Rich and creamy, this easy Cream Cheese Pasta comes together in just 20 minutes! With only a handful of ingredients, it’s the perfect dinner for busy weeknights.
Easy pasta recipes are my go-to on busy weekdays, when everyone is hungry and there’s no time to cook. On days like those, I just want something that will be everyone happy and I won’t dirty every dish in the kitchen.
That’s where this Cream Cheese Spaghetti comes in. It uses ingredients I almost always have on hand and the Italian secret of using pasta water to help create a creamy base for the sauce.
The end result is perfectly cooked al dente pasta topped with a rich, cheesy sauce, that’s on the table in 20 minutes.
Every time I make this, I’m still amazed by not only how quick and easy it is but by just how good it tastes!
What You’ll Need
This cream cheese spaghetti is my go-to is because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand! I’ve found that when cooking with simple, quality ingredients that you can often turn the basics into something delicious. This recipe is no exception.
- Salt – You’ll add salt to the pasta and to the sauce.
- Spaghetti pasta – You may substitute a different type of pasta but I recommend long noodles instead of macaroni or shells.
- Butter – With salted butter, you may need to add less salt to the cheese sauce.
- Olive oil – Used to saute the garlic. You may opt for another oil of choice.
- Garlic – Mince finely before sautéing.
- Ground black pepper – Use to season the sauce to your liking.
- Cream cheese – Allow to come to room temperature and cut into cubes before adding to the pan.
- Parmesan cheese – Shredded parmesan adds flavor and a cheesy texture to this easy pasta dish.
How To Make Cream Cheese Pasta
Rich, cheesy pasta has never been easier to make! With just 6 simple steps, you can have dinner on the table in almost no time.
- Cook the pasta. Bring water with a pinch of salt to a boil, then add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the pasta package.
- Reserve pasta water. Before you drain the pasta, be sure to save some of the pasta water.
- Cook the garlic. Saute the garlic in butter and olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add in the salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta water and cream cheese. Return the pasta water back to the pan, along with the cream cheese. Stir until melted and combined.
- Add the parmesan cheese. Stir again until melted.
- Stir in the pasta. Add the pasta into the sauce mixture and combine well. Top with parsley.
Tips for Success
While there’s really no way to mess up this pasta, there are a few ways to make it even better! Here are a few of my favorite tips for the best and creamiest pasta.
- Cook the pasta al dente. Avoid overcooking the noodles. This super creamy sauce pairs much better with al dente noodles versus soft, mushy noodles.
- For a kick of spice, add chili flakes. Chili flakes add a whole other depth of flavor to this easy pasta dish.
- Feel free to add in veggies or cooked protein. Making this pasta is a good opportunity to use up any leftover vegetables or protein. Mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, basil, chicken, ham and shrimp are all tasty add-ins.
- Add more pasta water for a thinner sauce. I prefer this cream cheese sauce thick and creamy but feel free to add in a bit more pasta water to thin it out. Add a tablespoon at a time.
- Cube the cream cheese for easier melting. Take a few seconds to cut your brick of cream cheese into small blocks.
- Use high-quality cheese. Since parmesan and cream cheese are the main ingredients, be sure to opt for the best and most high-quality option. You will taste the difference, especially in the parmesan!
One thing I love about this easy Cream Cheese Pasta is just how versatile it is.
In a pinch, it works as a quick meal all on its own. I often stir in some leftover veggies and protein to make it a more balanced meal.
If I’m not adding veggies to the pasta itself, I like to serve it with some steamed vegetables or a Garden Salad.
It also works as a side dish to grilled chicken or steak, or other protein, like my Lemon Cod.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
This pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Add a splash of cream or milk before reheating to avoid burning or drying out the sauce. I also usually add a little extra salt and pepper on the second day.
Can I Freeze Cream Cheese Pasta?
This is not a pasta dish I recommend freezing. The texture of cream cheese tends to become a bit more “grainy” when it freezes so you lose the smooth, creamy sauce. The pasta also gets a bit mushy when frozen and reheated.
Luckily, this pasta comes together so quickly that it’s almost as easy to make as it would be to pull from the freezer!
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Pasta Primavera
- Instant Pot Lemon Pasta with Peas
- One Pot Chicken Enchilada Pasta
- Spinach and Ricotta Pasta
- One Pan Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Cream Cheese Pasta
- 1 tablespoon salt, divided
- 16 ounces spaghetti pasta
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (cut into small bricks)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Boil 6 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of salt over high heat in a large pot then add the pasta and cook for the amount of time indicated on the package it came in.
- Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water then drain the pasta and set aside.
- Heat a large pan with the butter and oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the remaining salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Pour the reserved pasta water into the pan and bring it to a simmer then add the cream cheese and stir until melted.
- Add the parmesan cheese and stir again until melted.
- Add the pasta and toss and stir until well incorporated then serve with freshly chopped parsley.