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Creamy Tomato Pasta Recipe

This tomato pasta recipe is made with a delicate cream sauce that’s a hit with the entire family. While this dish certainly tastes elevated, it comes together in minutes, making it the perfect quick dinner. Serve it with chicken or shrimp for extra protein—either pairs well with the creamy pasta sauce.

If you love tomatoes as much as I do, you may also like this yummy tomato toast with mozzarella, my roasted tomato soup recipe, or this simple creamy tomato basil salad.

A fork twirling in a pan of tomato pasta

Creamy Pasta Sauce

If you’ve never made a homemade sauce before, you are going to be blown away at how much better this one is than canned pasta sauces. Trust me, try this once and you will never, ever go back to the jarred pasta section at the grocery store!

When you think of a creamy pasta sauce, you may automatically assume we are talking about alfredo sauce. This time, however, it pays not to make assumptions! While I certainly enjoy alfredo, I love this sauce so much more. It’s similar to a vodka sauce, except there is no vodka.

This creamy pasta sauce is also incredibly easy to make. The sauce has just a few basic ingredients: onions, tomatoes, cream, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. This entire meal comes together in under 30 minutes—it’s one of my go-to recipes when I need a quick dinner that I know my kids will gobble up!

close up of noodles coated with a red creamy pasta sauce

Tips for Making this Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

  • Choose your pasta. I like this best with linguine pasta, but if you have something else on hand you can substitute it in. Fresh pasta always tastes best, whether you pick it up in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, or opt to make your own homemade pasta (you only need 4 ingredients!).
  • Use fresh or canned tomatoes. This tomato cream sauce will taste best if you can use fresh ripe tomatoes. However, they are not always in season, so I will often use the canned tomatoes.
  • Buy heavy cream. Make sure you get heavy cream, not whipping cream or half and half. That’s what gives this tomato cream sauce that extra yummy flavor. If you use whipping cream, just use a tad more of it.
  • Add some protein to your grocery list. This pasta can be enjoyed as a vegetarian dish sans meat, or it can be made with chicken or shrimp for extra protein.
  • Serve immediately. Remember, this dish comes together quickly. It tastes best enjoyed immediately after cooking—don’t let it sit and dry out.
  • Serve with sides. My favorite way to serve this pasta is with a salad and a fresh baguette. Trust me, you’ll want to use the bread to mop up any of the extra tomato cream sauce!

Fork twirled in pasta coated in a tomato cream sauce

Recipe at a Glance: How to Make Creamy Tomato Pasta

For detailed recipe instructions, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

  • Optional:  cook the chicken breast (if using).
  • Heat butter and oil together, and sautee onions until golden.
  • Add the garlic to the onions, then add diced tomatoes and basil.
  • Cook until the liquid is thickened, then add cream and stir to combine. Season to taste.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente, then drain.
  • Toss the pasta (and chicken if using) in the tomato sauce. Make sure it’s well-coated.
  • Top with parmesan and a sprinkle of chopped chives, then serve immediately.

Tomato pasta with chicken and parmesan

Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe with precise ingredient amounts.

More Pasta Recipes:

Creamy Tomato Pasta

5 from 12 votes
Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Calories: 549 kcal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


Creamy Tomato Pasta Ingredients:

  • 1 lb linguine pasta (or any other)
  • 1 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 chicken breast, sliced into thin strips (optional) Note 1
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 28 oz tomatoes fresh or canned, diced or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil (1/2 tsp dried basil ~ 5-7 leaves of fresh basil)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste

To serve:

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped chives


  1. Heat butter and oil in a large pan over medium heat.

    If using chicken, add chicken to the pan and cook it over high heat, stirring often until slightly browned (~4 min), then remove to a plate.

    If no butter or oil remains in the pan add a tablespoon or two more and add finely diced onions. Saute, stirring often until lightly golden and translucent. Add the garlic and sweat for a minute with the onions.

    Next, add the diced tomatoes and basil and cook until the tomatoes are broken down and the liquid is reduced and thickened (~10 min). Add the cream and stir to combine. Allow to cook until thickened (~3 min). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot bring about 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir. Cook the pasta al dante or according to package instructions.
  3. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce along with chicken, if using. Toss the pasta in the sauce and keep stirring until it's well coated in the sauce.

  4. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and chopped chives. Serve right away

Recipe Notes

Note 1: 
Chicken or shrimp can be used in this recipe interchangeably.

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Tomato Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 549 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 519mg23%
Potassium 690mg20%
Carbohydrates 65g22%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 26g52%
Vitamin A 1704IU34%
Vitamin C 21mg25%
Calcium 248mg25%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Ásdís

    Just tried it! Best pasta sauce I have made. Everybody loved it, adults and kids alike! 🙂

    · Reply
  • Caitlin

    Hey there, I am making this as I type! One thing – it would have been helpful to have basil listed in the ingredients list since I just screenshot that and went to the store.

    Looking forward to eating it still!

    · Reply
  • Ellie

    Can you can the pasta sauce?

    · Reply

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