Fettuccini Alfredo

With several favorite healthier cream-sauces on this site like our Guiltless Alfredo and our Cauliflower Cream Sauce, it dawned on me that we’ve neglected to talk about real-deal Alfredo sauce.  Ironically “real” Alfredo doesn’t actually involve cream, but we’re talking about what we Americans refer to as Alfredo and it’s this lusciously indulgent cream sauce that gets slathered over noodles, or anything else you decide to put it on.  If  you’ve been making the lower calorie versions for a long time then you might have even forgotten how good the real stuff is.   And if you’ve never made the real stuff, now is your time!

Fettuccini Alfredo is one of those things that you should just have in your repertoire.  Its’ so fancy and impressive and SO EASY!  It only requires 3 main ingredients and literally just minutes to whip up.  It’s obviously indulgent, and at our house, it’s something we make for special occasions, or when we have cream leftover from other recipes to use up.  Fettuccini Alfredo would be a fantastic meal to make for Valentines Day next week!

Alfredo sauce on pasta

Ingredients for Fettuccini Alfredo

Since this sauce only involves a few ingredients,
it’s really important to use good ones.  Real cream (not milk), real butter (no margarine), fresh garlic (skip the tube or pre-minced), and fresh grated parm.

cream and butter

Cooking the Cream Sauce

This will only take a few minutes!  Melt a stick of butter with a generous amount of fresh garlic and let it sizzle away.  You’re cooking the garlic and infusing the butter and few things in life are better than garlic-infused butter.

butter and garlic in pan

You’ll then pour in the cream and simmer for just a few minutes to thicken and then whisk in that cheese.

parmesan cheese

I always recommend grating your own Parmesan cheese for this (and other recipes where it’s kind of the star of the show).  A lot of times pre-grated parm-just doesn’t melt quite as well.  I usually buy these little wedges that are found near the other packaged cheeses, not by the fancy expensive cheese in the deli where you’d think it would be.

parmesan cheese in wrapper

Melt it all together and you have the most amazing, creamy, indulgent sauce- and you made it in about 10 minutes!

noodles in pot

Serving Fettuccini Alfredo

Toss some hot pasta in there and you’re good to go.

plated alfredo

Serve it alone with pasta, or toss in some chicken and broccoli or chopped asparagus or any other veggie.  It’s great alone, and it’s also a great starting point for a lot of creative dishes.

Fork full of Fettuccine

I really love it with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice (even some zest) and chopped fresh basil.

Alfredo sauce on pasta

And in addition to pasta, this sauce is also amazing over vegetables or chicken, or as a dip for breadsticks, or on a pizza…so many options!


Fettuccini Alfredo

5 from 2 votes
A classically simple cream sauce.  Rich, indulgent, and absolutely dreamy on pasta, chicken or vegetables!


  • 1/2 cup 1 stick butter
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 cups cream
  • 4 oz Parmesan about 2 cups, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1 lb pasta standard grocery store box up to 1.5 lbs *see note
  • Optional see notes: fresh basil, fresh lemon, chicken, broccoli


  • Heat a large sauce pan to medium heat.  Melt butter and add garlic, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes.  It should be bubbling and cooking, but not boiling and splattering.   Add cream and whisk to combine, bring to a low simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
  • Turn heat to low and add cheese whisking until smooth.  Parm can be a little slow to melt, so sometimes I whisk and then turn the heat off, put a lid on the pan for a few minutes and come back to stir until smooth.
  • Toss with hot pasta and add chicken and/or veggies, if desired.


*This actually makes enough sauce to coat up to 1.5 lbs (1.5 boxes) plain noodles OR 1 lb noodles plus some chicken and/or veggies.  I often toss extra "stuff" into ours so I made this recipe extra saucy!  If we don't add extra stuff, we like having enough extra sauce to be able to dip chunks of bread into so it all works out.
*Totally optional, but a delicious variation is to add fresh lemon juice to taste (just toss it in with the pasta) and fresh chopped basil.
* If pasta sits too long and thickens, simply add a little milk, hot water, or starchy pasta water to thin.
Author: Sara Wells
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. OH. MY! I just made this with Surimi and baby peas after our virtual Stake Conference, and it took me less than 30 minutes from the time I turned the big pot of pasta water on. This is so rich and so decadent! (Note to self, you don’t need to eat as much fettuccini alfredo as you would spaghetti with marinara. We are VERY full right now.)I didn’t use any added salt because the cheese and surimi had plenty, but I used LOTS of black pepper.

  2. You posted this just in time for National Fettuccini Alfredo Day, which is Feb. 7! ? Looks delish, we will definitely be having this at my house.

  3. Good to know about grating your own Parmesan cheese. I didn’t even realize they sold it ungrated! And although we have been trained to believe that cream, whole fat milk, butter, cheese etc. is unhealthy for us and will make us fat, it’s quite the opposite (if using the higher quality)! Contrary to popular belief, these are healthy fats which we all need! It’s the processed foods and sugar that cause the weight gain, not whole foods. So if you use whole grain pasta (with Semolina wheat as the only ingredient), then you’ve got yourself a perfectly healthy meal right here. 🙂 I’m excited to try it with fresh parmesan!

  4. Fettuccine alfredo gets requested at our house for nearly every birthday dinner! My recipe adds some fresh grated nutmeg as well which I love.

  5. 5 stars
    This looks fantastic! I am totally making this ASAP. Love the ikat dish towel, where is it from?

  6. Yum! Love homemade alfredo. Have you heard of adding a sprinkle of nutmeg? I’ve seen it in a few alfredo recipes, and I’ll be honest, it makes me uncomfortable ? Is it a real thing? Do I just have trashy American taste buds?

    1. Haha, yes it’s a real thing! Nutmeg is a very common ingredient in white sauces. You only need a teeny tiny bit (unless you want your pasta to taste like pumpkin pie) and it simply enhances the flavor. That being said, I usually don’t add it because I think it’s great without, too!