Whip up this easy homemade alfredo sauce recipe with roux in just 10 minutes! Make a simple weeknight meal or cozy Sunday dinner with this thick and creamy sauce in no time.
This post was originally published in January 2021 and has been updated for content.
🧀 What is alfredo sauce made from?
Fettuccine Alfredo is a classic Italian pasta dish made with a creamy white sauce. Authentic alfredo sauce is made using butter, cheese and a little bit of pasta cooking water. More americanized versions will include heavy cream, cream cheese or half and half.
This is the best alfredo sauce recipe made with a roux! It combines simple ingredients into a super thick and creamy alfredo sauce that is sure to be a family favorite. Trust me, you will never go back to the store-bought jar again!
🧀 Ingredients for alfredo sauce
- Butter, garlic & flour - These three ingredients form the base for this easy alfredo sauce recipe. Butter and flour create a roux, which is simply equal parts fat and flour. Fresh garlic cloves are added to the roux to help flavor the sauce. For the best garlic flavor, use fresh instead of jarred.
- Half and Half - Half and half adds a rich, creamy flavor to this sauce, without it being too heavy. For a lighter sauce, use whole milk. For an extra rich sauce, use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
- Cheese - Fresh parmesan cheese is traditionally used in an alfredo sauce. For a different flavor, try asiago, pecorino romano or also grana padano. Freshly grate your cheese for the best parmesan flavor and also best consistency.
- Spices - Salt, black pepper and also a bit of nutmeg are used to flavor this easy recipe. For a more plain alfredo, the pepper and nutmeg can be omitted. Crushed red pepper flakes can also be added to spice things up a bit!
- Pasta water - Pasta water is added to this delicious sauce to thin it to the desired consistency. It also adds extra creaminess and helps the pasta bind to the cheesy sauce. A splash of milk or also vegetable broth can be used as an alternatives.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, melt the unsalted butter in the pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant. Sprinkle the flour in and cook, while whisking for a minute or two.
Next, whisk in the half and half until the sauce starts to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Lastly, add one half to one cup of the pasta cooking water to the simmering sauce to thin to the desired consistency. Toss with fresh pasta and then enjoy!
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- For best results, allow the butter to melt until it stops foaming. This means all of the water has evaporated and so it will easily bind with the flour to create the roux.
- Just cook the garlic until it becomes fragrant. Garlic easily burns and will make the alfredo bitter tasting.
- Remove the pan off of the heat when adding the cheese and seasonings. If the sauce gets too hot, it can separate.
- If the sauce is going to be used for pasta, then make sure to add some of the cooking liquid. Not only does it add flavor, but it helps bind the sauce to the pasta and makes it extra creamy.
🍽 How to use alfredo sauce
- Smother freshly cooked spinach fettuccine noodles or homemade pasta in this tasty sauce for the most epic main dish or side dish.
- Substitute the red sauce in my classic Italian lasagna recipe to make a delicious white lasagna.
- Make white pizza by substituting the red sauce in my pizza on the grill or cast iron pizza recipe.
- Use this simple recipe combined with rotisserie chicken to make baked chicken alfredo with broccoli for an easy dinner idea.
- Check out my post on what to eat with alfredo for all of the best pasta, bread, side dishes and more!
⏲️ Make ahead and storage instructions
This homemade alfredo sauce can also be made ahead of time if needed. Make sure to cool the sauce completely before storing it in an airtight container. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Frozen sauce should be defrosted in the refrigerator. Reheat the sauce in a pan on the stovetop over medium low heat, whisking frequently until heated through. A little bit of pasta cooking water, half and half or broth can be added while whisking to help the sauce become smooth again.
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for this tasty alfredo sauce.
🍝 More homemade sauce recipes
If you enjoyed this easy homemade alfredo recipe with roux, check out these other homemade sauces that I know you will love too!
Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce Recipe with Roux
- In a large saute pan or sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat until it stops foaming.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, while whisking, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
- Sprinkle the flour evenly over the butter and garlic and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minutes, while whisking, until the flour is absorbed.
- Slowly whisk in the half and half until it is incorporated. Let the sauce simmer, while whisking for 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Whisk in the reserved pasta cooking water to get the desired consistency. Use immediately or cool for use later.
- Half and Half - For a lighter sauce, use whole milk, and for an extra rich sauce, use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream.
- Cheese - Freshly grate the cheese for the best flavor and texture. Asiago, pecorino romano or grana padano can be used as well.
- Spices - Omit pepper and nutmeg for a more plain sauce. Add crushed red pepper flakes for extra spice.
- Pasta water - Use milk or vegetable broth instead.
- Make Ahead/Leftovers - Cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost frozen sauce completely in the refrigerator. Reheat in a pan on the stovetop over medium low heat, whisking frequently until heated through. Pasta cooking water, half and half or broth can be added if needed.