Homemade Alfredo Sauce

$2.67 RECIPE / $0.67 SERVING
by Marion - Budget Bytes
4.60 from 5 votes
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Ditch the jar sauce and whip up your own batch of Homemade Alfredo Sauce from scratch! (And have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!) This easy recipe will help you make deliciously creamy pasta dishes that are way better, and cheaper, than anything you can order at Olive Garden. The best part is this recipe for Homemade Alfredo Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days!

A large white bowl filled with cooked penne pasta dressed with homemade alfredo sauce, a hand is holding the right side of the bowl and a black metal fork, various props surround the bowl including a grey striped dish cloth, a block of parmesan cheese, a wooden bowl of salt and a mason jar of alfredo sauce.

WHAT IS ALFREDO SAUCE?

This thick, creamy Alfredo Sauce—what we like to call an “Amerifredo” or an American-style alfredo sauce—is a decadent pasta sauce made with butter, garlic, heavy cream, and tons of Parmesan cheese. Authentic Roman alfredo sauce does not include any heavy cream or garlic, and it derives all of its creaminess and flavor from the butter and really good Parmesan. But if you’re used to the “alfredo” served in American restaurants or bought in a jar in U.S. grocery stores, that’s what this recipe delivers.

CAN I USE MILK INSTEAD OF CREAM?

To make Homemade Alfredo Sauce that is thick, creamy, and delicious, you need to use heavy cream. Using whole milk or half & half will not work as well because the high water content in these ingredients will not allow the Parmesan to emulsify and melt smoothly into the sauce. The sauce will end up runnier, it may not cling to the pasta as well, and it will likely be a little clumpy or gritty in texture.

#1 Tip for success? heat control.

Make sure the heat is on low before stirring in the Parmesan cheese—even taking the pot off of the burner for a minute so the cream is no longer boiling—otherwise, the sauce could break. High heat separates the proteins and fats in cheese, which will give you a lumpy, unappetizing sauce. Waiting until the cream is no longer boiling will also help prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot and not melting into the sauce properly.

What kind of parmesan is best for alfredo sauce?

We tested this recipe using grated Parmesan cheese (the kind in a can). It’s the most budget-friendly option, and will still give you insanely-delicious results! If you have the money to splurge, freshly shredded Parmesan will make the most creamy, dreamy Alfredo Sauce you’ve ever tasted.

tip: save your parmesan rind!

Dropping big bucks on a block of Parmesan cheese is absolutely not necessary (see above), but I do enjoy working it into my budget now and then. To make the most of every single morsel, SAVE THE RIND! Stash it in the freezer for your next soup or stew. Simply toss it in the pot while everything’s simmering and infuse the broth with rich, Parmesan flavor! (Remove it before serving…or sneak a bite when no one’s looking.) Add a leftover Parmesan rind to these soup and stew recipes:

EAT LEFTOVERS ALL WEEK!

One of the best parts about this recipe is that you can make it ahead. No more terrible re-heated leftover creamy pasta! Instead, let the alfredo sauce cool and store it in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Then gently reheat and add to freshly cooked pasta. 

WHAT TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE ALFREDO SAUCE

Drench this ultra-rich sauce over plain pasta or add some chicken, shrimp, turkey meatballs, or hearty vegetables even use it in a decadently cheesy pasta bake. And make sure to serve some garlic bread and a simple side salad on the side!

A large white bowl filled with cooked penne pasta, a hand is pouring alfredo sauce in the center of the bowl from a glass mason jar in the lower left side of the image, and there are various ingredients around the bowl mostly out of frame.
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Homemade Alfredo Sauce

4.60 from 5 votes
This thick, creamy Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe is a quick and easy way to make a delicious, budget-friendly dinner in less than 30 minutes!
A mason jar filled with alfredo sauce and a metal spoon raised above the jar after it's been dipped into the sauce so it's dripping off, and blurred in the background is a block of parmesean cheese, a bowl of uncooked pasta and some fresh italian parsley.
Servings 4
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp salted butter ($0.30)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.15)
  • 1 cup heavy cream ($1.00)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper ($0.01)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese ($1.15)

Instructions 

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute for two minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Whisk in the heavy cream, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Allow the cream to come up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir the mixture until all the cheese has melted and the sauce thickens.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta, chicken, vegetables, and more!

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Nutrition

Serving: 0.33cupCalories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 7gFat: 32gSodium: 680mgFiber: 0.2g
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A large white bowl filled with cooked penne pasta dressed with homemade alfredo sauce, a hand is holding the right side of the bowl and a black metal fork, various props surround the bowl including a grey striped dish cloth, a block of parmesan cheese, a wooden bowl of salt and a mason jar of alfredo sauce.

How to Make Homemade alfredo sauce – Step by Step Photos

Garlic being sautéed in melted butter and stirred with a balloon whisk in a stainless steel skillet on a white marble backdrop.

Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and saute for two minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Heavy cream being poured into the left side of a stainless steel skillet with sauteed garlic, salt, pepper and italian season in seperate piles on the right side of the skillet.

Whisk in 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly-cracked black pepper into the sauteed garlic. Allow the cream to come up to a boil. (About 5 minutes.)

A hand dumping parmesan cheese from a small white bowl into the bottom right hand side of a stainless steel skillet that contains mixed heavy cream, melted butter, sauteed garlic and spices.

Once the cream is boiling, reduce the heat to low. and stir in the Parmesan cheese. If needed, take the pot off of the hot burner for a minute so the cream is no longer boiling. (High heat could cause the cheese to separate.)

A whisk sitting in a stainless steel skillet after it was used to combine parmesan cheese with heavy cream, garlic, melted butter and spices to create alfredo sauce.

Continue to stir the mixture until all the cheese has melted and the sauce thickens. (About 5 minutes.)

A hand is holding a metal serving spoon over a skillet of homemade alfredo sauce to show the thickness and consistency of the sauce once it has reduced and cooled slightly.

Serve over your favorite pasta, chicken, vegetables, or more! This homemade alfredo sauce can also be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

A mason jar filled with alfredo sauce and a metal spoon raised above the jar after it's been dipped into the sauce so it's dripping off, and blurred in the background is a block of parmesean cheese, a bowl of uncooked pasta and some fresh italian parsley.

Oh, heck yeah! Who’s eating pasta all week?! (We definitely did!) ~ Marion :)

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  1. Delicious and so easy. I agree with the other review about it being a touch salty though, maybe my parmesan was on the saltier side too. I’d wait til the end to season next time

  2. I made a half batch of this using half and half (used about 2/3 c) and it turned out perfectly. The recipe is so easy to make and makes a delicious sauce, I paired it with fettucine and Italian baked chicken.

  3. Incredible. This will quickly work its way into our regular rotation. I would cut the salt in half, though.

  4. I followed the recipe exactly. I don’t see the need for the Italian seasoning (it does mellow a bit the second day) and would cut down on the salt and pepper!

  5. Could half and half be substituted for the heavy cream, or would that make the sauce too soupy?

    1. While we didn’t test this recipe with half and half, I’m sure with some tweaking it will work out okay. Since it has about 2/3 the amount of fat as heavy cream, I’d suggest adding another 1 Tbsp of butter for every 1 cup of half and half you use. So, that’s 1 extra tablespoon (3T total) for this recipe, but add 2 more tablespoons (6T total) if you go on to make the chicken alfredo bake (https://www.budgetbytes.com/chicken-alfredo-bake/). I hope that suggestion works out well for you! ~ Marion :)

  6. Will this come together properly if half and half is used instead of heavy cream?

    1. We didn’t try out the recipe using the same ratio of half and half, but with some tweaking, it would probably work out fine! (Otherwise, it might be a little runny.) I’d add an additional 1 Tablespoon of butter for every 1 cup of half and half. So if you make a single batch of this recipe, use 3T of butter, and if you double it as we do in the Chicken Alfredo Bake, use 6T total. ~ Marion :)

  7. It’s too salty, and I used to find the recipes on this site (when it was still run only by Beth) rather undersalted for my taste. Your own recipe for chicken Alfredo uses 1/4 tsp of salt for the double batch.

    1. We don’t suggest freezing this because it will probably separate, but it does keep super well in the fridge for about a week! ~ marion :)

  8. I know it’s sacrilege but you can make it in the microwave. It takes 5 minutes total. You melt the butter, garlic, salt and pepper together, then add in the cream and microwave for about 2 minutes till it’s bubbling, then you whisk in the cheese and microwave again for another minute or so. Voilà, Alfredo!