Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe


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Pink sauce pasta is the best easy 20-minute dinner recipe! This creamy tomato sauce (also called rose sauce) is made without heavy cream, and is so delicious!

Pink Sauce Pasta

This pink sauce is so creamy, and it’s just exploding with flavor! You can seriously just eat it by the spoonful.

It’s so easy to whip up, and it would be perfect for a last minute dinner idea that everyone in the family will love. You’ll think you had a creamy pasta dish delivered  from one of your favorite restaurants!

A close up image of penne noodles tossed in creamy tomato sauce.

Why Is It Called Pink Sauce?

It’s called pink sauce because of its gorgeous characteristic pink or orange color. The cream mixed with the tomato sauce produces a pasta sauce in a lovely pink hue.

Is Rosa Sauce The Same As Vodka Sauce?

They are both pink sauces that get a lot of their flavor from combining tomato sauce with a creamy element – like heavy cream or cheese. The main difference is that vodka sauce uses vodka as an ingredient, while pink sauce does not.

What Is Pink Sauce Made Of?

The ingredients for this pink sauce pasta are penne pasta, butter, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, dried oregano, fine sea salt, dried basil, chicken broth, milk, cream cheese, mozzarella, and fresh parsley.

Oregano, salt, and basil labeled on a plate.

How To Make Pink Sauce Pasta

While you have the pasta cooking in a pot of salted water, start the sauce. Saute the onions in butter, then add the garlic. Pour the tomato sauce and chicken broth into the skillet, and sprinkle in the basil, oregano, and salt.

Next, you’ll add in the cream cheese and milk, and stir constantly until the cream cheese is melted. Mix in the mozzarella and let it thicken before tossing the pasta with the sauce, and serve. See the recipe card below for the full instructions with ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Onions for pink sauce sauteing in a skillet.
A close up image of creamy tomato pasta sauce made without cream.

What Does Pink Sauce Taste Like?

There’s a reason that this is such a popular dish, tomatoes and cream are pretty much a match made in heaven. It has the fresh tomato flavor from the tomato sauce, but it’s mixed with the creamy and cheesy flavors, too. If you like dishes where tomatoes and cheese are mixed, like pizza, or chicken parmesan, I’m sure you’ll also like this pasta!

Can You Add Milk To Tomato Sauce Without Curdling?

It depends on the recipe and the instructions. Tomatoes are very acidic, which is what can cause tomato based foods to curdle when you mix milk in.

In this recipe, we’re using very little milk, and we’re including foods with quite a bit of fat (like butter and cream cheese). The combination of those means you don’t have to worry about that here. It’s still important to only simmer this sauce, do not let it boil.

If you’re still worried about it, you can mix a pinch of baking soda into the tomato sauce before you add the milk and cream cheese. Just a pinch though – a little goes a long way. Baking soda helps neutralize the acid in the tomato sauce, which reduces the risk of curdling, and also makes the creamy tomato sauce taste sweeter.

Can I Use Milk Instead Of Cream In Pasta Sauce?

It depends on the sauce, but generally, yes. This is an easier substitution to make if the sauce doesn’t have acid in it, like an Alfredo sauce. I would still opt for whole milk for the added flavor and creaminess.

If you’re using it in a sauce with acidic ingredients (like tomatoes or lemon juice) using whole milk will work the best. The additional fat in whole milk helps prevent the sauce from curdling.

Milk is also more prone to separating than heavy whipping cream is, so it’s important to only let it simmer when you’re making a pasta sauce, never let it boil.

Rose pasta sauce with penne noodles in a skillet.

What To Serve It With

I love serving tomato basil cream sauce over penne, but there are lots of different noodle options you can choose, and some protein options that would be a delicious addition. Try serving it with garlic bread and a side salad for a classic Italian-inspired meal!

  • Protein: Chicken, shrimp, salmon, roasted vegetables, seafood, sausage, ground beef.
  • Pasta: Fettuccine, spaghetti, gnocchi, cheese tortellini.

If you love spicy pastas, try adding some crushed chili flakes at the same time as the dried herbs.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image of pink sauce pasta with title text.

Pasta Recipes

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire pasta recipe section! It’s filled with delicious and quick dinner ideas. Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 4 large or 6 small servings

Best Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe

The best creamy pink sauce pasta recipe.

Pink sauce pasta is the best easy 20-minute dinner recipe! This creamy tomato sauce (also called rose sauce) is made without heavy cream, and is so delicious!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 cups dry penne pasta (300 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large yellow onion (diced)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk*
  • 4 ounces full fat cream cheese (half a brick)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded pizza mozzarella**
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne pasta to al dente, according to the package instructions. 
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and then add in the onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes, or until aromatic. (Stir frequently to avoid burning  your garlic and onions.)
  3. Now add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and stir. Bring to a simmer for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in the milk and cream cheese and stir until melted, then mix in the shredded mozzarella cheese and let simmer for 7 - 8 minutes (it’s important to not let the sauce boil, but just simmer instead).
  5. Mix the pasta in with the sauce. Garnish with the chopped parsley and a little extra mozzarella if desired then serve!


*Whole milk is the best for this recipe, because the sauce will thicken faster. 2% will also work, but it will take a little longer to thicken. The batch in the photos was made with 2%.

**It's so important to use freshly grated cheese. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated in a starch that stops the cheese from melting as well as freshly grated cheese. That means that you won't get those ultra delicious and remarkably cheesy bites if you use pre-shredded cheese.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 14.4gCarbohydrates: 44.8gNet Carbohydrates: 42.2gFiber: 2.6gSugar: 5.8gProtein: 13.3g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate. This recipe makes 4 large or 6 small servings. Nutrition was calculated for portions that make 6 servings made with 2% milk.


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If you’re looking for an easy family meal that adults and kids will like, this pink sauce pasta is the recipe for you! It’s super quick to make, and it uses pantry-friendly ingredients.

The best creamy pink sauce pasta recipe.

29 thoughts on “Pink Sauce Pasta Recipe”

  1. My boyfriend is super picky about everything. He LOVES this sauce. Its now a frequent flyer in our house! I have made it with low fat milk and it comes out just fine, and reheats amazingly. We like to had spicy ground Italian sausage to it for some extra protein and flavor!

    • Hi Valerie, So happy to hear your boyfriend enjoys the pink sauce so much! It’s one of our favorites, too. That’s awesome to hear that it works well for you using low fat milk. Thanks for sharing that adaptations that worked for you! -Alexa

  2. This is my first time leaving a feedback on recipe. I was craving a good past for past few weeks. I tried couple of food joints in vicinity but didn’t like them. Then I decided to take matter into my own hands. I’m so glad I found this recipe. It was really easy to follow. I made it twice in a week. It had the same great taste every time. Thank you so much for sharing this. ♥

  3. Love this recipe! Just made it for the first time. I substituted the milk with heavy whipping cream to make it thicker and added chicken for protein, and it turned out great!

    • Hi Emma, Great to hear that it works well with heavy whipping cream instead of milk. Thanks for leaving feedback! -Alexa

  4. Made it tonight for dinner & got rave reviews (family said “definitely make this again”). I was so worried I’d break or curdle the sauce but it was fine – phew (I used an old trick I learned making Alfredo sauce of letting the cream & cream cheese come up to room temp before adding) Only got one critique from the family. They wanted it spicy so next time we’ll add some crushed red pepper flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce to finish 👍 Thank you for this great recipe. You made it easy. Appreciate you ❤️

  5. Made this 2nite & it was absolutely Delicioso!!! I substituted the chicken broth for just water & I substituted the whole milk for heavy whipping cream (Make sure to not overcook so does not curdle). I added chicken on top which I cooked in a skillet in butter, basil, and garlic & Added fresh Parmesan & Romano on top. Was so good & creamy! My daughter loved it! I will be making this again & again.

    • Thank you so much for this recipe! I made this tonight also and it was delicious!! I also substituted milk for heavy cream and added ground beef and Italian sausage. I would’ve used chicken but didn’t have any this time. I will do this again with chicken again but it does work very well with other meats as well.

  6. Amazing base recipe, I added mushrooms, hot pepper flakes, chicken, and spinach. I used half & half. Amazing. I realize it’s not your recipe, but this is an option.

  7. I made this on the weekend. I consider myself a pretty good cook. But this recipe was awful. All we could taste was Oregano. I don’t know what happened but it ended up in the garbage.

    • Hi Teresa, I’m sorry to hear that this recipe didn’t turn out well for you. There isn’t enough dried oregano in this recipe for it to taste that overpowering, so I’m guessing that you may have used ground oregano instead of dried oregano (which refers to dried whole oregano leaves). Ground oregano would have a taste that’s about 6 times stronger than dried oregano, so 1 teaspoon of ground oregano would’ve been the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of dried oregano. That definitely could’ve made the oregano flavor very overpowering. Again, sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you, but I hope that helps! -Alexa

    • Well if followed properly its excellent and very great taste so if u do r like oregano taste don’t add it for this recipe is fool proof unless over cooked , I don’t at times use cream cheese for I just don’t have it but just melt more cheese in sauce and I always use heavy whip cream and when I’m out of that I make it using 1/4 melted butter with 3/4 cup of milk which is a cup of whipping heavy cream!!!

    • Hi Desmond, So happy to hear you liked it! I haven’t tried freezing it, but I think it would likely freeze really well. -Alexa

  8. Well I add a whole block of cream cheese, fresh roma tomatoes with 2 or 3 tablespoonful of tomato paste, also pasta water mixed with chicken broth and half and half instead of whole milk. It was excellent!!

  9. This was so good! I had to sub beef broth for the chicken because that’s what I had on hand but it tasted amazing! Served it wolith rotini and gnocchi combo and meatballs. Can’t wait for leftovers for lunch!

    • Hi Rachel, Since this sauce contains both the acidity from the tomatoes and fat, I think it might not be a great fit for someone who gets heartburn from eating tomato-based foods. A trick that has helped me with tomato-based sauces or soups when I’m struggling with heartburn is to mix in a very small pinch of baking soda at the very end. The baking soda helps neutralize the acid in the tomatoes. You only want to use a very very very small pinch though. You can always add more, but if you add too much it will ruin the flavor of the sauce. Hope that helps! -Alexa

  10. This recipe is decent. I knew it needed something so I added some heavy cream and parmesan and it tasted so much better! Served it with blackened chicken and everyone loved it. I definitely wouldn’t serve it without the heavy cream and parmesan though.

  11. Hi there,

    Just wondering if I can make a little bit ahead of time. I am having company and was hoping to make ahead of time .


    • Hi Lynne, Yes! You can definitely make the sauce ahead of time. I’d probably wait to boil the pasta until just before you plan to serve it. Make the sauce as instructed, then let it cool. It should stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. When you’re ready to serve it, reheat it over medium heat in a large skillet, stirring frequently, until it’s hot. If it’s a little thick, thin it out with a bit of milk or chicken broth. Hope that helps! -Alexa

    • Hi Elle, If you’re planning to serve it as the main dish, then I would double it for 5 adults. If you plan to serve it alongside a protein and a vegetable, then it would make enough as a side dish. Hope that helps! -Alexa


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