Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

on April 29, 2020
last updated on August 17, 2021
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This Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake is a family favorite for the ultimate comfort food dish. It's filling, delicious, and oh... did I mention cheesy?
Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake - New Featured Image

It’s cheesy, saucy, carb-filled goodness. It’s the Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake! And almost everyone who has eaten at our house for dinner will recognize this guy!

This super comfort food, family-style dish is a go-to when we have people for dinner because it’s quick, filling, feeds A LOT, and appeals to everyone.

I mean cheesy carbs with red sauce and garlic? What’s not to like??

You can switch up the veggies in this recipe or the cheese you use- it’s always delicious regardless of the variation, so don’t be scared to adjust this Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake to your own taste!

To take it to the next level, try it with this homemade marinara sauce. And if you’re here because you’re also a cheese-aholic like me, try this Indulgent Mac-n-Cheese, too!

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake - Overhead Shot

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake Frequently Asked Questions

What pasta should I use for this bake?

You can really use any pasta for this dish, but I recommend penne, rigatoni, fusilli, farfalle, rotini, macaroni, or conchiglie. I used penne in the pictures here and it’s my go-to because I love how the creamy sauce coats the cylinders inside and out. It really lends to the overall flavor!

What sauce should I use for this pasta bake?

Any red sauce will do! I typically use my own homemade sauce or just a plain marinara. It gives you a better base to punch up the flavor on your own with the onion, garlic, black and crushed red pepper, and of course, cheese! Use your favorite!

I don’t like mushrooms. Can I substitute something else in the pasta bake?

Of course! I am in love with mushrooms and use them in a lot of my recipes, but this is one where you can certainly substitute meat or any other vegetable.
Just make sure you fully cook the meat or reduce the vegetables first, so your bake isn’t all watery. Some vegetables I often add include spinach, peppers, and broccoli. I just cook them down with my onions in step 1.

Can I use light cream cheese in a pasta bake?

Absolutely! I often do with this recipe. It’s hard to tell the difference once it’s baked in with the other flavors. And with something this rich, it’s nice to cut calories where you can. And on that note, I’ve used reduced fat shredded Italian Blend and Shredded Mozzarella, and it’s delicious as well!

How long does this pasta bake keep fresh?

Unless you’re having 8 for dinner, you WILL have leftovers that you’ll definitely want to keep. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

How do I reheat such a cheesy pasta bake?

If it’s in the fridge, it’s as simple as covering it with saran wrap in a microwave-safe dish and heating it up in the microwave. Depending on the serving size and power of your microwave, you will heat for 1-3 minutes.

From the freezer, either thaw out overnight in the refrigerator or microwave for an extra 1-2 minutes. If you have the patience, the best way to reheat it is by baking it in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes, or 20-25 if frozen.

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake - New Cheese Pull

Why You Should Make This Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

  • It’s in the name. What gets better than easy and cheesy?
  • You can feed an army with it. Perfect for big family gatherings or dinner parties.
  • You can eat it for days. It reheats quickly and tastes just as good as leftovers.
  • It’s versatile. Mix up the veggies to put your own little twist on it.

Loving this Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake and want more pasta recipe ideas? Try this Vibrant and Tasty Confetti Orzo and One-Pot Smoked Salmon Pasta Bake.

Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Marley Goldin Course: DinnerCuisine: Italian


Prep time


Total time



This Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake is a family favorite for the ultimate comfort food dish. It’s filling, delicious, and oh… did I mention cheesy?


  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 8 ounces mushrooms

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 24.5 ounces (1 jar) marinara sauce

  • 16 ounces penne rigate

  • 4 ounces cream cheese

  • 8 ounces Italian shredded cheese blend

  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella

  • Fresh basil for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit, and prep your veggies by chopping onions and mushrooms, and dicing the garlic. In the meantime, boil 4 quarts of salted water.
  • In a large pan or wok, cook mushrooms, onions, and seasonings in olive oil until all the liquid has evaporated- about 20 minutes. Add marinara and garlic and cook until sauce thickens- another 5-ish minutes.
  • Once water is boiling, cook pasta until al dente, according to the directions on the box-usually about 6-10 minutes. Strain and set aside to dry completely.
  • Turn the stove hob with your sauce on it down to low and add cream cheese. Stir until completely integrated.
  • Add the cooked pasta and Italian cheese blend to your wok with the sauce. Stir until pasta is completely covered in the sauce and the cheese is evenly distributed.
  • Pour the pasta into a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish. Top with an even, thin layer of cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the cheesy top is golden brown. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy with family and friends, or keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

pro tips

  • You will most likely have leftovers. This actually reheats really well in the microwave if you cover it with saran wrap. It’s just as good the next day!
  • I actually use light cream cheese in this because I’ve had it both ways and can’t tell the difference. This is by no means a low calories dish, but may as well cut where you can!
  • Sometimes I add more vegetables, too. It’s delicious with spinach, broccoli, and peppers. Just cook the extra vegetables with the onion and the mushroom. You could probably add meat, too!

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