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10-Minute Alfredo Sauce with Heavy Cream

5 from 25 community reviews

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Say goodbye to jarred sauce forever! This homemade Alfredo sauce recipe is the real deal — a creamy, cheesy, buttery sauce made in minutes with just three ingredients: heavy cream, butter and Parmesan cheese. It’s one of the easiest pasta sauce recipes you can make from scratch. Treat your family to the ultimate comfort food, and serve it as a sauce for pasta or vegetables.

Fettuccine Alfredo in a skillet with two serving utensils, with dishes of chopped parsley and grated cheese around it.
Toss the sauce with fettuccine to make a decadent Fettuccine Alfredo!

Why you’ll love homemade alfredo sauce:

  • QUICK: This creamy sauce cooks on the stovetop and is ready to serve in about 10 minutes. It will keep up to one week in the refrigerator to use on pasta, vegetables or meat dishes.
  • DELICIOUS: We’re not fooling around! This recipe makes a batch of luscious, creamy sauce with plenty of Parmesan cheese.
  • ALL NATURAL + GLUTEN-FREE: Skip the stabilizers, preservatives and artificial flavorings that jarred sauce contains. This Alfredo sauce does not contain flour and is naturally gluten-free.

About the ingredients

Alfredo Sauce is a versatile white sauce to use in pasta recipes, or even with veggies (have you every tried in a baked cauliflower gratin?!). And, like my simple cacio e pepe recipe, it’s made with just three ingredients. Unlike similar thick, white sauces like bechamel (or besciamella in Italian), authentic Alfredo sauce is made without flour.

A bowl of heavy cream, sliced butter on a plate, and grated cheese in a cup arranged on a cutting board.
  • Heavy cream: The best Alfredo sauce is really all about the indulgent texture, and the best way to achieve it is to use heavy cream. When shopping for cream to make Alfredo sauce, choose containers labeled “heavy whipping cream” or simply “heavy cream” which has a fat content of up to 38%. Plain “whipping cream” is about 35% fat, but can also be used. Can you make Alfredo sauce with milk? Technically, no. Because this recipe doesn’t call for thickeners like flour or cream cheese, milk won’t produce a thick enough consistency.
  • Butter: I usually use unsalted butter, but salted butter is just as good. Add a bit less salt to the sauce than called for, and adjust the amount to suit your taste.
  • Cheese: Parmesan cheese is the queen of Alfredo sauce. If you want to make the BEST sauce, buy a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano or domestic Parmesan and grate it with a rasp grater. The light, fine shavings will more easily melt into the hot cream to make a smooth sauce. You can also buy pre-grated fresh Parmesan — be sure it has a powdery texture, not shredded. Pecorino Romano cheese is much sharper and saltier — I don’t recommend it for Alfredo sauce.

Fun Fact: Although Alfredo sauce as we know it is more of an American favorite, legend has it that Alfred di Lelio, a Roman chef, invented it. It’s based on another simple pasta sauce, cacio e pepe, which combines Pecorino Romano cheese, butter and hot pasta water.

How to make Alfredo sauce, step by step

Tasty additions:

Here are some seasoning ideas to jazz up your Alfredo sauce:

  • Fresh herbs: Toss in a tablespoon or so of fresh chopped parsley, sage, or basil or 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb.
  • Lemon: Turn your sauce into pasta al limone! Add in freshly grated lemon zest and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the finished sauce.
  • Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper or a dash of nutmeg pair beautifully with cream sauce.
  • Garlic: If you enjoy garlic, try adding 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder or granulated garlic to the melted butter before adding the cream.
Creamy white pasta sauce in a Mason jar, on top of a kitchen counter.
Pour the sauce into a Mason jar and store in the fridge for a week.

How to store: The sauce keeps up to a week in the refrigerator. Store it in a secure covered container, such as a Mason jar. Reheat on low heat in a saucepan until the sauce smooth, warm and creamy.

A bowl of heavy cream, sliced butter on a plate, and grated cheese in a cup arranged on a cutting board.

10-Minute Alfredo Sauce with Heavy Cream

Karen Tedesco
This homemade Alfredo sauce recipe is the real deal — a creamy, cheesy, buttery sauce made in minutes with just three ingredients: heavy cream, butter and Parmesan cheese. It's one of the easiest pasta sauce recipes you can make from scratch! Treat your family to the ultimate comfort food, and serve it as a sauce for pasta or vegetables.
Print Pin
5 from 25 community reviews
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

Yield: 2 cups sauce (enough for 1 pound of pasta)

  • 8 tablespoons (113 g) butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ½ cups (350 ml) heavy cream, or heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup (77 g) finely grated Parmesan cheese, *see note below

Instructions 

  • Put the butter in a 3-4 quart saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan occasionally until the butter is melted.
  • Pour in the cream and heat until it comes to a boil — the cream will foam and rise to the top of the pan. Immediately lower the heat to medium or medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Give it a whisk, and continue simmering 8-10 minutes, until the cream is slightly reduced. Keep your eye on the pan and adjust the heat as needed to prevent the sauce from boiling over.
  • Add the salt and cheese to the cream and whisk. Remove the pan from the heat, continue to whisk until the sauce has a thick, smooth consistency.
  • Serve right away with cooked pasta, or pour into a glass storage container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Shake or stir the sauce before reheating (note below).

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Be sure to use finely grated Parmesan for the best texture. Shredded Parmesan doesn’t melt as smoothly.
Make the sauce your own and try these seasonings:
    • Fresh herbs: Toss in a tablespoon or so of fresh chopped parsley, sage, or basil or 1/2 teaspoon of your favorite dried herb.
    • Lemon: Turn your sauce into pasta al limone! Add in freshly grated lemon zest and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the finished sauce.
    • Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper, crushed red pepper or a dash of nutmeg pair beautifully with cream sauce.
    • Garlic: If you enjoy garlic, try adding 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder or granulated garlic to the melted butter before adding the cream.
  • The sauce keeps up to a week in the refrigerator, stored in a secure covered container, such as a Mason jar.
  • Reheat on low heat in a saucepan until the sauce is smooth, warm and creamy.

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 63mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1087IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest
Recipe developer Karen Tedesco of the popular website Familystyle Food in her kitchen making a kale salad.

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

5 from 25 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy! I served over frozen spinach ravioli, the dish was a big hit. I’ll definitely be making it again.

  2. Pageturner says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. My alfredo sauce always disappointed me until I found this recipe. I like the detailed instructions on how to heat, when to add cream, then the cheese, etc. My sauce turns out great every time now–and it’s so easy–who knew?!!. Thank you!

  3. tiffany melgaard says:

    5 stars
    woooooooowwwwww amazing don’t hav the words to say other then wowwwwwww best tasting and easiest italians sauce ever ty ty ty!!!

  4. Cathy Burns says:

    5 stars
    So easy. So good and creamy! Thank you

  5. 5 stars
    This is the second time I’ve made this in a week! First for shrimp, and now with chicken for a quick lunch/leftovers. Sooooooooo stinking simple and delicious. I added lemon both times and it just set it over the top. I called and gave this recipe to my sister, a mom of 3, for something different and fast. We are both grateful 🤗🌻

    1. Whoa that is fantastic to hear, Hope!! So happy you enjoyed, and I love the addition of lemon :)) Try a little grated fresh lemon – it’s so good.

  6. 5 stars
    love this simple recipe, such a crowd pleaser! i love that you don’t need to use cream cheese to make the sauce and it comes out so smooth and creamy.