Slow Cooker Pasta
Easy slow cooker pasta recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Starts off with pasta sauce jars and packed with Italian herbs, onions, green peppers, garlic, parmesan cheese.
Pasta is always a hit in our house and the definition of comfort food. The only thing that could make it better is this fast and easy preparation using the crockpot! Need more pasta recipes for busy nights? Then make sure to try this Slow Cooker Chicken Pesto Pasta and this Slow Cooker Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo.
How to Make Slow Cooker Pasta Recipe From Scratch?
- Add ingredients to crockpot– This includes pasta sauce, broth, onion, green peppers, garlic powder, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Mix– Until combined.
- Add remaining ingredients– This includes pasta, more tomato sauce parmesan cheese.
- Cover and cook– On High heat.
- Enjoy- Garnish with parsley, basil, parmesan cheese.
What Sides to Serve with Crockpot Pasta?
Salad is a great choice because the lighter nature of it balances the heavier pasta well. Try a simple green salad, tomato, or cucumber salad!
Soup is also a wonderful choice. Choose a broth based or vegetable based soup in order to not add another heavy dish to the meal.
Bread is another filling side. Try garlic bread or cheesy bread sticks.
Variations for Slow Cooker Penne Pasta
Make creamy pasta– Mix in half and half, heavy cream, or even cream cheese at the end to make a creamy version.
Add proteins– Such as chicken, ground beef, shrimp, or Italian sausage. Make sure it’s already cooked through. Leftovers are great for this.
Pasta bake– Remove lid, sprinkle lots of shredded cheese on top and broil in oven until the cheese is bubbly and melted. You cannot bake with the lid because it will melt.
Add vegetables– Such as celery, carrots, spinach, green beans other colors of bell peppers, mushrooms, or even zucchini.
Make is spicy– Add red chili flakes for a little heat.
Add other cheese– Such as goat cheese, ricotta, or mozzarella cheese.
Use different pasta– Such as large shells, penne, macaroni, rigatoni, rotini. Don’t use linguine or angel hair pasta or even spaghetti because they tend to over-cook and become “mushy” very quickly.
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
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. 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.”
Check pasta at 30-40 minutes– Do this to make sure it’s not over-cooked and mushy. The best pasta texture is al dente.
Can you put dry pasta in slow cooker? Yes, as long as you include enough liquid to cook the noodles without them burning on the bottom of the crockpot.
How long does pasta take to cook in the crockpot? Cook on High heat for 1 hour or until pasta is cooked through. Be sure to stir everything together at the 30 minute point. 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 properly cook the noodles.
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, for some reason, your pasta ends up too thin, simply cook it uncovered a little longer until some of the liquid has steamed off. 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 mixture.
Amount of seasoning can be adjusted- This is entirely up to your preference. Add more or less Italian seasoning.
Don’t use thin pasta- Such as angel hair, spaghetti or linguine. That’s because they tend to over-cook very quickly.
Refrigerate– In a sealed container for up to 3 days.
Freeze– I don’t recommend freezing because the pasta disintegrates when thawed.
Reheat- In the microwave. You may need to add a splash of water or broth because the pasta will absorb a lot of the sauce.
More Slow Cooker Vegetarian Recipes
- Slow Cooker Brown Lentil Soup
- Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Slow Cooker Pasta
- 2 jars Pasta sauce , 24 oz. jars each
- 1 cup Broth, Vegetable, Low sodium, Can be replaced with water
- 1/2 cup Onion, Finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Green peppers, Finely chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- Pepper , To taste
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 pound Ziti pasta, Uncooked
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, Freshly shredded or grated
- Pour one jar of pasta sauce, broth, onion, green peppers, garlic powder, pepper, Italian seasoning in a crockpot (6 quart or larger).
- Mix until combined.
- Add the pasta and parmesan cheese.
- Then, pour the second jar of pasta as evenly as you can, on top of the cheese.
- Cover and cook on High heat for 1 hour or until pasta is cooked through. Be sure to stir everything together at the 30 minute point. 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.
- Garnish with fresh parsley or basil and more parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- 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.