This rich and creamy Alfredo sauce is perfect for any kind of pasta such as fettuccine or linguine and is also great with chicken, shrimp, or pizza. You only need 6 ingredients and less than 15 minutes to make a batch of this delicious gluten-free pasta sauce (no flour!). Because this sauce is so easy to make, you will never think about using store-bought sauce again. Serve with pasta and leftover air fryer chicken!
- Difference between Alfredo sauce and white sauce
- Is this an Italian sauce?
- Best parmesan
- Can you use milk instead of cream?
- How to thicken Alfredo sauce
- White pepper vs. black pepper
- How to prepare the garlic
- How long does it last in the fridge
- How to reheat it
- Can you freeze it?
- Top tips for the perfect Alfredo sauce
- Photo tutorial
- More comfort food to try
Difference between Alfredo sauce and white sauce
Alfredo sauce is a parmesan sauce, usually made with cream and butter, reduced over heat to create a creamy pasta sauce. White sauce is another name for béchamel sauce and is basically a roux made from butter and flour mixed with milk. White sauce is used to thicken sauces but not to serve with pasta.
Is this an Italian sauce?
Although Alfredo sauce has its roots in Italy, the American version is not served in Italy. The original Italian sauce is served as pasta al burro and is basically linguine or fettuccine tossed with butter and parmigiano cheese. So, if you are on vacation in Rome, you may find the original Italian version on the menu but not this American cream-based version.
Tip: If you love Italian sauces, try my Italian pizza sauce!
I recommend using freshly, finely grated parmesan instead of pre-grated parmesan. Freshly grated parmesan simply tastes better, melts better, and makes a smooth and creamy sauce. Pre-grated parmesan cheese can result in a grainy texture because the cheese is drier and often has additional ingredients to prevent clumping. I usually use parmigiano reggiano parmesan cheese for this pasta sauce, but I also like to use other hard Italian cheeses like grana padano or pecorino romano.
Tip on measuring cheese: If you don't have a kitchen scale to measure the cheese, fill the cup with the grated parmesan without packing it.
Can you use milk instead of cream?
I prefer this sauce with heavy cream, but it also works with milk. You don't need any additional ingredients to substitute the heavy cream. Just replace the heavy cream 1:1 with milk. Let the milk simmer a few minutes longer to reduce it a bit. There's really no need to use flour or cornstarch. The reduction plus the cheese is enough to thicken the sauce.
How to thicken Alfredo sauce
Reducing the sauce over heat, removing it from the heat, and adding the cheese gradually is all it takes to create a dreamy creamy pasta sauce. Not having to make a roux with flour makes this recipe so easy and simply the best.
White pepper vs. black pepper
My favorite is finely ground white pepper as it is spicier and has an earthy and complex flavor and fits the rich and heavy cream sauce just perfectly. However, black pepper works just as well. Feel free to use whatever pepper you prefer, whether black, white, fine, or coarse.
How to prepare the garlic
The easiest way to peel the garlic is to gently crack it so that the peel loosens from the clove. To do this, I place the blade of my large kitchen knife on the garlic and press on it with my hand until I hear a crack. You can either finely chop, grate or press the garlic. Use the method that is most convenient for you.
How long does it last in the fridge
You can safely store it in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Trust your senses. Look, smell, and taste. In doubt, discard it.
How to reheat it
You will notice that the sauce thickens a lot as it cools. To make it creamy again, it's best to warm it up slowly over low heat with a splash of milk. Cook until hot and creamy, gradually adding more milk until you reach the desired consistency.
Can you freeze it?
Unlike other cream-based pasta sauces, this parmesan sauce freezes well. After cooking, let it cool completely and then refrigerate for 1 hour. Give it a good stir and place in freezer bags, squeeze out all the air and freeze for up to 2 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight. Then reheat.
Top tips for the perfect Alfredo sauce
- Cook it low and slow. Don't crank up the heat, otherwise it can burn quickly or thicken too much.
- Remove the pan from the heat before adding the parmesan cheese. Then gradually add the parmesan cheese, making sure it melts completely and doesn't clump.
- If you notice that some of the parmesan cheese isn't melting, return the pan to low heat for 1 minute to melt the cheese.
- The sauce thickens as it cools. If the sauce is thinner as desired, after cooling for 2-3 minutes, return to low heat and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the whipping cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 3-4 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, gradually add the cheese, and stir until the parmesan is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
Add parsley if desired. Serve with pasta and enjoy!
More comfort food to try
If you love comforting home cooking, you've come to the right place. The following recipes are some of my favorite comfort food recipes and are loved by family, friends, and readers worldwide.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tablespoon garlic, (minced, grated, or pressed)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook on low for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, gradually add the cheese, and stir until the parmesan is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Serve with pasta and enjoy!
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