This outstanding Alfredo Sauce recipe is easy to make with only five basic ingredients. Once you make it from scratch, you’ll be hooked!
Of all the ways to coat pasta in the world, alfredo sauce is my family’s favorite! It’s the first sauce I taught my son how to make back when he was in middle school. So if a kid can make it, can you too.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Homemade alfredo sauce is the most delicious things you’ll ever make! It is infinitely better than the store-bought version and you only need a few ingredients to make it. The sauce can be made ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator or freezer, and reheated as necessary.
Alfredo Sauce Ingredients
- Butter: We used salted butter in this recipe. The butter along with the parmesan make it so that no additional salt was needed.
- Heavy Cream: Full-fat heavy whipping cream gives the sauce a rich, creamy texture and flavor. Although you can use lower-fat substitutes, you will compromise the flavor and texture of the sauce somewhat.
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese: Alfredo sauce is made with melted parmesan cheese so you’ll need shredded parmesan cheese for this recipe. The powdered parmesan in a can will not work. We used store-bought shredded parmesan cheese but you can shred it yourself if you prefer.
- Garlic Powder: A little garlic adds a lot of flavor to this alfredo sauce! We chose to use garlic powder in this recipe to keep the sauce as smooth as possible. If you prefer, you can use one teaspoon of minced garlic instead of the garlic powder called for in this recipe.
- Black Pepper: The black pepper adds a little bit of heat and some flavor to this basic sauce. It can be left out if you prefer but we love it so much that we even add black pepper to fettuccini alfredo at restaurants.
How To Make Alfredo Sauce From Scratch
To make alfredo sauce from scratch, start by heating the butter and heavy cream in a large pot. Once the butter is melted and the cream is hot, slowly melt the shredded parmesan into the cream by adding a little at a time. Stir the sauce until the cheese is melted before adding more. Finally, whisk in the garlic and black pepper at the end. (Scroll down for the printable recipe and step-by-step instructions.)
What other seasonings can I add?
We only added garlic powder and black pepper but there are many other seasonings you could add. Try stirring in a pinch of nutmeg, red pepper flakes, dried basil, dried oregano, or dried parsley. You can also add salt if needed but taste the sauce first to make sure. Only add a little at a time, tasting after incorporating it before adding more.
Is there a way to make a lighter version?
You can swap ingredients to try to make a lighter version of this easy alfredo sauce recipe, but the results (taste and texture) will not be the same.
Try using half-n-half or milk for the heavy cream. Add less butter and add more liquid instead. To help thicken the sauce, stir in some low-fat cream cheese.
Another option is to start with a roux made from melted butter and flour. Check out my chicken alfredo spaghetti sauce recipe for that version.
Alfredo Sauce Recipe FAQs
If your alfredo sauce is too thick, it needs more liquid to thin it out. Try stirring in more heavy cream, a little at a time, until it is the right consistency. Another option is to stir in a little pasta water if you are making the sauce for fettuccine alfredo.
When the sauce is too thin, keep in mind that it will thicken some as it cools. It is very thin, you can stir in additional shredded parmesan to thicken it. If you don’t have more parmesan, try adding some cubed, softened cream cheese, stirring until melted. Or you can add another kind of shredded cheese but it may change the flavor.
A cream sauce like this tends to separate when reheated. The best way to reheat alfredo sauce is in a pot over low heat. Start by stirring it constantly and then switch to whisking vigorously until it comes together again.
How To Use Alfredo Sauce
This recipe makes three cups of the best alfredo sauce! The most common way to use it is to put the sauce on fettuccini. But there are endless possibilities beyond fettuccine. Start by trying another pasta such as tortellini, ziti, ravioli, or stuffed shells. We also love to use it as a pizza sauce, in a soup like in this recipe Chicken Alfredo Soup, and as a cream sauce in this Chicken Alfredo Pot Pie.
How to use alfredo sauce to make fettuccini alfredo:
Cook a 16-ounce package of fettuccine according to the instructions on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water just in case you need it. Then, add the cooked fettuccine to the alfredo sauce and stir until coated. Thin with the reserved pasta water, if necessary. Serve immediately.
Want more sauce recipes? Try these next:
This easy homemade Cheese Sauce recipe is smooth and creamy. Use as a dip for croutons and chips or pour over veggies and pasta!
This Stir Fry Sauce recipe can be used for vegetables, chicken, beef, shrimp, and pork. It is super easy to make and totally adaptable. Store in the fridge or freezer for later!
Rich, luscious Chocolate Sauce recipe from scratch that’s perfect for ice cream sundaes, cheesecakes, cakes, chocolate milk and hot chocolate.
Homemade Teriyaki Sauce is easy to make and is perfect for everything from chicken to fish and veggies to rice.