Looking for a fast and easy dinner recipe that tastes like it took all day? This creamy goat cheese pasta is done in 20 minutes and sure to be a favorite.

Creamy goat cheese pasta

Can you ever have too many simple dinner recipes? As much as we cook and create everyday easy dinner ideas, we still have nights we’re not sure what to make! But here, we’ve got a truly tasty recipe that I don’t think could be any easier if it tried. This 20-minute creamy goat cheese pasta is so tangy and creamy, sweet from the tomatoes and lightly peppery from the fresh basil. The secret to the creaminess is that goat cheese, which brings a body to the sauce that’s almost like a vodka sauce. Combined with chewy penne, it’s out of this world! And best of all, you barely have to think to make it.

Want a variation? Try Creamy Instant Pot Pasta or Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara!

Goat cheese pasta

How to make goat cheese pasta

This pasta is extraordinarily easy to make: it’s actually the stovetop version of our Creamy Instant Pot Pasta. So if you have a pressure cooker and want an even easier recipe (just dump and cook!), head over to that recipe. For the stovetop version, it’s simply a matter of cooking up some penne, and making a quick marinara sauce at the same time.

Because this goat cheese pasta recipe is so quick to make, it’s imperative to use fire roasted tomatoes if you can find them. Fire roasted tomatoes are sweeter right out of the can, and don’t taste bitter like many tomatoes do, requiring them to be simmered for hours. If you can’t find fire roasted tomatoes, just look for the best quality crushed tomatoes you can find. Crushed canned tomatoes is the key here. You could also blend up some diced fire roasted tomatoes if you can find those.

Another key to this recipe is fresh basil: this and goat cheese are the only ingredients you might not already have in your pantry. Adding whole fresh basil leaves to the sauce adds a peppery undertone that’s quite unlike any dried herb you can buy. You can use the remaining fresh basil leaves as a garnish for the pasta when it’s done! (Here’s our trick on How to Store Fresh Basil!)

To make the goat cheese pasta sauce, you’ll simply simmer the tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices and basil with a little spinach; we added spinach for a boost of nutrients. You’ll just simmer that while you make the pasta — the timing doesn’t really matter. But if you’re making it separately, we’d say at least 10 minutes. Then you’ll stir in 4 ounces of goat cheese when it’s done, to make it into a creamy, tangy sauce!

Related: How to Grow Basil at Home

Goat cheese pasta

Is goat cheese healthy or better for you than cow’s cheese?

So, goat cheese: is it healthier than cow’s cheese? Actually, yes! There are many benefits of goat cheese over a standard cow’s cheese like cheddar or mozzarella. Here are some reasons to make this goat cheese pasta:

  • Goat cheese has more vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk (like vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium).
  • Goat cheese has slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85), Swiss (108), and cheddar (115).
  • Goat cheese is easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure. That means even people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese!

(Source: Prevention)

Goat cheese pasta

On local goat cheese

If you can find it for this goat cheese pasta, try to buy local goat cheese! Supporting local vendors is so important for the local economy: and what’s more fun than supporting local goats! We have a local goat cheese vendor at our farmers market that we love called Caprini Creamery. It’s run by husband and wife team Kristy and Mike and they are incredibly dedicated and talented. Their goat cheese is AMAZING — and they even let us visit their farm to check out their operation. Larson absolutely adored the baby goats! So consider checking out your local farmers market or groceries for any local goat cheese options.

How to cook pasta to al dente?

Lastly, let’s talk al dente! Cooking pasta too long is a common mistake in the kitchen. To cook pasta to al dente, check the package instructions and then start tasting your pasta a few minutes before that! (The timing listed on many packages results in rubbery pasta.) You want to catch the pasta right when it goes from crunchy to tender. It should still be slightly firm inside–but not crunchy!

This goat cheese pasta recipe is…


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Creamy goat cheese pasta

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x


Looking for a fast and easy dinner recipe that tastes like it took all day? This creamy goat cheese pasta is done in 20 minutes and sure to be a favorite.


  • 8 ounces penne pasta (regular, not whole wheat)
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the penne until al dente, checking a few minutes before the package instructions to see if it is tender but still firm. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, crumble the goat cheese into the sauce and add the pasta. Stir until a creamy sauce forms. Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Creamy goat cheese pasta, Goat cheese pasta, Pasta with goat cheese, Pasta marinara, Creamy marinara

Looking for easy dinner recipes?

Outside of this goat cheese pasta, here are some of our favorite easy dinners, many of them pasta dinner ideas:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. Hello! First this recipe is wonderful! I was skeptical that it would be that tasty, but wow. The goat cheese gives it this tangy flavor that is delicious. And thank you. I keep looking for a recipe that is simple and that I have the ingredients in the pantry and frig. I am always going to have the goat cheese, spinach and fresh basil in the frig for days that I am just so tired. The family loved it. Question. It only has I believe 6 grams of protein. What can I add to this recipe to bump up the protein to at least 10 or so grams. I was a bit hungry after a few hours due to the low protein content.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! You could stir in a some greek yogurt once it has cooled slightly for an even creamier sauce if you wanted. That would add a little punch of protein. You could also try adding in some chickpeas or white beans. I’d just stir them with a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper before adding.

      1. I hadn’t even considered that. Great idea! More protein and fiber as well! thanks so much. I had the pasta leftovers for lunch today. Was even better. Just bought your cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking. If the food tastes as good as the photos we will be in heaven. So glad I found you two :)

  2. I’m not a big fan of goat cheese, so I subbed for 4 ounces of mascarpone and then added some feta crumbles and fresh Parmesan on top and it was SUPER good that way too!

  3. Hi. Why do you not recommend using whole wheat pasta? trying to stay Mediterranean diet so can’t use white pasta.. Thanks!

    1. Different brands of whole wheat and alternative flours have different cook times. We haven’t had a chance to test!

    1. Hi! Our nutrition analysis doesn’t include sodium. A teaspoon of kosher salt has ‭1,920‬ mg of sodium if that helps!

    1. Yes you can freeze the marinara sauce — without the goat cheese! Add the goat cheese when the sauce is reheated.

  4. I love all the ingredients in the recipe and it came together easily. But it was missing something — was bland to me. Added some ground pepper & Parmesan…but still…just meh. Important to note — husband loved it!

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