This easy Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese is a quick dish with tons of garlicky, cheesy flavor! Everyone will ask for seconds on this simple, scrumptious pasta dinner.
Ultra-Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo Sauce With Cream Cheese
When you’re looking for a quick dinner, what’s your go-to recipe? Tacos, spaghetti, pizza, maybe breakfast for dinner? Well, get ready to add another quick, easy, and super-satisfying meal to your list: yummy fettuccine pasta in a rich, creamy alfredo sauce!
That’s right, this restaurant-style meal is actually so simple and easy to make, you can pull it together even on the busiest night. And the garlicky sauce, enriched with real Parmesan and tangy cream cheese, is guaranteed to please. This is the kind of recipe that pleases everyone from adventurous foodies to ultra-picky eaters.
What Is the Difference Between Cream Sauce and Alfredo Sauce?
Cream sauce and alfredo sauce look similar, but the difference lies in the cheese, the flavorings, and the roux. An ordinary cream sauce is made by creating a roux of butter and flour, and then stirring in milk to make a thick and creamy, gravy-like sauce. This can be flavored in a lot of ways – for example, if you stir in cheddar, you’ve got a lovely cheese sauce for macaroni!
Alfredo sauce gets its unique flavor from garlic and Parmesan. This sauce is not usually made with a roux – generous amounts of Parm make a roux unnecessary! Alfredo sauce is thick and creamy, garlicky and cheesy. Yum!
So what do you need to make this easy pasta alfredo? Let’s take a look! In addition to a tasty combination of cream cheese, milk, and parmesan, there are a few other pantry basics you’ll want to have:
- Pasta: You’ll need a box of your favorite fettuccine pasta (1 pound of pasta).
- Butter: I use unsalted, but salted is fine, too.
- Garlic: Mince or press several cloves of fresh garlic. For the best flavor, avoid garlic that is sprouting or has green centers.
- Cream Cheese: Cut your cream cheese into cubes, for easy melting.
- Heavy Cream: You can substitute half and half if you need to, but the sauce will not be as rich.
- Milk: whole milk is fine.
- Parmesan: Freshly shredded Parmesan has the best flavor, but pre-shredded is also fine.
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Parsley: For garnish, optional.
How to Make Alfredo Sauce With Cream Cheese
Making this recipe couldn’t be easier, and it is so quick! All you have to do is cook up some of your favorite fettuccine, and mix together the creamy sauce in a small saucepan. Let’s take a closer look:
- Make the Pasta: Prepare your fettuccine (or whatever pasta you decide to use) according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving about half of the cooking water in case you need to thin your sauce. Set the drained pasta and reserved water aside.
- Saute the Garlic. Set a saucepan over medium heat, and place the butter inside to melt. Once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic, and let that cook for about one minute to release the fragrance.
- Add Milk, Cream, and Cheeses. Stir the milk and cream into the saucepan, and allow this to simmer gently for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Next, add the cream cheese to the saucepan, and stir this until the cream cheese is fully melted into the milk and cream. Finally, reduce the heat to low, and stir in the Parmesan. You will need to stir the sauce for four or five minutes to make sure all the cheese is melted.
- Adjust the Thickness as Needed. If your sauce seems too thick at this point, you can thin it out with some of the reserved pasta water.
- Toss the Pasta and Sauce Together. Take the alfredo sauce off of the heat, and pour it all over your cooked fettuccine. Gently toss to coat the pasta well in the sauce.
- Enjoy! Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley, or shredded Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Is This Recipe Keto-Friendly?
The sauce for this recipe actually is keto-friendly! However, plain fettuccine pasta is not keto-friendly, so if you want to keep things on the low-carb side, try substituting low-carb pasta, cooked spaghetti squash, or zoodles.
As easy as this recipe is, I would still love to share a few helpful hints with you! Here are my top tips for customizing and hacking this simple pasta dish. Try them out, and enjoy!
- Chicken Broth: For extra depth of flavor and nutrition, cook your pasta in chicken broth or bone broth mixed with water.
- Pasta Options: You can use any pasta shape that you like for this recipe. Small shapes like farfalle, penne, or even elbows are fine, or use another long pasta like linguine or spaghetti.
- Just Add Veggies: For a quick flavor and nutrition blast, add frozen peas or broccoli florets to the pasta during the last 10 minutes of boiling. Drain the veggies and pasta together, and then toss in the sauce.
How do you serve fettuccine alfredo? I like to make an easy topping or side of veggies, or both! Here are some of my favorites.
- Chicken: Frozen grilled chicken is great here, reheated according to the package directions. Or, for something a little more special make some Grilled Chicken Souvlaki. Yum!
- Side Salad: Any fresh green salad goes beautifully with pasta, but if you want something really indulgent, try a succulent Caprese Stuffed Avocado.
- Green Veggies: Roast some broccoli, steam some asparagus, or make these delicious Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon. You can’t go wrong!
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
To store your leftovers, place the sauce and pasta in an airtight container, and refrigerate. It will keep for 3 – 4 days.
Can I Freeze Fettuccine Alfredo?
Because the sauce is heavy on dairy products, and doesn’t contain a roux to help stabilize it, I do not recommend freezing it. If you do freeze this pasta dish, the sauce may turn grainy when thawed out.
More Easy Pasta Dinner Ideas
Love pasta? Me too. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Here are a few of my favorite pasta dinner recipes:
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Pasta Primavera
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Chicken Bacon Spaghetti
- Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces fettuccine pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 ½ cups parmesan cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Prepare fettuccine according to package directions. Set aside. Reserve about ½ pasta water to thin sauce, if needed.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat and add the minced garlic. Saute for about 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Slowly stir in the milk and cream. Slowly simmer for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Gently add the cream cheese to the warmed milk mixture. Gently stir until fully melted.
- Reduce the heat to low, and add in the Parmesan cheese. Stir for about 4 minutes, until all the cheese is melted. If the sauce becomes too thick, you may stir in some of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour the alfredo sauce over the prepared fettuccine. Gently toss to coat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, or additional shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 542mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 18g