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I experimented with Alfredo sauce until I found a quick, cheap, and easy Alfredo sauce combination -- the secret ingredient is cream cheese!

Recipe Summary

prep:
5 mins
cook:
5 mins
total:
10 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
4 servings
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Alfredo sauce is always a good idea. Just toss the indulgent sauce with pasta (and maybe some chicken or shrimp) to create a crowd-pleasing meal that even picky eaters will enjoy. 

This top-rated Alfredo sauce recipe contains shortcut ingredients that will make your next weeknight dinner a breeze. Plus, learn how to thicken, store, and freeze Alfredo sauce for the most delicious results. 

What Is Alfredo Sauce? 

Alfredo sauce is a creamy pasta sauce that's frequently paired with fettuccine. The iconic dish, fettuccine Alfredo, is an Italian menu staple. According to legend, the dish was invented by a Roman chef named Alfredo di Lelio in the early 1900s. Di Lelio's pregnant wife was struggling to keep any food down, so he tossed pasta in the simple buttery sauce of his own creation. He added fettuccine Alfredo to his restaurant's menu soon after. 

Alfredo Sauce Ingredients

Traditional Alfredo sauce consists of butter, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and basic seasonings such as salt and pepper. This simple recipe, though, has a secret ingredient that speeds up the cooking process and makes it extra indulgent: cream cheese. Here's what you'll need to make Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce: 

Butter
You can't make homemade Alfredo sauce without butter. The thick, velvety base adds creaminess and rich flavor. Make sure to use real butter for the most indulgent results. If you use unsalted butter, make sure to add salt to taste. 

Cream Cheese
Not only does cream cheese add thickness and pleasant tanginess, it eliminates the need to stand over the stove making a roux. 

Garlic Powder
Two teaspoons of garlic powder add Italian-inspired flavor. For a stronger flavor, use fresh garlic. 

Milk
Whole milk adds creaminess, richness, and helps create the perfect smooth texture.

Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan thickens the sauce and adds irresistible cheesy flavor. Grate your own block instead of using shredded cheese if you can. If you don't have Parmesan, you can try substituting Gruyère or mozzarella.  

Pepper
Aromatic black pepper adds depth and enhances the other flavors. It's the perfect finishing touch.  

How to Make Alfredo Sauce

This Alfredo sauce is much easier to make than more traditional recipes that require you to make a roux with flour and milk. You'll find the full recipe below, but here's a brief overview of what you can expect:

Prep

Before you start making the sauce, go ahead and prep any other ingredients you'll be using in your dish (like pasta and chicken). Your sauce will be ready to toss and serve as soon as it's done cooking. 

Cook

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then whisk in the cream cheese and garlic powder. When the first three ingredients form a smooth sauce, start gradually whisking the milk into the mixture. It's important to add the milk a little at a time to prevent lumps and to ensure a thick texture. 

Add the cheese and pepper last. Stir the sauce until it's smooth and glossy. 

Toss

Toss the sauce with pasta, chicken, and/or other ingredients that are necessary for your dish. Serve immediately. 

How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce

This recipe is already quite thick. If you want an even thicker sauce, though, consider making a slurry to add at the end. Just whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch into two tablespoons of cold water. When the ingredients are combined, slowly add the slurry to the sauce. Repeat until the desired thickness is reached. 

How to Store Alfredo Sauce

Since Alfredo sauce is heavy on the dairy, you shouldn't let it sit at room temperature for more than two hours. Keep homemade Alfredo sauce in an airtight storage container in the fridge for about three days. 

Can You Freeze Alfredo Sauce?

Yes! You can absolutely freeze Alfredo sauce — and you should if you don't plan to use it within a few days. To freeze homemade Alfredo sauce, simply ladle it into zip-top freezer bags labeled with the date. Freeze for up to three months. 

Reheat it on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for a smooth texture. 

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"Wow," raves KELLYJELLO, who suggests serving with a simple Caesar salad. "Creamy, creamy, creamy! I made this twice in one week. The secret really is the cream cheese. A very sensual meal served hot over linguine or fettuccine."

"This sauce was so rich and creamy," according to one Allrecipes community member. "I used fresh garlic instead of powder and added a little black pepper and it spiced it a bit! But it's a great innovative recipe....this one is staying with me!"

"​​YUM!!!!!!!!!! I love Italian food, and this was absolutely the best Alfredo sauce I've had," says Jen. "And it's SO easy to make!!! I added some heavy cream to give it a little more thickness, as well as some frozen peas and chopped ham. YUMMY, I'm telling you!!!"

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with a wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out any lumps. Stir in Parmesan cheese and pepper.

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  • Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly. Thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

Nutrition Facts

648 calories; protein 25.1g; carbohydrates 10g; fat 57.1g; cholesterol 169.8mg; sodium 1029.8mg. Full Nutrition
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