A luscious, creamy Alfredo sauce is a culinary dream—a handful of ingredients that add up to something wonderful. It hails from 1920s Rome, where it was created by restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio. His hallmark dish, fettuccine Alfredo, combined hot fettuccine with a sauce made of butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, with generous grindings of pepper to help add spark to all that richness. While fettuccine Alfredo is still a classic, much-loved dish, Alfredo sauce has become a favorite way to add decadence to many recipes, such as casseroles, veggies, and pizzas.
Try our best Alfredo sauce recipe with this fettuccine Alfredo recipe.
Sure, you can buy jars or refrigerated containers of Alfredo sauce, and certainly they fill the bill when you're pressed for time. However, some commercial products use cream cheese or food starches as thickeners, which can mute the sauce's hallmark butter, cream, and Parmesan flavors. When you make Alfredo sauce from scratch, it will taste fresher—and the flavors of those three ingredients will be more vivid. Fortunately, homemade Alfredo sauce takes just minutes to make.
How to Make Alfredo Sauce
It's hard to believe that just three ingredients, plus salt and pepper, can result in such a wonderful sauce. Our Alfredo pasta sauce recipe makes enough sauce to serve with 8 ounces of pasta (four main-dish servings).
1. Gather the Ingredients
Tip: You can use pre-grated Parmesan cheese, but it won't have the pronounced, intense freshness of cheese that you grate at home just before you use it. And if you really want to treat yourself to something wonderful, use Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (the Italian original, imported from Northern Italy). It might be more costly than domestic versions, but it offers a bold, snappy flavor that few look-alikes can match.
The secret to creamy Alfredo sauce is the cream, of course!
Your best Alfredo sauce recipe will include freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Here's how to add it:
Tip: Be sure the pan is off the heat, as high heat can cause cheese to clump or become stringy rather than melt smoothly.
The final step in how to make Alfredo pasta is to serve the sauce with pasta! Toss the sauce with 8 ounces of hot, cooked, drained pasta (fettuccine is traditional and holds the sauce nicely with its long strands, but just about any pasta will work except miniature shapes). Transfer the sauced pasta to a warm serving dish and serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and/or top with snipped fresh Italian parsley.
Other Uses for Alfredo Sauce
Homemade Alfredo sauce works well wherever a rich, creamy sauce is called for. Here are a few ideas. You can also use Alfredo sauce in recipes (for some examples, see the recipe links below):
Homemade Alfredo sauce is perfect for quick Italian-style dinners. Get our favorite recipes that start with Alfredo sauce made from scratch.