Cream Cheese Pasta

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This Cream Cheese Pasta makes the perfect vegetarian entree or side dish to your favorite protein. It’s made with rigatoni pasta coated in a delicate yet rich and tasty cream cheese pasta sauce. This is an easy recipe the whole family will love!

Two forks in a bowl of cream cheese pasta.

Best Creamy Pasta Recipe

This Cream Cheese Pasta is one of my favorite simple recipes to whip up. It’s made with basic ingredients I always have around and it tastes amazing! 

I like to make it with rigatoni pasta, but you can choose any pasta shape you like.

Just cook the pasta, then make your creamy sauce with a block of cream cheese, some parmesan, a little bit of pasta water, and a couple of garlic cloves.

So simple and so delicious! 

How Can You Add More Flavor to Cream Cheese Pasta?

To add more flavor to this easy pasta recipe, try using chicken broth in place of the starchy pasta water. 

Also, try adding diced white onion, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, or garnishing with fresh basil.

Can You Add Spices or Seasonings to the Creamy Pasta Sauce?

Yes, you can add spices or seasonings to the pasta sauce! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Garlic Powder.
  • Onion Powder.
  • Cumin.
  • Italian Seasoning.

How Do You Make The Pasta Sauce Creamy?

In order to make this easy sauce creamy, you’ll need to use a thin liquid in combination with the cream cheese. 

The pasta cooking water makes the best option since it’s hot and full of starch. It thins out the cream cheese while making the sauce creamy and silky smooth. 

Start with less and add more as needed until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

What Can You Do with Too Much Cream Cheese?

While there are tons of recipes you can make with cream cheese, this cream cheese pasta is one of my favorites.

I mean, what’s not to love about your favorite noodles smothered in a rich, creamy, buttery, and garlicky sauce?

Looking for more recipes to make with cream cheese? Here are a few options:

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Pasta: Rigatoni or your other favorite pasta noodles. Either short or long noodles work.
  • Thin Liquid: Starchy pasta water.
  • Fat: Olive oil and unsalted butter.
  • Seasonings: Garlic, salt, black pepper, and optional red pepper flakes.
  • Cheese: Full fat cream cheese and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

How to Make Cream Cheese Pasta

Scroll to the recipe card below for full instructions and ingredient amounts! 

This delicious pasta with cream cheese sauce comes together with little to no effort! Here’s a breakdown of the recipe:

  1. Cook the pasta al dente according to box instructions in a large pot of salted water. Once cooked, drain, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil, butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes if using.
  3. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add in the cream cheese and ½ cup of the pasta water. Stir until melted and smooth.
Garlic and red pepper flakes cooking in oil and butter.
Garlic, red pepper flakes, pasta water, and cream cheese in a pan.
  1. Sprinkle in parmesan, and stir to combine.
  2. Add the cooked pasta into the skillet, toss to coat, then add in an extra splash of water if needed. Serve immediately with a simple green salad and garlic bread.
Parmesan cheese added to a creamy pasta sauce.
Pasta noodles poured over a creamy sauce.

Tips and Notes

  • Save the pasta water! The starchy water helps the delicate sauce really come together and creates a smooth, velvety texture. 
  • Grate your own parmesan. Freshly shredded cheese always melts better. 
  • Serve right away. While leftovers will keep fine in the fridge, the texture is best immediately after cooking.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve this easy pasta dish as a vegetarian entree with a side of garlic knots, simple sautéed asparagus, or easy oven roasted broccoli

You can also serve it as a side dish paired with grilled shrimp, rotisserie chicken, or flat iron steak.  

How Long Does Cream Cheese Pasta Last in the Refrigerator?

This cream cheese pasta is best served immediately, but if you do have leftover pasta it will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

To reheat, warm over low heat on the stove. Add a splash of milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream to moisten the sauce if needed.

Close up view of creamy pasta in a serving dish.

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Close up view of a dish of rigatoni noodles cover in cream cheese sauce.

Cream Cheese Pasta

5 from 4 votes
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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rigatoni
  • ½ to 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste (optional)
  • 6 ounces block-style cream cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated off the block
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta to al dente (about 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions). Before draining, reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water.
    8 ounces rigatoni
    ½ to 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • Heat a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add the oil, butter, garlic, and red pepper flakes if using. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes but make sure not to let the garlic burn.
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    2 to 3 garlic cloves
    ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Add the cream cheese and ½ cup of reserved pasta water, and stir until the cream cheese melts. Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese, and stir to combine.
    6 ounces block-style cream cheese
    ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Place the cooked pasta noodles in the skillet and toss to coat with the sauce. Add a few splashes of pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately with parmesan cheese, extra red pepper flakes or torn basil.
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, FAQs, and storage recommendations.

Suggested Equipment

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 ¼ cups. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cups | Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 793IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 206mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Kim and John Vargo of Berly’s Kitchen and its affiliates are not dieticians or nutritionists. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If preferred, use your favorite online nutrition calculator to double check the amounts. Calories and other nutritional values can vary based on brand and serving size.

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