Can You Cook Pasta in a Crock Pot?

Have you ever wondered can you cook pasta in a crock pot? Here are the answers to all of your questions!

can you cook pasta in a crock pot
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Cooking pasta in a crock pot can help save lots of time and make dinner prep one step easier! Slow cooker recipes are all about convenience.

Just throw it all in and you have dinner ready with minimal work! Everyone and their mother (literally) has a crock pot.

Or if you’re me, you have two! Crock pots are a universal favorite way to make easy and delicious dinners without having to slave over the stove for hours.

This Easy Crockpot Baked Ziti gets RAVE reviews. Everyone loves this when I make it! So simple to assemble and you don’t even have to cook the noodles first! #crockpotbakedziti #ziti #pasta #slowcooker

One gray area that a lot of people wonder what types of foods cook well in a crock pot. Crock pots are not just for cooking your favorite chili recipe in!

Pasta is often one of those foods that is tricky to work with when using a slow cooker. You don’t want to end up with mushy noodles as texture with pasta is everything.

Today I’m sharing my best tips for how to cook pasta in your crock pot!

how to cook pasta in a crock pot

Can you cook pasta in a crock pot?

Yes you can! This is a commonly asked question and one that can lead to a lot of confusion.

You can absolutely cook pasta in your crock pot, and there is no need to cook it on the stove when you intend to use it in a slow cooker recipe.

This Easy Crockpot Baked Ziti gets RAVE reviews. Everyone loves this when I make it! So simple to assemble and you don’t even have to cook the noodles first! #crockpotbakedziti #ziti #pasta #slowcooker

How to cook pasta in a crock pot

Here are my top tips for cooking pasta in a crock pot. Remember that every recipe and pasta is different, so not every cook time can apply to each type of pasta!

  1. Add the pasta in raw (no need to cook at all or rinse it). The exception to this rule is for crock pot mac and cheese. For this, you want to partially boil your pasta first before adding it to the crock pot.
  2. Follow recipe specific instructions for optimal pasta texture.
  3. Know your types of pasta – which ones cook fast, which ones can sustain a longer cook time (for example, ziti can handle longer cook time than macaroni noodles).
  4. Check pasta often for doneness towards the end of cook time to avoid mushiness.
  5. Keep experimenting!
This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Mac Recipe is made all in the crockpot (even the noodles!). A super easy vegetarian crockpot recipe to feed a crowd. #vegetarian #slowcooker #crockpot #chilimac

Crock Pot Pasta Recipes

Here are several recipes with pasta that I have cooked in a crock pot.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

For crock pot mac and cheese, I have found that the best method is to boil your macaroni noodles for only 4 minutes, then immediately drain them and add them to your crockpot with the other ingredients.

The noodles will keep cooking as your mac and cheese cooks, and after about 1.5-2 hours they will be the perfect consistency.

I have found that macaroni shaped pasta turns gummy in the crock pot if you cook it raw. This method is the best that I have found for creamy, delicious mac and cheese that isn’t gummy in texture.

macaroni and cheese in a crock pot

Crock pot baked ziti

Crock pot baked ziti is one of my go to recipes to feed a crowd. It is easy, it only takes a few minutes to prep, and is packed with so much flavor. Not to mention your house smells AMAZING while it cooks.

Made this for a pot luck last night and it was awesome! Thankful for a little leftovers today!! Now it’s all gone 🙁 Thank you! Five stars for easy and delicious!! – Beverly

Can you put raw pasta in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! When making crock pot baked ziti, there is no need to cook the noodles first. All you need to do is arrange the layers of noodles, sauce, and ricotta mixture and it’s time to start cooking!

Easy Crock pot Baked Ziti

The noodles will cook in the sauce, and the recipe allows for enough sauce to ensure that your noodles get cooked without being dry.

I love how simple this recipe is. Every time I make it people devour it!

This Easy Crockpot Baked Ziti gets RAVE reviews

Tips for avoiding squishy noodles

The key to avoiding squishy penne noodles is to check the slow cooker baked ziti very closely towards the end of cook time.

In my experience, right around 2 ½ hours on high yields a perfectly cooked but not too squishy pasta.

The number one complaint of crock pot pasta is that it gets too soft, but this can be avoided if you do not cook it too long.

The texture of crock pot pasta is naturally different than what you would get by cooking it on the stove, but you don’t have to compromise all of your texture.

Make sure to cook just long enough to where everything is done but the noodles have not turned to mush.

how to cook ziti pasta in the crock pot

Watch your ziti very closely towards the end and you will have perfectly cooked pasta without hardly any work.

This would also be a great dish to take to a potluck or feed a crowd for a family get together.

Slow Cooker Chili Mac

Next up: my favorite way to cook elbow noodles in a slow cooker! Chili mac is a delicious fall favorite full of comforting cheesy goodness.

Seriously this is so good and has become a staple at our house. It’s perfect for busy nights where I need a no-fuss dinner and some comfort food. Even all of my picky kids eat it with zero complaints. – Cassandra

slow cooker pasta

Chili mac is so simple to make in the crock pot. Traditional chili mac uses macaroni noodles, which will get soft very quickly if you are not careful.

tips for cooking elbow noodles in the slow cooker

The best method for making chili mac in the slow cooker is to cook all of the ingredients for the chili part first.

Once the chili is done cooking, it’s time to add the macaroni noodles. The chili will be boiling hot, so the macaroni noodles will cook quickly. You will only need to leave them in the slow cooker for 20 or 30 minutes and they will be cooked.

This Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili Mac Recipe is made all in the crockpot (even the noodles!). A super easy vegetarian crockpot recipe to feed a crowd. #vegetarian #slowcooker #crockpot #chilimac

Again, cook time is very important here, so check for doneness often and stir frequently. The noodles will increase in volume very rapidly and will cook faster than you think.

Keep stirring and checking once you hit that 15 or 20 minute mark – they should be very close!

Slow Cooker Chili Mac Recipe

These are just a few ways in which you can easily cook pasta in the crock pot.

All types of pasta vary in cook time, so the most important thing you can do is to check often for doneness to avoid any overly soft noodles.

From mac and cheese in the crock pot to baked ziti in the crock pot, there are so many ways that you can enjoy pasta in your favorite crock pot recipes!

Do you have any favorite crock pot pasta recipes? I want to know!

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  1. Can I put raw mince, pasta and and a jar of sauce in the pot tocook all in one. Lazy cook x thank you

  2. Can I make simple spaghetti in a crock pot, and then serve it plain with olive oil and parmesan after cooked? I just bought an Intant Pot and am not sure if I need all the choices on it.

    1. Put pasta, water and salt in the Instant Pot. Make sure the water is completely covering the pasta. If the pasta doesn’t fit in a pot (like spaghetti), break it in half so it fits. Close the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to Sealing position. Press the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” button and set the time to 1 minute (or 2 minutes if you like softer pasta) Add another minute if pasta is still not soft enough to your liking.

    2. @John McCracken, I believe Marianne was asking about the slow cook setting on the Instant Pot, seeing as the recipe is for a slow cooker.
      Marianne, I have made the spaghetti, sauce with pasta many times using the IP slow cook setting. Comes out perfect every time. I do not stir the pasta into the sauce. I push it down lightly so the pasta is covered.

  3. I make mac and cheese in crock pot and put my raw macaroni in and my 1/1 and 1/2 and butter and all my cheese and seasonings and cook for 3 hours and it is perfect!

    1. Would you please share measurements/quantity of each ingredient.
      My mother’s Mac and cheese started with a white sauce added cheese then folded in to already cooked elbows, poured into buttered casserole dish, topped with buttered bread crumbs and baked. I’m 69 and have never succcessfully made her recipe! I want to try your method. I’m tired of Stouffer’s

    2. @Annie clisbee, Annie, your mom’s recipe is the same that I grow up with. I’m thinking that you’ve been unsuccessful because it may be too dry. Try stirring in a few tablespoons of milk before baking and you’ll get a creamer mac and cheese. Hope this helps.

    3. I’m going to a pot luck dinner. I am making a rotisserie chicken in a crockpot with penne pasta.
      How long should I cook the pasta first.
      How long should I cook the pasta?

  4. I am making macaroni and cheese. Put everything in Crock Pot but noodles. Cook noodles for last half hour. Right? How long for milk and cheese to be ready?

    1. I can’t say since I do not know what recipe you are using. Just be sure to check your noodles frequently as they can cook much faster in some recipes!

  5. Hi!! I’m making a pasta salad and want to cook all pasta @ the same time. Can I do it in my Crock Pot

    1. I would not recommend cooking pasta for pasta salad in a crockpot, as you want a firmer texture for a recipe like that. It’s best to just boil until al dente then rinse with cold water immediately to stop the cooking.

      1. When you cook pasta for pasta salad boil and cook to the directions on the box, minus one minute. immediately drain then add the ingredients. pasta will tend to mix better while its still warm/cool.