Alfredo sauce with cream cheese is an easy homemade pasta sauce you can make in about 10 minutes with simple ingredients for a quick weeknight dinner.
But some nights, you just want to curl up with a soul-soothing bowl of pasta with Alfredo sauce.
This easy Alfredo sauce recipe is rich and creamy and comes together in about 10 minutes on your stove top.
Unlike traditional Alfredo sauce, which is an emulsion of butter, Parmesan, and pasta water -- and can be tricky to master -- this shortcut Alfredo sauce relies on milk and cream cheese to pull everything together into a silky smooth sauce.
It's absolutely delicious tossed with spaghetti (because that’s always in the pantry, right?), fettuccine pasta, or your favorite pasta for a fast home cooked dinner the whole family will devour.
You’re going to love this
Rich and creamy sauce — once you try this Alfredo recipe you may never buy jarred Alfredo sauce again!
Fast and easy Alfredo sauce — you can make this sauce in about 10 minutes
Simple ingredients — butter, cream cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese
You can put it on everything!
This homemade cream cheese Alfredo sauce recipe is a super easy recipe made from basic ingredients.
Cream cheese. A block of full-fat cream cheese will give you the creamiest results.
Garlic powder. I like the flavor of garlic in Alfredo, so I use just a half teaspoon of garlic powder. You can adjust this up or down to your liking. Or use fresh garlic.
Whole milk. For rich and creamy Alfredo sauce, use whole milk. The fat content is one of the keys to silky Alfredo.
Parmesan cheese. A good quality fresh grated Parmesan cheese will give you the best flavor and creamy texture. For best results, avoid powdered or the stuff in the green can.
Nutmeg. Nutmeg is a common ingredient in cream sauces because it enhances the flavor and adds a subtle deep, rich flavor. And this cream cheese Alfredo sauce is no exception.
Pasta water. If you’re making this Alfredo sauce for pasta, keep a cup or two of the pasta water.
You can use it to loosen up cooked pasta noodles waiting to be “sauced,” or toss with the hot pasta and sauce to help meld the two together.
Step by step instructions
Melt butter in a large skillet or medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add one block of cubed cream cheese to the melted butter and whisk it together. It will look not quite right along the way, almost like it has separated, but just keep going. 🙂
Whisk in the garlic powder.
Slowly add the milk a little at a time until it is all incorporated.
Whisk in the Parmesan cheese until it has melted and fully incorporated into the creamy sauce. Add the nutmeg and black pepper and whisk until combined.
Remove the sauce from the stove top and use immediately or store in the refrigerator for later use.
This sauce will thicken as it cools.
Storage & Reheating
Homemade Alfredo sauce is always best served fresh from the stove top.
You can also store it, or any leftover sauce, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If you prefer, you can also freeze leftover Alfredo sauce in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator.
To reheat the sauce on the stove top, place it in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk it continuously until it's warmed through.
Reheat in the microwave in 20-30-second bursts, stirring in between until it is smooth and creamy and warmed through.
How to Reheat Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
Did you know you can bring last night's dinner back to life the next day with your oven, stove top, or microwave?
Click here to read more about these 3 easy ways to reheat pasta with Alfredo sauce.
Cut the butter into slices and the cream cheese into cubes for fast and easy melting.
Slowly add the milk and whisk until it is combined.
Use fresh Parmesan cheese for the creamiest, most flavorful results.
Keep the pan on medium heat to avoid bringing the sauce up to a boil. You just want a low simmer.
If the sauce becomes too thick, thin it with some milk or cream, starting with one tablespoon and adjusting as needed
Yes, this easy cream cheese Alfredo sauce will thicken as it cools. If you will be using it with pasta, I recommend tossing it with the hot pasta immediately and add a little pasta water, if necessary, to thin it.
No, even though Alfredo sauce certainly contains a good amount of cheese. Authentic Alfredo sauce is made from butter and Parmesan cheese. This easy cream cheese Alfredo has butter, cream cheese, milk, and Parmesan, plus a few seasonings.
The invention of traditional Alfredo sauce goes back to the early 1900s in Rome. Alfredo de Lelio, who worked in a restaurant, made a simple dish of fresh pasta, butter, and Parmesan cheese for his pregnant wife who had lost her appetite. The dish made it onto the restaurant’s menu, where it was prepared table side with whatever was the pasta of the day.
It’s said that a couple of American actors dined at Alfredo’s restaurant in the 1920s and were so enamored with the dish, that they asked for the recipe and brought it to the US. In time, the recipe was adapted to include cream, which made it easier for home cooks to prepare and chefs to control the consistency of the sauce.
Looking for new ways to Alfredo sauce besides the good ol' standby fettuccine Alfredo? Here are some fun ideas:
• On top of baked potatoes
• As a breadstick dipper
• In your favorite lasagna recipe
• As a pizza sauce
• With roasted vegetables — like these roasted potatoes and green beans or this roasted broccolini salad
• With meatballs — just think of the meatball sub you could make!
• In a creamy casserole
This basic recipe can be a blank canvas to turn it into your own homemade Alfredo sauce:
- Make it spicy with a little kick of red pepper flakes.
- Stir in your favorite dried herbs like Italian seasoning, dried oregano, or dried basil.
- Add freshly minced garlic to amp up the garlic goodness even more.
- Serve with fresh parsley or any of your favorite fresh herbs to brighten it up and add more flavor.
- Top your dish with more freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Asiago, or your favorite hard cheese.
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Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese
- 1 stick butter, cut into slices
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ¾ cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- dash black pepper
- Cut the butter into slices and melt it in a large skillet or pan over medium heat.
- Cut the cream cheese into cubes and whisk it into the butter as it melts together. After the cream cheese has melted, whisk in the garlic powder.
- Slowly whisk in the milk a little at a time until it is all incorporated.
- Whisk in the Parmesan cheese until it has melted and fully incorporated into the sauce. Add the nutmeg and black pepper and whisk until combined.
- Remove the sauce from the stove top and use immediately or store in the refrigerator for later use. This sauce will thicken as it cools.