One Pot Caprese Pasta

3.67 from 6 votes
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This caprese pasta recipe with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella is cooked all in one pot! It’s an easy dinner filled with fresh Italian-inspired flavors, ready in 25 minutes.

Can’t get enough of this tomato, basil, and mozzarella combo? Then please hop on over and try my caprese pork chops and balsamic chicken caprese, too.

A pot of bow-tie pasta topped with cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella balls.


I’m a little obsessed with caprese (pronounced “kah-preh-zay”), from caprese chicken nachos to caprese stuffed mushrooms, not to mention the classic Caprese salad. If there’s an opportunity to bring together tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella around here, we’ll take it. 

When I found cherry tomatoes on sale the other day, I got inspired to make this caprese pasta. This is such an easy weeknight pasta because it’s all cooked in the same pot. It’s the quickest, most delicious dinner you’ll make this summer!

Why You’ll Love This One Pot Caprese Pasta Recipe

  • One pot. Seriously, this caprese pasta is the easiest one-pot meal. The ingredients cook all together (even the pasta), so not only does it give those tomato-basil flavors plenty of time to mingle, but clean-up is quick and easy.
  • All the caprese flavor. With tender bowtie pasta, plump cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and melty mozzarella, this pasta has all the fresh ingredients we love in a Caprese salad. In pasta form, it’s a great meatless side dish or vegetarian meal. 
  • Customizable. Of course, if you’re not vegetarian, go ahead and top your pasta with a juicy marinated chicken or your choice of protein. This recipe is super adaptable.
  • Give the oven the night off. I LOVE this caprese pasta in the summertime, and you will, too! Everything comes together on the stovetop, so there’s no need to turn on the oven.
Ingredients for caprese pasta with text labels overlaying each ingredient.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You really only need a handful of ingredients to make this easy pasta, which is just one more thing that makes it great for everyday meals. I’ve included my notes below. Scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.

  • Olive Oil – Choose a nice-quality olive oil for flavor. I highly recommend sticking with olive oil, and not swapping for another cooking oil, like canola.
  • Pasta – I use farfalle (bow-tie pasta), but you can use any pasta shape you’d like, whether it’s shells, penne, fusilli, etc. Even long pasta, like spaghetti or linguine, will work here.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – I love the sweetness of cherry or grape tomatoes. Feel free to use larger varieties, like Roma tomatoes, and dice them up, or you can even used canned tomatoes. Just keep in mind that larger tomatoes won’t hold their shape as well.
  • Basil and Garlic – Fresh basil leaves are a must, even better if they’re from the garden. Please don’t substitute dried basil here, if you can help it. The same goes for garlic. You can adapt the amount of cloves to taste.
  • Mozzarella Cheese – Freshly shredded mozzarella cheese and balls of fresh mozzarella (a.k.a. mozzarella pearls) for garnish. Use partly skim mozzarella to keep things on the lighter side, or you can opt for full-fat cheese if you prefer.

How to Make Caprese Pasta

I’m a BIG fan (huge) of caprese pasta in the summertime, but this dish is so simple and so good that I’ll make it year-round. It takes just one pan, 25 minutes, and a few easy steps, which we’ll walk through here.

  1. Combine the ingredients. To make this one pot pasta, add all of your ingredients (olive oil, pasta, halved tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic) to a stockpot with water. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook. Bring the pot to a boil, and then simmer for 11-12 minutes. The pasta should be tender and most of the water should be reduced. 
  3. Add the cheese. Take the pan off the heat and let it stand for a minute or two. This is important so that the cheese doesn’t curdle in the heat! Afterward, stir in your shredded mozzarella.
  4. Serve. Give the pasta a final season with S&P, garnish with fresh basil and fresh mozzarella balls, and serve. I like to top the pasta with an extra drizzle of olive oil, too.
Close-up photo of pasta mixed with tomatoes, cheese balls, and basil leaves.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Save the cooking water. You want to make sure that some of the pasta water stays in the pan after cooking. The starches in the water emulsify with the shredded mozzarella cheese as it melts, creating a silky, flavorful sauce.
  • Avoid a watery pasta, though. If you find that there’s a lot of water left in the pan, you don’t need to save all of it. Don’t risk overcooking the pasta to reduce the water. Scoop out or drain off any excess before you add the cheese. 
  • Gluten Free. If you use gluten-free pasta, keep in mind that it behaves differently during cooking, often being starchier and expanding more than traditional pasta. For 16 ounces of pasta, adding an extra cup of water should help adjust for these differences.
  • Use fresh mozzarella. If you can’t find small mozzarella pearls, but you find a large ball of mozzarella, chop the larger ball into small cubes.
  • Add onion. Finely diced mild onion, like shallot or Vidalia onion, would taste amazing in this pasta.
  • Add balsamic glaze. To really make this caprese pasta pop, give your plates a drizzle with balsamic reduction before serving. 
  • More toppings. Spoon over homemade parsley pesto or ajvar (Macedonian red pepper relish, it goes with EVERYTHING!) for even more flavor.

Serving Suggestions

I love this caprese pasta served with kid-friendly garlic breadsticks and a side of green salad on weeknights. On weekends, nothing transports you to the Mediterranean coastline like a light and fresh tomato basil pasta paired with a Campari spritz and a starter of caponata or stuffed grape leaves

When I can get my hands on fresh seafood, I’ll entertain friends with a plate of fritto misto before dishing up plates of caprese pasta topped with grilled chicken or shrimp scampi as a main. Summer meals outdoors don’t get much better!

Pasta caprese served in a bowl topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls, and fresh basil.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Pasta

  • Refrigerate. Store any leftover caprese pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Leftovers are easy to warm up, and they’re also delicious when enjoyed cold, like a caprese pasta salad.
  • Reheat. To reheat this caprese pasta, warm portions in the microwave or a saucepan on the stovetop until hot throughout. If needed, sprinkle the pasta with a bit of water or drizzle over some olive oil to help loosen it up a bit on the reheat.

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3.67 from 6 votes

One Pot Caprese Pasta

This caprese pasta with sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella is the easiest one pot recipe! It's ready in 25 minutes, perfect for weeknight dinners.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


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  • In a stockpot, combine water, olive oil, pasta, halved tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the pasta is thoroughly cooked and water reduced. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the shredded mozzarella cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and melted.
  • Taste the dish for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
  • Garnish with fresh mozzarella cheese pearls and fresh basil leaves.
  • Serve immediately.


  • Liquid: The amount of water we are using is spot on for the pasta type we’re working with. Now, if you’re thinking of adding any extra liquids, like a pasta sauce, it’s gonna shift the amount of water you’ll need. So, if you’re going with any other liquid, you’ll want to cut back on the water. If you are using gluten-free pasta, you’ll have to add more water, up to 1 cup, or adjust as needed.
  • Water: If you want to boost the flavor, here’s a tip: instead of using all water, mix it up with 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2.5 cups of water. It’s a simple switch that can really amp up the taste.
  • Salt: I start with about 3/4 teaspoon salt for the water and then always add a bit more after I taste it once it’s done cooking.
  • Proper Storage: Keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Reheat servings in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pan until warm.


Serving: 6ounces | Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 360mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 18.8mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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Recipe Rating:


  1. Sam Roberts says:

    Very good pasta recipe. I cooked a lot of different recipes, this one looks very attractive and I want to go and cook it.

  2. Julie says:

    This recipe is great – with a few modifications. I didn’t have bow tie, so I used orecchiette. There wasn’t enough flavor while I was cooking, so I added 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. I definitely would not add as much shredded mozzarella next time. You only need half that amount.

  3. Gretchen says:

    I love this recipe and have made it several times for my family. Do you think it could be made in an insta pot?! I know it’s not difficult anyway but just curious.

    1. Gina says:

      Yes it can be made in the instant pot. Just toss all your ingredients in, quick stir, put the lid on and set for high pressure. Cooking time will be this formula cooking time on pasta box divided by 2 then minus 1. Once done, do a semi-quick release. If pasta is too al dente just put the lid back on for 2-3 minutes. Works with any one pot pasta recipe. 🙂

  4. Amy G says:

    I made this tonight and it was easy and delicious. I used 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water. I cooked halfway and then added the basil and tomatoes so they wouldn’t get mushy. Perfect!

  5. Sarah B says:

    Hi Katerina, I made this last night and cut the recipie in half, I ran into the same problem with a little excess water but my picky eaters loved it!!!!

    if we were to add a source of protein would you reccomend bacon/chicken? If so how would I go about doing that?
    Thanks in advance

  6. Valerie says:

    This did not turn out well for me. I used 4 1/2 cups of water and simmered it for 12 minutes. I ended up having to skim off 1 full cup of water in order for it not to be like soup. I then added a little garlic powder since I may have skimmed off the garlic. It tasted okay, but looked awful. Hmm.. Not sure if the water should be less? Or simmered longer? I followed the recipe exactly so not sure what happened. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!

  7. Madeline says:

    When I made this recipe, the pasta turned into a very soupy mixture that congealed when cooled. I was so sad! Do you know what I might have done wrong? Maybe the pasta I used? Too much water?

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I’m sorry that happened, Madeleine! 🙁 My guess is that it was too much water/not enough pasta. Use an entire box of penne pasta (1-pound) and 4 to 4 1/2 cups of water. Sometimes I play around and use 2 cups water and 2 cups vegetable broth, for change. 🙂

  8. Meagan says:

    I tried this with gluten free pasta and it totally backfired! The pasta stuck together and the water turned into a weird soupy mixture with no flavor! I wish it would have worked because it looked delicious!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Oh no! 🙁 I hope you had back-up dinner plans! hehe 😉 I haven’t tried making a one pot pasta dinner with gluten free pasta. It works with whole grain, though. I use that a lot and so far, no problems.

      1. Carolyn says:

        I was a little scared to try this gluten free after seeing this comment, but I did and it actually worked really well! I used Barilla gluten free pasta (spirals) and it absorbed all the water really well, so if anyone else wants to try it gluten free definitely try with that brand if you’re worried.

  9. stephanie says:

    what if we used whole wheat pasta? would it mess up the cooking times?

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Hi Stephanie! Yeah, that’s fine. It works the same. I use whole grain pasta almost exclusively and I’ve never had to adjust the time.