SLOW COOKER CHEESY PENNE

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Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne in a rich beefy tomato sauce is full of ground beef, tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese. It’s an easy Crock Pot comfort food recipe the whole family loves. 

This hands-off comfort food dinner is perfect for busy days.

Slow cooker cheesy penne.

SLOW COOKER CHEESY PENNE

I browned the beef with the bacon and onions on the stove then transferred it along with the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker to finish cooking. There are about 5 minutes of hands-on time and the Crock-Pot does the rest.

A cheesy penne dish cooked in a slow cooker.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Olive oil.
  • Onion. I used sweet onion, but you can use white or red.
  • Bacon bits.
  • Ground beef.
  • Salt.
  • Garlic.
  • Celery seeds.
  • Ground pepper.
  • Italian seasoning.
  • Oregano.
  • Pasta sauce. I used marinara sauce, but you can use tomato basil or anything with Italian seasoning that you like
  • Tomatoes. I use Basil & Garlic petite diced tomato. However, it’s delicious with roasted tomatoes. As well, if you want more spice you could use Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies.
  • Pasta. Instead of penne, you can use any short pasta like Rotini, cavatappi, or shells. You need to use substantial pasta when cooking pasta in a slow cooker. Spaghetti and angel hair will cook too fast and become mushy. Pasta in CrockPot has a softer texture. You may not like this recipe if you prefer pasta with a bite.
  • Mozzarella. I like a lot of cheese. Therefore, I put 2 cups in and 2 cups on top. If you prefer less cheese, I suggest putting 1 cup mixed in and 2 cups on top.
  • Parmigiano.
  • Extras. Add 1 cup of cream cheese, sour cream, ricotta cheese, or cottage cheese to make it creamier.
A cheesy crock pot filled with penne and sauce.

METHOD FOR SLOW COOKER CHEESY PENNE

  1. In a skillet, over medium heat, warm oil and add onion and bacon bits. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent.
  2. Add the ground beef and the seasoning. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  3. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the pasta sauce and the undrained can of diced tomatoes. Mix well.
  5. Add the uncooked pasta and mix well.
  6. Add 1 to 2 cups of shredded mozzarella. Mix until all ingredients are well blended.
  7. Cook on high for 90 minutes, mixing every 30 minutes.
  8. Once the pasta is cooked, add the remaining mozzarella and grated Parmigiano.
  9. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
The jam-packed crock pot is being emptied of some delightful cheesy penne using a red spoon.

TIPS AND FAQ FOR SLOW COOKER CHEESY PENNE

If you don’t serve immediately, unplug the slow cooker. Even when left on low, it will continue to cook the pasta and overcook.

HOW DO I STORE LEFTOVERS?

Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

CAN I USE FRESH HERBS?

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh herbs or freshly grated cheese

CAN I USE PRE-SHREDDED CHEESE?

I never recommend using pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in cornstarch and other ingredients to prevent it from sticking and clumping together. We simply do not need those additives.

A plate of cheesy penne pasta.

HOW CAN I SAVE TIME?

You can brown the hamburger meat earlier and refrigerate it. If you can plan ahead and batch cook hamburger or chicken when you’re making it for another meal, you can save a lot of time.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne with meat sauce and parmesan cheese.

WHERE CAN I FIND THE PRODUCTS YOU USE?

Here are links to the slow cooker, bowls, etc

Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne with Meat

MORE TO LOVE AND MAKE!

  1. Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
  2. Crockpot Green Chile Chicken
  3. Slow Cooker Creamy Buffalo Chicken
  4. Tipsy Italian Sausage Pasta
  5. Slow Cooker Zesty Italian Chicken
  6. Stove Top Cajun Butter Chicken Bites
  7. Copycat Cajun Cafe Bourbon Chicken Bites
  8. Pasta Meatball Soup Recipe
  9. Skinny Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup
  10. Beefy Tomato Soup Recipe
A fork is being used to take a bite of cheesy penne out of an instant pot.
Slow cooker cheesy penne.

SLOW COOKER CHEESY PENNE

Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne in a rich beefy tomato sauce is full of ground beef, tomato sauce, pasta, and cheese. It's an easy Crock Pot comfort food recipe the whole family loves.
Author: Paula
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or any vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onions I like sweet but you can use white or red
  • ¼ cup bacon bits
  • 1 and ½ pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • 24 ounce jar pasta sauce your favorite
  • 14.5 ounce can petite Basil & Garlic tomatoes diced, undrained
  • 16 ounce box penne pasta uncooked
  • 3 – 4 cups mozzarella shredded, divided
  • ½ cup fresh Parmigiano grated

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients.
    The Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne ingredients for a meatball pizza are laid out on a table.
  • In a skillet, over medium heat, warm oil and add onion and bacon bits.
    2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ cup onions, ¼ cup bacon bits
  • Cook until the onions are softened and translucent.
  • Add the ground beef and the seasoning. Cook until the meat is not pink.
    1 and ½ pound ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon celery seeds, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon dry oregano
    A Slow Cooker full of ground beef with Cheesy Penne.
  • Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the pasta sauce and the undrained can of diced tomatoes. Mix well.
    24 ounce jar pasta sauce, 14.5 ounce can petite Basil & Garlic tomatoes
    A slow cooker filled with meat and sauce.
  • Add the uncooked pasta mix well Add 1 to 2 cups of shredded mozzarella.
    16 ounce box penne pasta, 3 – 4 cups mozzarella
    A Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne simmering in tomato sauce.
  • Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Cook on high for 90 minutes mixing every 30 minutes.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, add the remaining mozzarella and grated Parmigiano.
    ½ cup fresh Parmigiano
    A Slow Cooker filled with Cheesy Penne.
  • Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately!
    Slow Cooker Cheesy Penne with Meat

Nutrition

Calories: 855kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 1711mg | Potassium: 907mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1195IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 644mg | Iron: 5mg
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