50 BEST Budget-Friendly Pasta Recipes

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50 Of the BEST Pasta Recipes

If I had to pick the type of food that everyone loves, it would have to be pasta. So many recipes use pasta, regardless of the area of the world where they originate. Even people on special diets can eat pasta, with just a few modifications– you can find gluten-free, whole-grain, and low-carb pasta on most grocery store shelves. While pasta itself isn’t a low-calorie food, the other ingredients you add are what really affect the nutritional profile. If you’re trying to eat light, don’t rule out pasta from your menu choices! We’ve collected the best of the best and grouped them by category. Look for easy pasta recipes, casseroles, soup, salads, creamy comfort recipes, vegetarian and vegan recipes, pasta for BBQs, and pasta dishes featuring chicken, ramen, and sausage.

Easy Pasta Recipes

Collage of Easy Pasta Recipes

Beginner cooks look for easy recipes–and we have a slew of them here. These recipes are so delicious, though, that even highly experienced kitchen pros will love what we have lined up here!

1. One-Pot Spaghetti

This One-Pot Spaghetti uses luxuriously saucy pasta with the best hearty meat sauce. And with a few hidden veggies, this dish makes for a well balanced dinner.

One reader said: “I made this tonight for dinner and my family really liked it….it was delicious and the directions were spot on!”

2. Broccoli Pasta

This Broccoli Pasta is the ultimate crowd pleaser. It’s one of those dishes that everyone just loves. And the best part? It can be on the table in 20 minutes or less.

One reader said: “Just made this – delicious!!! 🙂”

3. Creamy Orzo

This crazy-popular Creamy Orzo Pasta is all made in ONE pot! It packs in the flavor and plenty of veggies to make this kid friendly and simple! 

One reader said: “I try tons of recipes and usually don’t leave a review, but this recipe quickly became a favorite of mine. This recipe turns out amazing every time I make it. The leftovers are great and I look forward to eating them every time.”

4. Red and White Pasta

Would you believe me if I told you this dish only has four ingredients and takes just 15 minutes to prepare? Well, it does, and it’s seriously the easiest and yummiest dish! 

One reader said: “My kids loved this, especially the teen girls who prefer vegetarian dishes. I plan to make it again for a larger crowd, one as-is for the kids, and one with some extra veggies for the adults. Thank you for the easy and delicious recipe!”

5. Caprese Pasta

Caprese Pasta is insanely delicious and so flavorful! It’s the perfect weeknight dinner– we use store-bought Zesty Italian Dressing to cut down on prep and it makes all the difference!

One reader said: “I made tonight for dinner and my whole family loved it!!! And i’m 13!!! recommend it.”

Casserole Pasta Recipes

Collage of Pasta Casserole Recipes

6. Baked Mac and Cheese

We are obsessed with this Baked Mac and Cheese! It’s so easy, creamy, cheesy, and rich with the perfect blend of cheeses and the ultimate crispy topping! 

One reader said: “Good recipe. Easy to make and it turns out creamy, cheesy with a wonderful crunchy topping. I added a variety of cheeses and a bit of heat for my family but the recipe as written is perfect.”

7. Tuna Casserole (One Pan!)

Tuna Casserole is completely prepared and assembled in one pan. We throw uncooked pasta, tuna, and veggies into one baking dish and bake it to creamy perfection.

One reader said: “Such a good casserole! This is my go to dish to bring to literally anything!! Thanks for the recipe!”

8. Chicken Parmesan Pasta (One Pan!)

Chicken Parmesan Pasta couldn’t be easier. Throw everything, yes even the uncooked pasta, into a baking dish! This is the ultimate kid and family friendly dish! 

One reader said: “This recipe is a STAPLE in our household!! Thanks Chelsea!”

9. Tortellini Casserole

This vegetarian Tortellini Casserole is filled with veggies and coated in a light, but tasty cream sauce!

One reader said: “I made this exactly according to the recipe and it came out FANTASTIC! The creamy sauce was tasty and not too heavy. A perfect filling dish with summer veggies.”

10. Baked Ziti

Baked Ziti is always the answer! It’s comfort food at it’s finest and the kind of dish that everyone loves! We use three different kinds of cheese to make this cheesy perfection! 

One reader said: “This was a huge hit with my family. From the 7 year old to the 17! The kids and my husband all had seconds. Thank you.”

Pasta Soup Recipes

Collage of Pasta Soup Recipes

11. Vegetable Noodle Soup

Everyone needs a light Vegetable Noodle Soup in their back pocket. This one-pot soup has an array of mixed veggies, orzo pasta, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese! 

One reader said: “Chelsea I’m so grateful for your website! I should probably comment more than I do but you should know that I wanna say thank you for your service in feeding hungry families!!!”

12. Chicken Parmesan Soup

Chicken Parmesan Soup can be ready in 20 minutes and it’s packed with flavor, uses good-for-you ingredients, and has all the best flavors of everyones favorite chicken Parm! 

One reader said: “This soup was that wonderful. Even my picky eaters enjoyed it. Thank you for such an easy and amazing soup that will be added to our regular recipes.”

13. Sausage Tortellini Soup

We can’t get enough of this creamy and flavorful Sausage Tortellini Soup! It’s comfort in a bowl with its cheese-filled tortellini, Italian sausage, and herbs! 

One reader said: “Doubled the recipe for a church potluck tonight and it was a hit! Everyone was asking for the recipe. Sending them to your site. Looking forward to trying your other recipes. Thanks!”

14. Pasta Soup

Pasta Soup is a dish the whole family will love. It’s uses simple yet delicious ingredients and packs in the flavor with the Italian sausage and perfect mix of veggies!

One reader said: “Made this for dinner tonight and it is just as good as it looks. My husband loved it!”

15. Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Trust me when I say this is the first thing you’re going to want when you feel that winter cold coming on! Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is comfort food to the max! 

One reader said: “Saw this luscious soup today, ran to the supermarket to got the ingredients I didn’t have and made it for dinner. It tastes just as good as it looks. It’s DELICIOUS! Very yummy and it’s pretty too!”

Chicken Pasta Dishes

Collage of Chicken Pasta Recipes

16. Chicken And Broccoli Pasta

Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta combines saucy pasta shells with tender chicken and seasoned broccoli  It couldn’t be simpler or more delicious! 

One reader said: “My family and I love this recipe. We repeatedly use the seasonings in this recipe for chicken alone. It’s just soo good.”

17. Tuscan Chicken Pasta (One Pan!)

One of my family’s all-time favorite dishes is this Tuscan Chicken Pasta! It’s all made in ONE pan and it just doesn’t get much better than this!  

One reader said: “I cannot believe how easy this was! And how good it tasted! I will never stop making this!!”

18. Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

This lightened-up Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is rich and filling while also being lower in calories. We swap a few ingredients to bring you the Alfredo flavor you know and love with a fraction of the calories! 

One reader said: “We made this dish for dinner tonight and it was delicious and easy! One of our new favorites, thanks for sharing.”

19. Chicken Stroganoff

This creamy and flavorful Chicken Stroganoff is made with onions, mushrooms, and instead of your typical beef- chicken! It’s insanely delicious! 

One reader said: “This recipe has become a nearly weekly event because we love it so much. And, I found it by googling chicken stroganoff no soup mix recipes. So fabulous. Thank you for sharing!”

20. Chicken Chow Mein

Our Chicken Chow Mein is wildly popular and for good reason! This easy 30-minute dinner has tender chicken bites, tons of veggies, and an addictive savory sauce coating it all! 

One reader said: “This chow mein is just like takeout but so much better! Cant believe how easy it was.”

Best Pasta Salads

Collage of Pasta Salad Recipes

21. Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad hits the spot every time! It’s the perfect combination of flavors to blow everyone’s mind! 

One reader said: “I absolutely loved this recipe! Such a delicious summer meal! Thank you.”

22. Pasta Salad

This Pasta Salad is always a crowd pleaser! It’s light and fresh with an easy two-ingredient Zesty Italian vinaigrette drizzled over everything.

One reader said: “Have made this pasta salad for quite a few family events and cookouts. Every time I whip it up, I double it and think it is going to be way too much as a side (the 6-8 servings/recipe estimate is spot on); and every time, all of it somehow disappears. Thanks for a great staple recipe!”

23. Asian Pasta Salad

Asian Pasta Salad went viral and for good reason: it’s loaded with tender pasta, fresh vegetables, sweet and juicy mandarins, plus a delicious dressing!

One reader said: “Made this for a Sunday dinner gathering. It was a hit. The bowl was licked clean. Everyone loved it. Provided a nice light cooling salad for heat of summer. Love it will make it again.”

24. Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad

We love this Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad! It’s the perfect seasonal salad with pasta, spinach, tart apples, crisp celery, toasted pecans, sweet dried cranberries, and juicy oranges. This salad is dressed with a simple poppy seed vinaigrette.

One reader said: “This salad was absolutely AMAZING. My 15-year-old daughter (who is super picky) even took some in her lunch the next day. Added to the list for Thanksgiving…thank you so much!!!!”

25. Broccoli-Grape Pasta Salad

You need this Broccoli-Grape Pasta Salad at your BBQ! It showcases broccoli, farfalle pasta, bacon, grapes, and pecans. The salad is set off with a creamy mayo-based dressing that is naturally sweetened and loaded with flavor!

One reader said: “I’m always looking for simple and easy recipes to make for myself and when I saw your salads I fell in love with them. Thank you for sharing and making my life heaven.”

Vegetarian Pasta Dishes

Collage of Vegetarian Pasta Recipes

26. Vegetable Pasta

We’re about to change your life with this Vegetable Pasta! It’s made with no heavy cream, milk, flour, or specialty ingredients. So how do we get this level of creaminess? You’ll have to find out! Trust me you want to make this one!

One reader said: “This is the best recipe for kids! They eat their vegetables and don’t complain once because it’s so good! Thank you for another great recipe!!”

27. Corn Pasta (Secretly Healthy!)

Corn Pasta is a ridiculously creamy pasta made without any cream or milk. This unforgettably tasty pasta can be enjoyed any time of the year, thanks to canned and frozen produce! 

One reader said: “Another favorite recipe!! This has become a staple in our house! Thanks Chelsea!”

28. Zucchini Pasta Sauce

Every year we have a plethora of zucchini from the garden and somehow it’s never enough! We make this Zucchini Pasta Sauce over and over again! It’s that good!

One reader said: “I made this last night, oh my gosh it was good. So good I made it twice. Once for us and then decided to make another for my parents. My husband loved it and my mom could not believe how much flavor there was. Followed the recipe exactly. Thanks for the recipe!”

29. Creamy Pesto Pasta

Creamy Pesto Pasta with fettuccine noodles, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes is tossed in a flavorful pesto-Alfredo sauce. This amazing dish can be on the table in under 30 minutes!

One reader said: “This dish is delicious and very easy to make. Thank you so much!”

30. Bruschetta Pasta

Bruschetta Pasta is fresh, light, and filled with flavor– and couldn’t be easier to make! We’re obsessed! 

One reader said: “I’ve literally never left a comment about recipe, but I felt compelled to compliment you on this dish. I cook often, and I am not easily impressed, but WOW. My husband and I were stunned by how well this recipe married these simple ingredients to create such a terrific dish. We will half it for the two of us next time, but there will DEFINITELY be a next time. It was perfect! Thank you!”


Collage of Ramen Pasta Recipes

31. Garlic, Beef and Veggie Ramen

This viral Garlic, Beef and Veggie Ramen has over 150 5-star reviews, and for good reason! It’s an easy dinner recipe that is so much better than takeout!

One reader said: “I make this recipe for my bosses (I’m a nanny) several times a year and I’ve made it once so far for my hubby & myself & I can’t rave enough about how delicious it is! Thanks for the terrific recipe!”

32. Chicken Ramen Noodles

Saucy Chicken Ramen Noodles with broccoli and a simple stir-fry sauce makes an easy weeknight meal the whole family will be obsessed with! 

One reader said: “This was delish! I added a little red pepper for color and a small can of baby corn I cut up. Easy, once prepped.”

33. Pork Ramen Stir Fry

This Pork Ramen Stir Fry is ridiculously easy! It’s loaded with veggies, plenty of noodles, and the best stir-fry sauce! Kid-friendly and picky-eater approved!

One reader said: “This was so good and came together really quickly! Thanks for another great recipe!”

34. Ground Beef Ramen

Ground Beef Ramen combines juicy ground beef, an array of tender veggies, and saucy ramen noodles to make an unforgettable, flavor-packed 30-minute meal the whole family will love!

One reader said: “We just made the ground beef ramen and noodles and it is fantastic – such delightful flavors!!”

35. Skillet Beef and Broccoli Ramen

This Skillet Beef and Broccoli Ramen is famous! It gets rave reviews and people can’t get enough of it! This is a must try!

One reader said: “Easily one of the best dinners I’ve ever had! Rave reviews from the whole family!”

Creamy Comfort Food Pasta Recipes

Collage of Creamy Pasta Comfort Recipes

36. Philly Cheesesteak Pasta

A delicious take on the flavors from the famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich — transformed into a cheesy and comforting pasta dish! 

One reader said: “My family & I LOVED it! So delicious; it tastes exactly like a Philly cheese steak without the bread.”

37. Chicken Orzo (One Pot!)

This Chicken Orzo is prepared in ONE POT! This risotto-reminiscent meal is filled with bites of seasoned chicken, juicy sun-dried tomatoes, tender cooked spinach, and perfectly al dente pasta. 

One reader said: “So delicious!! Cannot wait to make this again!”

38. Chicken Pot Pie Pasta

This one-pot Chicken Pot Pie Pasta is packed with delicious ingredients! It is comfort food at its finest with minimal chopping, minimal clean-up, and minimal hands-on time — we employ a few short-cuts to have this meal ready in 30 minutes or less!

One reader said: “Everyone loved this! Even my husband took some to work the next day (he very seldom takes leftovers). It made a lot so I shared it with some friends. They thought I spent a lot of time ‘slaving’ over a hot stove to make it. Now everyone wants the recipe! ”

39. Creamy Chicken Pasta

Creamy Chicken Pasta starts with thick fettuccine cooked to al dente perfection, tossed with garlic butter mushrooms, rotisserie chicken, tender spinach, and garlic-herb cheese. And the secret to keeping this dish simple? We use Boursin cheese as the sauce! 

One reader said: “This is delicious!!! My family gave it 5 stars! I added some sun dried tomatoes just because I love them! :). Thank you for another winner! ”

40. Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo combines tender bowtie noodles, succulent seasoned chicken, and the most amazing Alfredo sauce. 

One reader said: “Loved it! Delicious!”

Pasta Dishes To Bring To A BBQ

Collage of Pasta Recipes for BBQs

41. Tuna Macaroni Salad

This is our absolute favorite creamy Tuna Macaroni Salad! It’s made with tender elbow macaroni noodles, olive-oil packed tuna, lots of veggies, and a creamy dressing with a “secret ingredient” that adds so much flavor to this salad!

One reader said: “Just made this–delicious! Also great with shrimp!”

42. Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad

With over 200 rave reviews, this Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad is one of the most popular on the site! Toss bowtie pasta with lots of corn, fresh herbs, black beans, and a simple creamy chili-lime dressing.

One reader said: “Outstanding! I took this to a concert in the park and everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you! I love Mexican street corn, and I make sure get one anytime I’m up in LA and see a vendor. This is my new favorite recipe.”

43. Orzo Pasta Salad

Mediterranean-inspired Orzo Pasta Salad with fresh cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, sweet corn, parsley, feta cheese, and a delicious lemon dressing.

One reader said: “One of the best pasta recipes I ever did. Is not hard to make either.”

44. Taco Pasta Salad

We love this easy Taco Pasta Salad that combines pasta, taco-seasoned meat, iceberg lettuce, black beans, and veggies. A homemade creamy chili-lime dressing is the perfect complement to this salad.

One reader said: “This recipe is so delicious and easy to make. Instead of a side dish, we ate it for our main course. I used spiral pasta, it turned out great. I’m sure it will be a repeated favorite.”

45. BBQ Pasta Salad

This BBQ Pasta Salad is sure to be unforgettable at your next potluck or summer party! Drizzle on a BBQ-spiked creamy dressing and this salad is ready to devour.

One reader said: “I made this last night. I used smoked chicken instead of pork. My friend that smoked the chicken, has his own brand of bbq sauce so I used that in the dressing. It was soooo good. Will make this again!”

Sausage Pasta Recipes

Collage of Sausage Pasta Recipes

46. Cheesy Sausage Pasta (One Pan!)

This simple Cheesy Sausage Pasta is all made in ONE baking dish — the oven does all the work! And the best part? It’s insanely delicious!

One reader said: “So easy and so delicious! Dinner was ready quick! We have enjoyed all of Chelsea’s recipes”

47. One-Pot Creamy Cajun Sausage & Veggie Pasta

An easy one pot creamy cajun sausage and veggie pasta made healthier and a little lighter!

One reader said: “This is a superbly delicious recipe. I made it for our meal prep recently. It also went well with a chicken apple sausage that I had on hand. I love the fact that I could really just use one pan with this recipe! S/O loved it too!”

48. Sweet Potato Pasta

Indulgent Sweet Potato Pasta with roasted and seasoned sweet potatoes, onions, and chicken sausage. The pasta and veggies are tossed in an unforgettable creamy goat cheese sauce and topped with Parmesan.

One reader said: “This was awesome! I just made it tonight and it was delicious. All of the steps flowed together easily, the ingredients were simple and healthy, and it was all cooked in two pots. Thank you!!!”

49. Healthy Pasta Bake

This Healthy Pasta Bake is made without a heavy, cream-based sauce. The “secret” ingredient to the creamy, but nutritious, sauce? A can of corn! Blend it together with the sauce, pour it over uncooked pasta, and then let the oven do all the work!

One reader said: “This was awesome! I just made it tonight and it was delicious. All of the steps flowed together easily, the ingredients were simple and healthy, and it was all cooked in two pots. Thank you!!!”

50. Creamy Sausage Pasta

Creamy Sausage Pasta starts with thick, saucy fettuccine tossed with crumbled Italian sausage, succulent sun-dried tomatoes, and tender spinach.

One reader said: “Excellent dish, the flavors blended so well, better than most restaurants. Will definitely make again.”

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