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

Healthier than recipes loaded with butter and cream, this tried-and-true creamy homemade Alfredo sauce recipe is so fast, so easy, and SO delicious.

fork taking bite out of alfredo sauce over rigatoni noodles

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 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.

creamy homemade alfredo sauce recipe over zoodles in white bowl

Homemade alfredo sauce is easier than you think

Enter this sauce. It is fast. Unbelievably fast. And so incredibly creamy and flavorful.

Healthier (relatively) than the versions loaded with butter and cream, it comes together quickly, and it reheats beautifully the next day if you are lucky enough to have leftovers.

No exaggeration, we make this homemade alfredo sauce recipe at least 2-3 times a month. There is not another single recipe on my site that is universally loved and gobbled up by my children more than this amazing sauce. 

step by step making homemade alfredo sauce recipe on the stovetop

It takes just minutes to make.

Fresh garlic (I’ve also used deyhdrated garlic with good results) cooks in a bit of butter until fragrant before cream cheese is added to the mix. 

I like to let the cream cheese sit in the warm butter/garlic mixture until it is super warm and melty. This prevents lumps and bumps in the finished creamy sauce. 

Cream cheese concerns: if you are a little bit averse to the flavor of cream cheese, this sauce does not have an overtly cream cheese vibe. The cream cheese lends a silky texture and helps thicken the sauce, but it doesn’t taste like melted cheesecake, I promise. 🙂

adding milk and cream cheese and parmesan to the homemade alfredo sauce

Add some milk, Parmesan cheese (fresh grated, always, for the best melting!), a bit of salt and pepper, and bam. 

Homemade alfredo sauce. 

This life changing alfredo sauce is delicious:

  • over noodles
  • over zoodles 
  • on top of roasted vegetables
  • on pizza or paninis

pouring homemade alfredo sauce recipe over cooked rigatoni

This recipe has stood the test of time. It is as tried-and-true as you can get, and I don’t see us ever getting sick of this delectable little recipe. 

In fact, I would have a full on mutiny if I ever decided, for whatever reason, to strike it from the archives of Meals That Make 100% Of Us Super Happy. 

If you’re looking for a versatile homemade alfredo recipe that is ready in 15 minutes or less and tastes better than restaurant alfredo, this is the one. 

creamy homemade alfredo sauce recipe over zoodles

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

Homemade Garlic Alfredo Sauce

Yield: 2 cups of sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
homemade alfredo sauce over noodles in white bowl

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)
  • 1 cup milk (see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups (3-6 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  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.
  2. Add the cream cheese and let it sit over medium heat for a few minutes until it is warm and melty. Whisk the butter and cream cheese mixture together. It will look curdled at first, but with constant whisking for 2-3 minutes, it should come together to form a smooth, creamy paste.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Notes

Milk: I use 1% or 2% milk.

Cream cheese: this recipe works well with light or regular cream cheese; it's slightly thicker with full fat cream cheese.

Parmesan Cheese: the exact amount of cheese you use depends on personal preference. The more you use, the thicker the sauce will be. If you don't have a scale, the end amount will depend on how tightly you pack the cheese into the cup.

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Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe
Recipe originally published October 2011; updated May 2020 with new photos, recipe notes, etc

Garlic Alfredo Sauce