This baked cream cheese pasta takes the baked feta trend to the next level thanks to a super flavorful cream cheese sauce with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and fresh lemon juice all baked to perfection and served with spaghetti. Enjoy!
It Started with the Baked Feta Pasta Trend
It all started with the baked feta pasta trend that’s completely viral on social media, so we thought we’d put our own spin on a few variations of this deliciously easy recipe. Cue: this baked cream cheese pasta!
Baked Cream Cheese Pasta – What You Need
The star of the show in this dish is most definitely the CREAM CHEESE! You’ll love how creamy it makes the sauce, as well as the delicious flavor it gives the entire dish. You’ll need:
- Cream cheese: We used a brick of full-fat cream cheese as the base for this dish, but a block of reduced fat cream cheese will also work.
- Cherry tomatoes: In addition to the cream cheese, cherry tomatoes are going to be the base of your pasta sauce. Feel free to use red, orange, or a combo of colors.
- Bella mushrooms: Sliced mushrooms cook down so nicely in this pasta! Not only will you get the delicious mushroom flavor, you’ll have perfectly cooked ‘shrooms, too.
- White onion: Onion of any kind will work in this dish. It helps create a beautiful sauce base, and we just love the flavor.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is a must as it will make sure nothing sticks to your casserole dish. It also adds a great nutty flavor to this baked cream cheese pasta recipe.
- Dry white wine: Any dry white wine will work here! Feel free to use a cooking wine if you have it on hand, or open a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc and enjoy a glass as you’re cooking!
- Lemon juice: We always prefer fresh lemon juice! Lemon juice will give this pasta such a deliciously fresh flavor.
- Garlic powder: Do not skip the garlic powder. It adds just enough garlicky flavor.
- Pasta: Any kind of pasta works for this baked cream cheese pasta because you cook the pasta separately. Pick your favorite shape! We used spaghetti 😀
- Pasta water: Pasta water is truly the “secret sauce” of this sauce. After your pasta cooks in the water, make sure to reserve some of the starchy water. It will help thicken your cream cheese sauce.
- Salt & pepper: Salt and pepper this pasta dish to your liking!
Cream Cheese Suggestions
While we’ve only tested this cream cheese baked pasta with a full fat brick of cream cheese, a few other variations will also work:
Can I use reduced fat cream cheese? Yes! A block of reduced fat cream cheese will also work for this dish.
Can I use whipped cream cheese? Because whipped cream cheese isn’t as dense, and doesn’t come in a brick form, it likely will require a shorter bake time than a brick. If you go this route, let us know how it turns out in the comments!
How to Make Baked Cream Cheese Pasta
You won’t believe how easy it is to whip up this baked cream cheese pasta! The whole fam will love this deliciously creamy dish. Let’s walk through it together:
Assemble Pasta Sauce Base
Let’s create the base for that yummy, cream cheesy, tomato-base sauce.
Place cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, white wine and lemon juice into your casserole dish.
Mix It All Together
Then, toss with olive oil so that everything is nicely coated. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper and toss ‘er all again.
This le creuset casserole dish is our all time favorite casserole dish! The white color rocks, it has a cover, and it’s great for so many dishes.
Add Cream Cheese
Nestle your block of cream cheese right in the middle of the casserole dish, pushing the tomatoes, mushrooms and onions aside, so the cream cheese sits right on the bottom of the casserole dish with a halo of veggies around it.
Bake cream cheese pasta sauce at 400ºF, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
let’s talk bake time
There’s a couple reasons why the bake time is a full 40 minutes for this sauce:
- You want to make sure the tomatoes have enough time to break down and easily burst. This tomato sauce truly is the base of your sauce.
- The cream cheese needs enough time to fully soften and easily mix with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
It’s Pasta Time
While the pasta sauce bakes, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir your pasta regularly so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom and cook it until it is al dente!
Don’t forget! Set aside 1 cup of the pasta water for later. You are going to use the water in your pasta sauce to help thicken it.
let’s talk pasta
Not sure what type of pasta to pair with this baked cream cheese pasta dish? Lucky for you, ANY PASTA will work since you’re cooking the noodles separately from the sauce. Some of our faves:
- ps: ANY gluten-free noodle will also work!
Zest & Smash
Once your sauce has baked for 40 minutes, the cherry tomatoes should be deeper in color and look visibly shriveled. This is exactly how you want them to be! The cream cheese block should be slightly golden brown and super soft to touch.
Use a fork or a mixing spoon, smash the cherry tomatoes until they burst.
All Together Now
Then mix together the smashed tomatoes with the softened cream cheese and mushrooms. Add in your starchy pasta water, and mix it all together — you should have a beautiful creamy pasta sauce at this point!
Add in al dente pasta, and toss everything together.
Garnish with fresh herbs and salt and pepper. Serve, and ENJOY!
Baked Cream Cheese Pasta Flavor Variations
Swap out the Mushrooms: Don’t love ‘shrooms? Swap them out for another veggie like kale, sliced bell peppers or asparagus. Just wait to add them into the casserole dish until there is about 20 minutes left of the bake time remaining.
How to Store Baked Cream Cheese Pasta
Let your baked cream cheese pasta cool completely, and then transfer it into an air-tight container. Store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Baked Cream Cheese Pasta
- 8 oz. cream cheese cold
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 8 oz. Bella mushrooms chopped
- 1/2 medium white onion minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 cup starchy pasta water
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 8 oz. uncooked spaghetti pasta
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Pour cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions into a 9×13-inch casserole dish. Add olive oil, white wine, and lemon juice into the casserole dish and toss until the tomatoes are coated.
- Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper and toss again.
- Next, place a block of cream cheese into the middle of the casserole dish and bake the cream cheese dish at 400ºF for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook the pasta until it is cooked to al dente.
- Before pouring the pasta into a strainer remove 1 cup of starchy pasta water from the pot and set it aside.
- Strain pasta and set aside.
- Remove the cream cheese dish from the oven and use a fork or spoon to smash the cream cheese with a fork or spatula. Smash the tomatoes, making sure they have burst, and then stir the cream cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms together until it forms a creamy pasta sauce.
- Add the lemon zest and fresh herbs to the casserole dish and then pour in around 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water to the sauce and mix.
- Add the cooked pasta to the casserole dish and toss until the pasta is coated in the sauce.
- Serve immediately with fresh cracked black pepper and lemon zest.