This tasty cream cheese pasta bake is packed with bacon, onions, and a Ritz cracker crumb topping. Rich, creamy, cheesy, and filling this dish has everything for a perfect weeknight comfort meal.
I was inspired to create this recipe after seeing something about cream cheese spaghetti. While that dish was completely on the stovetop and didn't have Ritz, bacon, or even green onions in the mix, I knew the flavors would work out well if I tried.
So I made a recipe and tried it out, modifying it a few times until I finally found something worth blogging about.
This cheesy pasta bake comfort meal is far from healthy, but it hits all the right spots. Cheesy, creamy, soft, crunchy, salty, savory. It's all good.
For more delicious pasta recipes, make sure to check out my Pineapple Teriyaki Yakisoba Noodles, Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti, and Zucchini Penne Pasta.
Why This Recipe Works
- Simple ingredients. This recipe uses some very basic and simple ingredients to create a delicious flavor profile on every plate.
- Simple steps. You won't need any fancy gadgets to make this recipe. The steps and process are so easy to follow that anyone can make it.
- It's a great comfort meal. This recipe is like a fancier mac and cheese, but it's so much more than that too. This is one recipe that you'll have you coming back for more.
Bacon- For that salty bacon flavor we love and want so much, you're going to need several strips of bacon and some reserved bacon grease.
Onion- Use onions for added flavor depth.
Garlic- This will give us a lot more flavor and some great smells too.
Cream cheese- For a richer consistency, using cream cheese will give us a wonderful sauce to cook the noodles in.
Milk- We cook our noodles in milk instead of water so that the pasta feels more creamy.
Noodles- Use a box of dry pasta noodles like rotini, penne, or elbow noodles.
Salt and Pepper- To keep our seasonings simple and basic, you'll want to use some salt and pepper.
Cheeses- You will need a combination of Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese for a creamy, melty cheese experience.
Green onion- Added for fresh taste and color.
Ritz crackers- Make a wonderful topping because it's crunchy, buttery, and salty.
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
🍽 Equipment Needed
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Check out how to make cream cheese bacon pasta bake with these simple step-by-step instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
In a large pot, cook your bacon until crisp, remove bacon, chop. Set aside.
Reserve 2-4 Tablespoons of bacon grease and rain the rest.
Cook your onion in the reserved grease until caramelized (about 5 minutes).
Add in the minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add in cream cheese and stir.
Whisk in the milk, bringing the mixture to a boil.
Add in the noodles and reduce heat to medium.
Boil for 8 minutes or until the noodles are al dente. Some may take longer than others see notes about adding water.
Add in the salt and pepper. Add in mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, most of the bacon, and half of the green onions.
Pour mixture into the greased 9x13 baking dish.
Top with crushed Ritz crackers and the remaining green onions and bacon.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
🍴 Recipe Tips
Making this creamy bacon pasta recipe is easy, but there's one thing that I've noticed. Depending on the type of pasta used, it may absorb liquid faster than others.
For this, I recommend adding up to a cup of water while the pasta is boiling. It's only needed if you notice the liquid running low and the noodles still aren't fully boiled. But you can toss it in for good measure either way.
Adding the cup of water does take away a little flavor (in my opinion) so you don't want to add in too much more than that or you won't get the same desired results.
You can use whole milk, half and half, or even heavy cream in this recipe and the results are all fabulous.
My favorite way of warming up cream cheese fast is taking a small clean kitchen towel and running it under hot water. Then wrap it well around a foiled brick of cream cheese and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes until soft.
These leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. For best results eat sooner rather than later.
Yes, you can assemble the pasta recipe in advance by assembling it as directed, and just before the actual baking process, cover it with foil and place it in the fridge instead. Then let it sit there for no more than 2 days before baking in the oven until heated through.
It might take a little longer to bake from cold, but it should still taste great. I also recommend not adding the ritz topping until ready to bake to prevent the crumbs from getting soggy.
More great pasta recipes to try
- Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Creamy Roasted Garlic and Tomato Pasta
- Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Bake
- Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole
Cream Cheese Bacon Pasta Bake
- 1 cup Bacon, chopped (about 6 strips) ($2.58)
- 2-4 Tablespoons Reserved bacon grease ($0.00)
- ½ medium Onion, diced ($0.35)
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced ($0.10)
- 8 ounces Cream cheese, softened & cubed ($1.98)
- 4 cups Milk ($0.19)
- 1 box (1oz) Elbow noodles ($0.78)
- 1 teaspoon Salt ($0.10)
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper ($0.10)
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded ($0.93)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded ($0.23)
- ½ cup Green onions, chopped ($0.07)
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs ($0.59)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
- Cook bacon in a large pot until crisp. Remove bacon, chop and set aside. Drain grease, reserving 2-4 tablespoons for later.
- With the reserved grease, cook onions until caramelized, about 5 minutes over medium heat.
- Add in minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add in cream cheese. Stir.
- Whisk in milk to combine. Bring to boil.
- Add in elbow noodles and reduce heat to medium.
- Boil 8 minutes or until al dente.
- Add in salt, pepper, Mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, most of the bacon and ½ of the green onions.
- Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish.
- Top with crushed Ritz crackers, and the remaining green onions and bacon.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
- Serve warm.
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