Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe, a quick and easy alfredo sauce with only a handful of ingredients including garlic, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Learn how to make alfredo sauce from scratch like the one from Olive Garden in only 15 minutes! The best simple homemade sauce for pasta, shrimp, pizza, chicken, and many other dishes.
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If you like going to Olive Garden and getting their fettuccini alfredo, you’re going to love this super simple Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe! It’s so easy to make at home, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t make it sooner. Definitely not for the faint of heart though. It’s full of cream, butter, garlic and Parmesan cheese. BUT the good news is that you really only need those 4 ingredients (plus salt and pepper if you’d like) and 15 minutes!
Growing up, I loved going to Olive Garden and getting their tasty fettuccine alfredo. Actually, I’d get anything with alfredo sauce! So good! Unfortunately (and fortunately I guess…), many restaurants load up the alfredo sauce on their dishes. As much as I love alfredo sauce a little goes a long way in my opinion. So making it at home is perfect.
Hmmm, maybe I should call this Better Than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce because it’s quicker and cheaper than going out and SO good!
Be forewarned… Once you try this homemade version you will never go back to store-bought alfredo sauces in jars. Jarred alfredo sauce from your local grocery store do NOT compare at all.
This delicious alfredo sauce is completely from scratch and the BEST! So creamy and cheesy. Like I said really only 4 ingredients and 15 minutes, so don’t get any easier.
This recipe has been so popular on Pinterest (see here and here) so I figured it was time to update this post a bit with more tips and information. I have quite a few other popular alfredo recipes like this alfredo sauce with cream cheese and this Cajun Alfredo Sauce. Both delicious and a little different.
When you make alfredo sauce at home, it’s great being able to control how much you put on your food. Like I said above, I personally think a little goes a long way. It’s also great to use on a wide variety of dishes and not just pasta including chicken, shrimp, pizza, casseroles, and all sorts of other dishes.
You really won’t believe how quick and easy it is after you make it the first time. So quick, in fact, it’s even doable for a quick weeknight dinner.
Equipment You May Need
- Medium Sauce Pan – I used a medium saucepan but you can use a large skillet if you’d like so you can add other ingredients like pasta, chicken, etc.
- Whisk – A good quality whisk will really come in handy for this sauce.
- Rotary Cheese Grater – I like to use a rotary cheese grater but you could also use a handheld grater, box grater, or even a food processor.
- Garlic Press – You can mince the garlic with a knife or a garlic press is a great idea.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Only 4 easy ingredients in this easy homemade Italian sauce! PLEASE don’t substitute the 4 main ingredients or you could have very different results.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce Ingredients
- Butter – I used unsalted since the Parmesan is a bit salty.
- Garlic – Please use fresh garlic cloves for best results. You can add more or less to personal preference.
- Heavy Cream – For best results, you need to use heavy (high full fat) cream to make the sauce creamy and for a thick sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese – Please don’t use the pre-grated Parmesan cheese especially the one in the large tube on the shelf at the grocery store. It will not melt well in this recipe. Buy a small chunk of good quality Parmesan and use a grater to grate it yourself.
- Salt – Completely optional and not necessarily needed since the Parmesan is salty. Give the sauce a try first before adding.
- Pepper – Again optional. I like a little freshly ground black pepper but some people don’t like the little black specks in the sauce. You could also use white pepper if you’re one of those people.
Other ingredients you might want to add but completely optional: cooked vegetables (mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, spinach, etc.), other spices (onion powder, oregano, basil, and/or Italian seasoning blend), and/or precooked proteins (Italian sausage, ham, shrimp, crab, bacon, or chicken). Chopped sundried tomatoes would also be delicious and something a little different. Delish!
How to Make Homemade Alfredo Sauce:
- COOK BUTTER & GARLIC. Melt butter and stir in garlic in pan.
- ADD CREAM. Slowly add cream while whisking. Simmer.
- ADD CHEESE. Stir in Parmesan and salt and pepper.
(Full printable recipe card with full details is at bottom of post.)
I have a great list of 27+ uses for Alfredo sauce you might want to check out, but here are some quick ideas…
Ways to use Homemade Alfredo Sauce:
Like I mentioned this alfredo sauce is great in a wide range of dishes. Here are some quick recipe ideas…
- Over pasta (like fettuccine, spaghetti, tortellini, ravioli, linguini, ziti, penne, or even zoodles (zucchini)
- Over grilled chicken, pork, or even beef like a little drizzle over steak
- As a pizza sauce instead of tomato
- Mixed with seafood (shrimp, lobster, crab, or even scallops) and over pasta, rice, or cauliflower rice
- In casseroles or even pasta type casseroles like lasagana
- In sandwiches, paninis, and subs
- Over vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or zucchini
- Mixed with chicken meatballs
- Dips and Spreads (like this Chicken Alfredo Dip) served with bread, crackers, or breadsticks
Have other ideas? Would love to hear in the comments below about this classic sauce.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Use a good quality freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I suggest buying a big chunk (we get ours from Costco…) and grate it yourself. Makes a huge difference!
- I strongly recommend using heavy cream for the best results. For a light version, you can try using whole milk or half-and-half, but know that the sauce may not turn out as thick and you may be disappointed in the taste. You can also try adding some type of thickener if you want the sauce thick with lighter ingredients. See my How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce for more tips if you run into problems.
- Some people like to warm the cream a little before adding it to the pan, but it works ok for me if adding it a bit cold or room temperature. Just be sure to whisk in slowly.
- You can add more/less garlic as well as salt/pepper to your personal preference.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce FAQ
How should I store homemade alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is best served right away. It generally does not reheat well but if you have to store extra, I’d suggest storing in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
Can I freeze alfredo sauce?
No, I would not recommend freezing alfredo sauce. It does not defrost or reheat well.
How long will alfredo sauce last?
Again, homemade alfredo sauce is best if served right after making but if you have to refrigerate any leftovers it will last a few days in the fridge.
I don’t recommend making any substitutions. Since there are only 4 ingredients please use high-quality full-fat ingredients.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You can technically use lower-fat cheese, cream, and butter BUT your results will vary a lot and the sauce might not come together.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You can change up this homemade alfredo sauce by adding some of your favorite herbs and spices. Basil, Italian parsley, rosemary, and/or oregano would be great additions. A little ranch seasoning would be fun. A little fresh lemon zest would also be a nice touch. You can also add your favorite vegetables and/or proteins. In fall, a little unsweetened pumpkin would be a nice addition.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – This would be a tough one to make vegan. This vegan version looks good!
Vegetarian – The homemade alfredo sauce is vegetarian.
Low-Carb – There are no high carb ingredients so should be ok.
Gluten-Free – No gluten in this recipe so should be ok. Be sure to check particular brands.
Other Sauce Recipes You May Enjoy
- Homemade Buffalo Sauce – A classic spicy sauce with a “secret” ingredient!
- Homemade Teriyaki Sauce – Another easy homemade sauce just like the restaurants that you can make at home.
- Boom Sauce – A great all-purpose fry dip as well as burger and sandwich sauce.
Hope you enjoy this authentic from scratch Homemade Alfredo Sauce recipe! Tell me in the comments what you thought!
Homemade Alfredo Sauce Video
Check out this quick video to see how to put this sauce together…
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter, then stir in minced garlic cloves. Cook about 1 minute or until garlic is soft and fragrant, stirring constantly.
- Slowly add the heavy cream to the saucepan, whisk until cream comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 3-5 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
- Stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper until smooth and thick.
This post was originally published in May 2018, but updated in December 2020 with additional information.