Garlic Alfredo Sauce

I am not (not!) exaggerating when I say this quick, creamy garlic alfredo sauce has changed how I view non-dinner nights. You know. Those nights when dinner just ain’t happening. Too many things going on. Too lazy (who, me??). Too many nights of husband being out of town. Too many kids needing attention. Too many weeks pregnant (yes, that is a subliminal announcement!). Too many this. Too many that.

The problem is, on nights like that, I just can’t handle the thought of dinner approaching and knowing I’m going to have to scrounge up something my kids will eat but I’ll probably find gag-worthy. I can’t help it. Grilled cheese only gets me through so many nights.

Enter this sauce. Fast. Unbelievably fast, and incredibly creamy and flavorful, this alfredo sauce is what I’ve been searching for the past five years. Healthier (relatively) than the versions loaded with butter and cream, it comes together quickly and wonderfully and it reheats beautifully the next day if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.

We’ve made this no less than 10 times in the last month, and I have never, and I mean never, seen my kids gobble up anything so quickly. In fact, they beg for it every night and have requested it for their birthday dinners every year until they turn 42. Hopefully by then someone else will be making it for them, otherwise, we’ll have larger issues than just alfredo sauce overload.

Embarrassingly, I have to admit, this sauce is even on the menu this week. I actually planned it that way. I mean, eating it at least once was inevitable, so I might as well add it in to the menu plan so I don’t look like a total slacker.

Garlic Alfredo Sauce

What To ServeBroiled Parmesan and Lemon Chicken
Fresh, seasonal fruit
Green salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Yield: Makes about 2 cups of sauce

Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Note: I've only ever used 1% milk in this sauce and it works great for our tastes. Also, I've made it with regular and low-fat cream cheese. The low-fat cream cheese gives it a slightly, very slightly grainy texture, but the cut in calories is worth it, in my opinion, although the full-fat cream cheese offers a luxurious, creamy texture that can't be beat. You choose!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 6 pieces (see note above)
  • 1 cup milk (see note above)
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed

Directions

  1. In a medium pot or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the garlic burn. Add the cream cheese, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste. Add the milk gradually, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking quickly and constantly until each addition is incorporated fully into the sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is the desired consistency. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a thicker sauce or remove right after the cheese is melted for a thinner sauce. Serve immediately over hot, cooked noodles.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/creamy-garlic-alfredo-sauce-my-go-to-dinner-saver/
Recipe Source: adapted from Sweet Pea Chef

176 Responses to Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce {My Go-To Dinner Saver!}

  1. oldestgenxer says:

    I have been looking for a better way to make an alfredo sauce. I will try it. I will see. And I will report back.

    Challenge accepted.

  2. Jen says:

    I’ve been using a version of this for years now, actually! And when I first found it, it was titled something like “Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce.” I won’t go that far, but it is still VERY GOOD. I also make mine with light cream cheese (I agree on the slight graininess but didn’t know that’s why— I’ve never made it with full-fat cream cheese and always assumed it was the Kraft green-bottled grated parm! lol) and 1% milk. LOVE IT. So good with quickly pan-fried pounded out chicken cutlets and a nice salad. Or with broccoli in with the pasta. YUM. This is also one of my go-to “ohmygoshit’sdinnerandIhavenothingplannedyet” dinner decisions. Thanks!

  3. Kensi says:

    This sauce was delicious! I used it to replace the jar alfredo sauce in this recipe… http://www.plainchicken.com/2010/11/three-cheese-chicken-alfredo-bake.html and everyone loved it!!

    I always feel like I’m cheating on you when I try recipes from other food blogs, but I promise you’re still my number one favorite, go-to recipe spot of ALL time!! Thanks for everything Mel!!

  4. AndyD says:

    Love this recipe! I do have a question though, how would you add chicken to this?

  5. Jen says:

    AndyD— I usually grill it after marinating in Italian dressing, or bake it; or pan sear it (all after marinating in Italian dressing or sprinkling with garlic and Italian seasonings). HTH

  6. Mel says:

    AndyD – I think the simplest way to add chicken to this is to grill/broil or cook the chicken separately then slice and serve with the pasta and sauce. You could marinade the chicken many different ways or just use a simple seasoning of salt and pepper.

  7. AndyD says:

    Thanks guys! I’ll be cooking dinner for my new girlfriend for the first time tomorrow night. I think this is what I’m going to make. I’ve got to make a good first impression!

  8. Mathea says:

    Looks like a great recipe, we will give it a try and look at the nutritionals to see how they stack up!

  9. Catherine says:

    This was absolutely amazing. And so simple! I grilled some boneless chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper and poured the sauce over angel hair pasta. Yum! My boyfriend hates pasta, and loved this dish! This recipe is definitely a keeper. :)

  10. [...] Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce Makes about 2 cups of sauce. [...]

  11. Hey Mel! I just wanted to say that somehow I missed your pregnancy announcement way back when and just saw it today in your post! So exciting! I hope everything is going well and that you are healthy and excited. :) Congratulations!!

  12. [...] Garlic Alfredo Pasta with Chopped Broccoli, Crusty Bread [...]

  13. [...] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Share the love:EmailPrintShare Tags: cajun spiced chicken, chicken alfredo pasta, homemade alfredo [...]

  14. Michelle says:

    I was wondering, can i use this for the crockpot alfredo chicken? Thanks.

  15. Mel says:

    Michelle – I’ve never used it in the crockpot so I don’t know how the consistency would fare. Sorry I’m not more help – let me know if you try it!

  16. Kellie says:

    Yum yum yum! Made this tonight for dinner, and it is definitely going on the menu for the week after the baby is born next month! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Jamie says:

    I just made this recipe for my dinner and I was excited because when I added the cream cheese it seemed like I found an alfredo sauce that would be thick! But as soon as I added the milk it got super thin, like water thin, and never thickened up. I used garlic powder instead of the garlic cloves, I’m not sure if that would change the thickness.

    It tastes great though so I’d love it if anyone had any ideas on how to make it thicker?

  18. Mel says:

    Jamie – did you add the milk gradually? Garlic powder verses garlic cloves won’t make a difference on thickness. On occasion when I’ve made this, I’ve had to cook it a bit longer for it to thicken so maybe try cooking longer or adding a bit less milk. Good luck!

  19. Jamie says:

    Yes, I did it gradually and left it on for longer haha. I guess next time I’ll try less milk, or maybe add some heavy cream or something.

  20. Megan S. says:

    Delicious! I esp like grating my own Parmesan from the brick, it seems to have better flavor.

  21. Amy Wolin says:

    So delicious!!! Another keeper recipe from you! Congrats on your new baby! I’m expecting in July and my dinners are getting lazier and lazier, but this sauce may just save my buns for the next months.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Hey, this recipe looks soooo good, I must try. But the thickness threw me off a little considering I like thick sauce as well :) so I looked up ways to thicken your sauce, and all you need is TWO EGG YOLKS… I was like “well, thats easy” haha here is the site I found http://www.ehow.com/how_2210846_thicken-fettuccine-alfredo-sauce.html

  23. kira says:

    Not that this post needs a comment but this was delicious and simple. Thank you. Even our “no sauce please on my noodles”son decided he wanted sauce. Cant wait to try it out on an Alfredo pizza braid.

  24. [...] Squash and Chicken Lasagna [a TPC original; alfredo sauce from Mel's Kitchen Cafe] click to [...]

  25. [...] For my recipe of the week (well I guess my recipe from the last couple of weeks) I chose Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (http://www.melskitchencafe.com/).  Brandon and I have been trying to eat more vegetarian meals which is proving hard because I don’t really want to each a ton of soy products and neither of us like that many vegetables… but this is one will be a definite keeper.  We used 0% fat milk and 1/3% less fat cream cheese to make it a little bit healthier and we both loved it!  If you like meat I am sure sausage would be a fantastic addition to this meal.  And if you are only feeding two you will certainly have leftovers.  Enjoy! http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2011/10/creamy-garlic-alfredo-sauce-my-go-to-dinner-saver.html [...]

  26. Jennifer says:

    We live in Suriname (do you know where that is?) and so I can’t get a lot of convenience foods here. I am excited to try this here. However, since it so hot here year around, I tend to make my suppers in the morning when it is cooler and then re-heat right before supper. I’m not sure this will reheat well. What do you think?

  27. Mel says:

    Jennifer – this will reheat just fine as long as you reheat over low heat.

  28. Amy says:

    Just made this for dinner tonight and my kids actually ate it and want me to make it again. So yummy!!! Will double the recipe next time so I can put a bit more on our noodles. Thank you. Been trying a few of your recipes and I’m very pleased.

  29. Tara says:

    As usual, we loved the recipe!! I was worried I wouldn’t have enough sauce because I decided to toss in a bunch of fresh spinach at the last minute that I found wilting in the fridge – it was plenty of sauce for the 1/2 box of penne I used. Thank you so much for another great recipe!!

  30. Melody says:

    I was searching for a garlic alfredo sauce and stumbled upon it here. I LOVE your blog and every recipe I have tried and don’t know why I didn’t check here FIRST! I actually used this sauce to make a homemade garlic chicken pizza. A-MAZING!! Thank you so much for helping fulfill a craving tonight. :)

  31. katrina says:

    I had no cream and tons of whole milk, was out of spaghetti sauce but had nothing but pasta for dinner. This recipe saved me!

    I only had about 2 oz of reduced fat cream cheese, and about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. I think the whole milk aided in the creaminess, though, and I just cooked it a little longer to thicken it a little more. Mixed it with peas and chopped ham and stirred it into ziti. It was fantastic!

  32. Lindsey says:

    I adore this sauce. Tonight was a “no dinner night” but thanks to this recipe we had fettucini Alfredo with broccoli and chicken. Yum! So fast and easy and delicious! I make it with skim milk and 1/3 fat cream cheese and it comes out tasting great every time!

  33. Rob says:

    Love this alfredo sauce. Ive had it in the past but lost the recipe. Now I have it back. Love it with grilled chicken and brocolli. My 20 yr. old daughter loves it because its light and semi-healthy.

  34. Teri Larsen says:

    Tried this sauce last night and it was fabulous – and super quick/easy! I never have cream on-hand, so this was a great find. I added some veggies and leftover ham to the mix to make a complete, one-dish meal. Excellent. Thanks for sharing it!

  35. jennie says:

    we loved this! I’ve tried making alfredo several times before and it’s always been a disaster and I’d be annoyed to have wasted the $ on all that butter, cream and cheese. I saw this and decided to give it one more chance …. success! my whole family loved it and it was so easy. Thanks so much for sharing! I love that it’s lower fat – I just used the skim milk I had on hand and even then it was creamy and tasty – I did add a little bit of a thickener from Kitchen Kneads, probably wouldn’t have needed that if I’d used a higher fat milk.

  36. Phyllis says:

    This was wonderful! I served it over some sliced, marinated, grilled wild turkey and bow tie pasta. We had some leftovers that I heated up for our just home from college daughter. She said it was the best homemade Alfredo sauce she’s had :). So it’s a keeper! Simple and reheated wonderfully! THANK YOU!

  37. Celestine Favinger says:

    AT LAST —- an Alfredo Sauce that has garlic in the recipe!!! How can anyone live without garlic? I’m so glad I found this. BTW, earlier messages mention a pregnancy? Sorry I missed that but HEY CONGRATULATIONS!!! HOPEFULLY a “new chef” in the family. Best of luck!! Celli Favinger

  38. Maria says:

    Do you use fresh parmesan chesse, or just the green tub of the pre-grated stuff? Thanks!

  39. Stacy W. says:

    Monday night dinner!

  40. Jennifer says:

    OMG! This seems sooo yummy :D i am gonna try :D :D and the picture makes it look even yummier

  41. Samantha says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was a hit! My fiance, who is not a fan of alfredo sauce, says this is the best one he’s ever had and he definitely wants to make it again! Thanks!

  42. Kim says:

    Delicious ! We love alfredo sauce but I always bought store bought even though I found it to be too salty. I had tried once to make it when I got a Magic Bullet. The recipe was in the little book of recipes you get with it. It was a lot of work, turned out more green than white and was way too garlicky. Needless to say I never made it again.
    Your recipe on the other hand was quick and easy with fresh ingredients.You know what is in it since you make it. I will make it again and again and again and again….. Thank you Mel :)

  43. Betsy says:

    I was looking for an Alfredo Sauce recipe to use at a “Pasta Party” dinner for my daughter’s high school volleyball team. I tripled the recipe and it turned out great! Many of the girls complimented it and came back for seconds. I saved the leftovers and have reheated them without any trouble. I’ve reheated it with and without a little extra milk and both methods have turned out fine-one a little thinner than the other. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  44. Daniella says:

    This was perfection! My kids loved it and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it reheated the next day. I will definitely be keeping the ingredients for this recipe on hand. Thank you!

  45. Jessica says:

    Oh my!!! congratulations! Six kids are the best! Thank you for sharing,
    best wishes on your new bundle!

  46. Amber says:

    Hey there! This looks delish! Have you ever used it in a pasta bake? Wondering about making it ahead of time – pouring over slightly underdone noodles and baking it when I have a sitter coming for the kids. Thoughts?

  47. Tiffany says:

    Mel – Thank you for this recipe! I am just now leaving work @ 7:30 PM…I am a lawyer :(…and I have nothing to eat at home! I finished my leftovers of your new lemon and garlic pasta with spinach for lunch (which turned out to be great…though I did add quite a bit more butter to make it I’m sure much less healthy lol). I have a bible study meeting in 15 mins so I won’t get home until 9:15 or so and I was just thinking about how hungry I am! Thankfully I have all the ingredients necessary to make this right in my fridge/pantry. You are a lifesaver. Thank you for your hard work. It has saved my stomach MANY times :)

  48. Gail says:

    Saw this pop up on my Facebook feed a few days ago. I was like, “Mel’s pregnant!” Then I saw the post was from 2011…

    HOW did I miss this recipe? It is incredible!

    It was so easy and so good! Huge hit! It has already been re requested a couple of times by my husband and son.

    Thanks for another great recipe.

  49. Jill says:

    Hi Mel…I just wanted to let you know how much I love your blog! I found it a little less than a year ago when I was looking for a recipe for homemade pita and I have been cooking my way through your blog ever since. Anyway my picky 3 year old loved this recipe…dinner time has been a struggle lately and he couldn’t eat this fast enough. About halfway through he stopped to say, “I love this dinner Mama!” I added chicken and broccoli and he cleaned his plate. Thanks for all your recipes and all you do!

  50. Andrea says:

    Hi, Mel! I love this site! Question about the sauce. We loved the flavor, but it turned out grainy. Used full fat cream cheese. Shredded my own parmesan. Cooked it longer to melt the cheese. Any idea what I’m doing wrong? Thank you for your help!

    • Mel says:

      Andrea – Like how grainy? Like cornmeal? Adding the Parmesan slowly to let it melt a handful at a time can make a difference. I’ve noticed when I cook it too long it gets a little grainy – there’s a sweet spot of letting the cheese melt but not cooking too long, I think.

  51. Savannah says:

    This recipe disappointed me a little, wasn’t as great as I was hoping. Has a fairly good taste but does not really have the right consistency. A good starter recipe. Could use a few enhancements.

  52. Christy says:

    Your blog is seriously my go-to blog for recipes I know I can trust. I have tried many sauces and this one is the keeper! We love it so much. I’ve made it a few times now and am getting ready to make it again now. Thanks for always posting the best recipes!

  53. AnnieK says:

    Made this as a side (on penne) with your absolutely wonderful lemon garlic grilled chicken for my kids + 2 extra picky guest kiddos & they all gobbled it up. Woot! One of my daughters said she will never eat restaurant alfredo again…only this!!! Thanks for the recipe! My kids have been dependent on restaurants for alfredo, as I will NOT buy alfredo in a jar. I do agree with them this is better than restaurant! Amen.

  54. TJMom says:

    I have been looking for a alfredo recipe for days and I would like to try yours. But do u know whether I can used grated parm?

  55. lyn says:

    hi, i would like to know if there is substitute for parmesan cheese it’s kinda expensive here in philippines. can i used local cheese or any avail cheese what we have?

    • Mel says:

      Lyn – I’m really not familiar with other cheeses in the Philippines – you might look for another firmer-type cheese that melts well. Sorry I am not more help.

  56. Mandy Manuel says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this sauce. I make it whenever I have a creamy sauce itch that needs to be scratched. Best part about it (well, besides the deliciousness) is that it’s soooooo easy!
    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  57. Aubrey says:

    Made this tonight for my family get together. It was so good. It was perfectly thick. I love that I can trust you Mel. I have been cooking your recipes for about a year and they are all so good.

  58. DaleAnn says:

    Great recipe. Never made it before. The family can’t wait till I make it again. Thanks!

  59. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel – I love all your recipes and tried this one for a lunch/dinner option today. I added a full brick of of cream cheese (the shame lol) but the cream cheese was greek yogurt cream cheese so I think that justifies the full brick right? ;-) I added the extra as I found the sauce a bit too think otherwise, but I used a half a cup of water to dilute the half cup of 5% cream I had to use because I didn’t have milk – I thought that was a good substitute but perhaps it wasn’t..thus I used the full brick of cream cheese. All in all it is very good – and verrryyy filling! Thanks for the fast and tasty meals!

  60. Chris says:

    Can I freeze this sauce? I’ve read that cream sauces don’t thaw well but technically this recipe doesn’t have cream in it. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Chris – I haven’t frozen this sauce so I’m not sure how it would fare. My guess is that it might get a little grainy after thawing but it might be worth a try. Good luck!

    • Kelly says:

      I freeze it pretty often, and it reheats well on the stove over warm heat. I usually make a double batch and freeze half. Hope that helps!

  61. Becca says:

    Made this tonight to use for a chicken alfredo stuffed shell…absolutely spectacular. It is creamy and smooth and just delicious! Thank you so much for sharing.

  62. Selam says:

    I’ve been trying and loving your recipes for the past three years and I just wanted to tell you how absolutely amazing you are! This recipe is another keeper. I seasoned some shrimp with a little old bay before tossing them in to cook right after the cheese was all melted. Served it with a caesar salad and garlic bread. Absolutely amazeballs delicious. Thank you again for being so awesome :)

  63. Drew says:

    This was so good, thanks for another great recipe!! I used low fat (neufchatel) cream cheese and 2% milk and I didn’t notice any graininess. It seemed a little thin so I stirred it quite a bit to thicken it up and then once I had it mixed in with pasta and sitting for a few minutes it thickened up perfectly. My husband loved it and I’m already thinking about how good the leftovers will be :) Thank you!

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