How to thicken store-bought or homemade Alfredo Sauce for a thick, rich, and creamy sauce. Pick your favorite option out of these 10+ trouble shooting methods!
If you’re frustrated with an Alfredo Sauce that is too thin, I have some tips and tricks to help thicken your favorite store-bought or homemade Alfredo Sauce. If you’re wondering how to make thick and creamy Alfredo Sauce right from the start, try my Homemade Alfredo Sauce, Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese, or Cajun Alfredo Sauce. You shouldn’t end up with a thin Alfredo Sauce, but just in case you do, I hope these quick tips will help you out.
So homemade Alfredo Sauce takes about 15 minutes to make. SO much better than anything store-bought but I realize sometimes the homemade version doesn’t turn out well for whatever reason, or the store-bought one isn’t quite what you were hoping for like the Olive Garden or your favorite Italian restaurant.
There are numerous ways to thicken a sauce. Here are some of my favorites. Some may work better for you than others, so you may have to experiment a little or see what you have in your house. Troubleshooting is not always easy but I think you’ll find at least one method here that will work for you.
Whether you have homemade Alfredo Sauce or store-bought, these tips should work for either. One of the best tips though is if you’re making homemade or using these tips, try to use full-fat ingredients for the best results.
If you’re making a low-fat or “skinny” Alfredo Sauce you may not get as thick of a sauce. But that’s ok, it will still taste great! It does have a lot of cheese after all.
For almost all of these options, your sauce will need to be hot in a pot/pan to better incorporate other ingredients to help thicken. So just keep that in mind.
Once you have your Alfredo Sauce ready to go, check out my 27+ Uses for Alfredo Sauce for some great ideas.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce
1. Cream Cheese
Cube softened cream cheese and whisk into the Alfredo Sauce into a pot over heat until the cheese is smooth. It can take a little while for the cream cheese to melt and become smooth so be patient. Start with just a little cream cheese at a time unless you’re ok with a stronger cream cheese flavor.
2. Parmesan Cheese
Add some freshly grated good quality Parmesan cheese into the sauce. Freshly grated full-fat Parmesan cheese is your best bet here. I like to buy a big block of Parmesan from Costco and grate it myself. Works A LOT better than anything you find already grated in your pasta aisle at the grocery store shelf if you get what I mean.
3. Shredded Cheese
Whisking in some good quality cheese that you have shredded yourself can also work well. If you have to, you can try pre-shredded, but pre-shredded doesn’t always melt well in sauces, so use a brand you know and trust. If you can, shred your own cheese using a box grater or even food processor. Depending on what you like mozzarella, provolone, or even white cheddar would be good to try.
4. Heavy Cream
Whisk in a little heavy cream into the sauce in a saucepan over medium-heat and bring to a simmer or a little extra thickness. It can take a lot of cream though to thicken a large quantity of sauce so not always a great option.
5. Cornstarch (or Arrowroot)
Mix together a little cornstarch in a small bowl with some cold water (or other liquid) until the mixture is smooth to form a slurry. Slowly, whisk the slurry into the simmering sauce in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. Whisk the slurry slowly into the hot sauce until you get the desired thickness.
Similar to the cornstarch, you can whisk a little water into some flour in a small bowl until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the sauce slowly while the sauce is simmering in a pan.
7. Egg Yolks
Be careful with this one so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your sauce! Place an egg yolk or two (or more depending on how much sauce you have…) in a small bowl. Whisk in a little of the hot sauce into the eggs. Continue to whisk in more hot sauce into the yolks until they’re diluted quite a bit with the sauce and the eggs are warm. Then whisk the yolks into the pan with the hot sauce. Don’t just whisk in cold egg yolks into the hot sauce or you’ll have chunky curdled eggs in your sauce. Been there, done that, not good.
Yep, you read that right! You can purée some vegetables and add them to the sauce. Puréed cooked (such as steamed…) cauliflower would work great! Well, as long as you don’t mind vegetables and the taste of them in your sauce.
Melt some butter in a pan over medium heat, then whisk in an equal amount of flour. Whisk until the flour and butter are combined and smooth. Whisk in a little of the roux into the simmering sauce in a pan over medium heat.
Similar to the roux, mix equal parts of softened butter and flour together in a small bowl until well combined into a paste-like consistency. Whisk in a little at a time into a simmering sauce until thickened.
So which is my favorite? If I had to pick one to try first, I would try adding extra grated Parmesan cheese. It’s quick and easy and would have the best taste in my opinion.
My Alfredo Sauce is too thick, what should I do?
If your sauce ended up TOO thick after one of these tricks, just add a little milk or cream (or even broth such as vegetable or chicken) to thin it back out.
For some other fun Alfredo recipes, check out my Fettuccini Alfredo and Cajun Shrimp Alfredo. Both delicious!
Have other ideas? Would love to hear about them in the comments!
I got alfredo recipe from Olive Garden from their website back in 2011. They don’t put their recipies anymore so i consider this gold!
Here it is:
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup imported Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup imported Romano cheese, grated
6 egg yolks from fresh jumbo eggs
Salt and black pepper to taste
HEAT milk and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan until it begins to simmer. Turn off heat. Slowly whip in cheese, then remove from heat.
PLACE egg yolks in a separate bowl and slowly whip in a portion of the hot milk and cream mixture. Slowly add egg yolk mixture back into remaining cream mixture. Place back on very low heat and continually stir until simmering. Take sauce off heat so it thickens. (This will increase temperature of egg yolks, known as tempering).
SEASON to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta.
Lisa Huff says
Thanks for sharing!