Spaghetti in the Microwave

Spaghetti in the microwave

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 28 mins
Total: 38 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
351 Calories
14g Fat
26g Carbs
28g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 351
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 895mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 28g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 135mg 10%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 900mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe not only cooks in the microwave oven, but you can reheat it the same way. Everything—the pasta, sauce, and meat—cooks together in one dish, making for flavorful pasta and super easy clean-up. Try it the next time you're in a hurry for pasta.

It's surprising that you can cook pasta in the microwave, but it makes sense if you think about it. You can find products on late-night television now that promise you can cook pasta in a container with hot water. Pasta doesn't technically need to be cooked in rolling boiling water; it just needs to rehydrate in hot water. That's why this recipe works.

To successfully cook pasta in the microwave oven, make sure the spaghetti is covered with liquid and that it's not sticking together. You do need to stir the casserole a few times while it's cooking so the spaghetti absorbs the liquid properly. And standing time is important; the food will finish heating and the pasta will absorb more flavor.

Serve this dish with a green salad tossed with mushrooms, grape tomatoes, and a tangy Italian vinaigrette.


  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (28-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

  • 2 cups water

  • 8 ounces spaghetti, broken into pieces

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spaghetti in the microwave ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. In a 3-quart microwave-safe casserole, place the beef, onions, and garlic, crumbling the beef to break into small pieces.

  3. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring once to break up meat.

    Cooked ground beef in a bowl
    The Spruce
  4. Microwave on high for 2 more minutes until the beef is browned and thoroughly cooked. Drain off any excess fat, if necessary.

    Draining beef fat
    The Spruce
  5. Add spaghetti sauce, water, uncooked spaghetti, and basil to the casserole dish.

    Uncooked spaghetti, tomato sauce, beef and basil in a casserole dish
    The Spruce
  6. Mix gently to combine.

    Mixing uncooked spaghetti, beef and tomato sauce
    The Spruce 
  7. Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, venting one corner, and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

    Uncooked spaghetti, sauce, beef covered with plastic wrap
    The Spruce
  8. Stir well. Cover casserole again and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes longer. Stir well.

  9. Sprinkle with cheese, cover again, and microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes longer until spaghetti is tender.

    Spaghetti with Parmesan cheese in a bowl
    The Spruce
  10. Let stand 4 minutes before serving; don't skip this step! The food has to stand so the heat distributes evenly and there are no super hot spots you could burn yourself on.

    Spaghetti in the Microwave
    The Spruce
  11. Serve and enjoy.


  • A classic tomato sauce works best for this recipe since it has enough water in it to help cook the pasta.
  • You can use your favorite store-bought sauce or a quick and easy homemade marinara sauce.

Recipe Variations

  • Swap the ground beef for lean ground pork, sausage, or ground turkey.
  • Leave off the cheese if you're dairy free, or top with dairy-free Parmesan cheese after cooking.