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
    This is literally the only way I make spaghetti now. Working mom and dad with 5YO and 2YO who have ballet, speech therapy, gymnastics, and tumble. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Making this for a group of 20 without the meat for some vegetarian and vegan folks (meat balls on the side of others)

    What's a good substitute for the beef broth without losing flavor?

    Tomato juice or just water? Thx.

    1. Hi Susi,

      I make this for my vegan family and I use either 1lb of beyond meat or 12 oz of impossible meat. I prefer beyond meat because of the “flame broiled” taste it adds and the lack of soy. Today I’ll be trying it with beyond meat balls and the beyond hot Italian sausage. I also use better than bouillon vegetable bouillon plus 3 cups of water to make the broth. For the pasta, I use barrilla veggie spaghetti.

  3. 5 stars
    Second time making this awesome easy meal. Hubby took the left overs to work, he was asked repeatedly for the recipe by co-workers that could smell the delish aroma! This will be a staple dinner for us....and by my husband’s co workers now lol! Thx!

    1. 5 stars
      I made this a ton of times now (a staple in our home!) and it still amazes me how good this tastes. I wanted to leave a big thank you and show my appreciation & gratitude. I havent made spaghetti any other way since finding this recipe! I was never really into spaghetti, but this one is so so so addictive, I have to stop myself from eating it all! This recipe makes plenty for my family of 5 (2 adults, 2 small kids & 1 baby), an extra lunch to enjoy. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This dish was very easy and delicious! I added more of the spices and made it more flavorful! I spooned out some of the sauce and put it onto zoodles for me.

    1. 5 stars
      Third time making this for my family of Men, and they LOVE it this way! Husband just came up from the home office and actually said "That smells really good!". I love that I get an easy prep/cook, easy cleanup, and they like it just as much as the multi-pot, hour-long version of spaghetti. I'm much more willing to do this after a full day of teaching...😁

  5. 5 stars
    I've been making this recipe since September 2019--at least once a month. It is definitely one of my favorite go-to recipes. I use a herby homemade sauce, omit the vinegar, thyme and sugar just because of personal taste--I like my homemade sauce to come through.

      1. 5 stars
        This is now my favorite Spaghetti recipe!
        The only thing I changed was altering the beef broth - I was out so I used a substitute (2.5 cups of chicken broth + 2.5 tablespoons of soy sauce). My husband said it was like Lo Mein spaghetti 😂
        This pasta is truly delicious! My husband and toddlers absolutely loved it so you know it’s a keeper! Thanks Samantha!

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious! The added balsamic, herbs, and spices make it SO good. It takes on a creamy texture with the noodles intact! Definitely a keeper, thank you so much for this recipe. It was a hit with my family too, i had seconds..okay, I had thirds! Yum!

    1. 5 stars
      I’ll never make spaghetti and the old way again! This was so good! We made with beef tonight, but I’ll try spicy Italian turkey sausage next time. I made it just the way you said and it was delicious. Thanks!

  7. 3 stars
    I liked the sauce flavor. However, cooking the pasta with the sauce seemed to give the spaghetti a very starchy texture. My family noticed that as well. Did I miss something?

  8. 5 stars
    I bought the Ingredients for spaghetti not thinking it through very well. I can’t move - I have a pinched nerve in my neck. There’s no way I could make noodles and drain them the traditional way. So I remembered once upon a time making a one pot spaghetti but it didn’t use a jarred sauce, and I didn’t have the crushed tomatoes it asked for, so I spent a little time on Google and found this recipe. Perfect! I had the ingredients and I was physically able to get through it. Then I sat down to eat it with my family and I was blown away - Delicious! It turned out perfect. I may never go back to two pot spaghetti again. Thank you!!!

  9. 5 stars
    One Pot!! So loving this!!! Used ground chicken normally do ground turkey for spaghetti. Added some sweet peppers, mushroom & I only had red onion, whole grain spaghetti noddles & 29 oz can of organic sauce plus some Campari tomatoes that I had & 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Flavor is awesome would’ve never thought to use Balsamic vinegar in sauce & used 1 tsp sugar & perfect 🤩!! ❤️🧡💛💙

    1. 5 stars
      This is now our go to spaghetti recipe! I love it and I normally don't like spaghetti much. I make double the sauce/noodles to 1 portion of the meat. I also add a generous amount of onion powder and 1tsp(per sauce recipe) of pizza and pasta seasoning. We devour it.

  10. 5 stars
    I made this for the first time today and it’s definitely going into rotation, whole family loved it! I doubled the recipe and I used 1 lb. ground beef and 1 lb. Italian Sausage, 2 tsps. sugar and 16 oz. Spaghetti noodles. It was so easy to make and was delicious! I served it with 3-Cheese Garlic Bread.

  11. 5 stars
    Delicious....such an easy recipe to make and the taste is just insane. I will never cook my spaghetti the old way. So easy, less time to prepare and one pot and a spoon to clean up 🙂

    I have not tried putting the sugar into this recipe as I do not care for a sweet sauce, I also throw in some whole mushrooms as well.

  12. 5 stars
    My friend made this camping! Cooked it on camp stove. Awesome taste!
    I just made here at home. Definitely a keeper. We enjoyed it very much

    1. Hi, this looks good, but wondering if you can use a different type of pasta like rotini or penne instead of spaghetti? Would this still work?

      1. Hi Sharon! Yes! I regularly make this recipe using an 8-ounce box of chickpea rotini (since one of my kids can't have gluten) and it works great. Just keep in mind that if you use a different type/shape of pasta, the recipe could require a slight adjustment to the total cook time or the amount of total liquid needed. 🙂

          1. Oh my goodness...I've never even heard of Garlic Better than Bouillon! I'm going to have to hunt some down as that sounds delicious. 😉 But yes, I think you could definitely substitute it for half of the beef base in the recipe. I include BTB in this recipe for depth of flavor, so any variety should contribute to that. 🙂

          2. 5 stars
            I just made this delicious spaghetti recipe exactly as written. It was so delicious. It had such a nice creamy texture and the flavors were great. I will definitely make spaghetti this way again and again.