Homemade Alfredo Sauce is rich and creamy and takes about 15 minutes to make from scratch with just a few ingredients. This best Alfredo Sauce recipe is perfect over your favorite pasta – you’ll never want to resort to store-bought again!
Homemade Alfredo sauce requires just a few easy to find ingredients:
Butter – Real butter, not margarine.
Heavy Cream – Do not use milk or even half & half. You need full fat heavy cream for this recipe.
Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated off the block. Do not use pre-shredded.
I also love to add fresh garlic and black pepper to give it a little more depth but it’s always so homey and comforting. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular dish!
While serving it over pasta is my favorite, you can also pour it over chicken, pasta, or even pizza. It makes a great bread dip too!
How To Make Alfredo Sauce From Scratch
Homemade Alfredo is a creamy sauce that’s super delicious and is the best over fresh, hot pasta. Once you learn how to make Fettuccine Alfredo from scratch, you’ll never go back!
Simmer the butter and cream. Melt the butter over medium-low heat with some minced garlic, then add the heavy cream. Do not use milk or half and half for this recipe; go all out with the full fat cream. Bring it to a simmer, just barely bubbling, but do not boil.
Work quickly with the cheese. Whisk in fresh grated or shredded Parmesan cheese. Once you add the cheese, you’ll want to whisk vigorously in order to incorporate it into the sauce and so it can melt. This will keep your cheese from clumping. Simmer away for a few minutes or until the sauce has thickened up.
Season, garnish, and serve. Salt usually isn’t needed because the butter and cheese have enough salt to flavor the sauce quite nicely, but you can judge for yourself. Toss with your favorite pasta and add some fresh minced parsley and cracked black pepper.
What is Alfredo sauce?
A classic alfredo sauce is a creamy, cheesy white sauce served over pasta, usually fettuccine. You can make it the traditional way by heating the ingredients on the stove or the non-traditional method which involves creating a roux. Hands down, I prefer the traditional method.
Alfredo sauce is thick and creamy and so delicious. It’s got a nuttiness from the parmesan cheese and the garlic adds a whole other level of flavor.
While it’s similar in taste and texture to the butter and cheese sauce on Cacio e Pepe, alfredo is slightly more complex and uses heavy cream.
What can I use instead of heavy cream?
If you don’t have any heavy cream, you can use milk but with a caveat. It won’t won’t as just a 1:1 substitution; you’ll need to make a roux first by adding a few tablespoons of flour to the melted butter.
Alfredo Sauce is usually served with Fettuccine Pasta. The long, thick Fettuccine noodles mop up the luscious sauce so you don’t miss a drop. Spaghetti or linguine work too. You could also try your hand at making some homemade pasta.
Sprinkle on some fresh minced parsley or chopped basil for a little color in the presentation. Because it’s so rich, we usually serve alfredo topped pastas with just a copycat Olive Garden Salad and some homemade Garlic Bread.
Storage: If you happen to have some leftover, you’ll want to store the pasta and sauce separately if possible. If it’s already mixed together, don’t freeze it, but keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Refrigerator: If you happen to have leftover sauce, you can reheat it but proceed with caution. Add a teaspoon or two of milk/cream to the pasta and sauce, then simmer it over low heat or heat in the microwave at 50% power, stirring often, until warmed through. Reheat slowly and stir frequently or the sauce can break and create a greasy mess.
Freezer: Freeze Alfredo sauce by itself (no pasta) in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight, then place the sauce in a saucepan on the stove over low heat. Stir constantly until heated through to avoid breaking the sauce (when the cream and butter separate and your lovely sauce becomes a greasy mess). Make fresh pasta when you’re ready to use the sauce.
The cheese is important! You will want to buy only fresh Parmesan cheese when you make your homemade sauce. The grated stuff in the can doesn’t melt and can end up tasting grainy, and the pre-packaged shredded Parmesan won’t melt as well either because of the coating they add to it to keep it from sticking together in the bag. Buy a block of good quality Parmesan from the deli for the very best results.
How to thicken a thin Alfredo sauce: Sauce not thick enough for you? Add a couple ounces of softened cream cheese (from the block, not the spread) to your sauce and it will give it a creamier texture and will help it thicken up a bit. You could also add a roux to the mixture. To do this, melt a couple of teaspoons of butter in a small saucepan, and add a couple teaspoons of flour. Cook until golden, then add to your simmering sauce and stir until it’s completely incorporated.
Let it simmer. Be sure to turn the heat down when you add the Parmesan cheese. You don’t want to boil this sauce at all, just a simmer (a few small bubbles coming to the top) will do fine. Boiling can result in a broken sauce, and nobody likes that.
Salt your pasta. The sauce won’t need any added salt, but do add salt to your pasta water. At least a tablespoon or two to 4-5 quarts of boiling water.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.