Baked Penne

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Baked Penne is a classic and hearty pasta dish that is made by layering penne pasta, spaghetti sauce and a cream cheese mixture then baked to perfection! It’s absolute comfort in a pan!

Penne Pasta

Baked Penne is a classic and hearty pasta dish that is made by layering penne pasta, spaghetti sauce and a cream cheese mixture that is baked to perfection! It’s absolute comfort in a pan! If you’re in need of a scrumptious, warm-your-soul kind of meal, this is the perfect dish for you! 😀

To make this dinner even better, you could pair it with a few different breads! My Gorgonzola Garlic Bread, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks would make the perfect additions! Or if you’d rather keep it simple, my Easy Artisan Bread works too. No matter if you choose to serve the Baked Penne on it’s own or with some carbs, you can’t go wrong either way! 🙂

Baked Penne is a classic Italian-American dish with penne pasta baked in spaghetti sauce, cream cheese and Mozzarella cheese.

Although Baked Penne is traditionally made with meat, you can actually make it vegetarian if that’s what you like! Just totally disregard the ground beef on the ingredients list and you’re good to go. If you do like meat, but aren’t really feeling the beef, using grilled or baked chicken would make delicious alternatives.

The options are endless! 🙂

Before we go our separate ways, (hopefully your separate way is straight to the kitchen to whip up this Baked Penne) I want to note something.

When I originally posted this recipe (back in 2013!) the Philadelphia cooking cremes were sold at most grocery stores. I can’t find it anymore here in Utah. I’m not sure if that’s a local thing or what, so to replace the cooking creme I now use cream cheese and Italian seasoning. I have used this mixture many times and have absolutely loved each turn out. But if your local grocery store does happen to carry it, definitely give it a try! 

Penne Pasta
4.82 from 11 votes

Baked Penne

Course Main Course, Pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Author Holly


  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef (season with salt and pepper)
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 6 ounces chive and onion cream cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 pound cooked Penne pasta (8 ounces)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, cook and crumble ground beef, onion and garlic together until beef is no longer pink. Drain any grease.
    Stir in spaghetti sauce, 4 ounces of the cream cheese, Italian seasoning and 1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese.
  • Cook and stir mixture until cheese is melted; about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the cooked penne pasta to combine.
    Carefully pour mixture into a greased 8×8-inch baking dish. Dot the rest of the cream cheese evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy! ♥



Baked Penne is a classic Italian-American dish with penne pasta baked in spaghetti sauce, cream cheese and Mozzarella cheese.

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38 thoughts on “Baked Penne

    1. Sue, it’s near the cream cheese and butter at my grocery store. They have a lot of different flavors and they’re really good. Hope you can find it! πŸ™‚

  1. Holly your recipes never disappoint! I’m very excited to try this one as I know my family will enjoy it. Happy holidays to you and yours!

    1. Judi, Oh no! πŸ™ I’m sorry. I’m sure a great substitute would be 8 ounces softened cream cheese mixed with 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning. Let me know if you try it!

      1. 5 stars
        I did try it for myself, it was perfect and gave it an extra and special taste. Thank you for adding the substitute into the steps.

  2. Incredible recipe. This was gone in less than 20 minutes after serving and I was hoping for leftovers tomorrow!! First time trying the cooking Creme. Really great stuff πŸ˜€

  3. My store also stopped carrying the cooking creme, so I mixed 8oz of softened cream cheese with 2 tsp of Italian seasoning and 3 cloves of sauteed garlic in olive oil. πŸ™‚ It is baking in the oven now and smells delicious!

  4. Made this last night using cream cheese, a touch of heavy cream and fresh parsley since my stores quit carrying the cooking crème. It was delicious! My husband and two year old loved it!

  5. I couldn’t find the cream but I am confused about the substitute. In your ingredients part it says 4 oz mixed with 2 tablespoons of seasoning but in the comments I’m reading 8oz with 2 tablespoons of seasoning. Or is it 8 oz with 4 tablespoons?

    1. Katie, I find the 4 ounces of cream cheese mixed with 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning works perfectly for us! I’ve made it several times that way now because I think they’ve officially stopped selling the cooking cremes.
      Hope you enjoy the recipe! Let me know πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks! I ended up only using half of an 8oz container with the seasoning because I thought the whole 8oz would be too much. I also used Emeril’s Chunky Mariana Sauce (my favorite). Loved the recipe. I thought it tasted better the next day just like most pasta dishes. It will be great to make the day before in the future! Thanks again. I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

  6. This one was so amazing, as are all of your recipes! Thank you so much for sharing! I use your recipes and menus daily!

    1. Alyssa, Yes, you can make this ahead of time. Up to 24 hours. I recentl made this in the morning up until the baking point, then covered it in and put it in my fridge until dinner. So it sat in my fridge about 8 hours. It was perfect πŸ™‚

  7. This sounds yummy! I’m looking for casseroles I can make ahead and freeze. Has anybody tried making a double recipe and freezing half? How did it come out after you thawed and baked the second half?

  8. 5 stars
    OMG! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE. My family loved it. i did make some changes and added MORE cheese. I will also be doing things a bit different next time– it was still an easy recipe and it was so very delicious. Thank you so much. Stay safe and healthy.

  9. 5 stars
    We love this recipe I have been making it since you posted it. Just wanted to give a heads up from Philadelphia. They stopped making all the cooking creams but their recipe is an 8 oz block of cream cheese 2 tbs milk and 1 tablespoon italian season. I emailed them and they emailed me how to make the sub for the italian cream and the santa fe.

  10. 5 stars
    Amazing recipe. So flavorful. I used veggie italian sausage instead of ground beef. How does this recipe not have 1000 five star reviews????

  11. 4 stars
    It was delicious, but so filling! Used Jimmy Dean hot sausage instead of ground beef, my spaghetti sauce is Newmans Own Sockarooni, and i added a few fresh mushrooms, sliced, while cooking the sausage and onions. Also, my cream cheese was 8 ozs, and i used it all.

  12. 5 stars
    Would you possibly know the nutritional information on this dish? I also used protein pasta for an extra protein punch!

  13. 5 stars
    This is delicious, and it is easy and quick to prepare. I have made it meatless, as well as with the ground beef. Thank you for this recipe!
    (I was able to find the cream cheese onion and chive.)

    Question: Is the amount of penne pasta three cups dried, and then cooked,
    or is it three cups after being cooked?

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