Fettucini alfredo
Food & Drink

How to Make a Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe

Want to learn how to make homemade Alfredo sauce? Keep reading for an easy recipe for this creamy pasta sauce, complete with tips, variations, and FAQs.

December 01, 2021

A cream-based sauce typically served over pasta, Alfredo sauce is ivory in color, rich in texture, and it creates an undoubtedly satisfying dish. Traditionally, the main ingredients to make this dish were butter and parmesan cheese, per chef Alfredo di Lelio's original recipe that he created in Rome in 1914. 

However, since two Americans brought the recipe for Alfredo's pale-golden sauce back from a trip in 1927, cooks have been adding cream to make up for the richness in Italian butter and parmesan. Thanks to the availability of imported Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, it's now possible to make it the traditional way. Still, the creamy Italian-American version truly is decadent, too.

If you'd like to learn how to make homemade Alfredo sauce, keep reading for an easy recipe complete with tips, variations, uses, and answers to some FAQs. Since it follows the traditional Italian-American method, you won’t find any cream cheese in this Alfredo sauce recipe.

While undeniably convenient and often tasty, the jarred stuff at the supermarket usually contains cornstarch, flour, soybean oil, and other additives that manufacturers use to thicken it. It may sound like a commitment to make such an incredible sauce, but you can do it in 20 minutes, which is just a little more time than it takes to cook your pasta. 

The result is a sauce that's much fresher and flavourful than the store-bought variety. Since you're the one making it, you can tailor the flavors to your household's tastes and use higher-quality ingredients, too.

How to make Alfredo Sauce


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This recipe makes four servings, takes 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook, for a total time of 20 minutes.


  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • Ground black pepper


  1. Prepare and measure the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

  3. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cook it until fragrant for about a minute.

  4. Gradually add the cream, whisking between additions, and bring it to a low simmer.

  5. Cook the mixture for five minutes, but avoid bringing it to a boil. Adjust your temperature if necessary.

  6. Whisk in the grated parmesan 1/2 cup at a time, constantly stirring until the mixture thickens. 

  7. Add a dash of pepper and taste. Adjust the seasoning if needed before serving over pasta.

Nutritional values per serving

  • Calories: 474

  • Total fat: 44 grams

  • Saturated fat: 28 grams

  • Trans fat: 1 gram

  • Unsaturated fat: 14 grams

  • Cholesterol: 127 milligrams

  • Sodium: 786 milligrams

  • Carbohydrates: 4 grams

  • Sugar: 2 grams

  • Protein: 17 grams

Original recipe: One Sweet Appetite

Recipe tips

  • Using a whisk to mix the ingredients instead of stirring with a spoon will help prevent the sauce from separating and ensure it combines properly.

  • Freshly grated, quality parmesan will create a creamier sauce. Pre-shredded varieties may not melt properly and give it a grainy texture.

  • Adding your ingredients gradually instead of dumping them in all at once will help thicken the sauce.

  • Avoid overheating the sauce, as it will separate. The ingredients are also quick to burn, so keep a close eye.

  • Tasting the sauce before you serve it will give you the chance to make any adjustments. If you want to increase the garlic at this step, you can use garlic powder, but avoid garlic salt. 

Alfredo sauce variations


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  • Mushroom Alfredo sauce: Panfry some sliced or diced mushrooms and mix them in with your sauce before serving.

  • Spinach Alfredo sauce: Fry up some spinach and toss it in before serving for a green twist in your Alfredo.

  • Chicken Alfredo sauce: Add some protein to your pasta by tossing in some cooked chicken. You can prepare it ahead of time in the oven, by panfrying, or whichever method is most desirable. Season it with garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings for an extra pop of flavor.

  • Shrimp Alfredo sauce: To elevate the sophistication of your dish, add some cooked and seasoned shrimp. For convenience, go for a peeled salad variety that's already without the tails. 

  • Spicy Alfredo sauce: Stir in some crushed red pepper, also known as chili flakes, with your ground black pepper for a bit of bite.

How to use the sauce

Alfredo sauce is versatile, so you can use it in many dishes by pairing it with:

  • Pasta. No need to limit yourself to fettuccini. You can serve it with spaghetti, penne, cavatappi, or almost every type of pasta.

  • Zucchini spirals.

  • Pizza.

  • Chicken.

  • Fish.

  • Broccoli casserole.

Alfredo sauce FAQs

How do you make Alfredo sauce from scratch without heavy cream?

You can use whole milk or half-and-half cream with this Alfredo sauce recipe. Add a tablespoon of flour to the butter and garlic, whisk it until combined, and cook it for one minute to form a roux. Now you can use the same amount of milk or half-and-half in place of heavy cream. 

Keep in mind the traditional way of making Alfredo sauce in Italy only calls for butter and parmesan, but that requires getting your hands on some Parmigiano-Reggiano. To make this recipe, grate one cup of the cheese and place it into a medium pan with a half cup of butter and a ladle of hot pasta water. Whisk it together over medium-low heat to make a cream. Add your cooked pasta and another half ladle of water, or more if needed, and toss over low heat for about one minute. Season with black pepper before serving.

Is Alfredo sauce keto?

Not all Alfredo sauces use the same ingredients. However, this recipe is keto if you're using heavy cream and not adding the tablespoon of flour to make it with milk or half-and-half cream.

Is Alfredo sauce healthy?

Alfredo sauce is ideally enjoyed in moderation, as it's high in calories and saturated fat. Keep in mind the nutritional information listed for this recipe is before adding it to pasta or another dish. However, you need not worry if you're not eating it every day.

How can I thicken my Alfredo sauce?

This recipe should turn out plenty thick, but you can take it to the next level. Add a tablespoon of flour to the butter and garlic in the beginning and cook it for one minute, making a roux before following the recipe.

If you decide while it's cooking that you'd like it a bit thicker, create a slurry by mixing a tablespoon of flour and a couple of tablespoons of water until smooth. Gradually add this to your such until you reach the desired thickness.

Buon appetito

You and those you dine with are sure to enjoy this sauce more than its jarred counterpart. It's simple enough to make after a long day at work, and you can dress it up for a dinner party. What's more, it pairs wonderfully with red or white wine. Here's a guide for choosing a red or a white, depending on how you're serving it.

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