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This creamy tomato pasta recipe comes together quickly and uses everyday ingredients. You’ll love the silky tomato sauce!

You may also like my Easy Pink Sauce Pasta or Best Penne alla Vodka Recipe.

creamy tomato pasta in a white bowl

Why you’ll love it

Making a creamy tomato pasta sauce from scratch with canned tomatoes is simple! The best part is that it can be ready by the time your pasta has cooked. It’s perfect for those on-the-go weeknights.

This sauce uses a can of tomato sauce for liquid, and I also add in some tomato paste to punch up that tomato flavor. Garlic, Italian seasoning, butter, and cream complete it. Add some freshly grated parmesan cheese to take it over the top!

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – you can use whatever pasta you’ve got on hand. I love penne for this sauce because those little tubes are so nicely coated.
  • Butter – for sautéing
  • Garlic – adds savory goodness
  • Tomato paste – for concentrated tomato flavor
  • Tomato sauce – I’ve been asked by a few UK readers what to use instead of tomato sauce, and passata would be a good equivalent
  • Heavy cream – to make the sauce luxuriously creamy
  • Italian seasoning – it’s a great all-purpose herb blend
ingredients for creamy tomato pasta in prep bowls

Helpful tip

  • Canned tomato brands can vary, and some tomatoes are more acidic than others. My favorite brands are Mutti and DeLallo. If you find the sauce is a little bit too tart, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors/enhance the sweetness of the tomatoes. 

How to make creamy tomato pasta

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing onion in a skillet and making sauce for creamy tomato pasta

Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet. Sauté the garlic for a minute. Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, cream, and Italian seasoning until smooth.

adding penne pasta to a skillet with creamy tomato sauce

Let the sauce gently bubble until thickened to your liking. Season generously with salt & pepper. Add a pinch of sugar if desired. Toss with the drained pasta, and top with parmesan cheese if using.

Substitutions and variations

  • I don’t recommend subbing the cream for half-and-half or something with less fat. The sauce is likely to curdle due to the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • You could definitely change the herbs up a bit… some dried oregano or basil would work great. You could even add fresh herbs if you happen to have some.
  • You could stir in some spinach or other veggies towards the end of cooking if you want to dress it up a bit.
creamy tomato pasta in a skillet (tossed with penne)

What to serve with creamy tomato pasta

  • Pair it with a salad to round out the meal. Try my 10 Minute Caesar Dressing or this homemade Italian Dressing.
  • Go all out and make some Cheesy Garlic Bread to go with it.
  • This sauce will actually work for other things (like over chicken or shrimp, for example), so you could skip the pasta altogether if you want! Or you could add a bit of cooked chicken/shrimp/your protein of choice to the sauce for a more filling meal.

Leftovers and storage

  • You can keep this sauce in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it for up to 3 months if you’ve got some left over.
  • I’d re-warm it over a low heat in a saucepan. 
creamy tomato pasta close-up

Will you give this creamy tomato pasta a try? Questions? Let me know in the comments below! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you’ve made one of my recipes.

creamy tomato pasta in a white bowl
4.90 from 98 votes

Creamy Tomato Pasta

This creamy tomato pasta recipe comes together quickly and uses everyday ingredients. You'll love the silky tomato sauce! 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving, to taste


  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile (once the pasta starts to cook), add the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melts, add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, cream, and Italian seasoning. Stir until it's nice and smooth. Let the sauce cook for about 5 minutes or until it's thickened to your liking (it should be very gently bubbling, so you may need to turn down the heat).
  • Season the sauce with salt & pepper as needed (I'm pretty generous with both). If the sauce is a little too acidic/tangy for your liking, add in a pinch of sugar.
  • Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce (add a splash of hot pasta water if the sauce gets too thick). Serve immediately with plenty of parmesan cheese over top.


  • I don’t recommend subbing the cream with something that has a lower fat content as it’s likely to curdle due to the acid in the tomatoes.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 447kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 654mg, Potassium: 569mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1383IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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  1. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe last night and loved it! Am not a fan of using cream in my cooking, but this really worked. I found this dish comforting. Next time will add more freshly cracked black pepper and maybe some dried chilli seeds to amplify the flavour.!!

  2. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe! For anyone wanting to make it dairy free, I used a full can of coconut cream and it tasted delicious.

  3. 4 stars
    adding a tbs of sour cream near the end of cooking really gives it a creamier texture with another level of flavor.

    1. Hi! It’s a standard herb blend that you can buy… any major grocery store will sell it in the herbs & spices section. I usually buy McCormick brand, but many brands make it. It’s handy because it’s well-balanced and you don’t need like 5 jars of individual herbs.

  4. 5 stars
    Was craving pasta for lunch and I made this in so little time! It was delicious and simple, I only swapped out the Parmesan for some grated mozzarella for extra creaminess 😍

    1. Do you mean without the tomato sauce? I’m not really sure what you’d replace the tomato sauce with since it uses 14 ounces of it. Do you have crushed tomatoes? That could work. If not, I suppose you could up the tomato paste and cream perhaps, but I’m not really sure what it’ll taste like… you’d have to do a bit of experimenting.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this sauce for gnocchi as a dupe for a local Italian restaurant I used to go to before we moved. It is excellent. Adding some fresh mozzarella, basil, and pine nuts. Thank you! I miss Caffe Molise so much and this is a great craving fix for their tomato cream sauce!

    1. That’s awesome!! I’m so happy that worked out. I just love when it’s possible to replicate a restaurant favorite. 🙂

      1. Are you in the UK? Then passata would work. I did put the note in the blog post. In Canada/USA tomato sauce is a thing in itself (not ketchup). It’s in a can (tin) and it’s similar to passata.