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When you need a homemade meal in 30 minutes or less, grab this Pizza Pasta Bake recipe. It’s Italian-American comfort food at its best, with your favorite pizza flavors in every cheesy bite. Best of all, everything goes right in one pot so cleanup is a breeze!
At the end of a difficult day—crazy traffic, dull meetings, cranky kids, or a combination of all three—this is the recipe that makes it all better.
Everyone loves pizza and pasta, and putting them together is always a big YES in my house.
And how about those mini-pepperonis? Technically they taste the same as regular pepperoni, but my brain says they taste better because they’re tiny.
And before I forget: The biggest reason this recipe is in my regular rotation? There’s only one, uno, pot to wash at the end of the night. No draining pasta, no colander to wash, just one glorious pot.
Got a giant pot and a giant appetite for One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Where can you find mini pepperonis?
Most people find the packages of minis at Target or Walmart. Don’t fret too much if you can’t find them, though. You can still use regular pepperoni, or you can slice them into ribbons or quarter them and it will taste just as good.
I don’t like pepperoni. What can I substitute?
Just like your favorite delivery pizza, if you don’t like pepperoni, just leave ‘em out. Add extra sausage, or sliced mushrooms, or bacon. This is your pizza pasta.
Can I make One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake healthy? (p.s. of course you can)
- Add a bag of baby spinach to the pot, to add some greens.
- Use turkey sausage instead of traditional Italian sausage.
- Sub in your whole wheat pasta, or make it gluten-free with your favorite GF pasta.
- Use a low fat mozzarella cheese.
What else can I add to One Pot Pizza Pasta?
Think of this one-pot recipe as you do a pizza. Try diced red or green peppers, onion, chopped black olives, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, basil leaves, you name it.
Amp up the flavors and throw in some real garlic and shallots. This dish can be dressed up or down; that’s what makes it so wonderful.
Sometimes, I’ll substitute a can of diced tomatoes for one of the cans of tomato sauce, to give a chunky tomato texture to the pasta. Delish!
Why doesn’t this recipe called One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake, but doesn’t require baking?
Since this recipe is on the larger side, I find that the heat from the pot melts the cheese sufficiently without having to use an oven. By all means, bake it up in the oven (350 degrees for 5-10 minutes) or under the broiler (HIGH 1-3 minutes) to toast the cheese if you have the patience. My family usually can’t wait!
Can you make One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake in an Instant Pot?
You can, but it may even take longer to cook, because everything has to get up to pressure, cook, and then depressurize.
Here’s how I would do it:
- Brown the sausage in the cooker, using the ‘sauté’ function.
- Add the seasonings, and stir everything up.
- Add the water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen the browned bits of sausage.
- Then add the pasta in a single layer, without stirring.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the pasta, covering it completely. Do not stir.
- Cancel the sauté function. Put the lid on the pot and turn it to the sealing position. Press the manual cook button and set the time for 4 minutes for rotini. (If you are using a different pasta, set the time for half the time of what the pasta directions tell you.)
- When the timer goes off, do a quick release of the pressure/steam by turning the steam release knob to the venting position.
- When safely released, open the lid and stir the pasta. Stir in half of the cheese and most of the pepperoni, reserving a handful for garnishing the top.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and arrange the reserved pepperoni. Close the lid and allow the cheese to melt.
One Pot Pizza Pasta Bake
- 16 ounces Italian sausage casings removed
- 1 (5 ounce) package mini pepperoni divided
- 3 cups water
- 16 ounces rotini pasta
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- In a Dutch oven or large oven-proof skillet, add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Drain well if desired.
- Stir in water, pasta, tomato sauce, ½ cup mini pepperoni, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 12 to 14 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat; top with mozzarella and remaining pepperoni. Cover until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.