Shrimp Alfredo is a delicious pasta dish that’s super simple to make any night of the week. Fettuccine noodles are coated in a rich and creamy homemade Parmesan cheese sauce then topped with succulent, flavorful shrimp.
Why We Love This Recipe
If you love pasta as much as our family does, you have to try this Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo! With tender shrimp, pasta and slurp-worthy sauce, it’s bound to win the hearts of everyone who tastes it!
This recipe for Shrimp Alfredo takes two of my favorite things, succulent, caramelized shrimp and creamy fettuccine alfredo and marries them together in a beautiful ceremony of culinary love.
Usually I say that cheese doesn’t go with seafood but in this shrimp alfredo pasta recipe, the shrimp is a perfect match for the nutty, salty Parmesan cheese.
Shrimp Alfredo Ingredients
If you haven’t made homemade shrimp alfredo with my famous Alfredo Sauce before, you definitely need to give it a try. It so easy, with three main ingredients:
Butter – Salted or unsalted.
Cream – Heavy whipping cream
Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated off the block. Do not use pre-grated; it will not melt and will leave your sauce grainy.
Additional ingredients to complete this pasta dish:
Shrimp – Medium to large peeled and deveined shrimp are the perfect size. I like to leave the tails on for a prettier presentation, but you can remove them if you like.
Fettuccine pasta – This is the most traditional type of noodles, but really any kind of pasta will work.
You can make the sauce even creamier by adding a little bit of cream cheese, or melting in some Mozzarella. For this simple recipe I cook the shrimp on the stovetop, but you can bake it in the oven, poach it (boil) or even grill it up.
How to Make Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
This recipe is basically three parts. The pasta, the alfredo sauce, the pasta and the shrimp.
Pasta: Boil a large pot of water and generously salt it. Cook pasta to al dente, which means they are tender with just a slight bite to them.
Alfredo Sauce: While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter, whisk in the heavy cream and warm it. You can let it bubble at a simmer, but don’t let it boil. Whisk in grated Parmesan cheese until melted, then toss with noodles.
Shrimp: Saute the shrimp in a large skillet with butter or oil over medium-high heat. Season simply with salt and pepper. It only take about 4 minutes to cook the shrimp – when they begin to curl and turn pink in color they’re ready to go.
Serve: Plate the pasta and sauce, then top with sauteed shrimp. I like to sprinkle on a little bit of fresh parsley for presentation points.
Can I use milk instead of heavy cream in the alfredo sauce?
A traditional Alfredo has butter, cream and cheese. If you are simply out of heavy cream, or want to cut back the calories and use milk instead, you’ll need to make a roux based bechamel sauce and add Parmesan cheese to it. You can see instructions for this lighter sauce in my Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti recipe.
What does Alfredo Sauce taste like?
This Alfredo sauce is thick and creamy and so delicious. It’s got a nuttiness from the parmesan cheese and if the garlic adds a whole other level of flavor.
Alfredo Pasta with shrimp is a classic, but they are a few things you can do to dress it up and make it even better.
Add veggies like steamed or sauteed broccoli, asparagus, red bell pepper or sundried tomatoes to your pasta.
Add sauteed scallops or salmon for a seafood alfredo.
Swap the shrimp for chicken or smoked sausage, or add all three!
Storage, Freezing and Reheating
Storage – This shrimp and pasta dish is at its peak when enjoyed fresh. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. It can be reheated, but do so with caution. I recommend using 50% power in your microwave to help keep the sauce from breaking.
Freezing – The sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months if properly stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze cook shrimp separately in a sealed freezer bag for up to 4 months. I definitely recommend cooking shrimp fresh – it doesn’t take much longer than reheating from frozen, and the taste is so much better.
Reheating – To reheat from frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight, then place the sauce in a saucepan on the stove over medium-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). I recommend cooking the pasta from scratch though, it can get mushy if frozen in 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. Use freshly grated Parmesan 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 to your sauce and it will give it a creamier texture and will help it thicken up a bit. You could also add a rou 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.
Boil a large pot of salted water and cook fettuccine according to package directions.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn.
Whisk in heavy cream and allow to bubble up to a simmer, then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Whisk in the parmesan and bring to a gentle simmer – do not boil – for about 3-4 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
In another skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add shrimp to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes per side or until bright pink in color.
Toss the fresh, hot pasta with the sauce and serve with shrimp on top. Garnish with fresh minced parsley.
This recipe makes 8 servings, and can easily be reduced using the slider when hovering over the servings above. Storage – This shrimp and pasta dish is at its peak when enjoyed fresh but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Freezing – The sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months if properly stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze cook shrimp separately in a sealed freezer bag for up to 4 months. I definitely recommend cooking shrimp fresh – it doesn’t take much longer than reheating from frozen, and the taste is so much better.Reheating – It can be reheated, but do so with caution. I recommend using 50% power in your microwave to help keep the sauce from breaking.
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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.