In just minutes it’s easy to make this restaurant quality Alfredo sauce at home. And let’s not forget, unlike what we’ve been told for many years, we shouldn’t be afraid of these “good fats.”
So don’t waste any time giving this tasty and inexpensive sauce a try over some whole-grain noodles and lots of fresh seasonal veggies. It would also work well in a “white lasagne” or extra creamy macaroni dish. No matter what, you just can’t go wrong when you start with fresh cream and butter!
What are the Ingredients in Alfredo Sauce?
Homemade alfredo sauce is super easy to make with only a few ingredients! All you need is butter, heavy whipping cream, grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. For the best taste don’t make any substitutions in this recipe.
Any real butter you have on hand is fine. In alfredo sauce, butter not only adds flavor, but helps thicken it too.
Heavy Whipping Cream
This is the base of alfredo sauce and what makes it taste so good! Heavy cream is essential for a rich sauce; if you substitute with milk or half and half, it won’t turn out the same.
For the best flavor, choose high-quality parmesan cheese and grate it fresh. For convenience, pre-shredded or grated parmesan can also be used, but not dried parmesan or a shaker.
Not all parmesan is the same; for the best flavor, choose authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese imported from Italy.
Alfredo sauce is traditionally seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can also season with garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and parsley.
How to Make Homemade Alfredo Sauce with Milk
If heavy cream isn’t available, you can still make alfredo sauce with milk or lighter cream. Since the biggest difference between heavy cream and milk is the amount of milk fat, you can get a similar taste and consistency by combining milk and melted butter. Keep in mind this isn’t a perfect substitution, but you’ll still end up with great tasting alfredo sauce in a pinch.
To substitute milk for heavy cream, combine 1/3 cup of melted unsalted butter with 2/3 cup of milk. Half and half or table cream can be substituted one for one, with butter added to taste and desired consistency.
Is this an Authentic Italian Alfredo Sauce Recipe?
Alfredo sauce is an Italian restaurant staple, but it’s not actually an authentic Italian dish. So, while you won’t be finding this recipe in any of Nonna’s cookbooks, it tastes good just like the fettucine alfredo sauce served in restaurants.
Tips and Tricks for Making This Easy Alfredo Sauce Recipe
Homemade alfredo sauce is easy to make, even for beginner cooks. Pair it with your favorite whole grain pasta like fettuccine, penne, or even kid-friendly shaped noodles. Or try alfredo sauce as a topping for veggies; it’s delicious!
To help this recipe turn out perfectly:
- Use fresh ingredients
- Don’t forget to hold back 1/3 of the cream for the end
- Stir your cream thoroughly so it doesn’t stick to the pan and burn
- Don’t simmer your sauce on too high or low heat; it should be hot enough to thicken, but not boiling
- Thoroughly drain the pasta before adding it to the sauce to avoid thinning
What Can You Add to Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo?
Something I love about fettuccine alfredo is how easily the creamy, buttery flavors work with almost anything. Some add-ins will need to be pre-cooked, so make sure to prepare them alongside your homemade alfredo sauce. For protein options, try chicken, beef or pork strips, tofu, or shrimp.
Saucy dishes like fettuccine alfredo are also a great way to get picky eaters to eat vegetables. Some of my favorites to add in are cooked broccoli, peppers, peas, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, or raw tomatoes or spinach.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce
The alfredo sauce in this recipe should thicken on its own when cooking, but small differences in measurements or technique can affect the process.
- Add more cheese. This is the most common reason for thin alfredo sauce since grated cheese is hard to measure accurately. Add more cheese until you get the thickness you want.
- Let it cook for longer. If your sauce isn’t thick yet it may just require more time to reduce.
- Increase the butter. Butter helps alfredo sauce thicken; if the sauce is too thin you may not have used enough. This is especially true if you’ve substituted the heavy whipping cream for a product with less milk fat.
- Try pasta water. The starch in pasta water can help thicken a cream sauce. Add a small amount of water, then let your sauce boil for about one minute. If you don’t bring it to a boil, pasta water will have the opposite effect and thin your sauce even more.
- Last resort: add a bit of corn starch. While it’s not supposed to be an ingredient in alfredo sauce, adding corn starch is a sure way to get the sauce to thicken.