Easy Parmesan Noodles are creamy, cheesy, and super easy to make. They’re made in the same pot the noodles are for easy clean up.
Yes, I know. This doesn’t look like much on the plate. But trust me when I say these are a family favorite for a reason. And it started with Dad and an effort to make a quick and easy alfredo for dinner. Of course, I’ve taken the basic idea and ran with it. Including a newfound secret ingredient to make these over the top creamy and delicious.
What is canned Parmesan cheese?
We have this debate in house about what the vessel is called. I call it a can. The other makes fun of that but never really tells me what he calls it. So, I just use container from now on. But I’ve always called it canned and I’m not the only one in the universe that does. So, there’s that.
Canned Parmesan cheese is a pre-grated Parmesan cheese that is shelf stable until opened. For me, it’s a convenience product that has a comfort food appeal. Especially in this easy Parmesan noodles recipe. I use it for Caesar salads because I don’t always have fresh Parm on hand for Caesar salad. Canned Parm is sprinkled on pastas. Especially spaghetti with meat sauce that I make quite often for a quick dinner. And I’ve used it in carbonara in a pinch.
Canned Parmesan cheese has a bad rap. From the whole “saw dust” incident to the specifics about what Parmesan cheese really is, it has become a bad word like MSG is. For those that jumped on the hype of saw dust and banned the canned cheese from their cupboard you should do some reason. The “saw dust” is, in actuality, a common plant fiber called cellulose which our body needs. Several fiber supplements and powders are based on cellulose. Just saying.
And then there’s the whole “It’s not REALY Parmesan because it doesn’t come from the Parma/Reggio region.” Much in the same way that most of your “champagne” isn’t actually champagne but just sparkling wine because it doesn’t come from the Champagne region in France. Based on that, none of our cheeses, wines, etc. are truly that because other parts of the world are making similar items. And those items taste pretty darned close but don’t have the price tag.
Why not use fresh Parmesan cheese?
There is something about the qualities of the canned cheese that make this an easy recipe. Fresh Parm, while it is perfectly delicious, it doesn’t have the same effect as the canned Parm cheese. Fresh Parm is not considered a melting cheese for good reason. It’s a bit more stringy and stingier about how it melts and interacts with the rest of the ingredients.
Even with the surprise ingredient in there, fresh Parm still doesn’t really blend with the rest of the ingredients to make a creamy and delicious coating for the noodles. I’m sure that has to do with the temperature.
Parmesan melts at 180. I know my pan and the rest of the ingredients might not get to be that hot. Combining the noodles with the rest of the ingredients for a short amount of time doesn’t give the Parmesan the temperature it needs to truly melt and be part of the sauce. Don’t ask my why the canned cheese does. Maybe it’s because of the cellulose?
What is the secret ingredient?
So, one night I had this dish on the menu. When I went to the fridge, I didn’t have any cream. Plum out. Not sure how that happened. There’s almost always a bit of cream in there somewhere. But I was flat out of cream. And, well, milk is okay but not the best substitute for cream in this case.
I searched the fridge to see what else I could use. There was some sour cream but not enough. And, well, the other doesn’t like sour cream. I even thought about opening a can of evaporated milk from the pantry. I always have a can or two of those in the pantry. Then I saw it behind the ketchup. In the door of the fridge. Crema. PERFECT!
It has the right consistency and the amount of fat needed to bind all the cheesy goodness together into a creamy sauce. So, I grabbed the container, poured a little bit on the noodles, and kept on stirring. And, let me tell you, it was a game changer for the family go to favorite recipe.
What’s the difference between sour cream and crema? And crème fraiche?
Sour cream is tangy, as we all probably know. It has a lower fat content and curdles easily under heat. It sometimes has gelatin or enzymes to thicken it. Because of the low-fat contact and high protein amount sour cream is best cold or used as a topping to a hot dish like borscht, chili, or nachos.
Crema is thinner and runnier. Traditionally consumers can purchase it from ranches that make the delicious ingredient. However, in the US it’s prepared like other dairy products. It’s a pasteurized product sold in grocery stores. I have found table crema and sour crema. For this recipe, I used the table cream which is sweet and creamier. The sour cream is, well, tangier.
You could use the sour cream crema and this recipe will have a completely different taste. I prefer it. But, like I said, the other doesn’t like sour cream so I tend to only make it when I know I’m eating alone that night.
And crème fraiche is richer with a high fat content. Which gives it a more buttery flavor. Because of the higher fat content, crème fraiche is perfect simmered in sauces. In fact, I just learned that crème fraiche is better for Swedish meatballs than sour cream. I’ve been using sour cream all this time!
What do easy Parmesan noodles taste like?
They are creamy and delicious. When the Lipton noodle sides came out, we tried them. And, of course, we did our best to make homemade versions of these convenience foods. And these noodles taste like their Parmesan noodles. Creamy, delicious, and full of Parmesan flavor. I added some garlic salt for added flavor and dusting of white pepper.
Last night for dinner I combined the rest of these noodles with some frozen broccoli. Oh yeah. It was delicious, too! You could easily toss in some chives or green onions, maybe some sun-dried tomatoes, or even just a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flake. Easy Parmesan noodles are a great base recipe to stir in whatever your heart desires! Or your taste buds want. Or they’re perfect all by themselves.
Easy Parmesan Noodles are creamy, cheesy, and super easy to make. They’re made in the same pot the noodles are cooked in for easy clean up.
- 4 cup cooked egg noodles
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- 3/4 cup Mexican crema (or El Salvadoran for a tangy kick)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
- Cook noodles according to package directions.
- Heat the butter in the pan and add the noodles.
- Stir in the Parmesan, crema, and garlic salt.
- Cook on medium until the Parmesan is melted and the noodles are creamy.
Amount Per Serving Calories 351Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 86mgSodium 844mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 11g
Here’s more Side Dish recipes:
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- Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
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- Make Ahead Dinner Rolls from Cookaholic Wife
- Maple Dijon Brussels Sprouts from Palatable Pastime
- Orrechiette with Butternut Squash from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin from Jen Around the World
- Potatoes & Peas from An Affair from the Heart
- Quick and Easy Green Beans and Bacon Skillet from Blogghetti
- Swedish Rice Pudding from Cheese Curd In Paradise
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