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This easy shrimp Alfredo pasta recipe is the perfect fast weeknight dinner that’s tasty enough for company! Tender shrimp and fettuccine pasta are smothered in an amazing creamy garlic sauce.
Why you’ll love it
It took me a few tries before I was confident in sharing this shrimp fettuccine Alfredo recipe. They were all minor tweaks to get that sauce just right. I am definitely happy with the finished product, and I hope you will be too! In this recipe, cooking shrimp for Alfredo is easy… they just cook right in the sauce.
Alfredo sauce (butter, cream, and parmesan) shouldn’t be complicated to make, but I find that achieving the right sauce thickness is what really matters. You don’t want it too thick… or too thin. I also added my not-so-secret ingredient to this shrimp Alfredo recipe to make the sauce silkier, thicker, and just a hint of tangy (which complements the shrimp). Can you guess what it is? It’s cream cheese!
Why use cream cheese?
- I’m sure some people would argue that cream cheese doesn’t belong in Alfredo sauce, but I disagree. I’m all for variations on recipes if it makes sense and tastes good. I’ve seen plenty of recipes that use it and plenty that don’t. I find that using cream cheese in here allowed me to skip using a thickening agent like flour, which in my opinion makes the recipe a bit easier overall.
- Make sure the cream cheese is softened before adding it to the sauce. Either take it out of the fridge well in advance of starting the recipe, or microwave it for 20-30 seconds. It won’t melt into the sauce as easily if you try adding it straight from the fridge.
Shrimp Alfredo ingredients
- Shrimp – I used frozen raw 31-40 count per pound size shrimp. You could use smaller or larger. If using smaller ones, take care not to overcook them.
- Pasta – the classic is fettuccine
- Butter – make sure it’s unsalted
- Cream cheese – for added texture and tangy taste
- Heavy cream – to make the sauce luxurious and silky
- Chicken broth – for added flavor
- Garlic – it makes everything better!
- Parmesan – I suggest grating your own parmesan cheese. It makes a difference in the taste, and the pre-grated stuff doesn’t melt into the sauce as well.
Shrimp preparation tips
- If the shrimp are frozen, place them in a colander and thaw them under cool running water.
- Peel them (if they’re not already peeled). You can either take the tails off or leave them on depending on your preference.
How to make shrimp Alfredo
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, add the butter, cream cheese, heavy cream, chicken broth, and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Cook it for 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese, and let it bubble for about a minute.
Add the shrimp, and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until they’re pink. Season with salt & pepper to taste, and toss with the drained pasta. Serve right away.
Substitutions and variations
- You can add more/less garlic depending on your preferences. I like quite a bit of garlic!
- I don’t recommend subbing the cream/butter/etc. for something else unless you’re ok with experimenting a bit. I can’t say how it will turn out without testing it. Half-and-half or milk will make the sauce more watery. This is definitely a treat meal. 🙂
Leftovers and storage
- Store leftover shrimp Alfredo in an airtight container in the fridge, and eat it within a couple of days. It’s best fresh, though. I don’t recommend freezing it.
- Reheat slowly over a low heat so that sauce doesn’t separate, and you might need to add a splash more cream.
If you made this garlic shrimp Alfredo pasta recipe or have questions, let me know in the comments below! You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Shrimp Alfredo
- 1 pound uncooked (31-40/pound size) shrimp thawed & peeled, tails optional
- 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese (I used 1/2 block Philly) softened & cut into smaller pieces
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Prep your shrimp (if frozen, add them to a colander and run under cool water until thawed).
- Start boiling a salted pot of water for the fettuccine. Cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, add the butter, cream cheese, cream, chicken broth, and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted and the pan has heated up, you can use your spoon to help the cream cheese melt into the sauce. This will take a couple of minutes.
- When the cream cheese has been incorporated into the sauce, let it gently bubble for 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced somewhat. You can give it the occasional stir. I grate the parmesan cheese while it's cooking.
- Stir the parmesan into the sauce. Let it cook for about a minute.
- Add the shrimp to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed. Toss with the drained pasta and serve immediately.
- You can microwave the cream cheese for 20-30 seconds if you forget to take it out of the fridge in time for it to soften up.
- If at any point the sauce gets too thick for your tastes, thin it out with a bit of the hot pasta water.
- 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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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