Looking for a rich, cheesy pasta dish with tons of flavor? This irresistible Brazilian cheese pasta with onion is about to become your new favorite weeknight meal.

Bursting with creamy, melty cheeses and sweet, savory caramelized onions, every bite of this pasta is absolutely mouthwatering. The best part is that it comes together in just 30 minutes for a quick and easy dinner the whole family will love.

Keep reading for the step-by-step recipe for how to make the most decadent, flavorful cheese and onion pasta. With just a few simple ingredients and easy instructions, you’ll learn how to create the ultimate comfort food right at home.

This saucy baked pasta is about to become a regular on your dinner table!

Ingredients For Brazilian Cheese Pasta with Onion

To make this cheesy pasta dish, you will need:

For the pasta:

  • 1 pound pasta (penne, rotini, or other short shape)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 1⁄2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the breadcrumb topping:

  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Brazilian Cheese Pasta

Follow these simple steps for creamy, cheesy pasta perfection:

1. Cook the pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Sauté the onions and garlic

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.

3. Make the cheese sauce

Add the heavy cream, milk, cubed cream cheese, Parmesan, and thyme to the skillet. Stir continually until the cream cheese fully melts and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Mix the pasta and cheese sauce

Add the cooked drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to fully coat. Cook for 2-3 minutes until pasta is heated through.

5. Make the breadcrumb topping

In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, melted butter, Parmesan, and parsley.

6. Finish and serve

Transfer the cheesy pasta to a serving dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top. Serve warm.

Tips for Making The Best Brazilian Cheese Pasta

  • Use high-quality ingredients for the most flavor. Go for authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rather than pre-grated Parmesan from a can or bag.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta. It should be al dente so it doesn’t get mushy when baked.
  • Make sure the cream cheese fully melts into the sauce for a silky smooth texture.
  • Add extra seasoning if needed. Taste the sauce and add more salt, pepper, garlic powder, or thyme to personalize the flavors.
  • Customize with add-ins. Try adding sautéed mushrooms, wilted spinach, or roasted red peppers for variation.
  • Swap the breadcrumb topping for crushed crackers, fried onions, or toasted nuts.
  • Bake the assembled pasta for 25-30 minutes if you want a crispy topping.

Frequently Asked Questions About Brazilian Cheese Pasta

What type of onion works best?

Yellow or white onions are best for their mild sweet flavor. Red onions or shallots can also be used for a more aromatic onion taste.

Can I use all heavy cream instead of half-and-half?

Yes, you can substitute all heavy cream or even half heavy cream and half whole milk. The sauce may be slightly thicker.

What kind of cheese can I use?

For best flavor, use imported Parmigiano-Reggiano. But you can also use Pecorino Romano, Asiago, or a good quality pre-shredded Parmesan cheese.

Should I use whole milk mozzarella?

Mozzarella or provolone can be used instead of Parmesan for a different cheese flavor. Avoid pre-shredded cheese which has anti-caking agents. Slice or shred fresh mozzarella.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the pasta up until adding the breadcrumb topping. Store in the fridge for 2-3 days and add the topping right before baking.

Can I freeze the pasta?

Absolutely! Assemble the pasta in a baking dish but do not add breadcrumbs. Wrap well and freeze, then add crumbs and bake straight from frozen.

Brazilian Cheese Pasta Variations

One of the best things about this Brazilian cheese pasta recipe is how versatile it is. There are endless possibilities for customizing this pasta to suit your tastes by switching up the add-ins and ingredients.

Vegetarian Brazilian Cheese Pasta

For a vegetarian version, you can leave out the sausage and add in extra veggies instead. Great options include:

  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Wilted spinach
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Caramelized onions
  • Broccoli florets

Chicken Brazilian Cheese Pasta

Chicken pairs nicely with the cheesy sauce. Sauté cubed chicken breast, thighs, or tenders with the onions and garlic. Then mix in with the finished pasta.

Seafood Brazilian Cheese Pasta

Fancy some seafood? Shrimp, scallops, lobster, or crab meat make luxurious baked pasta. For an easy shortcut, use imitation crab or frozen cooked shrimp.

Spicy Brazilian Cheese Pasta

Add some heat to your pasta by mixing in spicy ingredients like:

  • Diced jalapeños
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Hot sauce or chili oil
  • Spicy Italian sausage instead of mild

Pesto Brazilian Cheese Pasta

Stir basil or spinach pesto into the cheese sauce for a vibrant herby flavor. The pesto swirls beautifully through the pasta.

With so many possible ingredient swaps and add-ins, you can customize this Brazilian cheese pasta to be exactly how you like it. Get creative with your own signature version!


This Brazilian cheese pasta with onion is sure to be a crowd-pleaser any night of the week. The combination of creamy cheese sauce, savory onions, and crispy Parmesan topping can’t be beat. Personalize this easy dish by adding your favorite mix-ins or swapping the cheeses used. With endless variations, you’ll never get bored with this irresistible pasta recipe. Give it a try tonight for your next Italian night, potluck or dinner party!

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

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