Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

Traditional Alfredo sauce is insanely delicious and sometimes considered a splurge with its indulgent amounts of butter, cream, and cheese. This version still gives you a creamy luxurious experience but lowers fat and calories significantly.  This isn’t a recipe who’s purpose is copycat the original with different ingredients. This recipe still uses real cheese, and real butter, just way less of it and some clever additions to make up the difference.  This healthy, low-fat alfredo sauce is one of the most popular recipes on our site.  It’s been here for almost 10 years now (originally shared in August of 2008) and and continues to be a family staple in households all over!

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s made from simple ingredients that you probably already have at home.

milk, butter, parmesan, and garlic

It’s also made in under 10 minutes so if you keep this stuff around it’s great for last-minute meals.  And if you really don’t care TOO much about calories, go ahead and make it with whole milk. It’s still going to be waaay lighter than using cream, and it tastes extra delicious.

This recipe starts in the blender.  You’ll combine some light cream cheese (which adds creaminess and also adds body to the sauce), milk (anything from nonfat to whole milk works, I really like 1-2%), and a little bit of flour (which helps thicken the sauce).  Blend it up until it’s smooth.

flour, milk, cream cheese in blender

Meanwhile you’ll melt just a couple pats of butter in a pan with some minced garlic.  Your blender mixture gets poured right into that pan.

Pouring milk mixture into blender

After it simmers for just a few minutes to thicken, you’ll add the cheese.

Now let’s talk about Parmesan.  You can make this recipe with fresh grated parmesan or even the crumbled kind in the bottle.  They turn out just a bit different in texture, but honestly either one works.  I almost always have both on hand so I tend to do half and half. Just experiment and see what you like.

parmesan cheeses

You’ll take your pan off the heat and then mix that in until it’s melted.

Whisking parmesan into alfredo

Your sauce will continue to thicken a bit once it’s removed from the heat so I like to set it aside for at least a few minutes before serving it.

Pouring Alfredo Sauce over Pasta

I use this on so many different things.  Pasta, obviously.  But it’s also really great as a sauce on pizza, or a dip for breadsticks, or even drizzled over vegetables.

Pasta with broccoli and alfredo
Bite of alfredo pasta with broccoli and chicken
Cream sauce over pasta and broccoli

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

5 from 1 vote
This lightened up alfredo-style sauce is easy to make and delicious on pasta, veggies, or even used as pizza sauce!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 3 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Place milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • In a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.
  • When it's nice and thickened turn heat to low. Add the cheese, stir it up to melt and then remove pan from heat and cover.
  •   Let stand for 5-10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Season with additional salt if needed.  

Notes

Store leftovers in the fridge. The sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 120kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 564mg, Potassium: 140mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 316IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 241mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: light alfredo sauce
Calories: 120kcal
Author: Sara Wells
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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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. I used this last night to make Tuna casserole and it worked beautifully. All my kids loved it and had seconds.
    Thanks for sharing. I hate buying the bottles they are so expensive.

  2. Ok – I'm back with the scoop on soy! So, this isn't really a great review, as I don't have the "real thing" to compare it to. But… my alfredo turned out quite nicely with soy milk! It was a little lumpy, but I think that was due to not blending the cream cheese enough (I'm impatient!). Thanks again for the recipe – my husband LOVED this over a little past and grilled veggies – yum!

  3. Ok, so after drooling over the thought of this for a few days, because I looovvveee alfredo sauce, I finally got around to making it tonight……wow. WOW. Seriously, you will NOT be disappointed. It is soooooo delicious I bet God himself uses this stuff as shampoo. Bravo!!

  4. Katie- I bet it would work fine with soy milk. It would taste a bit different, but as far as thickening and everything, it should work. If you try it, come back and let us know!

  5. Ok LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. I made the grilled pizza last week and my husband and I thought we'd died and gone to heaven. THANK YOU!

    Quick question – do you think this would work with soy milk? I'm not super tolerant of dairy (the small amount of cheese would be ok) but the milk would be too much.

    Let me know what you think! Thanks!

  6. Just tried tonight and LOVED it. I have been looking for a good alfredo recipe for a long time. I have enough left over for the alfredo pizza. So excited to try that. Thanks for all your great recipes.

  7. Sara, thank you! We had my father in law over last minute and I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner. I looked through your recipes and ended up making this delicious alfredo sauce with some chicken fettuccine and Kate’s breadsticks out of items I had in my pantry. Now I will be making them all the time, so yummy!

  8. I used this to make shrimp fettuccini…AMAZING! I made the sauce, boiled 12 oz noodles, then sauteed 1 lb of raw shrimp in 1 Tbs. of butter and 1 clove of pressed garlic, then tossed them all together. It was very close to the dish I order at my favorite Italian resturaunt, and I’m sure much less calories! Thank you!!

  9. I haven’t calculated the food label for it, but I should. I’ll do that and edit this post. Your noodles sound amazing!

  10. This was light. No one would believe it, this tasted that good. Have you ever figured out the “food label” for it?

    Our purple Cabernet noodles (home made and gluten free using grape flour) where a great contrast under the white sauce.

  11. Sara,
    Thanks so much, it looks yummy. I’m so glad my friend connected me to your blog. Your posts are amazing with all the details and pictures. Thanks, cooking and reading recipes is hobby and addiction to me!

  12. Delicious! I made this tonight so we could try the Fall Alfredo… I love it, I was “tasting” it the whole time I was making it. Thanks! …will try the pizza with the leftover alfredo!

  13. The best pasta dish I ever had was raviolis with butternut squash sauce..it was SO good! I bet this will be similar. Can’t wait to try it.
    P.S. I read every word of this post.

  14. This is so yummy! We had it tonight, and you REALLY can’t tell it’s a lighter version.
    Thanks for the recipe-no more of those icky packets of the powdered version for us!

  15. Heather- I’ve doubled this many times and it works great. It just may take a little longer to thicken the milk/flour mix, but that’s it. Good idea!

  16. Oops, can’t edit comments.

    Does this recipe double or triple ok? I want to make enough to freeze in smaller portions for a few dinners and then even smaller portions for lunches. Mixed with some elbow noodles and tossed in a thermos this would be an easy lunch for my son. He loves alfredo sauce!

  17. I’m a different Adrienne, but I love Alfredo sauce and would even lick the pan it was made in. I like it with ravioli as well as adding cooked chicken and mushrooms to the sauce.

  18. I just made it, and it was good! I had some plain, and I added tomato sauce to some too. I was babysitting, and the kids ate a ton too. There were no leftovers. Thanks sara!

  19. Wendy- lol about Noal. Funny how food makes boys so happy!

    Good question about the serving size, I always forget to include things like that.

    When I use this to just make one big mixed-up pot of pasta, meat, veggies, etc. One batch of sauce makes enough to cover pasta serving 8, 1 Cup servings. If you like pasta more saucy, then it would be more like 6 servings.

    Hopefully that helps I guess it depends on how much you use and what you’re putting it on, and also what you consider a serving size (if it’s a main dish, or a side dish, etc.)

    Also, I should note, that when I make pizzas, I make a half-batch which covers 2 medium pizzas just perfect.

  20. I wanted this recipe a while back and I couldn’t find it so I am so happy you put it up here! I love it most on your bbq pizzas… mmmmmm 😀

  21. I’ve never made alfredo sauce because I knew how unhealthy it was. So, now I actually have no idea if I even like it or not… but I’m pretty sure Noal does. Happy birthday to him! BTW, he loves you Sara, any one who motivates me to cook is a goddess in his eyes.
    One question: how many servings does this recipe make, realistically.

  22. We decided to have Gnochi’s for lunch and I decided I wanted to make this because I’m not a huge fan of the store bought one we have in the fridge. This is so yummy!

  23. Mmm, I love alfredo sauce on pizza, but I will have to try this sauce with your oh-so-yummy breadsticks that we love. Mmm, that’s making me hungry!

  24. I love pasta primavera, which I haven’t made in ages because of the cream. I’ll have to make it next week with this sauce!

  25. I’m actually not the biggest fan of alfredo sauce, but part of that is that it always makes me feel sick afterwards because it’s so fatty and heavy, so I DEFINITELY need to give this a shot! Clark would love it. Sam (shockingly) does not like creamy pasta sauces.

  26. I "hide" vegetables in my alfredo sauce. I cube & cook chicken, and then I add cooked baby carrots, green beans, and olives (okay, olives aren't veggies). Then I mix in alfredo sauce and pour over noodles. My kids can hardly tell they are eating vegetables because they like alfredo sauce so much. And with this alfredo sauce recipe, I can eat even more because it is guiltless 🙂

  27. I love alfredo/garlic anything so I can’t wait to try this. I especially love it on pizza, breadsticks and pasta. I know, real original, but really yummy!