This rich and creamy homemade alfredo sauce is perfect for classic Italian pasta dishes like fettuccine alfredo. The best part is that it only takes a few simple ingredients and can be ready in around 15 minutes.
Why This Recipe Works
I first learned how to make alfredo sauce from scratch when I worked as a line cook at a country club. It quickly became a go-to recipe for a quick and easy weeknight meal. If you haven't made homemade alfredo sauce before, you'll be amazed how easy it is and it will surely become a go-to for you too!
What Cheese to Use for Alfredo Sauce
The key to the best homemade alfredo sauce is the cheese. Get a high-quality block of Parmesan and grate your own for this recipe. Do NOT use store-bought pre-shredded or grated Parmesan cheese just to save a minute or two. Store-bought shredded cheese contains additives to prevent clumping, which inhibit the melting, so your sauce will not have the right consistency.
- Cheese - As mentioned above, the cheese is crucial. I recommend Parmigiano Reggiano, which is aged and more flavorful than younger Parmesan cheese.
- Heavy Cream - This gives alfredo its characteristic richness. Half and half can be used for a lighter sauce but do not use low-fat milk.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan until the foaming subsides then cook the garlic for around 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant. Then add in your cream.
- When the cream comes to a low simmer begin adding the shredded Parmesan cheese in batches and stirring until melted and combined. Then cook until the thickened sauce coats your spoon.
What to Serve with Homemade Alfredo Sauce
This homemade alfredo sauce goes great on all of your favorite pastas. I usually make a simple classic fettuccine alfredo or penne alfredo. I also like to add chicken for chicken alfredo or shrimp. Vegetables like broccoli or peas are good options as well.
Alfredo is also a great sauce for chicken like in my Chicken Florentine. It's also delicious mixed with marinara sauce for dishes like lasagna and baked ziti. It can also be used in place of bechamel sauce in dishes like my Chicken and Spinach Lasagna or Seafood Stuffed Shells.
Tips and FAQs
The cream can be replaced with milk, but without the fat from the cream, you will need to make a roux to thicken the sauce.
After cooking the garlic, add 2 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned about 2 minutes. Then add the milk and whisk until smooth and proceed as directed.
Alfredo sauce will typically "break" or separate when reheating in the microwave. To make it rich and creamy again, stir in some additional cream before reheating. Around ¼ cup per serving should do the trick.
Make these simple substitutions for an Alfredo sauce without dairy:
1. Replace the butter with olive oil.
2. After cooking the garlic, add 2 Tablespoons of flour. Stirring frequently, cook until lightly browned, around 2 minutes.
3. Replace the cream with 1 cup of cashew milk, soy milk or other milk alternative and 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk.
4. Replace the Parmesan cheese with 2-3 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
Creamy Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
- Add in the cream and when just simmering add the Parmesan cheese in batches, stirring frequently until each batch is melted. Continue stirring until sauce is thickened and coats spoon.
- Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste then toss with pasta and serve.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.