Pasta Bake

Pasta Bake is a deliciously cheesy meal, perfect for any night, and one that the whole family will love and devour in no time!

Pasta Bake is a staple on our weekly menu, it’s easy, cheesy, and delicious! Brussel Sprout SaladRoasted Broccoli, or Roasted Green Beans are some great veggie choices to pair with Baked Pasta!

A scoop of Pasta bake from a casserole dish.

A family Staple

Pasta Bake Recipes make a weekly appearance on our dinner schedule. Pasta is quick, easy, filling, and always a crowd-pleaser.

This particular Pasta Bake is a favorite. It’s a Baked Penna Pasta recipe that is so tasty and cheesy. We’ve been long-time fans of Macaroni and Cheese so you better believe everyone – kid and adult – loved this recipe!

Similar to our White Sauce Macaroni and Cheese, this Cheesy Pasta Bake is ooey gooey, and delicious! Made in under 30-minutes, this recipe is sure to be a weeknight hit!

Penne pasta in colander.

How to make Baked pasta

PASTA. Cook penne until al dente, or slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.


  1. While the pasta is cooking, heat milk in a small saucepan. Keep warm, but do not let it simmer.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt your butter. Add flour to melted butter and stir for 1-2 minutes, until the butter-flour mixture is golden. Slowly whisk in the warm milk. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, whisking often until thickened – about 10 min. Remove from heat.
  3. Add heavy cream and ½ cup of Swiss and ½ cup of parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.

BAKE. Combine pasta with cheese sauce. Pour into a large buttered casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and Parmesan. Cover the dish with foil.

Bake at 400°F for 10 -15 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is golden brown.

ENJOY! Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

A glass dish of pasta bake topped with shredded cheese.

recipe tips + variations

Fix dry pasta casserole: Being proactive in avoiding dry Pasta Bake is much easier than trying to fix a dried-out dish.

  • Don’t add extra pasta: It can be tempting to add extra pasta and stretch the dish out, but if you add more pasta there won’t be enough sauce to compensate. 
  • Boil the pasta to al dente. Undercooked pasta will absorb more liquid leaving dry pasta. 
  • Coat the pasta completely with the sauce and cheese. Any uncoated pasta that sticks out will dry out. 
  • Cover the pasta during the baking time to avoid moisture from evaporating.

If you do end up with a dry dish, try to revive it by stirring in some warmed milk or heavy cream. Or add moisture by saving the pasta water and mixing it in.

Nutmeg may seem like an odd addition, but it really brings out the best flavor and doesn’t make the mac and cheese sweet at all!


  • Season with garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, or parsley.
  • Add veggies: red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, or spinach.
  • Spice it up with jalapeños or red pepper flakes.
  • Add a crispy topping: combine 1 cup of bread crumbs with ¼ cup melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the top before baking.
  • Meat. sprinkle cooked crumbled bacon to the top. Mix in cooked cubed chicken, turkey, or browned ground beef or sausage.
  • Shred your own cheese, this will help the cheese melt and mix in easier!
  • Noodle. use elbow, bowties, ziti, or shell pasta.

Serve cheesy Pasta Bake with an Arugula Salad, Roasted Vegetables, or Cheesy Garlic Bread.

Storing Info

Make ahead of time. Assemble the classic Pasta Bake, cover it tightly, and leave it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before baking.

STORE leftover Pasta Bake in the fridge in an airtight container for about a week. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.


  • Baked: Let it cool completely. Wrap it tightly in multiple layers of foil and place it in the freezer for 1-2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat it in the oven, covered, until warmed through.
  • Unbaked: Let it cool completely and mix everything together. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again with aluminum foil and freeze for 2-3 months. Bake from frozen adding a few minutes to the bake time.

This is a great dish to make ahead and bake when ready. It would make an excellent meal to surprise a neighbor!

Pasta bake being scooped from a glass baking dish.

For more pasta dishes:

Pasta Bake Recipe

5 from 14 votes
Pasta Bake is a deliciously cheesy meal, perfect for any night, and one that the whole family will love and devour in no time!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 444 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna


  • 12 ounces penne pasta about 3 cups
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese divided
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese divided
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente, or slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
  • While pasta is cooking, heat milk in a small saucepan over low heat to warm, but do not let it simmer.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir for 1–2 minutes, until butter-flour mixture is golden. Slowly whisk in warm milk. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Add heavy cream, ½ cup shredded Parmesan, and ½ cup Swiss cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
  • Combine pasta with cheese sauce and pour into a buttered 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup shredded Parmesan and , ½ cup Swiss cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 10–15 minutes.
  • Remove foil and continue baking until cheese is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5–10 minutes before serving.



Make Ahead: Assemble the pasta, cover tightly with foil, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before baking.
Variations: Crumbled bacon, diced cooked chicken, chopped chicken sausage and
vegetables like chopped broccoli or bell peppers make great additions.

Adapted from Magical Recipes

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Yes It will be a great dinner idea any night! 😀 Thanks for share. i never make it before !

  2. 5 stars
    Currently 22 and mac and cheese is still one of my favorite meals. I can’t believe how creamy this is! Every other time I make baked mac and cheese I find that it has significantly dried up the sauce but not this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    This dish is one of my family’s favorite!! It’s such a crowd pleaser & my picky kids love it!! It’s so cheesy & delicious!!

  4. 5 stars
    My kids love your “homemade mac and cheese” recipe so I had high hoped they’d love this one too. My 3 daughters loved it. I found that if you reheat it on the stovetop and add a bit more milk, it becomes creamy again.