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This easy Alfredo sauce recipe uses simple ingredients and takes only 15 minutes to make! It’s rich, creamy, and has that restaurant-quality taste you’re craving.

Try this Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo or Chicken Alfredo Ravioli Bake next.

a skillet with fettuccine alfredo and serving tongs

Why you’ll love it

My favorite part about this homemade Alfredo sauce with plenty of garlic and parmesan is just how quick to prepare it is. If you’re making fettuccine Alfredo, this sauce only takes as much time to cook as it does to boil the pasta! It’s a restaurant-quality sauce.

This Alfredo sauce is the standalone version of the sauce in my Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and Easy Shrimp Alfredo recipes. Readers love those, so I figured it was time to have Alfredo sauce in a post on its own in all its creamy glory. You’ll never open up a jar again!

What 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.
ingredients for fettuccine alfredo in prep bowls

Pro tip

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.

How to make fettuccine Alfredo

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

melting cream cheese and cream in a skillet to make alfredo sauce

Soften the cream cheese, and grate the parmesan. Boil the fettuccine. Add the butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Let the butter melt, then use a spoon to break up the cream cheese to melt and incorporate it in.

melting parmesan into a skillet with alfredo sauce and tossing with fettuccine

Let it bubble very gently until it’s reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally. Melt in the parmesan, and remove from the heat. Taste, season generously with salt & pepper, and toss with the pasta.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • Store your butter in this butter dish which has markings right on it for measuring it out easily.
  • A garlic press makes it simple to mince the cloves with one squeeze, and this Microplane zester is perfect to grate the parmesan.
  • I store uncooked fettuccine in one of these OXO airtight containers for freshness.

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.
  • 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. 
a glass jar with alfredo sauce and a spoon

What to serve with 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. I suggest a Caesar salad with my 10-Minute Caesar Dressing.
  • We’re fans of using Alfredo sauce on a pizza instead of a tomato-based one.
  • 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. 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.
  • Reheat 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 likely curdle when reheating and possibly have a grainy texture after thawing.
easy Alfredo sauce with cream cheese (Fettuccine Alfredo) in a white bowl

If you made this Alfredo sauce recipe, please leave a star rating and review below! Tag me if you’re on Instagram so I can see your creations.

a skillet with fettuccine alfredo and serving tongs
4.97 from 30 votes

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce

This easy Alfredo sauce recipe uses simple ingredients and takes only 15 minutes to make! It's rich, creamy, and has that restaurant-quality taste you're craving.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 (see note)

Ingredients 

  • 12 ounces uncooked fettuccine (if making Fettuccine Alfredo), see note
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (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

Instructions 

  • 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 in 20-30 second intervals until very soft. 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.

Notes

  • 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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 526kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 147mg, Sodium: 376mg, Potassium: 215mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1133IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 251mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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74 Comments

    1. Hi Danielle! You can make the sauce itself ahead of time but I’d definitely boil up fresh pasta. See the “storage & leftovers” section of the blog post for reheating info.

  1. 4 stars
    Was good but the cream cheese made it way to Rich. I added some white wine and red pepper flakes. Definitely would try it again but absolutely no cream cheese

  2. 5 stars
    I wish I could give it even more stars! I have been using this recipe for almost 2 years now! Literally my FAVORITE pasta recipe! I make this at least 3x a month! So so yummy