Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Pasta

Easy slow cooker creamy tomato pasta recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Loaded with tomatoes, cheese, pesto sauce, Italian herbs.

This meal is the best for those crazy busy weeknights. It’s a delicious homemade meal, that I barely have to “cook”, and that everyone is always happy with! What could be a better combo? This Slow Cooker Pasta is the non-creamy version of this dish. Try out both and see which one you like more.

Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Pasta Served in White Bowl on White Background

How To Make Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Pasta Recipe From Scratch?

  1. Add ingredients in crockpot- This includes half the pasta sauce, broth, onion, garlic, pesto sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning.
  2. Mix– Until combined.
  3. Add remaining ingredients– This includes pasta, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and spoonfuls of cream cheese.
  4. Pour remaining sauce– Evenly on top of the cheeses.
  5. Cover- And cook.
  6. Enjoy- Mix everything together.

Ingredients for Creamy Tomato Pasta Sauce/Pasta Sauce with Cream/Red Pasta Sauce

  • Pasta sauce– Use your favorite tomato based sauce.
  • Broth– Either low sodium chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Pesto sauce– This can be homemade or store-bought.
  • Seasonings- Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning.
  • Dairy– Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cream cheese.

What Sides To Serve With Crockpot Tomato Cream Pasta (Without Cream)?

Salad is a great compliment to this creamy pasta. The light, crisp, and cool nature of a green salad is the perfect counterpart to this pasta. You can also serve an Italian chopped salad or cucumber salad, if you prefer.

A lighter broth or vegetable based soup is also a great pairing to balance the heaviness of the creamy pasta.

Vegetables such as Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots or Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole. Roasted vegetables make a delicious addition as well.

Bread is always a hit. Try dinner rolls, garlic bread, breadsticks.

Crockpot Cheesy Pasta in White Bowl on White Background

Variations

Add other cheeses– Such as romano, goat or even feta.

Add chicken– Mix in leftover chicken from a previous meal or shredded/ diced rotisserie chicken for a heartier protein packed pasta.

Add sausage– Add cooked mild or spicy Italian sausage for a more filling meal.

Add shrimp– Cdd cooked shrimp, just before serving.

Add beef– Cooked ground or shredded beef would add great flavor and texture.

Add ham– Use leftover cubed or shredded ham for a salty addition.

Add other vegetables– Spinach, peppers, and mushrooms would make a delicious addition.

Add stuffed pastas– Like ravioli or tortellini. Use pastas that are filled with meat or vegetables, unless you want an even creamier dish.

Add sun-dried tomatoes– For a tangy and sweet tomato flavor.

Make it vegan– Use vegan cheese or leave the dairy out all together. Also, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Make it spicy– Add red chili flakes.

Add roasted red peppers– For additional flavor.

Add other seasonings– Like Greek, Cajun, or Mexican seasoning. It will change the flavor completely.

Make it healthier – Replace regular pasta with whole wheat pasta. The cooking time will vary. It typically takes more time for whole wheat pasta to cook through compared to regular pasta.

Tips And Techniques

Use big pastas– Because they hold their shape better during cooking and won’t become soft and over cook quickly. Don’t use small shells and macaroni or spaghetti.

The cooking time can vary greatly– This is due to many factors: brand of slow cooker, how well it seals, the age of the crockpot, the size of crockpot etc. Even the brand and type of pasta matters. Spaghetti cooks really quickly compared to penne or ziti.

Cook on high heat- This is important because cooking on low heat is more likely to overcook the pasta and cause it to become “mushy.”

Can you put dry pasta in slow cooker? Yes, as long as you include enough liquid (in this case, broth and sauce) to cook the noodles.

How long does pasta take to cook in the crockpot? Cook on High heat for 1 hour or until pasta is cooked through. Please note that your cooking time may vary, based on the brand, size and even age of crockpot you are using. For me, 1 hour was the best cooking time. For you, it could be higher up to 1.5 hours or lower at just 40-45 minutes. Keep a close eye.

Do you need to add water when cooking in the slow cooker? You do not need to add water. I use broth in order to add flavor and not dilute the pasta. Between the jars of sauces and broth, there is enough liquid to cook the noodles thoroughly.

Use low sodium broth– Because this prevents the meal from becoming too salty.

What size crockpot to use? I recommend a 6 quart pot or larger for this recipe.

How to thicken pasta? If your pasta is too thin, simply cook it uncovered a little longer until some of the liquid has evaporated. Pasta will also thicken over time as it absorbs more liquid/sauce.

How to make pasta thinner? If your pasta is too thick or you just prefer it thinner, simply add a little broth or water to the pasta.

Amount of seasoning can be adjusted- This is entirely up to your preference. Add more or less Italian seasoning.

Closeup Shot of Fork Full of Tomato Cream Pasta

Storage

Refrigerate– In a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Freeze– I do not recommend freezing due to the high dairy content of the sauce. It will separate upon thawing. Also, pasta does not thaw well.

Reheat– In the microwave. You may need to add a splash of broth or water, because the pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce.

More Slow Cooker Pasta Recipes

Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Pasta

Easy slow cooker creamy tomato pasta recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Loaded with tomatoes, cheese, pesto sauce, Italian herbs.

Ingredients

  • 2 jars Pasta sauce, 24 oz. jars each
  • 1 cup Broth, Vegetable or chicken, Low sodium
  • 1/2 cup Onion, Finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp Pesto sauce
  • Salt, To taste
  • Pepper, To taste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound Ziti pasta, Or penne pasta, Uncooked
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Shredded
  • 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese, Shredded
  • 1/4 cup Cream cheese

Instructions

  • Add one jar of pasta sauce, broth, onion, garlic, pesto sauce, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning in a crockpot (6 quart or larger).
  • Mix until combined.
  • Add the pasta, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and spoonfuls or cream cheese.
  • Then, pour the second jar of pasta as evenly as you can, on top of the cheeses.
  • Cover and cook on High heat for 1 hour or until pasta is cooked through.
  • Please note that your cooking time may vary, based on the brand, size and even age of crockpot you are using. For me, 1 hour was the best cooking time. For you, it could be higher up to 1.5 hours or lower at just 40-45 minutes. Keep a close eye.
  • Mix everything together.
  • Garnish with roughly chopped fresh parsley or basil and more shredded cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave. A splash of water or broth may be required because the pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 372kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 337mg, Potassium: 218mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 383IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 116mg, Iron: 1mg

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