How to Cook Penne Pasta in the Microwave

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// How to Cook Penne Pasta in the Microwave

Prep Time

1 min

Cook Time

12 mins

Free Time

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Purists might insist that boiling in salt water is the only way to cook pasta, but the microwave holds its own when it comes to achieving perfectly al dente noodles. Not only is the microwave a faster way to cook pasta than boiling water on the stove, but it's also more convenient and saves precious time in the kitchen.

This recipe is perfect for medium-sized pasta shapes such as penne, rotini or fusilli, farfalle, gamelli, shells, or ziti.

With the Anyday dish, you can cook al dente pasta every time without having to constantly watch a pot over the stovetop. While we love our vented lid for many reasons, we don’t recommend using it when cooking pasta in the microwave. The lid traps so much heat and steam that the starchy water can easily boil over, which is why we recommend cooking pasta uncovered. Still, getting spillover? Try using less water or lower your power level until you get it right!

All of Anyday’s recipes are tested (and retested!) in many different microwaves and home kitchens to make sure they work — and work well. Unless specified otherwise, all recipes should be cooked at full power.

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What You’ll Need

What You’ll Need

The Medium Deep Dish

The best dish for 1-2 portions of grains, veggies, mac and cheese, ramen, and more.

The Anyhand Mitts

Handle hot Anyday dishes with care with these microwave mitts that double as trivets!
Try Anyday

Select your serving size and microwave wattage in the dropdown. The recipe will change accordingly.

1 cup penne pasta

Select your microwave wattage in the dropdown. The cook times in this recipe will automatically change accordingly.


To find your microwave’s wattage, look at the front panel, the side of the door, in the back, in the user manual, or Google the model number. If both an input and output wattage are listed, use the output.

Wattage translates to how powerful the microwave is. The higher the wattage, the faster your food will cook. The lower the wattage, the longer the cook time.

When in doubt, start with less time — you can always add more.

Microwave oven by power - 700w



The Medium Deep Dish


  • 1 cup (140g) penne pasta (rotini, fusilli, farfalle, gamelli, etc)
  • cups (350ml) water


  1. Place the pasta and water in the Anyday dish and stir to combine.
  2. Cook in the microwave uncovered for 12 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Try a noodle and add more time if needed!
  3. Drain any excess water, if necessary.

Serving suggestions & tips

  • Brown Butter and Herbs: Jazz up buttered noodles by tossing them in brown butter, parsley, and garlic powder.
  • Ham and Peas: Add frozen peas and diced Canadian bacon to the dish a few minutes before the pasta is fully cooked.
  • Creamy Pesto: Stir in some ready-to-use pesto and ricotta for a delicious dish in no time.
  • For more microwave Pasta & Noodle recipes, see our full collection here.

Recipe notes

  • Most pasta indicates the cook time on the package. If in doubt, use those instructions as a cook time guide.
  • Is your water spilling over? Make sure to always use a Deep dish when making pasta. Depending on the amount, size up from Medium to Large or Extra Large.
  • Want to experiment with a different pasta shape? Make sure that water is completely covering the before microwaving.
  • Microwave ovens vary, even with the same wattages. Adjust cooking times as needed.

Microwave Match Up: Penne Pasta

See for yourself— microwaving pasta is simply faster, start to finish.

Appliance Cook Time
Microwave in an Anyday dish 10-11 mins
Stovetop* 15-20 mins
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)* 20 mins
*Includes preheat time

Step-by-Step: Microwaving Penne Pasta

Add pasta and water to the Anyday Dish.

Keep the pasta uncovered!

Cook uncovered in the microwave.

Pasta is done when tender.

All You Need to Know About Microwaving Penne Pasta

How long does penne pasta take to cook in the microwave?

Ingredient Water Cook Time
1 cup (140g) penne pasta 1 1/2 cups (350ml) water 12 mins
2 cups (280g) penne pasta 2 cups (480ml) water 14-15 mins
3 cups (420g) penne pasta 3 cups (700ml) water 16-17 mins
4 cups (560g) penne pasta 4 cups (950ml) water 19-20 mins
Cook time calculated for 700w microwave

Cooking pasta in the microwave takes around 9-10 minutes depending on the type and amount of pasta. To tell if pasta is cooked through, taste it! The pasta should be tender but slightly firm, with no hard center.

How to tell when pasta is cooked through?

When cooking pasta, it is important to ensure that it is cooked through but not overcooked to the point of being mushy. The best way to tell if pasta is cooked through is to taste it. The pasta should be tender but still slightly firm, with no hard center. If the pasta is still hard or has a chewy center, it needs more cooking time.

How to cook fresh pasta in the microwave?

Fresh pasta is more delicate than dried, boxed pasta and requires careful attention when cooking in the microwave. To prevent it from breaking apart, add fresh pasta and ½ cup hot water to an Anyday Deep Dish. Cook in the microwave uncovered for 1-2 minutes, watching closely to ensure it doesn't overcook or boil over. Drain any excess water and toss the noodles with some olive oil to prevent sticking.

How do you prevent pasta from boiling over in the microwave?

Microwaves are powerful and can cause the starch in the pasta to boil over. To avoid this, cook the pasta in an Anyday deep dish uncovered. This gives the pasta room to cook and prevents the water from boiling over.

What's the best way to dress up penne pasta cooked it in the microwave?

Nothing beats a good sauce! Try our Quick Bolognese,  Easy Tomato Sauce, Shortcut Bechamel, Romesco Sauce, or how does Shrimp Scampi over penne or fussili pasta sounds? All this and more options to dress up your perfectly cooked pasta can be found in our recipe library.

How to cook frozen pasta like tortellini or ravioli in the microwave?

We typically don’t recommend using the lid when cooking dried pasta, we recommend steaming frozen tortellini or ravioli in the microwave with the vented lid on. Place up to 10 oz of frozen tortellini or ravioli pasta in an Anyday Deep Dish and add ½ cup of hot water. Cover with the vented lid and microwave on high for the recommended cooking time on the package. Drain any excess water, or use the starchy pasta water to start a quick sauce.