Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

$8.40 recipe / $2.10 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 8 votes
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Valentine’s Day is coming up and I thought you might need a little somethin-somethin’ special to cook your honey (even if YOU are your own honey—show yourself some love). This extra luxurious Shrimp Alfredo is super easy and feels just as fancy as going out to eat. …Except way less expensive and way more special because you did it yourself. ;) I promise this creamy shrimp alfredo pasta will earn you some extra points!

Shrimp alfredo pasta in the skillet with tongs twirling the pasta

What’s in Shrimp Alfredo?

This shrimp alfredo pasta is what I like to call an “Amerifredo” or an American-style alfredo sauce. An 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.

This incredibly simple dish features a rich and luxurious Parmesan cream sauce, tender shrimp, and hearty fettuccine noodles. The simple creamy alfredo sauce is made with butter, garlic, heavy cream, and Parmesan, and it comes together in minutes. Then just add some fettuccine and juicy shrimp, which literally take about three minutes to cook in the skillet, and your fancy-pants pasta is done! I promise this one is so easy that anyone can do it!

Can I substitute the Heavy Cream?

The heavy cream is very important for creating the correct texture in this ultra-luxurious sauce, so I don’t suggest replacing it. The low-moisture content of the heavy cream allows the Parmesan to melt in smoothly without clumping like it would with milk. Another option, if you don’t have heavy cream, is to do a milk and cream cheese combination. The cream cheese will help the Parmesan melt in smoothly and produce a thick sauce, similar to heavy cream. You can use the sauce in my Sun Dried Tomato Pasta as a guide.

What Kind of Parmesan to Use

We all know that freshly shredded Parmesan is far superior to the grated Parmesan that comes in a can, both in flavor and melting ability. But I’m here to say this: if all you have is grated Parmesan, use it! I specifically tested this recipe using grated Parmesan just to make sure that it would be delicious no matter what. And if you can get the good kind you’ll just enjoy it that much more. :)

What to Serve with Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

Because this pasta is so rich and creamy, I highly suggest pairing it with a simple side salad to help lighten up the plate and cut through all that creaminess. Making sure to dress the salad with a light vinaigrette will help balance the heavy cream and not overpower the flavors in the pasta. To complement the garlic in the alfredo sauce, you can also add a little homemade garlic bread on the side. :) Garlic bread is never a bad idea! And then a nice cool and crisp glass of Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc would really make the meal complete!

Shrimp alfredo pasta in a bowl with a fork on the side
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Shrimp Alfredo

5 from 8 votes
Shrimp Alfredo Pasta is quick and easy to prepare, but feels extra special and luxurious. It's the perfect dish for special occasions!
Shrimp alfredo pasta in a bowl with a fork on the side
Servings 4
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes


  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined ($4.99)
  • 1/2 lb. fettuccine ($0.67)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided ($0.20)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
  • 1 cup heavy cream ($1.00)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan* ($1.08)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or to taste) ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper (or to taste) ($0.02)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) ($0.10)


  • If your shrimp is frozen, thaw and peel before beginning. You can remove the tails or leave the tails on, if you prefer.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil for the fettuccine. Once boiling, add the fettuccine and boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Reserve a ½ cup of the starchy water before draining the pasta in a colander.
  • While the fettuccine is boiling, prepare the shrimp and alfredo sauce. Place the peeled shrimp on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Season the shrimp with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet and heat over medium. Once hot, swirl to coat the surface of the skillet with butter. Add the shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, or just until opaque and pink (do not overcook the shrimp). Transfer the cooked shrimp to a clean bowl.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet along with the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes, or just until it is very fragrant but not brown.
  • Add the heavy cream to the skillet and whisk to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the cream to come up to a simmer.
  • Whisk the Parmesan into the hot cream until melted. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Add the cooked and drained pasta and cooked shrimp back to the skillet with the sauce (make sure to add any liquid from the bowl of shrimp). Toss everything until coated in sauce. If the sauce becomes too thick or dry, add some of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up.
  • Taste the pasta and add more salt or pepper if needed. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve!

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*This recipe works with both grated or shredded Parmesan.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 592kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 24gFat: 36gSodium: 852mgFiber: 2g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Love alfredo? Check out our Chicken Alfredo, too!

Close up of a bowl full of shrimp alfredo pasta with a fork

How to Make Shrimp Alfredo Pasta – Step by Step Photos

peeled shrimp in a colander next to a bowl of shrimp peels

Thaw and peel ½ lb. of medium (36/40) shrimp. Remove the tails, if preferred. Leaving the tails on is more visually stunning, but can be more difficult to eat since you’ll have to remove the tail with each bite.

A box of fettuccine open on one end with pasta coming out

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the fettuccine. Once boiling, add ½ lb. fettuccine and boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Reserve a ½ cup of the starchy pasta water before draining the fettuccine in a colander.

Dried and seasoned shrimp on a cutting board

While the pasta is cooking, begin to prepare the shrimp and alfredo sauce. Spread the shrimp out onto a clean cutting board. Pat dry with paper towel, then season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cooked shrimp in the skillet

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is fully melted, swirl the butter to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side or just until the shrimp turn opaque and pink. Do not overcook the shrimp. Remove the shrimp to a clean bowl.

Butter and garlic in the skillet

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet along with 4 cloves of minced garlic. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes, or just until very fragrant but not browned.

Heavy cream being poured into a skillet with garlic

Add 1 cup heavy cream to the skillet. Whisk to dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Continue to heat over medium-low until the cream comes up to a simmer.

Parmesan being added to the cream in the skillet.

Add ¾ cup grated Parmesan to the simmering cream. Whisk until the Parmesan is melted into the cream and the sauce thickens. Season the sauce with ⅛ tsp salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Shrimp and pasta added back to the sauce

Add the cooked and drained fettuccine and cooked shrimp to the skillet with the sauce. Make sure to add any liquid that has accumulated in the bowl of shrimp because that will add extra shrimp flavor to the sauce.

Pasta and shrimp tossed in the alfredo sauce with tongs on the side

Toss the pasta and shrimp in the sauce until fully coated. If the sauce becomes too thick or dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and toss until it’s mixed into the sauce. Give the pasta a taste and add more salt or pepper if you’d like.

finished shrimp alfredo in the skillet with tongs

Finish with a garnish of chopped fresh parsley for color and serve!

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  1. I wish so badly that this worked but I always end up with the Parmesan (I used Kraft from the shaker) separated from the sauce and stuck to the pan, I try to work it back in and end up with big gobs of cheese that refuses to incorporate back in. I’ve given up. I’m guessing this works best with the real stuff, freshly grated but I never have any on hand, and here in Canada hard to justify even buying just what I need to grate in. I guess I’m stuck with the canned stuff

    1. Hi Melody, when cheese gobs up like that it means t was cooking at too high of a heat. Use a heavy-bottomed pot and turn the heat down. That will help tremendously. xoxo -Monti

  2. Can the different components be made then put together later? Would it still taste as good?

    1. You could definitely prepare the alfredo sauce ahead of time! We have a separate recipe for it, which can be kept refrigerated in an air-tight container for ~4 days, and will be just as great reheated later. You could also use part of it for this recipe and part of it for another one without it having a slightly-shrimpy aftertaste (recipe: Since shrimp and pasta cook so quickly and both won’t be quite as delicious when reheated (especially the shrimp, which are easy to overcook), I would suggest making those right before you plan to eat the meal. I would make the shrimp as described, turn down the heat and pour in the premade alfredo sauce to warm through, and then stir in the freshly made pasta. ~Marion :)

  3. This was so good! Thanks. Made it as written, wouldn’t change a thing. Will definitely make again.