Baked Cream Cheese Pasta is a creamier version of the viral Baked Feta Pasta. Cream cheese and grape tomatoes are coated with olive oil, butter, fresh herbs, and garlic and then baked until golden brown and bubbly. Stir it all together with your favorite pasta and fresh basil for a rich, cheesy, and irresistible dish!
Baked Cream Cheese Pasta is a no-fuss recipe that you can whip up quickly on a weeknight. But it’s also fancy enough for date night or guests! Simple ingredients. Easy cooking steps. Scrumptious outcome.
Why KJ Loves Baked Cream Cheese Pasta
What’s not to love about a bowl of creamy, dreamy pasta? How about one that bakes up all in the same dish! Count me in! When the viral sensation of the Baked Feta Pasta was going around, I knew I wanted a creamier version of it once I tried it – and that is how this Baked Cream Cheese Pasta was born! I love how simple this recipe is, yet yields such a scrumptious result. Perfect for a weeknight dinner, but yet can be dressed up for a date night meal. Plus, the base of the sauce is cream cheese, how great is that?
What is Baked Cream Cheese Pasta?
If you’re active on social media, you may remember the viral sensation: Baked Feta Pasta. When I was visiting my friend in Grand Rapids, we tried it. But we both agreed: it needed something more creamy!
Therefore, Baked Cream Cheese Pasta was born. Why not use cream cheese instead of feta? With the addition of butter, olive oil, fresh herbs, and garlic, this baked cream cheese pasta recipe is the perfect dish to satisfy your cheese cravings.
Baked Cream Cheese Pasta Ingredients
Let’s dive into the ingredients you’ll need:
Use full-fat cream cheese for this recipe. No skimping here! We want a nice, creamy pasta dish. You can eat a salad tomorrow.
Use small, sweeter tomatoes for this recipe. Grapes, Roma, or cherry tomatoes work well. No need to peel them! Tomatoes are a main ingredient in this recipe, so make sure they’re fresh and ripe!
Chop some fresh garlic or use pre-chopped garlic from a jar to speed things up. Pre-chopped garlic is a staple in my house. It saves time and lasts forever in the refrigerator.
Since this recipe has minimal ingredients, I highly recommend using fresh thyme if you can. This bright herb will help the flavor pop even more! If you need to use dry thyme, you’ll want to change the amount to one teaspoon.
Since the basil is getting folded in at the end, fresh basil is really the only way to go. You can also substitute fresh parsley.
A quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice helps brighten the dish and bring it to life. This is a very creamy and decadent pasta, so the lemon juice adds a nice edge to the flavor.
Pick your favorite smaller-shaped pasta. This recipe is all about ease and comfort, so whatever you have sitting in your cupboard is perfect (although I would veer away from longer pasta like spaghetti or fettuccine).
Farfalle, shells, elbow, or rotini all work. My favorite is farfalle!
How To Make Baked Cream Cheese Pasta
01) Add the sauce ingredients to your baking dish.
Place the cream cheese in the center of the baking dish. No need to soften it since it will go straight into the oven.
Next, pour the fresh tomatoes around the brick of cream cheese.
Finally, season the cream cheese and tomatoes evenly with the other ingredients. Divide the butter into three pieces and place it in three spots across the pan.
02) Bake for 30-35 minutes.
And leave it be! You want it to be all sorts of bubbly and golden brown. This breaks down the tomatoes, making them stirrable and giving the dish a deeper flavor.
03) Cook the pasta.
04) Mix everything together!
Remove the sauce from the oven. Gently smoosh the tomatoes and stir the sauce.
Then, add the pasta and some fresh basil. Voila! A creamy, dreamy pasta dish…what’s not to love?
Mix it Up!
The ease and decadence of this pasta recipe make it one to turn back to again and again.
You can easily customize the dish by adding your favorite protein on top. Chicken or shrimp pair wonderfully with this dish—grilled or roasted.
Looking for other weeknight meals? Look here!
Can you meal prep Baked Cream Cheese Pasta?
Baked Cream Cheese Pasta is a great meal-prep option as the leftovers reheat wonderfully!
Does the cream cheese need to be softened prior to baking?
Nope! Since the cream cheese is going straight into the oven, there is no need to worry about setting the cream cheese out on the counter to soften prior.
What part of the fresh thyme do you use?
You’ll only want to use the leaves for this recipe. To remove the stem, pinch the sprig at the top with your fingers and pull them down the stem. The leaves should fall off easily.
Share the love!
If you make this recipe and love it as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, rate the recipe, or share a picture tagging @kjandcompany or using #kjandcompany so that I can see your fun pictures 🙂
Thanks for following and cooking along with me!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that KJ & Company would receive a small commission if anything is purchased. Thank you for supporting KJ & Company in all the ways that you do!
Recipe originally posted on March 15, 2021 – updated on September 13, 2022.