My cream cheese pasta is an easy-to-make quick dinner that’s perfect for weeknights and can be dressed up for weekends! Perfectly cooked spaghetti is tossed in garlicky cream cheese and Parmesan sauce that lusciously coats every strand!
Cream Cheese Pasta Recipe
I love pasta night! A rich, creamy pasta is always my go-to. Creamy pastas are just so good, and this cream cheese pasta is no different!
Spaghetti pasta is coated in a cheesy sauce that’s scented with garlic and black pepper. It’s the perfect pasta indulgence.
Cheesy, garlicky, and ultra-creamy – my cream cheese pasta is going to be one of your favorites!
This pasta recipe is amazing because it’s ready in just 20 minutes, and only has 3 steps! It’s a delicious comfort meal that’s easy enough for any day of the week.
Try using good quality aged Parmesan cheese for this dish. Making sure to use the best quality ingredients in a humble dish is what makes it taste gourmet!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
A Simple Recipe! I love how this recipe uses simple, high-quality ingredients and is ready in no time at all.
Great as a Side or Main! The best this about this pasta dish is that you can totally eat it on its own or serve as a delicious side to almost any protein.
Perfectly Cheesy! My cream cheese and Parmesan sauce is incredibly creamy and perfectly seasoned. You’ll be eating it with a spoon!
Cream cheese pasta is so easy! It uses everyday ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.
- 8 ounces (uncooked) Spaghetti Pasta – 8 ounces equals half a pound of pasta. Most boxes of pasta are 12 to 16 dry ounces.
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil – Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is always my favorite oil to use, especially for pasta!
- 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic – You can also use a garlic press to crush the garlic if desired. 1 teaspoon is about 1 to 2 garlic cloves, depending on the size of the clove.
- 2 tablespoons of Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter here to help make our pasta sauce.
- 4 ounces of Cream Cheese – This is equal to half a standard 8-ounce block of cream cheese. It should be softened to room temperature before use.
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese – I prefer freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add to this dish. Make sure you save a little to sprinkle on top!
- ¼ teaspoon each, Salt & Pepper – Or to taste! You’ll also need salt for boiling the pasta water.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
This is an amazing pasta recipe that’s awesome on its own, but you can always customize it with your favorite additions!
Spinach (or kale) – Mix some fresh chopped spinach into the sauce for a delicious nutrition boost!
Mushrooms – Sautéed mushrooms make for a savory, hearty addition to this pasta.
Chicken or Shrimp – Want to add a protein? Try serving with grilled or seared chicken or shrimp on top!
Sun-dried Tomatoes – I love adding sun-dried tomatoes to pasta! They’re little bursts of intense flavor that work so well in any dish, especially pasta dishes!
Herbs – Stir in or garnish this pasta with your favorite fresh herbs! I love fresh chopped parsley, basil, or chives here.
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
This 20-Minute pasta requires a cheese grater or micro plane to freshly grate the Parmesan cheese. It’s so worth it!
- Boil pasta. Start the pasta by filling a large pot with salted water (about ½ a gallon) and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Then, add 8 ounces of dry spaghetti and cook until it’s an al dente texture (*see FAQ). When the pasta is cooked, drain spaghetti using a colander, but reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.
- Start the cream cheese sauce. While the pasta finishes cooking (start after you’ve added the pasta to the boiling water), heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté 1 teaspoon of minced or crushed garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Melt butter into the sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow it to melt before quickly whisking in ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. The starchy water will become cloudy and thicken slightly.
Melt Cheese, Toss Pasta & Serve
- Add cheese. Next, reduce the heat to low and add 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and ¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Whisk to melt the cheeses and incorporate them into the sauce.
- Toss with pasta. Once the cheeses are melted, add the al dente spaghetti, and toss well.
- Serve. Portion out and season with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper (or to taste) at serving.
This decadent cream cheese pasta is a quick and easy dinner that tastes so gourmet! I love to serve it at dinner garnished with extra freshly grated Parmesan and ground black pepper. Serve with a fluffy oatmeal roll to soak up all that cheesy sauce! Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- Don’t skip salting the pasta water! In this simple recipe, salting the water helps to fully season the pasta noodle. You want to add about a tablespoon of salt per half a pound of pasta.
- Watch the garlic so it doesn’t burn! Scorched or burnt garlic will ruin the flavor of your pasta. I recommend watching the garlic closely or even adding a little splash of water while it sautés to prevent scorching.
- Soften the cream cheese before using. Set the cream cheese out for approximately 30 minutes ahead of time so it can come to room temperature completely. This will help it melt much faster.
- Use remaining pasta water to thin sauce. If your sauce gets too thick after adding the cream cheese, you can add a little reserved pasta water at a time to thin it to your desired consistency.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
There’s no way you’ll have leftovers of this amazing pasta! But if you do, store the pasta in an airtight container for up to 3 days for the best quality.
I always recommend making fresh creamy pasta dishes, because the sauce can change in texture if frozen! However, if you’d like to extend the shelf life of this pasta transfer it to a freezer-safe container or storage bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Defrost in your fridge overnight.
Reheating Cream Cheese Pasta
I like to reheat pasta dishes like this one on the stovetop for the best quality! Add the leftover pasta to a pan over medium-low heat.
Add a splash of water, milk, or chicken broth to help prevent burning. Then heat the pasta slowly, stirring occasionally.
You can add more grated Parmesan cheese once it’s warmed through, tossing to coat. This method ensures the pasta is restored to its former glory!
🍽️ More Easy Dinners!
Cooking the pasta to al dente (meaning ‘to the teeth’ in Italian, or slightly firm) helps to keep the texture and structure of the pasta. Al dente pasta stands up to the sauce and to the carryover cooking that takes place when the cooked pasta is tossed with the sauce. You can usually get al dente pasta by cooking it 1 to 2 minutes less than instructed on the package.
I always highly recommend grating fresh Parmesan instead of using pre-grated because it’s just so much more flavorful! Additionally, store-bought grated Parmesan is coated with starches that prevent it from melting into the sauce properly. No one wants a grainy cheese sauce!
Cream Cheese Pasta
- Start with filling a large pot with salted water, about ½ a gallon, and bring to a rolling boil. Cook the dry spaghetti pasta until al dente texture (*see note). Drain the spaghetti using a colander, but reserve 1 cup of the starchy water.8 oz spaghetti
- While the pasta finishes cooking (after the pasta has been added to the boiling water), heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and allow it to melt before quickly whisking in ½ cup of the water reserved from the spaghetti. The water will become cloudy and thicken slightly.1 teaspoon garlic, 2 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Reduce the heat to low and melt the cream cheese with the Parmesan in the pan. Then, toss the cheese mixture with the spaghetti, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.4 oz cream cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan, ¼ teaspoon each, salt & pepper
- Pasta is usually al dente when cooked about 1-2 minutes less than instructed on the package.
- Set the cream cheese out approximately 30 minutes ahead of time so that it can come to room temperature, it will melt faster this way.
- It is important to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for best results. The store-bought grated Parmesan has a starchy coating that keeps it from melting properly.
- Use the remaining pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!