One Pot Turkey Pasta

5 from 6 votes

Try this one pot turkey pasta for a quick, flavorful meal. Ground turkey, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and Italian herbs simmer together, with the noodles, making dinner so easy!

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Super easy, packed with veggies, and made all in a single pot, this One Pot Turkey Pasta recipe is the best kind of weeknight dinner! In well under an hour, you can have a flavorful, kid-friendly dinner on the table. Make this turkey pasta as-is, or customize the recipe to put your own unique spin on it!

One Pot Turkey Pasta in pot, garnished with parmesan cheese and fresh basil with a wooden spoon nearby.
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Like chicken and tacos, pasta is one of those weeknight meals that’s on heavy rotation in most homes—especially if you have kids! If you’re looking for a new take on an old favorite that’s still kid-approved and incredibly easy, this turkey pasta recipe is it.

Ground turkey replaces the usual ground beef, making for a meaty marinara to dress up penne pasta. I add zucchini and onion to work in some extra veggies, then give the sauce some flavor with the addition of herbs and garlic. Parmesan and fresh basil are the perfect finishing touches to liven things up!

The best part is that this is a one pot turkey pasta, so you don’t need to boil the penne in a separate pot. It all cooks together, which means less work for you—and fewer dishes to wash!

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian-American
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Lightened Up
Key Flavor: Savory
Skill Level: Easy


  • One Pot Recipe: Most pasta recipes require you to cook the pasta, and then add it to the sauce. In this easy turkey pasta, you’ll cook the veggies and turkey in the same pot where you make the sauce and penne.
  • A Complete Meal: With vegetables, protein, and pasta all in one dish, there’s no need to round things out with sides—although a salad or garlic bread will help you stretch this turkey pasta recipe a little further if you’d like!
  • Familiar Flavors, With a Twist: Picky eaters will love this recipe! It takes the familiar flavors of spaghetti and meatballs and puts a new spin on them—with some extra veggies thrown in the mix too.
  • Light Yet Satisfying: Ground turkey is a lighter substitute for ground beef, but it’s packed with protein, so it’s just as hearty and filling.

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Turkey Pasta

Ingredients for recipe in individual bowls before prepping: ground turkey, marinara sauce, onion, zucchini, dry penne pasta, garlic cloves, seasonings, oil, parmesan, and broth.
  • Olive Oil: You’ll need the oil to cook the vegetables.
  • Onion: A standard yellow onion is perfect, but a white or sweet onion is fine too.
  • Zucchini: With its mild flavor, zucchini is a great addition to this kid-friendly turkey pasta recipe.
  • Lean Ground Turkey: Using lean ground turkey means there’s no grease to drain off.
  • Garlic: Mince the garlic with a knife or push it through a garlic press.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: For seasoning. If you use vegetable broth instead of stock, don’t add the salt until the end of the recipe, and then season to taste.
  • Basil and Oregano: These are an easy way to enhance the flavor of store-bought sauce.
  • Marinara Sauce: Use homemade marinara or store-bought.
  • Vegetable Stock: Remember, stock is traditionally unseasoned. If you use broth, use low-sodium vegetable broth.
  • Penne: Different pasta shapes take different amounts of time to cook, so I recommend sticking with penne here so the recipe works as written.
  • Parmesan Cheese: If you have the time, grate your own! It will melt smoothly into the sauce. If not, no worries—store-bought is just fine.
  • Fresh Basil: For a pop of color and fresh flavor.
  • Swap Out the Turkey. You can use lean ground beef or ground chicken instead of turkey if you’d like.
  • Use Turkey or Chicken Sausage Instead. Crumbled Italian turkey sausage would add some extra zippy flavor to this easy turkey pasta recipe.
  • Try Another Veggie. Try using a diced eggplant or sliced cremini mushrooms instead of the zucchini.
  • Make It Vegetarian. Use your favorite plant-based ground meat substitute or, for a more natural substitute, roughly chopped portobello mushrooms.

How to Make Turkey Pasta

  1. Cook the onion and zucchini in the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the ground turkey, garlic, dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Continue to cook until the turkey is cooked through, breaking it up into small chunks.
  4. Add the marinara and stock, then bring the mixture to a boil.
  5. Stir in the penne, then simmer until the pasta is al dente.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and fresh basil.
6 image collage making recipe in one pot: 1- zucchini and onions cooked until softened, 2- ground turkey, garlic, and seasonings added, 3- breaking up turkey with a spatula, 4- marinara added and stock being poured in, 5- pasta added, 6- after pasta has cooked with parmesan added on top.

Tips for Making the Best Ground Turkey Pasta Skillet

  1. Don’t Use Alternative Pasta. Pasta made with beans or gluten-free flour absorbs liquid at different rates and is often prone to falling apart. Since the pasta is cooked with the sauce in this recipe, stick with traditional pasta, which is what this turkey pasta recipe was developed with.
  2. Add More Liquid If Needed. If the pot seems dry, but the pasta isn’t yet tender, you can add a little bit more vegetable stock or water.
  3. Cut the Onions and Zucchini in Uniform Sizes. This ensures that they all cook at the same rate. You don’t want big, crunchy pieces of onion in your ground turkey pasta skillet!
  4. Use a Good Quality Marinara. It’s the base of flavor for this recipe, so you want to use a brand you like.
One pot turkey pasta on a plate with the pot nearby.

What to Serve With Easy Turkey Pasta

How to Store & Reheat Turkey Pasta

Refrigerate turkey pasta leftovers in an airtight container. Reheat it in a skillet with a splash of vegetable stock, or in the microwave.

How Long Will Turkey Pasta Last in the Fridge?

This healthy turkey pasta will last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Healthy Turkey Pasta?

Yes, you can freeze this turkey pasta recipe for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the instructions above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I cover the pot when making one-pot turkey pasta?

No, don’t cover the pot. Some of the liquid will cook off, while the rest will be absorbed by the pasta. If you cover the pot, your pasta will end up soupy!

How can I thicken the sauce in this turkey pasta recipe?

If the cooking time is done, but the sauce is watery, you can crank up the heat and let some of the liquid boil off. Don’t do this for too long, though, or the pasta will end up over-cooked.

How do you know when the ground turkey is cooked through?

The best way to tell if any meat is cooked through and safe to eat is with a meat thermometer, but that’s not an option when you’re cooking crumbled ground meat! After 5 to 7 minutes, the turkey should be cooked through, especially if you’ve broken it into small pieces. The color should change and the meat should look drier.

Fork lifting up a bite of ground turkey pasta.

This easy turkey pasta recipe is a weeknight winner! Packed with protein, veggies, and hearty pasta, it’s a healthy meal that will leave you feeling full and satisfied. It’s picky-eater-approved too!

More Turkey Recipes:

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One Pot Turkey Pasta

Try this one pot turkey pasta for a quick, flavorful meal. Ground turkey, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and Italian herbs simmer together, with the noodles, making dinner so easy!
5 from 6 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 486
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 medium zucchini diced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil for serving


  • In a large Dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and zucchini, season with half of the sale and pepper, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add the turkey, garlic, remaining the salt and pepper, basil and oregano. Cook, breaking the turkey up into small chunks as it cooks, for 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked though.
  • Add marinara and stock and bring to a boil. Once the liquid reaches a boil, add the pasta and reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
  • Stir the Parmesan cheese in off the heat and garnish with fresh basil before serving.


Calories: 486kcal, Carbohydrates: 67g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 1594mg, Potassium: 779mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 850IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 124mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American

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