until warmed through, or microwave individual servings for about 1 minute. I do not recommend freezing this dish. The pasta will swell and change texture in the freezer, resulting in a mushy texture when reheated.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the ground beef and use ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken, or ground Italian sausage instead.
  • Add extra veggies to the sauce. Try sauteing sliced mushrooms, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes.
  • Instead of the dried Italian seasoning, add flavor to the sauce with chopped fresh herbs of your choosing. Good options include basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley.
  • Try a different shape of pasta in lieu of the penne. You will need to adjust the cooking time if using a different size, so keep an eye on the pot and take it off of the heat when the noodles are tender. You might like rigatoni, spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, elbows, rotini, or farfalle.
  • Drizzle with olive oil at the end, or add a bright, acidic touch with fresh lemon juice or lemon zest.
  • Stir in a splash of heavy cream at the end for a creamy one pot pasta.
Square overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with ground beef and a side salad

Tips for the Best One Pot Pasta Recipe

  • Drain the excess grease. This makes the meal healthier, and also prevents the finished dish from having a greasy texture.
  • Don’t omit the sugar. In order to achieve great tomato flavor, it’s important to balance acidity and sweetness. Too much acid or too much sugar yields a sauce that tastes one-dimensional. The right amount of sugar perfectly balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Start with about ¼ teaspoon of sugar here, and add more to taste, if necessary.
  • The cheese garnish and fresh herbs are optional, but they sure add great flavor!
  • Adjust the heat. This is a mild, kid-friendly dish. If you prefer a spicy pasta, add a dash of cayenne or garnish with crushed red pepper flakes.
Close overhead image of a bowl of one pot pasta with ground beef on a dinner table

More One Pot Pasta Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of one pot pasta with ground beef and fresh herbs

One Pot Pasta with Ground Beef

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 477 kcal
An easy, family-friendly dinner that cooks in one pot!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced or pressed garlic (about 4 small cloves)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ¾ cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 3 cups water
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh basil (or other herbs); crushed red pepper flakes; grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Drain off any excess grease.
  • Stir in tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the pasta and water. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is tender, about 16-18 minutes.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  • Serve immediately and garnish with chopped fresh basil (or other herbs), crushed red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

  • Swap out the ground beef and use ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken, or ground Italian sausage instead.
  • Add extra veggies to the sauce. Try sauteing sliced mushrooms, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes.
  • Instead of the dried Italian seasoning, add flavor to the sauce with chopped fresh herbs of your choosing. Good options include basil, thyme, oregano, and parsley.
  • Try a different shape of pasta in lieu of the penne. You will need to adjust the cooking time if using a different size, so keep an eye on the pot and take it off of the heat when the noodles are tender. You might like rigatoni, spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, elbows, rotini, or farfalle.
  • Drizzle with olive oil at the end, or add a bright, acidic touch with fresh lemon juice or lemon zest.
  • Stir in a splash of heavy cream at the end for a creamy one pot pasta.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 477kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 26gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 623mgPotassium: 809mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 299IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 94mgIron: 5mg
Keyword: one pot pasta, one pot pasta with sauce, pasta with ground beef
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Blair!

    I make quite a few of your recipes but I don’t often comment! I made this for the first time last night and the whole ease of a one pot meal and all the flavors are really good but it to me lacked a little in the seasoning. I don’t know if I missed something but thought I had followed the recipe exactly so my thought was just add some seasoning salt to try to help that but do you have any suggestions? We really liked it and my girls added cheese on top:)

    1. Hi, Michelle! Thank you for reading my blog and for trying the recipes! This is a pretty simple dish, which you can feel free to “jazz up” as you like. Good options include adding some extra fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, or thyme, or some additional seasoning like onion powder or crushed red pepper flakes for spicy kick. If you would like a richer, bolder tomato flavor, you might try a tablespoon or so of tomato paste (which will also thicken the sauce slightly), or even a bit more sugar, which adds depth of flavor with the tomatoes. For a bright acidic touch, try a dash of Worcestershire sauce, some red wine, or some balsamic vinegar. I hope that helps!

      1. Those are great ideas! Thank you! And I apologize if they were already in the actual post of the recipe! Sometimes I read through the whole post but sometimes I am just quick jump to the recipe to make sure of the ingredients before I make it