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Discover the art of creating the perfect Alfredo sauce — a luscious, creamy masterpiece with a rich parmesan flavor. This simple recipe uses fresh ingredients to craft a velvety, buttery sauce that will elevate your favorite pasta dishes to new heights. Never buy a store-bought jar again!

My Cajun Shrimp Pasta, Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo, Asparagus Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo, classic Fettuccine Alfredo, and Blackened Chicken Alfredo also use this Alfredo Sauce as the base. I also highly recommend serving this sauce with homemade pasta!

spoonful of homemade garlic infused creamy Alfredo sauce.
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Why This is the Best Alfredo Sauce

You will find countless recipes out there, but I’m confident that you will love this recipe.

Easy to Make

Any kind of pasta dish is a hit in my house, and when I need a quick and easy dinner idea on a busy weeknight, this Alfredo Sauce recipe is one of my favorites. Add some sliced cooked chicken breasts or grilled shrimp and you have a satisfying meal in no time!

Infused Garlic Magic

Experience the magic of infused garlic as it melds with butter over medium-low heat. This slow infusion technique ensures every bite is bursting with flavor. 

Watch as the garlic turns a golden brown hue, adding both taste and aesthetics to your delicious sauce.

Perfect Portioning

My recipe yields just the right amount of cheesy cream sauce for a pound of fettuccine noodles, but you can easily double it for larger gatherings. 

Versatility

This versatile creamy sauce complements a variety of main dishes and always creates a rich and decadent complete meal. It obviously pairs incredibly well with homemade fresh pasta to make Fettuccine Alfredo.

Homemade fettucine Alfredo in pan.

Ingredients Needed

This extraordinary Alfredo sauce made with just four simple ingredients: unsalted butter, fresh garlic cloves, heavy whipping cream, and authentic parmesan cheese.

Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below.

Ingredient Substitutions

I have made this recipe countless times and highly encourage you to make it exactly as written, but I know that sometimes recipe alterations are necessary depending on ingredient availability.

Should you need to make modification, these are the recommendations.

  • Heavy Cream: While heavy cream is preferred, part-skim milk (less than 1% fat), whole milk (3-4% fat) or half and half (10-12% fat) can be used in place of heavy cream (38-40% fat). The answer is YES, although I don’t recommend it because you will have a thinner sauce due to the lower fat content. If you need to make this substitution and feel that the final sauce is too thin, the sauce can be thickened with sour cream, mascarpone, or cream cheese, if needed.
  • Butter: Replace butter with high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is recommended, but frozen or jarred minced garlic will work as well. Garlic powder can be used as a substitute, but it won’t impart the same infused garlic taste. 
  • Parmesan Cheese: Authentic Italian Alfredo sauce demands Parmigiano Reggiano, but Romano cheese or a parmesan/Romano blend can also work.

How to Make Alfredo Sauce

Step 1: Infuse Garlic in Butter

Begin by melting half a stick of butter over medium-low heat, then add the minced garlic and stir frequently. 

This gentle cooking process extracts the full flavor of garlic without any risk of burning. The result is a golden brown infusion that elevates the sauce.

Step 2: Add Heavy Cream

Reserve a portion of the heavy cream for later and let the rest gently simmer in the garlic-infused butter. The creaminess will elevate your sauce to new heights.

Step 3: Stir in Parmesan

Allow the cream and garlic-infused butter mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Increase the heat to medium, if needed. Cook for a few minutes and stir it occasionally.

Remove the sauce from the heat, then stir in grated parmesan cheese and the remaining heavy cream.

This combination creates a silky, rich sauce.

Cooking Tips for Perfect Results

  • Quality Ingredients Matter – Choose the finest ingredients for the best results. Fresh, locally-grown garlic and authentic aged parmesan cheese imported from Italy make all the difference if you can use them. Select high-quality butter and heavy cream for a truly rich and buttery sauce.
  • Press the Garlic – Maximize the garlic flavor by using a garlic press. Minced garlic exposes more surface area, enhancing the sauce’s taste.
  • Finely Grate the Parmesan – For instant melting, grate the parmesan cheese from a block using a microplane grater. This ensures a smooth, creamy consistency. If you buy pre-grated parmesan, I recommend running it through the food processor or the blender. You could also finely mince it with a chef’s knife.

Customize Your Sauce

While this Alfredo sauce is perfect on its own, you can add black pepper, salt, onion powder, or Italian seasoning to suit your taste. 

For extra richness, consider mixing in an egg yolk, reminiscent of a Carbonara sauce.

Fresh parsley always makes a nice garnish on any creamy white sauce.

fettuccine pasta smothered in homemade Alfredo cream sauce.

Storage Recommendations

Store any leftover Alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for optimal freshness. It’s best used within a few days to maintain its deliciousness.

How To Reheat Alfredo Sauce

To avoid separation, gently reheat your Alfredo sauce.

  • Stovetop: Heat it over very low heat in a saucepan, stirring frequently until warmed through.
  • Microwave: Use 50% power in 1-minute increments, stirring each time until heated.
  • Super Hot Pasta: Add room temperature sauce to freshly drained, hot pasta—the residual heat will warm the sauce perfectly.

FAQs

Can Alfredo Sauce be thinned?

This sauce shouldn’t need to be thinned, however it is easy to thin, if needed. Achieving the desired consistency is easy. To thin this sauce, simply add more heavy cream. You can also add small amounts of hot salted starchy pasta water. To do this, scoop out a cup of salted pasta water just before draining the pasta, and stir it into the sauce as needed to reach the desired thickness.

How do you thicken Alfredo sauce?

This sauce shouldn’t need to be thickened if made as directed, however there are additional ingredients to add if you want to amp up the creaminess. A spoonful of mascarpone, cream cheese, or sour cream will all work.

Is this Authentic Alfredo Sauce?

It is said that the original recipe came from Alfredo di Lelio who lived in Rome over 100 years ago. I struggle with how impressive this was, because the original version was simply butter and parmesan. That’s no different than how I used to make my “buttered noodles” when I was ten-years-old.
My version is definitely an American-style Alfredo sauce. A little garlic and some heavy cream definitely takes “buttered noodles” to a whole different level.

Homemade Alfredo Sauce in pan.

If you tried this Alfredo Sauce recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!

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Alfredo Sauce Recipe

Prep5 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Total15 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Alfredo sauce is a rich and creamy white sauce made with garlic, butter, heavy cream, and parmesan. This savory cheesy sauce infuses garlic into the butter and can be used with all kinds of pasta or even on top of vegetables. This recipe is different, I dare say better, than an alfredo sauce recipe with cream cheese.

Video

Ingredients 

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream divided
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese finely grated
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Instructions 

  • Add butter and garlic to a saute pan and heat over low heat. Allow to cook until the butter is infused with the garlic, about 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of heavy cream, stir, and allow to come to a simmer. Increase heat to medium, if needed. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and immediately add in parmesan cheese and remaining heavy cream.  (Note: the parmesan will easily melt if it was finely grated from a block. If you used pre-grated cheese that is thicker, you may have to continue heating over low heat to get it to melt.) Stir to combine. It will take several minutes for the cheese to melt. It will look goopy at first (especially if you used pre-grated cheese) and then the sauce will be creamy and smooth. If sauce needs to be thinned, add additional heavy cream.
  • To serve, toss with tossed pasta or use to cover vegetables.

Notes

Makes about 3 cups.
Cooking tips:
  • Quality ingredients. The higher quality ingredients you use, the better your sauce will be. Make sure the garlic is fresh and, if possible, grown locally. Kerrygold is my butter of choice, but there are so many great ones available. Be sure to buy real authentic parmesan cheese imported from Italy.
  • Press the garlic. When garlic is minced through a garlic press instead of chopped, you expose the maximum amount of surface area. That means you’ll extract the most flavor from it.
  • Grate the parmesan yourself using a microplane. You can certainly use shredded parmesan, but it will not melt properly due to the large size of the pieces and anything that has been added to the cheese to prevent sticking. I highly recommend grating from a block of cheese using a microplane grater. It will make the parmesan melt instantly.
  • Reheating. This alfredo sauce will thicken as it cools. If it cools too much, it will get too thick. If it gets too hot, it will separate. The trick is to keep it just warm enough. This sauce must be reheated gently either on the stove over low heat, in the microwave on 50% or lower power, or by adding super hot, freshly drained pasta to your sauce.
  • Substitutions. Many readers ask if whole milk (3-4%) or half and half (10-12% fat) can be used in place of heavy cream (38-40% fat). The answer is YES, although I don’t recommend it because you will have a thinner sauce. If you need to make a substitution and feel that the final sauce is too thin, you can always stir in a bit of mascarpone or cream cheese at the end to thicken it.

Nutrition

Calories: 186kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 245mg, Potassium: 37mg, Vitamin A: 650IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 170mg, Iron: 0.1mg

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

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

This recipe was originally published in November 2017 and has been updated with helpful information, ingredient and process photos, as well as recipe tips. Don’t worry – the recipe hasn’t changed!

Hi! I’m Krissy.

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184 Comments

  1. Love this recipe, very easy to follow. I made with Tortellini some chopped leftover ham and peas. Will definitely be making it again.

  2. I just realized I bought whipping cream instead of heaving whipping cream will that make a difference in the way the sauce will turn out?

    1. If you bought it in a carton, it’s the same stuff. If you bought it in a can (like Reddi Whip), it’s not the same.

  3. 5 stars
    Both my kids (16 & 21yrs old) LOVE Alfredo sauce, me not so much… I just made this for them, was about to pop in a frozen pizza and a little in pan left, my kids said it was AmaZing and I’m like ok I’ll try it instead of wait another 15 min til pizza done for myself lol…and low and behold… MY GOODNESS this is some amazing sauce!!!! And I never ever really liked Alfredo sauce, whether from jar or restaurant eh, but wow 10 out of 10 on this!!!! At first I thought it was goopy, but keep stirring, I used a whisk and kept it going.. smooth and delicious! Thank you!!!!!!!

      1. I always like to cook with unsalted butter so I can add just the right amount of salt to suit my taste, but salted would work in this recipe if you prefer

  4. 5 stars
    OMG I may never need to go to Olive Garden again! This was awesome just as the recipe states. I accidentally purchased heavy cream when I meant to buy half & half for another recipe so I was looking for a way to use the heavy cream and stumbled upon your recipe. Made a half box of fetucinne noodles and now have some leftover sauce for when I choose to cook the rest of the pasta. I had tried cream cheese based alfredo and it was not what I was looking for, this however, is perfect! Thank you and I have it saved for future use.

  5. I don’t know what I did wrong… Parmesan cheese didn’t melt….😭 the taste was good! But it didn’t work.

    1. I have realized with ANY cheese you have to buy it in block and shred it yourself. When you buy it ore shredded they add a wax like substance to the cheese for preservation purposes. That WILL NOT break down completely when cooking.

      1. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Turned out great! Found it helpful to leave it on low heat while the cheese melted

  6. I love to add some fresh grated nutmeg to almost any cream sauce. It really brings a nice nuttiness to the sauce

  7. This by far beat any alfredo sauce that I’ve had in any restaurant!! Very easy to make! And, my husband even cleaned his plate!! Thank you for this recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    OMG Krissy, this is killer good! I made it exactly as written…used it for a 18 ounce bag of fresh (not frozen) spinach & ricotta ravioli. Added some cooked shrimp and this was the perfect sauce. To me, there was plenty of sauce for this.
    You MUST use freshly grated (finely) parmesan and add slowly to melt. This was beyond restaurant quality. BTW, the brand of ravioli I used was Giovanni Rana from Walmart! So delicious…thank you for recipe I’ll make over and over.

  9. I’m thinking of making this sauce a day ahead to make for a quick but delicious meal for Valentines day (I have less time tomorrow). Do you think it would work out ok if i make the sauce today and noodles tomorrow? Recommendations?

    1. You can make the sauce ahead of time, but you’ll need to reheat it VERY gently. If you reheat it on full power in the microwave, it will turn into a greasy mess. The sauce is really easy to make, though, so I highly recommend you make it right before you want to serve it. Enjoy!

      1. I ended up making it tonight and added extra garlic (we are a garlic family). I also made shrimp, scallops, broccoli and snap peas and through them in. It was amazing! Thank you so much!