Cream cheese pasta bake has been trending on Tik Tok since forever and for good reason!
It’s the easiest, creamiest main dish that’s ready in about a half hour, with ingredients that are probably already in the kitchen! Cream cheese is nestled in the middle of fresh tomatoes and garlic that have been coated with olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It’s baked in the oven until the cheese is melty and the tomatoes are roasted to perfection. Mix in some hot pasta, sprinkle with basil, and dinner is served! Serve this tomato pasta bake as is, or add cooked chicken, ground beef, crumbled bacon, or even a can of tuna! It’s a recipe that is as versatile as it is easy to make.
Creamy Pasta Bake
- Tomato pasta bake is a hearty dish that’s perfect for Meatless Monday and can go straight to the table from the oven!
- Put your own spin on it and create a unique masterpiece by using up what’s on hand!
- Even though this recipe is perfect without meat, it’s still a good way to use up leftover chicken, beef, or sausage. Or stir in some flaked tuna or even frozen meatballs because everything goes with cheese, tomatoes, and pasta, right?
What’s in Cream Cheese Pasta Bake?
CHEESE: Philadelphia cream cheese is a popular brand but any store brand will do. Go for full fat over low fat for the best flavor. A block of feta can be substituted and will create a tangier taste. Blend in some sour cream or Greek yogurt to make the sauce a little thinner, if desired. In a real pinch for time? Switch out the cheese entirely and use a jar of pre-made Alfredo sauce.
TOMATOES: If homegrown tomatoes are on hand, use them up in this colorful dish! Grape or cherry tomatoes that come in red, yellow, orange, and even purple make this dish “insta-worthy” but chopped regular tomatoes can be used instead.
PASTA: Choose pastas with ridges or hollows so the sauce can cling best. Try penne, macaroni, large shells, rigatoni, cavatappi, or bucatini. Of course, spaghetti is always a hit with the kids!
EXTRAS: A bag of spinach, broccoli florets, sliced zucchini, or even a frozen bag of mixed vegetables will add nutrition, flavor, and help stretch the food budget!
How to Bake
This dish is so easy and versatile, you’ll want to make it again and again!
- While the pasta is cooking, bake cream cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings for about 35 minutes (as per recipe below). Broil until the top is browned.
- Drain pasta, and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Gently mash the garlic, then stir the cream cheese together with the tomatoes.
- Add hot pasta and toss, using pasta water as needed to get the right consistency.
Garnish with chopped basil before serving.
Pro Tips for Pasta Bake
- Prep everything the night ahead, or in the morning, then pop into the oven for a super quick meal!
- Cook the pasta to al dente because it will continue to cook in the dish.
- Mix some Buffalo sauce into the cream cheese after Step 4 for a spicy version and then add bleu cheese crumbles as a garnish. This is a great recipe if you’re using up leftover chicken!
- For a taco inspired dish, use ground beef seasoned with this homemade taco seasoning, and then garnish with shredded cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend. So many options!
- Serve with these easy wedge salads , and a thick slice of no knead bread for all that cheesy sauce!
Storing Pasta Bake
- Keep cream cheese tomato pasta bake covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days and reheat on the stove or in the microwave, loosening up the sauce with a little milk, if necessary.
- It’s not recommended to freeze this dish since dairy products like cream cheese and pasta generally don’t have good texture when thawed. However, this recipe is so easy to make, why not start fresh?
Other Pasta Recipes
- No Cook Tomato Sauce With Pasta – 20 minute prep
- Simple Parmesan Pasta With Lemon – an easy side
- Caprese Pasta Salad – savory and delicious
- Stuffed Pasta Shells – dinner in under an hour!
- Cheesy One Pot Pasta – delish with sausage and tomatoes
Cream Cheese Tomato Bake Pasta
- 8 ounces cream cheese 1 block
- 2 pints grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, about 3 pounds, or about 4 cups
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or enough to coat
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces pasta
- 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- ¼ cup basil chopped or chiffonade, for serving
- Preheat oven to 400˚F.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, and oil to the casserole dish and toss to coat. Make a space in the center of the dish and add the cream cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cheese is soft and lightly browned, and the tomatoes are cooked. Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
- When the tomatoes are done, mash the garlic slightly then stir everything together.
- Add pasta to the dish and toss. Add a bit of pasta water at a time until it reaches desired consistency.
- Sprinkle with basil and serve.
- Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days.
- Reheat on the stovetop, in the microwave or covered with foil in the oven.
- Do not freeze this dish because products like cream cheese and pasta generally don’t have good texture when thawed.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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Recipe inspired by Spend With Pennies and Liemessa
You cannot put glass or Corelle-type casseroles under a broiler, so should the recipe be started in a metal pan?
Yes, you can bake this in a metal pan, or you can skip broiling if you prefer. Enjoy the pasta dish Maryeileen, it’s so good!