Even novice cooks can master this easy Alfredo sauce recipe! It uses simple ingredients and only takes 15 minutes to make in your own kitchen. It's rich, creamy, and has a not-so-secret ingredient that sets it apart from the rest.
Love Alfredo? Try this Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo that has a kick.
Why you'll love it
My favorite part about this homemade Alfredo sauce is just how quick to prepare it is. If you're making it with fettuccine, this sauce only takes as much time to cook as it does to boil the pasta! When you want to make a decadent treat for your whole family, this is sure to hit the spot. It's a restaurant-quality dinner.
This Alfredo sauce is the standalone version of the sauce in my Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and Easy Shrimp Alfredo recipes. You guys love those, but I figured it was time to have Alfredo sauce in a post on its own in all its creamy glory.
What exactly is Alfredo sauce?
- Alfredo sauce is simply a mix of butter, cream, parmesan cheese, and sometimes garlic. My trick to making the best Alfredo sauce is adding some cream cheese!
- It helps make it thicker and more silky. It also adds a little tanginess that stops the sauce from tasting too heavy. Purists would argue that cream cheese doesn't belong in here, but I respectfully disagree. It's glorious.
Ingredients you'll need
- Butter - we're using unsalted here
- Cream cheese - our signature ingredient for that silky tang
- Heavy cream - for even more luxuriousness
- Garlic - you can add more garlic if you wish. This sauce is garlicky but not overpowering.
- Parmesan - grating your own parmesan cheese is important since it's a key component. It just melts and tastes better. I always keep a block of parmesan in my fridge. It stays fresh for ages, and I use this cheese grater.
How to make Alfredo sauce
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge and let it soften on the counter, and grate the parmesan cheese. Boil your pasta if using.
- Add butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt, and then use a spoon to break up the cream cheese to melt and incorporate it in.
- Let it bubble very gently until it's reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally. Melt in the parmesan for 30 seconds, and remove from the heat. Season generously with salt & pepper!
Substitutions and variations
- Feel free to make substitutions, but do not expect the same results as this recipe that our kitchen has tested multiple times. It's meant to be a treat meal!
- With milk or half-and-half there's a chance the sauce will break since I don't use a roux in here. Alfredo sauce is notorious for separating, and that is one of the reasons I have selected these ingredients, to make it more user-friendly as well as delicious.
- However, you can definitely play with the sauce a bit and add more to it. It's a great base. Some ideas include adding a bit of Cajun seasoning or red pepper flakes for some heat, small broccoli florets or some sweet corn, and leftover cooked/rotisserie chicken.
How to serve Alfredo sauce
- The obvious choice is fettuccine Alfredo, but any pasta works like linguini or spaghetti. Pair with breadsticks or garlic bread, or make a side salad for a lighter option. I suggest a Caesar salad with my 10-minute Caesar dressing.
- We're huge fans of using Alfredo sauce on a pizza instead of a tomato-based one. It adds so much creamy richness!
- You can even use it as a dip for bread, a sauce for salmon or chicken breasts, in a casserole or pasta bake, or over vegetables. There's really no wrong answer for how to enjoy it, and it's fun to think outside the box. Use it anywhere you'd use the jarred stuff.
Leftovers and storage
- The sauce will last for 3-5 days in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container like a mason jar.
- I recommend reheating it slowly on a very low heat on the stove. Add a splash more cream to revive it. If microwaving, be sure to stir every 30 seconds or so and use low power if possible so it doesn't separate.
- I don't recommend freezing it as it will easily break when reheating and possibly have a grainy texture after thawing.
Questions about this Alfredo sauce recipe? Did you make it? Let me know in the comments below, and tag me #saltandlavender if you're on Instagram so I can see your creations!
Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce
- 12 ounces uncooked fettuccine (if making Fettuccine Alfredo), see note
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese (I used 1/2 block of Philly) softened
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge to soften up at least 30 minutes (or longer) prior to starting the recipe, or microwave it for 20-30 seconds. Grate the parmesan.
- If making Fettuccine Alfredo: Boil a salted pot of water for the fettuccine. Cook it al dente according to package instructions. Prep ingredients as you're waiting for the water to boil. I start actually cooking the sauce when the pasta is boiling. Once the pasta is done, I toss it with the sauce right in the skillet (I also add a splash of the hot pasta water), and I serve it with extra parmesan grated over top and a little chopped fresh parsley.
- Add the butter, cream cheese, cream, and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the pan has heated up, use your spoon to help the cream cheese melt into the sauce. This will take a couple of minutes.
- Once the cream cheese has been incorporated into the sauce, let it gently bubble for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce has reduced a bit. Stir occasionally.
- Stir the parmesan into the sauce, and let it melt in (about 30 seconds), then take it off the heat. The sauce should be thick enough by now, but if you want to reduce it more, let it cook for a bit longer. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken more as it cools/sits. If at any point the sauce gets too thick, add another tablespoon or two of cream OR if you're making pasta with it, the hot pasta water. Give it a taste and season with salt & pepper as needed.
- Note on serving size: This makes about 1.5 cups sauce. Serves 6+ if you don't mix it with pasta (e.g. you just use it as a sauce over chicken/fish/veggies). With the suggested 12 oz. of pasta it serves 4 people. Double the recipe if you want to fill a large jar and use it for multiple meals.
- Pasta quantity: If you want to use an entire 1 pound (16 ounce) box of pasta, that's fine, but there won't be quite as much sauce as some people like (I suggest doubling the recipe). Make 8 ounces (1/2 pound) if you want lots of sauce. 12 ounces (3/4 of a box) is a good middle ground!
- Alfredo sauce can separate if it's heated too hot/for too much time, so be mindful of that.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. For this recipe the nutrition info is just for the sauce.