25 Pasta Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Fewer

updated Mar 19, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Pasta is known for being a quick and easy weeknight dinner, but just how quickly can you make it? How about 20 minutes? Better yet, you can make a seriously delicious pasta without opening a jar of sauce. Really. Here’s how.

Tips for Making Pasta in 20 Minutes

  1. Turn to one-pot pastas. For starters, if it’s not already in your weeknight lineup, it’s time to try one-pot pasta. Everything — the pasta, the water, the sauce, and the veggies — cook in the same pot.
  2. Look for recipes with a short ingredient list. A short ingredient list is almost always a guarantee that your time in the kitchen will also be short: Try a 3-ingredient white wine sauce, Cacio e Pepe, or brown-butter pasta.
  3. Remember the starchy pasta water. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: Starchy, salty pasta water is pasta’s best friend.
  4. Lean on your pantry. Pantry ingredients, like bread crumbs, anchovies, capers, or tomato paste, are how pro home cooks pull off the most delicious weeknight pastas.

Ready to get cooking? These 22 pasta recipes will satisfy pretty much any craving you have.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

One-Pot Pasta Wonders

Cook the pasta and the sauce in one pot and you’ve automatically shaved minutes off your cooking time. Plus, clean up is a cinch.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Fast & Fancy Pasta Dinners

The beauty of these pasta dinners is that they feel kind of fancy and a little more special than your average weeknight pasta, but they’re still super-simple (and super-fast) to make.

Credit: Faith Durand

Family Favorites

These are the crowd-pleasers, the ones you can make over and over again and no one in your family will complain. These pasta dishes are also quick and easy, so when someone asks when dinner will be ready, you can say 20 minutes.