This easy 15-minute recipe makes the best, rich and creamy homemade Alfredo sauce loaded with delicious garlic and Parmesan flavors. Pair it with fettuccine and chicken for a classic Alfredo pasta dish or mix and match with your favorite pasta and protein combinations.
Try your hand at making this homemade Alfredo sauce if you’re like me and feel like the store-bought jarred Alfredo sauce lacks a little something something. It’s deceptively simple to make using three simple base ingredients of butter, heavy cream and Parmesan. That’s it.
This recipe adds a just little more flavor to make the sauce even better with garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper – similar to the Alfredo sauce served at Olive Garden. Once you try a homemade Alfredo sauce, you will never be able to settle for a jarred version again.
An Alfredo sauce is meant to be rich and indulgent so don’t be thrown off by the amount of butter and cheese. This is how it’s made in restaurants, by someone who has no regard for your waistline, and it tastes just like that! Creamy, delicious and decadent – a true guilty pleasure.
Ingredients in Homemade Alfredo Sauce
HOMEMADE ALFREDO SAUCE RECIPE TIPS
- Butter – 1/2 cup of butter works out to be about 8 tablespoons of butter. I like using Land O Lakes butter sticks which have labels that measure out the tablespoons/cups for you.
- Heavy cream – This is the base of the Alfredo sauce. It gives the sauce a rich and thick texture without having to use any thickeners like flour or cornstarch.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic adds flavor and elevates the sauce a little. You can substitute this with garlic powder instead if you prefer a smoother sauce. For an even stronger garlic flavor, try adding some garlic powder on top of fresh minced garlic.
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated Parmesan is best for a homemade Alfredo sauce. The pre-shredded store-bought kind has anti-clumping chemicals that affect how well they melt into the sauce. I would also not recommend using the shaker-style Parmesan for this same reason. Pre-shredded cheese makes a grainy, lumpier sauce, so I usually buy a block of Parmesan and grate it myself using a microplane or box grater.
- Italian seasoning – Italian seasoning adds a little more flavor to the sauce. Feel free to skip this and simply top your Alfredo with some fresh chopped parsley instead or do a combination of both.
- Salt – I like using coarse sea salt because it’s more forgiving than table salt and you can be generous with the seasoning. You can substitute this with kosher salt in equal amounts.
Depending on your salt intake and tolerance, you might not need to add more salt to the Alfredo sauce. Most of the saltiness and flavor can be borrowed from the Parmesan.
- Garnish – Add a pop of color to your warm plate of Alfredo pasta with some chopped fresh parsley.
- Controlling the heat – Lower the heat once you add in the heavy cream and Parmesan. Boiling the sauce over high heat will separate the fat and give you an oily mess instead of a smooth creamy sauce. For this same reason, it’s advisable to reheat the sauce over the stovetop and not the microwave.
- Thinning out the sauce/Reheating – You can thin out the sauce if it’s too thick or reheat leftovers with more heavy cream, milk, broth, or pasta water.
- Serve – Serve this homemade Alfredo sauce with your favorite pasta like fettuccine, linguine, or pappardelle. Enjoy it as is or pair it with some protein like seared, baked, or grilled chicken or shrimp.
- Leftovers and reheating – Homemade Alfredo sauce will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat the sauce at the stovetop over low heat and add some milk to loosen up the sauce a little. I do not recommend microwaving to heat it up because the high heat will split the sauce. This will give you a sauce that has separated with a greasy pool of butter.
The reason you make the sauce over low heat is the same reason you reheat the sauce over low heat. Doing either on high heat will break the sauce and separate the butter from the cream.
- Freezing Alfredo sauce – You technically can freeze Alfredo sauce but I do not recommend it. As with most things dairy, the texture will change (turn grainy) when frozen. If you do decide to go ahead and freeze it anyway, let me know how it worked out for you in the comments below!
- More garlic – Make it even more garlicky by adding some garlic powder on top of the fresh garlic.
- Make it richer – Substitute half the Parmesan cheese with some cream cheese for a richer sauce.
- Add more flavor – Try a mix of Parmesan and Romano cheese for a stronger, bolder sauce.
What to Serve with Homemade Alfredo Sauce
Toss the Alfredo sauce with your favorite pasta and pair it with proteins like chicken or shrimp. I like making it into a chicken Alfredo by seasoning 4 flattened chicken breasts with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper then searing them on both sides with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Slice them into thick strips and serve them on top of your plate of pasta.
And that’s about it. Let me know how you liked it, what pasta or protein you paired it with and what substitutions you made in the comments below.
This post was originally published on January 19, 2015 and updated on July 16, 2023.
MORE ALFREDO RECIPES TO TRY
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli Bake
- Tortellini Alfredo Spinach Casserole
- Lemon Pepper Chicken Alfredo Pasta