One-Pot Spaghetti

One-Pot Spaghetti is quick and delicious, with only one pot to wash for a family-pleasing dinner. In fact, it's such an easy spaghetti recipe that you'll never make it any other way again!

One Pot Spaghetti with text overlay.

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Spaghetti is just one of those classic dinner recipes that most people undoubtedly have on their regular menu rotation. I'm a proud member of that club, because it also happens to be a meal that every member of my family will eat without complaint. I mean, who doesn't love pasta and meat sauce?

Since the dawn of time, I would always make my spaghetti the same way...AKA, the "normal" way. I would brown my ground beef and stir in my sauce, whether homemade or from a jar. In a separate pot, I would bring salted water to a boil and add the noodles. Then I'd pull out a colander to drain the pasta and hope that I could keep it from getting cold or drying out before serving.

Aerial view of bowl piled high, ready to enjoy.

But a few years ago, I figured out a better way! Y'ALL, THERE'S A BETTER WAY. And that way is called...

Easy One-Pot Spaghetti!

That's right, folks...you can cook your meat sauce and your pasta in JUST ONE POT. At the end, there's nothing to drain and no stuck-together, dried-out noodles. There ends up being only one pot to wash, rather than two pots and a colander. And best of all, cooking everything together in the same pot on the stove yields the creamiest, most flavorful spaghetti!

Also, before I get a bunch of e-mails challenging the "authenticity" of this recipe...no, this isn't how your Italian grandmother made spaghetti and meat sauce. One-Pot Spaghetti is an Americanized (because hey, I'm American!) shortcut version for busy people wanting to get an easy, wholesome, kid-pleasing/family-pleasing dinner on the table in a flash on crazy weeknights. And maybe those busy people also don't care for washing dishes. 😉

Aerial view of tongs in pot of One Pot Spaghetti.

How to Make It

One-Pot Spaghetti is such a simple, easy spaghetti recipe that it's almost ridiculous. Allow me to break it down for you...

  1. Brown the ground meat. I typically use lean ground beef, but feel free to substitute crumbled Italian sausage for half of the ground beef. Or you could choose to use ground turkey instead.
  2. Add the sauce. I feel no shame in using a good-quality jarred marinara sauce when I make spaghetti. I always check the label to make sure it contains only real ingredients, and then I jazz it up with extra herbs and seasonings. Also, since this is designed to be a quick-cooking recipe, the flavors in the sauce aren't going to have as long to develop and marry, so I think starting with store-bought marinara starts the recipe with a good base flavor.
  3. Stir in broth. You'll need to add extra liquid to your pot since the noodles are going to be cooking directly in the meatsauce. After the broth has been mixed in, bring your watery sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat.
  4. Add the spaghetti noodles. Be sure to criss-cross and separate your pasta so that it doesn't initially stick together in one big lump. And push it down into the sauce, making sure it's all covered by liquid without actually stirring it in.
  5. Cover and cook. The total cooking time should be 15 to 20 minutes. Don't forget to stir every 5 minutes!
Collage of steps showing how to make spaghetti.

6. Garnish and enjoy! Pile it on a plate, shower it with freshly grated Parmesan, fresh minced parsley, and -- if you like to live on the wild side -- crushed red pepper flakes. Dinner is served!

And y'all, THAT'S IT.

I'm not gonna lie...One-Pot Spaghetti is the only way I ever make it anymore.

It saves time and effort AND it turns out really tasty!

Because what more can you ask of a classic, improved dinner recipe than that? 🙂

Pasta and meatsauce in a bowl with parsley and glass of wine in background.

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • If you'd like to add onion to your One-Pot Spaghetti, you may start out the recipe by cooking 1 cup of diced onion in a tablespoon or two of oil for 5 minutes or until tender. Then add the beef to the pot and proceed with the recipe.
  • As previously mentioned, I like adding extra ingredients to my store-bought marinara for a boost of flavor. However, if you wish to make this recipe with a regular ol' jar of spaghetti sauce or marinara and NO extra herbs/spices/flavorings, your meal will still turn out just dandy.
  • On the other hand, if you'd like to swap crushed tomatoes for jarred marinara sauce, feel free to do so. I recommend doubling the tomato paste and the balsamic vinegar, tasting the sauce, and then adjusting the dried herbs and seasonings as desired, since crushed tomatoes are not already seasoned. Also, I'd allow the sauce to cook for a few minutes -- thereby allowing the flavors to develop -- before stirring in the broth and the pasta and proceeding with the recipe.
Easy spaghetti recipe in a pot, ready to serve with tongs.
  • I mix some organic Better Than Bouillon beef base into water for the extra liquid in this recipe. You could use real beef broth instead. Or even chicken broth. Or even water. I just think using broth instead of water gives this recipe a deeper flavor.
  • I actually swirl the broth around my empty marinara jar before dumping it into the pot to make sure I get every last bit of sauce!
  • You can use two teaspoons of an Italian Seasoning herb blend in place of the individual dried herbs.
  • If necessary, adding a bit of sugar (or grated carrot!) to the sauce will cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

Aerial view of One Pot Spaghetti in pot with tongs.

More One-Pot Pasta Recipes

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti is quick and delicious, with only one pot to wash for a family-pleasing dinner. In fact, it's such an easy spaghetti recipe that you'll never make it any other way again!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 319kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade OR 1 (24-ounce) store-bought jar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 8 ounces spaghetti noodles, broken in half
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional), for serving
  • Fresh minced parsley (optional), for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional), for serving

Instructions

  • Set a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking apart and stirring as the meat cooks. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two until fragrant.
  • Drain the grease from the pot and season the beef with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the marinara sauce, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme, sugar (if using), and beef broth. Stir well to combine, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a low simmer (about medium-low).
  • Lay the broken spaghetti noodles on top of the sauce, criss-crossing them and pressing them down until submerged by liquid. Do not stir at this point.
  • Cover and cook, stirring every 5 minutes, until the excess liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes total (see NOTES below).
  • Stir well and serve immediately, topped with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

Equipment Needed

Video

Notes

  • If your sauce is still too watery by the time your pasta is done cooking, take the lid off and cook uncovered for the last few minutes. This will allow excess liquid to evaporate. I cooked this particular batch of One-Pot Spaghetti for 15 minutes covered and 2 minutes uncovered.
  • On the other hand, if your pasta isn't cooked through by the time all of the excess liquid in the sauce has evaporated, stir in a bit more water and continue cooking until the noodles are nice and al dente.
  • If you'd like to use whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti in place of regular white pasta, just be prepared to adjust the cooking time and/or liquid, as described above.

Nutrition

Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 1162mg | Potassium: 830mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 570IU | Vitamin C: 9.7mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 4mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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4.92 from 132 votes (41 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




110 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Tonight was a rare night where I didn’t have the ingredients for the preplanned dinner. So looked around and had everything for spaghetti but wanted a “one pot” recipe. This was perfect and I was easily able to make it vegan for my family. A lot of spaghetti sauce jars are already vegan, and I used Better Than Bouillon Roasted Veggie broth. I’ll be saving this recipe for the future.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this. I thought "I've made MY spaghetti before" but there was something about the look of the presentation in this video that intrigued me. I used 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 sausage and I must say, this was the best spaghetti I have ever made and maybe the best I ever tasted. I subbed in linguini for a heartier pasta and absolutely used the beef stock. It was hearty, and felt more like an Italian meal than a spaghetti night at home. BRAVA!

  3. 5 stars
    This was really good, and perfect for busy weeknights since it’s super quick and only uses one pot. The flavor is delicious so long as you make sure to use a good quality jarred sauce. I used Bertolli Traditional Marinara and it was wonderful! You can also use a homemade sauce, especially if you have some already whipped up. I served this up with a side of cheesy garlic bread for a winner dinner!

    1. 5 stars
      Thanks for this, I'm going camping and was looking for an easy pasta recipe that didn't use up all our water. We tried it at home and it turned out great. Spaghetti is a family favorite and I bet the kids will enjoy having one of their favorite comfort meals while away from home. If I pre-cook the ground beef before we go, this will make a quick meal with very little cleanup.

  4. 5 stars
    I also added onions received compliments every time I make this. Thank you for the awesome recipe

    1. 5 stars
      I made puttanesca using this great recipe sans meat.. also added onions , celery, bell pepper and lots of garlic.. everyone loved it!
      ...

  5. 5 stars
    I made this dish last night to go with some fried catfish and it was delicious! I am for sure a novice when it comes to cooking and this recipe was perfect for me. I followed the recipe as posted and was very pleased with the results. The beef broth made for a deep flavor that sent my husband running back for seconds lol! Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to trying other recipes from your collection 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    This a delicious! I used ground turkey and some sausage. Substituted marinara with a can of San Marzano style tomatoes. Also used chicken stock and onion you suggested. Yummy!

  7. 5 stars
    I was at the store checking out the hamburger helper aisle thinking it could be a good time saver. I thought, why can’t I do the same with regular pasta? Question was, how much water and how much time to cook. This recipe is perfect. I used this recipe as my guide for other 1 pot pasta dishes. (Mac-n-cheese!!). Another shortcut, instead of ground beef, I add precooked frozen meatballs to the marinara

    1. Yay, Dave! I actually love making homemade flavors of Hamburger Helper...I have several other versions on my site. 🙂 So glad you enjoy this One-Pot Spaghetti recipe and have figured out yummy ways to adapt it!

  8. 5 stars
    Cool !! Definitely like how easy and convenient this recipe sounds!! My kind of dish! Easy and easy clean up too!! 🙂 Will be trying soon and let u know how much we liked it!! Thanks for all your recipes and information etc... 🙂

  9. Can't wait to try this. I have always made from scratch spaghetti sauce, and meatballs. I will serve this with crusty bread, and hard boiled eggs. My mother was friends with an Italian, married couple that she and her sisters knew. She said they always served hard boiled eggs with spaghetti, as a side. Thus, my maternal family follwed suit. They are a very good eaten together. This looks like a delicious, comfort meal to serve this fall. Thanks for sharing. Jill

  10. 5 stars
    This was delicious!! Thinking it's the fresh garlic, balsamic and beef broth. Don't skip those!! Used Simply Ragu jarred sauce. Family couldn't stop eating it 🙂 Thank you!

    1. So happy to hear it, Roni! And I agree...those little ingredients make a big difference to the final flavor. 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    Fantastic, followed recipe exactly and it was AMAZING! Whole family (baby to kids to adult) gobbled it up and went back for seconds and thirds till pot was empty. And I loved loved loved only having to clean one pot. My dream come true, ha!

    1. Yay, yay, YAY, Marie...my favorite kind of comment! I'm so happy to hear that this was a hit with your entire family. 🙂

  12. 5 stars
    Everyone needs a shortcut now and then! I hate doing dishes and I love that this recipe cuts them down. Thank you for the onion tip - that's our favorite.

    1. Totally agree, Alyssa...it's so great to only have one pot to wash at the end of it! 😉