How To Make the Best, Easiest Homemade Alfredo Sauce

updated Mar 22, 2023
How To Make Alfredo Sauce

A dose of dairy is the secret to 5-ingredient, everyday Alfredo sauce.

Serves4 to 6

Makes2 cups

Prep5 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

The silky texture of traditional fettuccini Alfredo is created by a balanced emulsion of grated Parmesan, butter, and starchy pasta water. But if mealtime calls for serving the garlicky Parmesan cream sauce without pasta (or its cooking liquid!), you need a new approach. Don’t tell my Italian in-laws, but a dose of dairy is the secret to my five-ingredient, everyday Alfredo sauce.

The Foolproof Way to Make Alfredo Sauce at Home

You’ll start by lightly toasting garlic in a bit of butter, cooking just until fragrant. You’ll then add the cream before the garlic browns, since burnt garlic can turn the sauce bitter in an instant. You want to use dairy with a decent amount of fat — like heavy cream or half-and-half — because it gives the sauce its richness and smooth texture, so it is best not to substitute milk.

Just before serving, you’ll stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Serve the sauce hot from the stove before it thickens upon cooling. If the sauce is too thick, don’t worry — you can whisk in an extra splash of warm cream to loosen it back up.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Is Alfredo Sauce Keto?

Yes! This sauce hits all the right macro marks for followers of the keto diet. If you make the sauce with heavy cream, the sauce has just 3.7 grams of carbs while providing ample amounts of fat and protein to keep your macros in range. Instead of pasta, serve the sauce drizzled over broccoli, tossed with zucchini noodles, or poured over grilled chicken.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

But It’s Also for Carb-Lovers

This easy Parmesan cream sauce is a weeknight staple in my house for topping veggies, smothering chicken, and coating its classic partner, fettuccine. This recipe makes enough sauce to serve with 12 ounces of dried pasta.

How To Make Alfredo Sauce

A dose of dairy is the secret to 5-ingredient, everyday Alfredo sauce.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Makes 2 cups

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups

    heavy cream or half-and-half

  • 2 cups

    freshly grated Parmesan cheese (2 1/2 ounces)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


    • Large stainless steel skillet

    • Whisk

    • Microplane or fine cheese grater

    • Wooden spoon


    1. Melt the butter and sauté the garlic. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

    2. Heat the heavy cream. Whisk the heavy cream into the butter until combined. Heat, whisking occasionally, until the cream simmers, 3 to 4 minutes.

    3. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese and seasonings. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese, salt, nutmeg, and pepper.

    4. Cook until the sauce thickens. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, then serve immediately.

    Recipe Notes

    Storage: The sauce is best served immediately. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container, and add a splash of milk before reheating over low heat on the stovetop.

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