Cream cheese pasta made with a simple white sauce is a quick and easy way to get dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. Kids will love this tasty cream cheese pasta sauce!
Cream Cheese Pasta
This cream cheese pasta is so quick and easy to make. It has the delicious creaminess from the cream cheese and the tiniest bit of heat from the red pepper flakes that makes your mouth water. When that’s combined with the little salty bacon slices, it’s a perfect combination of all the right flavors.
This is a recipe that will definitely get you thumbs up all around the dinner table! Try serving this Italian-inspired dish with a side salad and some garlic bread.
What Can I Use Cream Cheese For?
Cream cheese is such a versatile ingredient! Some of my favorite cream cheese recipes are:
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Hot Spinach Dip
- Everything Bagel Dip
- Hot Jalapeno Corn Dip
- Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
Can You Melt Philadelphia Cream Cheese?
Yes, it is definitely OK to cook or melt cream cheese. When you’re thinking about cooked cream cheese recipe, the most popular one that springs to mind is cheesecake, but there’s so many other ways you can use heated cream cheese. My favorite way to use it is in easy creamy pasta sauces, like this one.
Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce
I love this recipe, and I’m so excited to show you how to make pasta sauce with cream cheese. There is a really important trick, and that’s to mix in a bit of the starchy pasta water.
Be sure that you’re using salted pasta water, because you want the starchy water to add flavor, texture, and body to the sauce. This is the magic ingredient that stops cream cheese pasta from drying out and it’s a really important step.
What Is The Best Cheese To Use For Pasta?
That depends on the texture and flavor you’re trying to achieve.
- If you want to add a salty and creamy flavor, try parmesan, like in this Chicken Mushroom Pasta recipe.
- For a light flavor, try using ricotta, like in this Lemon Ricotta Pasta recipe.
- If you want the melted cheesy texture, try using freshly grated pizza mozzarella, like in this Creamy Rose Tomato Sauce Pasta recipe.
- Finally, if you’re trying to make a sauce creamy without using cream, then cream cheese is the best option.
I love that this quick and easy pasta recipe has such a short ingredient list. All you’ll need is bacon, spaghetti, butter, garlic, crushed pepper flakes, chicken broth, cream cheese, parmesan, pepper, salt, and fresh parsley.
Which Pasta Should I Use?
My favorite pasta to use for this recipe is spaghetti. It kind of reminds me of an easier and more affordable version of fettuccine Alfredo. I prefer long noodles with this sauce, so angel hair and linguine would both make great options, too. If you want to use a short pasta, I’d recommend penne, elbow macaroni, or bow tie (farfalle).
How To Make This Simple Creamy Pasta
Start by sauteing the diced bacon until it’s crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, wipe it out, and saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in butter until it’s aromatic. Add in the chicken broth and bring it to a simmer.
Stir in the cream cheese until it’s melted, then mix in the parmesan, most of the bacon, and the black pepper. Mix in some of the starchy pasta water, then toss all of that with cooked pasta. Serve and garnish with the remaining bacon and the fresh parsley. See the recipe card below for the full instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
The three areas you can play with to adjust the flavor are: Meat, Vegetables, and Herbs. Here are some great options in each of those categories:
- Meat: Crumbled Sausage, Chicken, Shrimp, Ham, Salmon, or Tuna.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Peas, Spinach, or Asparagus.
- Herbs and Aromatics: Chives, Thyme, Garlic, Capers, or Italian Seasoning.
To make this sauce vegetarian, you’ll need to substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth. You’ll also need to omit the bacon.
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If you like this easy creamy pasta recipe, be sure to check out our entire pasta recipe section! Some reader favorite pastas made with cream cheese are:
- Pink Sauce Pasta
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Chicken Mushroom Pasta
- Spicy Chicken Pasta
- Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Rasta Pasta
- 5 slices bacon
- 12 ounces spaghetti (340 grams)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 4 ounces cream cheese (half a brick, softened, cubed)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon diced fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)
- Using a sharp knife, cut the bacon into 1/4 inch slices.
- In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until the bacon is crispy. When the bacon is done, remove it from the pan, discard the grease, and wipe the pan clean.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the spaghetti and cook to al dente, according to the package instructions. Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.
- Heat up the large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and saute until aromatic (about 2 minutes).
- Add in the chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil.
- Add the cream cheese to the pan and stir while it melts (about 6-7 minutes). After the cream cheese is melted, add in the parmesan cheese and stir until it melts. Then add in the bacon (save a pinch if you want to use it for garnish) and black pepper, and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add in 1/4 cup of the starchy cooking water. Then add a little more at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Toss the spaghetti through the sauce. Garnish with the leftover bacon, fresh parsley and serve.
*It's so important to use freshly grated parmesan cheese. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in a starch that stops the cheese from melting as well as freshly grated cheese, which means the sauce won’t be as creamy.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 366Total Fat: 14.1gCarbohydrates: 45.4gFiber: 1.9gSugar: 2.6gProtein: 13.6g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. This recipe makes 4 large or 6 small servings. Nutrition was calculated for portions that make 6 servings.
The next time you need to get dinner on the table fast, this Cream Cheese Pasta is the recipe you need to try!