I love this comforting dish for busy weeknights! Use it as a light main dish or a side dish.
❤️ Why you'll love it
- A flavorful dish needing just a handful of simple ingredients
- Cream cheese pasta sauce is cozy, filling, and comforting
- Easy Italian seasoning with a premade dressing mix—no need to restock the whole spice pantry
This easy pasta dish brings the whole family together, even if for just a few minutes on the busiest of weeknights. The creamy sauce comes together with basic ingredients, but the savory flavor feels like it came straight from an authentic Italian kitchen.
It's a great side dish for these easy crockpot meatballs, too.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Melt the butter and cream cheese in a large skillet or non-stick pan.
- Whisk in the garlic powder, parmesan cheese, and dressing mix.
- Stir in the cup of pasta water and red pepper flakes.
- Add the cooked pasta and garnish with fresh parsley and more cheese.
This easy cream cheese pasta is best served immediately, and I don't recommend making it ahead of time.
However, if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Creamy pasta recipes tend to dry out and get really thick when reheating, so after warming the leftovers in the microwave, use a splash of milk to thin the sauce to your liking.
It doesn't freeze well.
Alongside some garlic bread and a simple green salad, cream cheese pasta makes a perfect meal. However, you can use some of these ideas to switch things up:
- Protein: Stirring in some leftover shredded chicken breasts or cubed ham is an easy way to make this delicious pasta recipe into a full meal. Or, try this chicken spaghetti recipe.
- Make creamy bacon pasta by adding in some bacon bits!
- Pasta: You can swap the thin spaghetti for a different pasta shape if you prefer. This is a great way to use up leftover pasta noodles, too!
- Vegetables: Stir in some cherry tomatoes, spinach, chopped asparagus, frozen peas, or another favorite veggie.
- Flavor: If you have it, feel free to swap the powder for fresh garlic or minced garlic from a jar. I'd saute it in a tiny bit of olive oil first, before adding the butter and cream cheese, so that it's not raw.
- Garnish: Parmesan adds the perfect flavor to the cheesy sauce, but you can use pecorino, romano, or another similar blend if you already have it.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: Use freshly grated parmesan for a silky smooth sauce. Pre-grated parmesan (like the kind in the green bottle) doesn't melt as well and can make your sauce a little bit grainy.
- Starchy pasta water helps thin out the creamy cheese sauce, but it also helps the sauce adhere to the pasta. Don't skip this important step!
- Since the cream cheese sauce is the main component of this cheesy pasta dish, use the best quality cream cheese you can find. I prefer full-fat cream cheese, like the Philadelphia brand. Reduced fat won't ruin your dish, but it's definitely not as flavorful.
- Salt your boiling water really well before cooking your pasta. It makes the noodles taste much better, and adds to the final flavor of the dish.
- Before starting to cook, set your pasta strainer on top of a clean, large bowl. Sometimes, you can get distracted when dumping the pasta out and forget to save a cup of water. This way, the pasta water is automatically reserved in the bowl under the strainer.
- This dish is best served immediately.
This simple pasta recipe tastes creamy and cheesy. It's similar to a cream cheese alfredo sauce, but instead of simmering heavy cream for a long time, we speed up the process. I'm all about easy recipes!
Sure thing! Just follow the package instructions/directions when cooking it to achieve perfectly al dente pasta.
For the best results, I'd use a good-quality block of cream cheese rather than a softer spread. The kind in the tub and whipped cream cheese don't hold up as well as a sauce, so I wouldn't recommend it.
While the chicken broth would add a savory flavor to the sauce, the point of using the pasta water is to take advantage of the thickening starches released from the noodles while boiling. So for this easy sauce, I wouldn't swap the water for broth.
📚 Related recipes
- Another one of my favorite, easy pasta recipes, Pasta con Broccoli is a cheesy alfredo dish made in one pan that even broccoli haters crave!
- One-pot Philly Cheesesteak Pasta combines all the best flavors of the classic sub-sandwich into an easy, cravable weeknight dish.
- Forget about going out and waiting—make your favorite Italian dish at home in just 30 minutes with Olive Garden Copycat Chicken Alfredo.
- Crack Chicken Spaghetti takes the southern classic up a notch.
🍽️ Serve with...
- Crockpot Green Beans and Ham
- Restaurant-Style Garlic Breadsticks
- Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Chocolate Frosting
📞 The last word
Don't you love an easy pasta dish that comes together in minutes? I sure do!
This spaghetti with Philadephia cream cheese sauce is out of this world delish and it's so easy to change up with added ingredients!
The cream cheese pasta sauce recipe is delicious with any of your favorite pastas, too.
Taco spaghetti is another one of our favorite quick and easy recipes!
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Cream Cheese PastaPrint Pin Recipe Save Go to Collections
- 8 ounces thin spaghetti, cooks quicker!
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 0.6 ounces dry Italian dressing mix, I used a packet of Good Seasons
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
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- Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
- Add pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking add the butter and cream cheese to a skillet over medium heat and whisk until well mixed and smooth.
- Add the Parmesan, garlic powder and Italian dressing mix.
- Whisk until smooth.
- Remove from heat.
- As soon as the pasta is done drain it, reserving about 1 cup of the hot pasta water.
- Put the cream cheese sauce back on the stove on medium heat.
- Add about ¼ cup of the pasta water, whisking smooth.
- Add some of the pasta and mix in to the sauce.
- Continue adding pasta and mixing well.
- Add a little more pasta water if the sauce seems clumpy or too thick to coat the spaghetti.
- Sprinkle with crushed red peppers, Parmesan, and a little parsley if you wish.
- Serve immediately.
- Use freshly grated parmesan for a silky smooth sauce.
- Use full fat cream cheese.
- Salt your boiling water really well before cooking your pasta.
- This dish is best served immediately.
I am going to try this but I would prefer to add a vegetable. Which one would work best? Thanks for your help!
Try broccoli or asparagus... sauteed bell peppers...