Servings: 6 Prep: 15 min Cook: 10 min Total: 25 min
Alfredo Sauce is the famous sauce from a “Fettuccini Alfredo” that I’m sure we all know, love and fantasize about, from time to time (I know I do!). The original dish, popularized around 100 years ago (1914), in Rome, Italy, was incredibly simple. It contained little more than fettuccini pasta, parmesan cheese and butter. Over the years, the dish and the sauce have become common items in restaurants and grocery stores around the world. It has also more commonly evolved to a creamy sauce, very often thickened with flour, instead of cheese.
In most of the restaurants I’ve worked within, this is how it was done. Start with hot cream, garlic and nutmeg, then whisk in a roux (a cooked mixture of flour and butter). This would thicken the cream. Then, I would add grated parmesan cheese and whisk. This would simmer and gurgle away, until it was the proper thickness. Then, it would get served!
The following recipe goes along the lines of the creamy based sauces, but is thickened by reduction and cheese. I often add a little guar and/or xanthan gums to the grated cheese, just for a little extra thickening, but this is completely optional.
Obviously, this is great with pasta, but it’s also great on top of cooked vegetables. One of my personal favorites is a roasted chicken from the store. I’ll dip the pieces of roasted chicken into the hot Alfredo sauce. Yum!
Thick Goopy Alfredo SaucePrint Rate
- 2 cups cream heavy whipping
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg freshly ground
- 4 each garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups parmesan cheese grated
- 1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Add the cream, nutmeg and garlic to a small sauce pan.
- Simmer the cream, over low heat, until it begins to noticeably reduce in volume.
- Optional Step: Guar and/or xanthan gums will help thicken the sauce. You won't need as much cheese, or as much reduction of the sauce, if you thicken it with these no carb thickeners. If you choose to use them, mix them in a bowl with the grated cheese. This will help evenly distribute the thickeners within the cheese.
- Add the cheese to the cream mixture and whisk it in, until it completely melts into a creamy sauce.
- Continue to allow the sauce to simmer, until it is the desired thickness.
- Season with a small amount salt and pepper, then serve!
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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …
31 thoughts on “Thick Goopy Alfredo Sauce”
Could we do something to lower the calories?? 🙂
You mean … you don’t want half the planet’s calories, in each serving?! 😉
Typos are never fun. An extra "4" appeared at the front of the calories for the cream. I removed the 4 and … it’s back to more reasonable number! If only the rest of my caloric issues could be resolved by fixing a typo!
Even with the typo fixed, there are still a lot of calories. Those trying to keep their fat up will be fine with this, but for those that are concerned about calories, you could cut the cream in half and replace it with an unsweetened almond milk. Then, don’t reduce it. Instead, use guar and xanthan gums to thicken the liquid. Then, add the cheese. This will also make enough sauce for 6. It won’t be as opulent or cheesy, but it will be lower in both carbs and calories. Just a thought!
DJ – If I just use the xanthan gum (no guar), would I up it to 1/2 tsp?
Hi Sandi, honestly … you don’t even really need it, at all. If you wanted it super thick you could do that, but … I’d try it without. If you decide it’s not thick enough, take a little bit of grated cheese (about 1/4 cup) and mix it with 1/4 tsp. xanthan, then whisk that into the sauce and wait about 2 or 3 minutes, to see the thickening power. If it’s still not thick enough … keep at it until it’s the right consistency. Again, I don’t think it needs it, if you reduce it enough, but … it can also start getting a bit stringy … and the xanthan does provide a nice creamy texture, earlier on … Just thoughts. I hope something helps! 😀
I am having to be dairy free for now. Any thing you can tell me will work that is dairy free
Hi Unknown. I have lots of dairy free options. You just need to look for them. <a href="https://www.djfoodie.com/aspx/m/Lamb-Stuffed-Chard">Here's one</a>!
I omit the gums (not that there is anything wrong with xantham and guar gum) and use cream cheese to thicken it up. For a batch this size, I’d probably use around four ounces.
Thanks for the tip, Travis. I do this in my cheddar soup. Definitely a good trick! 🙂
I love your recipes, at the same time you don’t specify serving sixes only how many servings each recipe makes. What’s the setting size here???
Thanks in advance
Hi Brittany, it’s about 1/3rd of a cup.
Love trying your recipes, but is there any way you can include the serving size in the recipe? It’s a little frustrating having to ask what the serving size is for each recipe I want to try. I am a recent widow and have no children living at home so it’s usually just me I am cooking for. I find I would probably halve many of the recipes, but it would still be helpful to have the serving size listed as part of the recipe rather than having to try to figure it out. Thank you!
Hi LS. Did you read my comment to you on the Broccoli Cheddar Soup? I suggested a way by which you can determine this for yourself. In many ways, this is a serious challenge to quantify. For example, this recipe suggests reducing the cream, but I have no way of knowing how far you’ll reduce it. Other recipes like salads … how can I quantify this? By the circumference of the salad? The most accurate way to do it is by weight, and the information is there. However, if I posted each recipe as "This recipe weighs 1400 grams." people would think that’s a bit strange. Also, I just grabbed 5 random cookbooks and zero of them suggest how large the serving size is. They don’t even offer gram weights or nutritional information. It’s really just not as simple as it may seem on the surface. If someone directly asks me, I always do my best to muddle through the calculation for them and post it (see the comment below yours, for example). I am truly sorry. I do understand that this would be helpful information, but … it’s not a simple request and giving the time and effort that goes into what I already present (more information than most all sites and books there are) … I need to draw the line somewhere. Please take a look at my comment on the Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It’s incredibly helpful information and can largely apply to just about any recipe out there, as long as you have a general sense of the weights of the ingredients. Please understand that I would do this if there were an obvious way to handle the issue, but … it’s just kind of murky. :/
Thank you for that info – I will give it a try!
Sure thing, LS. I hate the put the burden on you. As I said, you can always ask if you get stuck and I’ll do my best to give you an answer that makes sense. Thanks! 🙂
What is the difference between guar and xanthan gums? I see most of the time many recipes are using both.
Hi Chris, <a href="http://blog.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free/guar-gum-vs-xanthan-gum/" target="_blank">here’s a great article from Bob’s Red Mill</a> that gets into it. There are a variety of thickeners, emulsifiers and stabilizers. Most of the time, they’re really not much of a requirement, at all, but are there for mouth-feel, which is surprisingly important to a lot of people. In any event, I hope that article helps! 🙂
If you replace one of the cups of cream with cream cheese, the sauce won’t need other thickening agents.
Dora, really, my hope is that people just reduce it. The cream cheese tip does work, but it also changes the flavor a bit. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it does send the sauce into a bit of a new direction. In any event, thanks for the contribution! 🙂
Is there a dairy free alternative that mimics Parmesan cheese. The other types of soy cheese, milk, cream, and sour cream are great, but I’m not impressed with the taste or expense of the "go veggie" brand. I’m also interested in creating a cottage cheese or ricotta cheese substitute. Any suggestions? I really miss lasagna!
Hi Benita badje, I really have no idea. I’m sorry! I’ve never really gotten into dairy free substitutes. I don’t believe I’ve ever tried a single one. I wish I could help, but this question exists outside my radar. Sorry!
Is tapioca starch an no no?
Darr, it really depends on how much you use. The Paleo enthusiasts love it and don’t seem to really restrict it. From my stand point … it’s a starch. Granted, it doesn’t come from grain, but … it’s a starch and should be used thoughtfully and in smaller quantities. I don’t think ANYTHING is inherently bad, it’s just a matter of finding the right amount for the task.
Hi, DJ – I’m right there with you on reducing vs adding thickeners. Heavy cream added to pan juices make the most delicious sauces/gravies I’ve ever had – thick and silky. Just takes a bit of time, but is worth it. I use a very large skillet and the xtra surface area helps the pan sauce reduce more quickly. P.S. Just discovered your site in my quest for LC/nutritional keto info. GREAT site and thank you for making it available to all of us trying to become healthier while still eating well!
Tracey, there’s an old restaurant trick, which is to put a large wide saute pan on each of your available burners and get them super hot. Then … take whatever it is you’re trying to reduce and pour the liquid into the first hot pan. It’ll simmer like mad, until the liquid cools the pan down to normal levels. When this happens, pour the hot liquid into the second pan. Keep doing this until you run out of pans, or the liquid is the correct viscosity. This is a quick way to get a lot of sauce to reduce to a small amount of sauce … in a minute or two. It’s kinda messy, hot and frantic, but … it’s also kinda fun and PERFECT when you need a quick thick sauce in an instant! 😉
I have found that by using Sargento full fat ricotta – it will thicken up nicely. It already has xanthum gum in it.
—Reply posted by DJ on 1/19/2015
Hi, this recipe sounds great and I am using it as part of another recipe you posted. Just one question. On the chart showing carbs, it says that the Heavy whipping cream has 14 net carbs, but other sources says it has very little or no carbs. This is also listed as zero carbs on the nutritional label on a carton I bought today. Is there something I am missing? Thanks for all you do and share…it is quite amazing!
—Reply posted by DJ on 1/19/2015
Hi Will, I’m sorry for the late response. Somehow I missed this question. In any event, all cream has more or less 8 net carbs per cup. Labeling laws allow companies to print zero, if it’s beneath .5 carbs per serving. So, if it’s .49 carbs per tablespoon, they can list it as zero. This is how “hidden carbs” come to be. In any event, all cream is roughly 1/2 carb per tablespoon or 8 carbs per cup, no matter what is printed on the label. Cream is definitely low, but it’s not a total free for all. I hope that helps!
Yummy, yummy! Made this tonight and it was delish. The only thing different I did was to add a wedge of laughing cow cheese – helped to thicken the sauce. Sauce definately got thicker after cooling and sitting for awhile.
I put it on zoodles and dipped my ribs into it – good stuff!
—Reply posted by DJ on 1/19/2015
Nice move with the laughing cow! 🙂
I make an Alfredo sauce with sour cream, heavy cream, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic, nutmeg, and an egg yolk. Mix in a food processor. I know raw eggs aren’t recommended…I bet you could heat this up once it’s mixed.
—Reply posted by DJ on 3/31/2015
I actually really like this combo. I might swap out the sour cream for something like mascarpone cheese, but … I can totally see this! Also, in regards to the egg … I’d make it like a b?arnaise sauce and temper the egg into some hot cream, essentially cooking it (and it’ll help thicken the whole kit and caboodle). In any event … I dig it! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
The BEST alfredo sauce I “ever” had was not a sauce but a thick paste……….a dollop of it was placed on top of plain fettucine and you stirred that paste through the fettucine yourself. I had it at a chain restaurant like a Hannigans or Bennigans or the like located inside a mall in Cherry Hill, NJ many years ago……….they are no longer there but boy do I wish I went back there again! Would LOVE to know how they made it.
—Reply posted by DJ on 5/28/2018
Whew! That sounds like a lot of extra work. I like mine pre-tossed! 😉 In all honesty, though … I have no idea what it could’ve been without seeing it. I’m assuming it was a sauce thickened with flour, but have no real way to know. Beyond that, chain restaurants often use ingredients that are uncommon in the home kitchen. It could’ve been some kind of complex thickener, with different properties than we’re accustomed to. I really have no way to know. I’m sure it was delicious though! 😉
Love trying your recipes. surely gonna try this alfredo sauce for this weekend’s dinner.
I have tried your recipe and loved this recipe a lot. Keep it up.