This One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta is so quick to make – and you only need a single pot! Even the pasta cooks right in the sauce for easy cleanup.
Cooking the pasta in the tomato sauce makes the sauce creamy without the need for lots of extra fat, and the pasta soaks up so much flavor! For other easy one pot pasta recipes, see my One Pot Taco Pasta or my One Pot “Baked” Ziti!
Besides my One Pot Ham and Pea Pasta, this Creamy Tomato Pasta is my absolute go-to on busy weeknights.
My kids will eat this right up and I can throw it together in no time, which makes it a real win for me.
Making a one pot pasta is so, so easy – you simply throw everything into a single pot and let it do its thing. Then the sauce AND pasta are ready at the same time, and you don’t even have to drain a heavy pot of pasta.
Draining pasta doesn’t seem like much, until your timer is up but you’re holding a toddler AND a baby… Right?! So this is definitely busy mom approved.
This One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta
- comes together in a single pot for easy clean up after dinner
- gets so creamy and delicious without the need for much extra fat (and there’s not a single drop of heavy cream!)
- is flavorful enough for grown ups, but mild enough for small kids, so everybody gets to eat together!
Cozy tomato-based pasta dishes are an absolute hit at my house.
When I have more time, I often make Baked Ziti with Sausage, or a simple Skillet Lasagna. And this creamy tomato pasta fits the bill when we’re craving the tomato-y comfort, but lack the time (or nerves…) for more!
How to Make One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta
Here are the steps for this super easy dinner recipe.
To learn if you can make this ahead, what to do with leftovers and more tips and the printable recipe card, scroll down below.
1 – Chop the aromatics: First, you’re going to chop an onion and mince garlic. And chop some sun-dried tomatoes if you’re feeling fancy. If your kids hate all of those, it’s fine to just leave them out. There will be a little less flavor, but it’s still delicious!
2 – Sauté the aromatics by heating olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic (and the sun-dried tomatoes, if using). After a minute or two, stir in the tomato paste and Italian seasoning and cook for one more minute.
3 – Add liquids and pasta: Pour 3 cups chicken broth into the pan and stir well to get any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the can of diced tomatoes and the pasta, season to taste and simmer until the pasta is done. This will usually take 10-15 minutes, depending on your pasta. You may need to add a little extra liquid as it’s cooking (again, depends on your pasta), but remember we’re trying to make a sauce, so don’t thin it out.
4 – One the pasta is done, stir in grated parmesan and cream cheese (or ricotta, or mascarpone, or even sour cream… whatever you have!). You can also stir in chopped parsley, my dad used to make a dish like this with parsley and it’s a total childhood memory for me. Basil would also be nice.
5 – Let the pasta sit for a few minutes to thicken further, then serve immediately (or it will get mushy).
Tips for This One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta:
- do not pre-cook the pasta – it goes in dry! (and yes, this absolutely works)
- if the pasta is done but the sauce seems too soupy, wait for 3-4 minutes after stirring in the cheeses to see if it thickens enough while cooling. If it doesn’t, you can try adding a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of cold water. Bring to a boil once while stirring and it should thicken right up.
- to add chicken to the pasta dish, brown two diced chicken breasts before adding the onion and garlic. Proceed with the recipe as written.
Can you make one pot pasta ahead of time? Or freeze it?
I don’t recommend purposefully making ahead a one pot pasta, simply because the pasta tends to soak up all the sauce as it sits after cooking.
I also wouldn’t recommend you freeze it for the same reasons.
One pot pasta is so quick and easy to make as-is, I prefer freezing things like more time-consuming casseroles!
What do you do with leftovers?
If you end up with substantial leftovers, you can turn them into a pasta bake.
Place them in a casserole dish, cover and chill in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, stir in an extra can of diced tomatoes and sprinkle the top with cheese.
Bake at 400°F for 20-30 minutes, or until piping hot and bubbly.
If you want some veggies on the side, my easy sautéed green beans are a great choice! Steamed broccoli or a simple green salad go well with this dish, too.
One Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ⅓ cup sundried tomatoes chopped (optional – I love it but my kids refuse to eat it)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 3 cups chicken stock or water
- 1 15- oz can diced tomatoes
- 12 oz short pasta shapes I used bow ties
- Salt & pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup cream cheese ricotta, mascarpone… whatever you have on hand! Use more for extra creaminess.
- Chopped flat leaf parsley optional
- Sauté: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and Italian seasoning and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add liquids and pasta: Pour the chicken stock into the pan, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the can of diced tomatoes and pasta and season to taste.
- Cook the pasta: Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until pasta is done, about 10-15 minutes. If the pasta starts looking dry and there doesn't seem to be enough liquid, add a little extra broth during the cooking process.
- Add cheeses: Take the pasta off the heat and stir in the Parmesan and cream cheese. Add parsley if you like. Let the pasta sit and thicken for 3-4 minutes before serving immediately.