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This super easy One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula is the perfect easy recipe. I took a classic pasta recipe and updated it with a one pot cooking method and a rich and creamy sauce. Penne pasta tossed with herby garlic butter, then boiled until al dente. Add a splash of milk, a touch of cream, and a generous handful of parmesan cheese for a luscious, creamy penne Alfredo. Every bite of pasta has delicious Italian flavors that melt in your mouth. Fancy enough for the weekend, but easy enough to make any night of the week. And most importantly, it’s delicious!

overhead photo of One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula

Sharing the absolute easiest bowl of comfort food today. And you guys, it’s the perfect mid-week pasta to keep things exciting…and yes, delicious too. Growing up, fettuccini alfredo was something my dad would make only on the weekends as our special occasion pasta. Meaning dinner and a movie kind of Friday or Saturday night.

Oh my gosh, do you guys remember those days? I loved when my dad would make his creamy fettuccini and we’d all pile on the couch for a good movie.  I wouldn’t mind going back for just a day or so. Simply the best, right?

Lately, I’ve been drawing some inspiration from my favorite childhood comfort foods. Which made me realize that I don’t have a good stove-top Alfredo recipe that’s simple and flavorful like Dad’s. How that is I have not a clue. But the good news is that I quickly worked to change that, and created the perfect creamy, one-pot penne alfredo.

This. Is. So. Good…and easy too!

prep photo of garlic butter

As I said, I’ve been looking back to my days of living at home with my family for some inspiration recently. Alfredo was such a special pasta dish. We’d only have it every so often, but when my dad made it, it was always enjoyed.

I knew I wanted to create the perfect creamy alfredo that was similar to my dad’s, but all made in one pot, and hopefully just as delicious. With the addition of some spicy arugula on top, I was able to use way less cream, butter, and even cheese, to create a slightly lighter pasta. But yet still keep this dish as the super creamy, cheesy Alfredo that everyone loves.

prep photo of pasta cooking in pot

(pasta cooking in water and butter) 

One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula |

Here are all the details.

As you can guess, this is so quick and easy. Start by melting together some butter, garlic, and herbs. I love to use a mix of dried basil and oregano for a classic Italian sauce. Then add water and bring to a boil. Use a pot that will be large enough to hold the pasta and sauce.

Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and boil until al dente. Then simply stir in all the remaining ingredients. The key is to use a touch of cream cheese for an extra added creaminess. This creates the perfect amount of creamy sauce, but still keeps things on the lighter side.

photo of Spicy Arugula

Just before the sauce is finished cooking, stir in lots and lots of parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for additional flavor and to finish out the recipe.


overhead photo of One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo in pot

Now finish it up…

While the sauce simmers, mix up a simple herby, spicy arugula salad. It’s just a quick mix of olive oil, lemon, shallots, and chili flakes tossed with arugula and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.

Serve the penne topped with the arugula and an extra dusting of parmesan…for good measure. When all combined together ’tis a very delicious meal that will remind you of your favorite restaurant-style Alfredo pasta. Or maybe, like me, it will remind you of childhood days enjoying creamy bowls of dad’s Alfredo!

What I love about this recipe is that it really does look and taste like a dish you’d order out from your favorite Italian spot. BUT, it’s all made at home in just 30 minutes, and all in ONE pot. It’s pretty hard to beat. If you wanted to add a little protein, I’d toss in some grilled or roasted pesto chicken. That would be delicious!!

overhead close up photo of One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula

Looking for other quick-cooking pasta dinners? Here are some of my favorites:

20 Minute Orzo Carbonara with Crispy Prosciutto and Burrata

20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

One Pot Baked Spinach and Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Lastly, if you make this One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 447 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt together the butter, garlic, oregano, basil, onion powder, and a pinch of red pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Do not drain the water. Stir in the milk, cream, and cream cheese and cook until the cream cheese has melted and the pasta is al dente, about 4-5 minutes more.
    2. Stir in the parmesan until melted and creamy. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
    3. To make the arugula, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, shallot, and a pinch each of red pepper, salt, and pepper. Add the arugula and mixed herbs, toss to coat.
    4. Spoon the pasta into bowls and top with arugula and extra parmesan. Enjoy!
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One Pot Creamy Penne Alfredo with Spicy Arugula |

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      1. 5 stars
        One of the BEST recipes I’ve ever tried. The only recipe I’ve made that I didn’t change a single thing (except I add chicken). I tried this for the first time a few months ago and it’s become an every other week, sometimes weekly dish. My whole family loves it! Now I’m going to find the next recipe of yours I want to try!

        1. Hey Brittany,
          Wonderful!! Thanks so much for making this dish so often and sharing your feedback, so glad it is always delish! xT

  1. 5 stars
    Insanely amazing. Was unsure about the spicy arugula but it was the best combo. Added crispy prosciutto to lure my husband. I could eat 100 bowls of it. Will make again & again!

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Happy Friday!🍂 I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a lot for trying it and your comment! xx

  2. 5 stars
    Loved this! We didn’t have heavy cream or cream cheese to hand but had equivalent in ricotta leftover from another of your recipes I made last night so I chanced it and used that. Was so yummy my Dad made me email him the recipe! New favorite over here with sliced seared chicken. Do you ever substitute ricotta for heavy cream in pasta sauces? A bit more grainy but I may start trying that. We loved it! Thanks so much as always!

    1. Hey Mary,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and your comment! So glad to hear that it turned out well for you:) I’ve never tried the ricotta, but sounds like a great idea, thanks for the tip! xT

  3. 5 stars
    Okay, this ended up being the best pasta dish I have made, or maybe even tasted! I had to tweak it a bit as I didn’t have cream cheese, so I added a little extra heavy cream and milk (I used almond milk because that’s what we buy). I also added some white pepper (I love the taste it gives parmesan dishes). I didn’t have have arugula, so I skipped that part and just steamed some broccoli for the side. But wow, so delicious!!!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Happy Friday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a lot for making it and sharing your review!🍓🍑 xT

    1. Hey Caroline,
      Happy Sunday!! Love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! xT

  4. 5 stars
    Always a hit! I’ve made it exactly according to the recipe several times and it’s always great. Tonight I made it with 2c. bone broth and 2c. water just because that’s what I had in the fridge. Added some cooked chicken seasoned with paprika and Italian seasoning, some chopped spinach, and added a little extra cream/milk to make extra sauce. It smells soooo good! Can’t wait to dig in.

    1. Hey Emma,
      Fantastic!! So glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! Have a great weekend:)

  5. I love this recipe. It’s quick and simple. I add a few handfuls of fresh spinach to the pot at the end cooking to bulk up with veggies. Then, I top with a bit of arugula.

    1. Hey Corie,
      Wonderful!! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was delish!! xx

    1. Hey Meghan,
      Happy Wednesday!❄️ I appreciate you making this recipe and I’m so glad it turned out well for you! xT

  6. This was so good! Big hit with my 16 month old and big hit with my husband. And it was not overly complicated which makes this multitasking mom an even bigger fan. I could have used less noodles as a lb makes a lot more than my family could eat but we will have left overs tomorrow yay! Thanks for a great recipe, I can’t wait to make again!

    1. Hey Stephanie,
      Perfect!! I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and thanks so much for making it! Have a great weekend:) xx

  7. I love this recipe and have made a few variations! I omit the salted butter and salted water and use low sodium chicken broth instead of the water. I add 1/4 more of whole milk, heavy cream & 1 add’l ounce of cream cheese along with shredded rotisserie chicken and baby spinach. It’s a family favorite!

    1. Hey Michell,
      I am delighted to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and appreciate you giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  8. 5 stars
    Easy, elegant comfort food. Flavor was through in through by cooking the pasta in the seasoned water-brilliant idea! Thanks for this keeper recipe. I added shredded chicken thighs to make this our entree.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review! xT