Make toddler meals easier with favorite toddler pasta recipes you can rely on—with lots of nutrition and kid-friendly flavor! From no-cook sauces and easy skillet meals, to mac and cheese with veggies in the mix, these are easy pasta recipes for kids…that the adults can enjoy too!


Toddler Pasta

Pasta is one of the easiest meals to make for kids and while I might go so far to say that plain pasta with butter is a classic for a reason, there are so many other options to try too!

I’ve pulled together all of my favorite kids pasta recipes in one spot for easy reference. There are recipes for pasta meals—that work well for toddler lunches and family dinners—and then stand alone sauces that offer a little more flexibility since you can freeze them and then use a little at a time.

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Best Types of Pasta

There is a lot of pressure from marketing and our culture on eating the healthiest version of every food. And I want to say that you absolutely can eat a newer version of pasta if you and your kids like it, but there is nothing wrong with classic pasta.

Regular semolina pasta has protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Also: It’s delicious.

You may also enjoy trying:

  • Lentil pasta
  • Chickpea pasta
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Protein pasta

TIP: The lentil and chickpea pastas are a good source of iron if that’s a concern. Be sure not to overcook them (they get mushy fast!) and do rinse after boiling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What shape of pasta is easiest for toddlers to eat?

Small shapes like ditalini, mini elbows, and mini shells are good for finger foods. Small shapes like stars, ABC pasta, and tiny wagon wheels are easy for kids learning to use a spoon to scoop up. And you can simply cut up any larger shapes with kitchen scissors.

Which pasta is healthiest?

It honestly depends on how you define “healthy”. All pasta has a mix of nutrients, but you can choose ones made with different ingredients if you’re looking for more iron, fiber, or protein.

Can I freeze pasta?

Yes, though it will likely be softer when it’s thawed so try not to overcook it to start. Freeze in small freezer-safe containers in individual portions to make it easier for you on the other side to thaw them for easy kids meals.


Pasta Recipes for Kids

Below are some of my best easy pasta recipes. Whether you like mac and cheese, vegetarian pasta, pesto, or another option all together, you’ll find delicious options to try.


Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Stirring in puree or leftover baby food is such a simple way to up the nutrition in mac and cheese.

Easy Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
Friends, meet my new favorite lightning fast dish. This Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese requires just 5 simple ingredients, zero prep work, and is just the yummiest pasta recipe! 
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sweet potato mac and cheese in bowls.

Cherry Tomato Pasta

You don’t even have to cook the sauce to make this flavorful sauce. And there are two ways to serve it up.

Easy Cherry Tomato Pasta (to Share with the Kids)
With a no-cook, stir-together sauce, this easy Cherry Tomato Pasta is an easy family dinner. And OH so delicious and fresh. You can leave it chunky or blend it smooth—it's so versatile for all preferences!
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easy cauliflower mac and cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Try this no-fuss pasta the next time you want a vegetarian meal that’s packed with nutrition.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (5-Ingredient)
With a simple cheese sauce—no standing and stirring over the stove here!—a solid dose of veggies, and a super creamy final result, this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a fast lunch or dinner option for toddlers. (And the rest of the family, too!)
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cauliflower mac and cheese on teal spoon

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

A little extra veggies go a long way and blend right into this creamy mac and cheese.

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Use your family’s favorite shape and type of pasta in this recipe. (We like elbows or mini shells!)
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Spinach Pesto Pasta

Green is fun when it’s paired with pasta! This is an easy toddler lunch or dinner that the parents will love too.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Peas
This bright green pesto is cheesy and mild, making it a perfect sauce for a quick dinner of pasta and peas!
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Alphabet Soup

Just a few ingredients team up in this kid-friendly pasta soup. The ABC pasta of course makes it more fun!

Favorite Alphabet Soup
You can use ABC pasta, orzo, pastina, or ditalini—or any other very small pasta shape in this Alphabet Soup recipe. And you can start with fresh or frozen veggies. See below for options.
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Pastina soup in numerous bowls with spoons and sides.

Quick Pastina Soup

This Italian comfort food is fast, nutritious, and so delicious for any age.

Quick Pastina Soup
With just a handful of simple ingredients, you can make this cozy Pastina Soup to share with the kids in under 30 minutes. Look for little star "pastina" pasta in the pasta aisle.
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Pastina soup in numerous bowls with spoons and sides.
Pastina pasta in three kid bowls.

Pastina Pasta

If you have any issues finding pastina at the store, sub in orzo or acini di pepe or another very small pasta shape you like.

Easy Pastina Pasta
Cozy, fast, and satisfying, this Pastina is a favorite Italian-American staple. It's perfect for feeding a cold or illness or as a fast comfort food. Serve it plain or add in some peas, up to you.
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Pastina pasta in pan and three bowls.
Ground beef pasta in three bowls and pot.

Ground Beef Pasta

Veggies blend right into an easy meat sauce in this family-favorite pasta recipe.

Easy Ground Beef Pasta
With a streamlined method and delicious taste, this Ground Beef Pasta is a favorite fast family dinner. It's versatile enough to please a variety of preferences, too.
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Ground beef pasta in three bowls with cheese and utensils.
pesto pasta salad in three bowls.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Make this to share at a potluck or bbq or to pack in lunches. It’s an easy meal prep option.

Easy Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
This is an easy family dinner or lunch. I like to use Spinach Pesto for this, but any will work if you prefer to buy it pre-made from the store.
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Avocado pasta in bowls for a vegetarian lunch idea

Avocado Pasta

Super creamy and seriously easy, this pasta has loads of healthy fats and mellow flavor to appeal to everyone in the house.

Easy Avocado Pasta
With a creamy, veggie-packed sauce, this easy Avocado Pasta is packed with kid-friendly flavor and nutrients. And the whole recipe can be made in about 10 minutes of cooking time.
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Sausage Broccoli Pasta

We love Italian sausage in this recipe, but you could use whichever kind you prefer.

4-Ingredient Sausage Pasta (with Broccoli)
This pasta recipe is quick and delicious and the flavor from the sausage is really key. (Just a heads up that you'll need to reserve a little of the pasta cooking water, so keep that in mind BEFORE you drain the pasta.) Chicken sausage is usually leaner than pork, so when making this with chicken sausage, I like to add butter or olive oil before serving.
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Pasta with Summer Squash and Beef

Put that summer squash or zucchini to good use in this easy pasta recipe to share with the family. Fresh basil on top is optional, but recommended.

Easy Pasta with Summer Squash and Beef
This dish is easy to pull together in a short amount of time and is a nice alternative to tomato based pasta dishes.
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butternut-squash-pasta in white and blue bowls

Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage

This is an easy recipe for fall and winter and is a great way to use winter squash.

Quick Butternut Squash Pasta with Sausage
This easy skillet dinner is super cozy and super versatile. You can use freshly diced butternut squash or precut squash from the store and frozen peas or broccoli according to what you have or prefer. See the Notes for vegetarian options.
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Broccoli Pesto

Transform fresh broccoli into a delicious pasta sauce with this super simple method. It’s a fun take on pesto!

Easy Broccoli Pesto (for Pasta and Pizza)
This will likely make enough for two meals. You can freeze the leftovers for a future meal. (This recipe was updated to improve the taste and method in April 2019.)
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broccoli pesto on spaghetti in blue bowl with pink fork

Extra-Veggie Baby Pasta

Serve up a filling, yummy baby meal with this easy Baby Pasta. It includes a tomato based sauce with extra veggies and beans blended in for an iron-rich meal perfect for lunch or dinner. Plus: The sauce freezes so well so you can have a stash of future meals ready and waiting

Extra-Veggie Baby Pasta (with Iron)
Adding beans and extra veggies helps make this easy baby pasta satisfying, nutritious, and yummy. Serve it more or less saucy as you like. (You can even freeze the sauce for easy future meals.)
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One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Creamy, cheesy, and so super easy to make. This is a favorite vegetarian kids meal.

One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese
The method on this recipe is streamlined to cut down on dish washing. Add the optional spices for more flavor if you like! Double it to make more.
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Easy Sauces for Pasta

If you’re looking for a simple, nutritious sauce to add to pasta—either for the whole family or just your toddler—these are great options. Each of them can also be made ahead of time and stored for future use.

To freeze any of these in smaller portions, divide the sauce among an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 6 months.

To thaw one cube at a time, place into an airtight storage container overnight or thaw at room temperature.


Spinach Pesto

This is a super mellow pesto that pairs really well with any kind of pasta (and can also be used on pizza). It also freezes well too.

Easy Spinach Pesto
Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza!
Get the recipe
spinach pesto in jar

Kale Pesto

Freeze some of this kale pesto, then break off a little at a time as you needed for fast sauces for kids pasta.

Easy Kale Pesto
Try this healthy pesto with your favorite pasta or in place of pizza sauce on pizza! It's a kid-friendly way to serve up kale, and you don't have to worry about it turning brown if you store it.
Get the recipe

Marinara with Extra Veggies

Everyone into the pot with this easy recipe that goes beyond just tomato to add in more veggies for flavor and nutrition.

Easy Marinara Sauce with Extra Veggies
Serve this sauce with 1 pound of your family's favorite pasta for an easy and healthy dinner.
Get the recipe
easy marinara sauce in jar on towel

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Let the slow cooker do the work in this easy crock pot sauce that then becomes the most simple toddler pasta sauce.

Easy Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes
This slow cooker tomato sauce method is the easiest way to transform fresh tomatoes into delicious sauce. Scale the recipe up or down for a smaller or larger slow cooker. You don't have to be precise! And the chopped tomatoes can be very roughly chopped.
Get the recipe
slow-cooker-spaghetti-sauce-in-freezer-containers in storage containers

Cheese Sauce

Blend cauliflower, cheese, and milk for a super yummy and delicious cheese sauce for any kind of noodle the kids like.

Easy Cauliflower Cheese Sauce
Perfect for dipping and dunking veggies, this recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.
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how to make cheese sauce

Best Tips for Kids Pasta

  • Start with a small amount of sauce if it’s new to the kids, then add more as they get used to the new flavors.
  • Use small shapes like ditalini, mini elbows, and mini shells as easy finger goods.
  • Use small shapes like stars, ABC pasta, and tiny wagons to make it easy for kids to eat their pasta with a spoon.
  • Use kitchen scissors to cut up any larger shapes of pasta and spaghetti-type noodles to make the food easy to eat.

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