Creamy Parmesan Lemon Baked Pasta made with just 5 ingredients!
Creamy Lemon Baked Pasta
This Creamy Parmesan Lemon Baked Pasta is easy to make, kid friendly and makes for awesome leftovers.
Creamy Parmesan Lemon Pasta Salad
Bonus tip about this recipe? I make it with short pasta too, especially rigatoni….because it is AMAZING served cold! If you are going to serve it cold, I recommend cooking it for only 10-15 minutes and when it comes out of the oven, stir is until the pieces are separated.
Best Pasta for baking:
You can certainly use any pasta you’d like in your recipes, but some are better suited to baking than others. Avoid pastas that are very small or very thin like angel hair pasta. The pasta will overcook and break easily during serving.
While I love to use thin spaghetti in recipes I won’t be baking, I stick to classic spaghetti in baked recipes to allow for longer baking times.
Short pasta shapes work great in baking. The most popular shapes for this are ziti, penne and rigatoni. Careful in using farfalle pasta if you are baking, the edges tend to stick to other pieces and tear during serving.
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What to Serve with Creamy Lemon Pasta?
- Add FROZEN peas to the pasta just before putting it in the oven.
- When you put the pasta in the oven also put a tray of asparagus or grape tomatoes topped with some olive oil, salt and pepper to roast.
- Add chicken or shrimp!
- Instead of pasta water you can add milk for an even creamier pasta.
- Top with buttery toasted crackers like I did in the Baked Caesar Pasta.
Frequently Asked Cooking Questions:
- Can you freeze this recipe? I don’t suggest freezing the recipe as it won’t have the same texture or moisture in reheating.
- Can you use bottled lemon juice? Please don’t. Aside from using zest in the recipe as well there is a distinct flavor in bottled lemon juice that is just off-putting. It certainly doesn’t have the fresh flavors we are looking for and with only five ingredients using the best ingredients really matters.
- Can you add chicken? Absolutely! I frequently make the chicken with chicken breast chunks, turkey breast chunks or shrimp added.
- Do you add the meat/chicken raw? No, cook the meat before adding it to the pasta and baking.
- Do you have to bake the pasta? No, you can certainly eat it without baking, I would just suggest cooking the sauce until it is thickened and tossing with the pasta. Add the lemon towards the end of your simmering.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 pound spaghetti dried
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 2 lemons (zested, one cut into wedges and one juiced)
- 6 ounces Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- parsley for garnish (optional)
- Cook the pasta a minute less than what is labeled on the box in salted water.
- Drain but do not rinse and save a ⅓ a cup of the pasta water.
- In a hot large pot or pan add the garlic and olive oil.
- Cook on medium high until just fragrant, 10-15 seconds.
- Add in the cream cheese and Parmesan Cheese.
- Stir to combine and add in two tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and ⅓ of a cup of the pasta water.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (I add ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper).
- Mix well and add the pasta into the pot to combine.
- Pour the pasta into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges and sprinkle lemon zest on top and parsley if you're using it.