This garlic alfredo sauce is rich and creamy and so easy to make. Heavy cream and butter are infused with garlic and spices to create one mouth-watering sauce! Tossed with some fettuccini pasta, this sauce is truly comfort food at its best!

Bowl of fettuccine Alfredo sprinkled with parsley.

If you’ve been wondering how to make a really good garlic alfredo sauce, then boy oh boy do I have a recipe for you! This sauce is thick and luscious with a double hit of garlic and loads of Parmesan cheese. It’s to die for!

I love ordering fettuccini alfredo in restaurants and the jarred sauce just wasn’t cutting it! I wanted a real garlicky taste and a smooth velvety texture, so I went into the kitchen and developed the perfect recipe! It is now one of my go-to comfort food dinners served alongside homemade focaccia bread.

The Best Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce

I use two types of garlic here – minced fresh garlic with its stronger flavor and powdered garlic which is milder and sweeter in taste. I also use heavy cream which gives the sauce its rich texture. I know it’s not exactly diet food, but everything in moderation, right?

The Ingredients

Ingredients for garlic Alfredo sauce prepped and labeled.
  • Unsalted butter – You can substitute salted butter, just be sure to adjust the amount of added salt you’re putting into your sauce.
  • Garlic cloves – Fresh garlic gives a delicious pungent taste to the sauce.
  • Heavy cream – This cream contains at least 36% or more milk fat which helps to create a rich silky sauce.
  • Kosher salt – These are large flakes of salt that weigh less than regular table salt. If you are going to substitute for table salt, then you’ll want to use less. Remember to taste your sauce before adding more salt!
  • Pepper – I like cracked black pepper, but if you want a pure white sauce, use white pepper.
  • Garlic powder – Made from dehydrated garlic cloves, the flavor is milder and sweeter than fresh garlic.
  • Nutmeg – Often added to creamy cheese sauces, it adds a hint of warmth and goes nicely with the richness of the sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese – Grate your own with the small holes of a box grater or use a microplane grater. You want small pieces of Parmesan so they will melt easily into the sauce.
  • Flat-leaf parsley – Use this as an optional garnish.

Step-by-step Instructions

This garlic alfredo sauce recipe is a breeze to make and comes together in a few moments. Make sure you grate your Parmesan cheese ahead of time so it’s ready to add to the sauce after the cream comes to a boil.

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add garlic and seasonings. Cook for 1 minute to let the butter infuse with the flavor all the spices.
  2. Slowly add the cream and bring everything to a rapid simmer then simmer gently on medium-low for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese a little bit at a time. Make sure to whisk the sauce constantly to allow the cheese to melt completely before adding the next batch.
  4. Cook on low for 2 – 5 minutes, stirring it constantly. The sauce will begin to thicken which is exactly what you want!
Alfredo sauce dripping off a wooden spoon being held above a saucepan.

Serving Suggestions

One of the most popular ways to serve alfredo sauce is with fettuccine. I like to toss the sauce with 1 pound of pasta, garnish with some fresh parsley and more pepper and serve it immediately.

Here are some other ways to serve it:

  • As a base for pizza instead of tomato sauce
  • Tossed over gnocchi
  • In a veggie lasagna
  • Make cheesy scalloped potatoes
  • As a dip for bread

Cooking tips

  • Use a garlic press or the tiny holes of a box grater/microplane grater to mince the garlic. For a fuss-free option, buy jarred minced garlic that you can keep in the fridge.
  • If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a splash of milk or some of the starchy cooking water from your pasta.
Saucepan full of fettuccine pasta tossed in creamy Alfredo sauce.

FAQ’s

Can I substitute milk for heavy cream?

You can but your sauce will be thinner. I prefer a thicker sauce which is why I recommend using heavy cream.

How do I make sure my alfredo sauce is not lumpy?

The goal is to make a smooth creamy sauce and the trick is to add the grated Parmesan cheese into the heated cream and butter a little bit at a time and to make sure you give it a good whisk after each addition. You also want to stir the sauce continuously after you’ve added the cheese as you cook it for a couple of more minutes over low heat.

Can you reheat alfredo sauce?

This sauce is best eaten immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reheat very well because the sauce tends to split, which means the butter separates from the sauce. Once a sauce splits, it’s difficult to bring it back together again.

What is the difference between white sauce and alfredo sauce?

White sauce is sometimes referred to as béchamel and is a creamy French sauce made with butter, flour, and milk. Alfredo sauce is Italian in origin and is typically made with butter, heavy cream, and parmesan cheese.

Looking for more pasta sauce inspiration? Check out the following recipes:

Alfredo Sauce

This garlic Alfredo sauce is rich, creamy, and delicious. Heavy cream and butter is infused with garlic to create one mouth-watering sauce!
4.84 (12 ratings)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • cups (150 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Minced flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Instructions 

  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the garlic, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute.
  • Slowly add the heavy cream and bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the cheese a small amount at a time, whisking until completely melted and incorporated before adding the next batch.
  • Return to the stovetop and cook on low for an additional 2 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until beginning to thicken.
  • Toss with 1 pound of fettuccine pasta and serve immediately, garnishing with fresh parsley and additional pepper, if desired.

Notes

  • Heavy Cream: While you can substitute milk, your sauce will be substantially thinner.
  • Pepper: I liked cracked black pepper, but if you want a pure white sauce, use white pepper.
  • Parmesan cheese – Grate your own with the small holes of a box grater or use a Microplane grater. You want small pieces of Parmesan so they will melt easily into the sauce.
  • Reheating: This sauce is best eaten immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reheat very well because the sauce tends to split, which means the butter separates from the sauce. Once a sauce splits, it’s difficult to bring it back together again.
  • Nutrition information is for the sauce only; it does not include the cooked pasta.
Calories: 382kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 38g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 125mg, Sodium: 470mg, Potassium: 71mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1376IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 266mg, Iron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe?

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Photography by Dee Frances.