Best Alfredo Sauce

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When your kids are hangry, and need a hearty, hot dinner… now… there is nothing like a big bowl of pasta tossed in our easy cheesy Alfredo sauce for the ultimate comfort food, fast!

This easy alfredo sauce recipe has a twist that makes it faster, easier, and more cheesy than the classic from-scratch recipe.

The best plate of pasta smothered in velvety alfredo sauce, topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fragrant parsley.
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The best alfredo sauce jar next to a bowl of noodles.

Alfredo Sauce Recipe

I’m not really a fan of big chain Italian restaurants like the Olive Garden – but if I find my way there, there is one thing I am always going to order – the alfredo! They have a thicker, cheesier alfredo sauce than the traditional alfredo sauce recipe (which relies on a roux, not cream cheese, to thicken the sauce.)

We’re opting to use cream cheese as a fantastic easy cheat – packing tons of cheesy flavor fast. This sauce is creamy, hearty, rich and velvety – it is the ultimate comfort food pasta sauce, and great with pretty much any vegetable and meat – from broccoli to chicken to shrimp to peas! It’s great with any shape of pasta – and also great with low-carb zucchini noodles.

If your kids are going through a picky phase, and you want them to seriously up their veggie consumption, try tossing vegetables with your cooked noodles for a perfect dinner nobody can say no to! Using cream cheese in this easy alfredo sauce makes it a great way to load veggies with flavor, so kids will try them with less fussing.

Whip up this sauce as you boil pasta and steam vegetables, and it is done by the time your noodles are ready!

A plate of pasta with the best alfredo sauce on it.

How to Make Alfredo Sauce

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter (½ cup) – Unsalted butter offers a pure, creamy flavor that enhances dishes with a subtle, rich base without overshadowing other ingredients.
  • Minced garlic (½ tsp) – Minced garlic imparts a sharp, aromatic essence that deepens into a sweet, earthy pungency when cooked.
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp) – Garlic powder delivers a concentrated, slightly sweeter garlic flavor, less intense than fresh but equally effective in infusing dishes with a warm, savory note.
  • Thyme (1 tsp) – Thyme provides a slightly minty, subtly earthy taste with a hint of lemony sharpness, bringing a delicate, aromatic layer to culinary creations.
  • Oregano (1 tsp) – Oregano offers a bold, slightly bitter flavor with a peppery bite, often described as both earthy and astringent.
  • Sea salt (¾ tsp) – Sea salt enhances flavors with its clean, straightforward saltiness, adding depth and highlighting the natural essence of ingredients.
  • Ground black pepper (½ tsp) – Black pepper introduces a sharp, mildly spicy warmth that adds complexity and a subtle kick.
  • Heavy whipping cream (2 cups) – Heavy whipping cream has a rich, smooth texture and a luxurious, neutral creaminess.
  • Cream cheese (4 oz) – Cream cheese provides a mild, tangy flavor with a velvety, rich texture, adding both body and a subtle acidic note.
  • Grated parmesan cheese (1 cup) – Parmesan cheese boasts a bold, nutty flavor with a slightly gritty texture and a salty, umami-rich profile, ideal for elevating savory dishes.

After gathering your ingredients, we will use this method:

  • Cook Garlic. Melt the butter in a saucepan until it is frothy. Add the garlic and cook about 3 minutes until browning and fragrant.
  • Spices and Dairy. Add the spices to the pan and stir. Give them a minute to become fragrant then add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Whisk until it is smooth. Add the parmesan, stir, and melt about 3 more minutes.
  • Serve. Toss in pasta to serve or pour over cooked vegetables. If you need to reheat it or thin it you can add some of the pasta water.
A jar of the best alfredo sauce, perfect for adding a spoonful to your favorite dishes.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Alfredo Sauce

Use Quality Ingredients: Use high-quality butter, fresh cream, and real Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.

Grate Parmesan Freshly: Pre-grated cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can affect the smoothness of your sauce. Grate Parmesan cheese yourself for a creamier texture.

Low and Slow Cooking: Cook the sauce over low heat to prevent the dairy from separating or the cheese from clumping. Patience is key to achieving a smooth, velvety texture.

Stir Constantly: Keep the sauce moving with a whisk or a spoon. This helps in evenly distributing the heat and prevents lumps.

Season to Taste: Don’t forget to season your sauce with salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. These enhance the flavors of the cheese and cream.

Use Pasta Water: The starchy pasta water helps in emulsifying and thickening the sauce. Add a bit to your sauce if it’s too thick.

Avoid Overheating: Dairy-based sauces can curdle if overheated. Remove the sauce from heat once it reaches the desired consistency.

Experiment with Add-Ins: Feel free to add garlic, herbs like parsley or basil, or even a splash of white wine for extra flavor.

Toss with Pasta Immediately: This sauce tends to thicken as it cools. Toss it with your pasta right after cooking for the best results.

Balance with Acidity: If your sauce feels too rich, a squeeze of lemon juice can add a refreshing balance.

Store Properly: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently, adding a bit of milk if needed.


What is the key to a smooth Alfredo sauce?

The key to a smooth Alfredo sauce is to cook it over low heat and to constantly stir it. This prevents the cheese from clumping and the sauce from separating.

Can I use pre-grated Parmesan cheese?

It’s best to grate Parmesan cheese freshly. Pre-grated cheese often contains additives that can affect the texture of your sauce.

Why did my Alfredo sauce turn out grainy?

Graininess can occur if the cheese is added too quickly or if the sauce is cooked at too high a temperature. Add cheese gradually and keep the heat low.

Can Alfredo sauce be made in advance?

Yes, you can make Alfredo sauce in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Reheat it gently, adding a little cream or milk if necessary.

How do I fix a broken Alfredo sauce?

If your sauce breaks or separates, remove it from heat. Whisking in a small amount of cream can help emulsify and smooth out the sauce.

Is this sauce gluten-free?

Yes this Alfredo sauce is gluten-free.

How do I reheat this sauce without it separating?

Reheat it slowly on low heat, stirring frequently. If it seems too thick, add a bit of milk or cream while reheating.

A mason jar filled with the best alfredo sauce sitting on a counter.

What to Make with Alfredo Sauce

Classic Fettuccine Alfredo: Toss cooked fettuccine pasta with Alfredo sauce for a classic Italian dish.

Chicken Alfredo: Add grilled or sautéed chicken breast to fettuccine Alfredo for a protein-rich meal.

Shrimp Alfredo: Combine Alfredo sauce with cooked shrimp and serve over pasta or rice.

Alfredo Pizza: Use Alfredo sauce as a pizza base and top with your favorite toppings like chicken, spinach, and mozzarella.

Vegetable Alfredo Pasta: Mix Alfredo sauce with steamed or roasted vegetables and pasta for a vegetarian option.

Broccoli Alfredo: Stir cooked broccoli into Alfredo sauce and serve over pasta or as a side dish.

Alfredo Lasagna: Layer Alfredo sauce with lasagna noodles, cheese, and fillings like spinach and mushrooms for a creamy twist on traditional lasagna.

Stuffed Shells with Alfredo: Fill pasta shells with a cheese mixture, top with Alfredo sauce, and bake.

Cauliflower Alfredo: Blend steamed cauliflower into Alfredo sauce for a lighter version and serve over pasta or vegetables.

Alfredo Dip: Use Alfredo sauce as a rich, creamy dip for breadsticks, vegetables, or chips.

Baked Penne Alfredo: Mix Alfredo sauce with cooked penne, top with cheese, and bake until bubbly.

Seafood Alfredo: Combine Alfredo sauce with a mix of seafood like scallops, shrimp, and crab, and serve over pasta.

Alfredo Gnocchi: Coat soft gnocchi in Alfredo sauce for a rich and comforting dish.

Chicken Alfredo Bake: Mix cooked chicken, pasta, and Alfredo sauce, top with cheese, and bake until golden.

Alfredo Mac and Cheese: Use Alfredo sauce in place of traditional cheese sauce for a creamy mac and cheese variant.

Try these other favorite recipes next:

A blue and white plate with pasta topped with parmesan cheese.

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A plate of spaghetti with parmesan cheese and the best alfredo sauce on it.

Best Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce, with its rich and creamy blend of butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, offers a luxurious and comforting flavor that transforms ordinary pasta dishes into gourmet experiences.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cheese, cheese sauce, creamy sauce, italian classic, pasta, sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 16 oz
Calories 545kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell



  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. When hot and frothy add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes till browning and fragrant. 
  • Add the garlic powder, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. 
  • Add the heavy cream and cream cheese. Whisk and heat until smooth. 
  • Add the parmesan cheese, stir and melt about 3 minutes till it thickens. Toss with pasta.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 34g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 675mg | Sugar: 3g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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