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Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

Rich and velvety white pasta sauce made of cream cheese, milk, and parmesan cheese. Sounds decadent? Yes, it actually is.

Penne Pasta with Cream Cheese Sauce

Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

This is not your everyday pasta sauce. Just by looking at the ingredients, you probably already have an idea of how sinful and indulgent this recipe is.

Using cream cheese is a great way to transform your pasta sauce to a whole ‘nother level of deliciousness. It’s rich, creamy and mild in flavor. A perfect compliment to chicken or bacon–two favorite protein for pasta.

What goes in Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

And here’s what you need to make this pasta sauce:

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

  • Cream cheese – use block or the spread but make sure it’s full fat 🙂
  • Toasted garlic – toasting the garlic until just brown (but not burnt) makes the sauce extra fragrant and flavorful.
  • Butter and oil – butter is needed to toast the garlic. To cook the chicken you will need a little bit of vegetable oil as it can take high tempreture.
  • Whole milk – use to deglaze the pan along with water or chicken broth for more flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese – not only thickens the sauce but also adds flavor.

Add-ins for your pasta sauce

The addition of vegetables and meat or protein is optional but highly recommended. It not only brings color but also adds an extra touch of flavor and texture to the sauce.

Vegetables for White sauce Pasta

In this recipe, I added chicken, baby asparagus and bunashimeji mushrooms. I particularly love the nutty flavor and the crunchy texture of the mushroom. Please see the notes in the recipe card for other meat and vegetable options.

Penne Pasta with White Sauce

Fish sauce in white sauce. Really? Yes! Although listed as optional the “umaminess” it brings to the chicken is just undeniable. Try it, to believe it 🙂

More pasta recipes to your dinner menu!

Watch how to make it

Penne Pasta with White Sauce

Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

Rich and velvety white pasta sauce made of cream cheese, milk and parmesan. You can add chicken or bacon along with your favorite vegetable.
Print Pin
Servings: 3 -4 servings
Author: Mella
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (or pasta water)
  • 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated and divided)
  • pinch ground black pepper

Other Ingredients

  • 250 grams skinless chicken breasts (sliced into thin pieces)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (or salt)
  • 200 grams mushrooms (I used bunashimeji)
  • baby asparagus (tough parts removed, see notes for variations)
  • 8 ounces / 220g pasta (cooked al dente)
  • parsley or green onions for garnish (chopped)


  • Heat oil in a pan. Add chicken. Stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes until no longer pink. Season with fish sauce. Stir for 1 minute until fragrant. Transfer to a plate. Set aside.
  • Add butter to warm pan. Stir in minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat until lightly brown. Immediately add asparagus and mushrooms or choice of vegetables (see notes). Continue stirring until vegetables are half-cooked.
  • Pour in the milk, pasta water or chicken broth. Once the liquid starts simmering, add the cream cheese. Lightly stir until the cheese melts through the sauce.
  • Add the cooked chicken and half of the grated parmesan cheese. Gently stir. Simmer for 1 minute. Lower the heat then season with ground pepper. If sauce becomes too thick, just add more pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Add the cooked pasta. Gently toss until well coated. Turn off the heat.
  • Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese and parsley or green onions. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes and Tips:

  • Other protein options are bacon and shrimp. Bacon will make it extra flavorful and extra decadent. If you know what I mean.
  • If using bacon, fry it on the same pan but remove or wipe out the grease after. Unless you love the 'bacony-greasy' flavor then, by all means, leave it.
  • If using shrimp, use the frozen pack for convenience. Submerge it in water for 10 minutes to quickly defrost. Drain well before stir-frying. Cook it for 1 to 2 minutes then remove from pan. Add it back to the sauce just before the pasta.
  • Other vegetable variations: broccoli, green peas, white and brown button mushrooms, portobello mushroom, and yellow bell pepper. All are mild-tasting vegetables that won't overpower the buttery flavor of the sauce.
  • Freshly grated parmesan is always recommended as it melts easily in the sauce. If using the jarred type, use the finely grated one for a smoother sauce.
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Course : Main Course
Keyword : white sauce pasta
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