Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
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This easy 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.

Looking for a classic Alfredo sauce? Here is my BEST traditional Alfredo Sauce Recipe! I also have a great recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo that you should try!

Why You’ll Love This Alfredo Sauce With Cream Cheese

This Alfredo sauce recipe with cream cheese is requested for dinner all the time in my house. Here’s why it’s so popular:

  • Full of flavor. This garlicky sauce, enriched with real parmesan and tangy cream cheese, is guaranteed to please. It’s the kind of recipe that everyone loves, from adventurous foodies to ultra-picky eaters.
  • Quick and simple. This restaurant-style meal is so easy to make – it’s ready in 25 minutes! You can pull it together even on the busiest nights.
  • Comforting. There’s nothing like a steaming bowl of creamy pasta at the end of a long day. It’s so cozy and comforting!
Close-up shot of fettuccine in cream cheese alfredo sauce, to show texture.

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 cheese. This sauce is not usually made with a roux – generous amounts of parm make a roux unnecessary!

Is This Alfredo Sauce 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 (zucchini noodles).

Clockwise form top: Milk, heavy cream, cubed cream cheese, garlic, butter, salt and pepper, shredded parmesan cheese.

Recipe Ingredients

So what do you need to make this easy pasta Alfredo? Let’s take a look (note that exact amounts for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card below)! In addition to a tasty combination of cream cheese, milk, and parmesan, there are a few other pantry basics you’ll want to have on hand:

  • Pasta – You’ll need a box of your favorite fettuccine 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 Cheese – Freshly shredded parmesan has the best flavor, but pre-shredded is also fine.
  • Seasoning – Keep it simple with a mix of salt and pepper.
  • Fresh Parsley – This is optional, but it makes a lovely garnish!

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.
  • Sauté 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 a minute to release the fragrance.
  • Add the milk, cream, and cheeses. Stir the milk and cream into the saucepan, and allow this mixture 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 4 or 5 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.
Creamy pasta garnished with parsley in a white dish, on a wooden cutting board.

Tips & Recipe Variations

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 this simple pasta dish. Try them out, and enjoy!

  • Cook your pasta in chicken broth. For extra depth of flavor and nutrition, cook your pasta in chicken broth or bone broth mixed with water.
  • Which pastas to use. 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.
  • Add veggies. Feel free to 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 them in the sauce.
A white bowl of pasta in creamy sauce.

Serving Suggestions

How do you serve pasta with cream cheese Alfredo sauce? I like to make an easy topping or side of veggies, or both! Here are some of my favorite side dishes:

  • 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 Sauteed Green Beans with Bacon. You can’t go wrong!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Want to save some of this creamy Alfredo sauce for later? Good idea! This is the best way to do so:

  • To store. To store your leftovers, place the sauce and pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep for 3-4 days.
  • To reheat. You can reheat this cream cheese Alfredo sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop over low heat. Stir it frequently to keep it from separating.

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.

Close-up shot of cooked pasta and sauce.

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:

A table is set with a blue-ticking cloth, and a plate of pasta with a fork.
4.5 from 15 votes
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Yield: 6

Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese

This Alfredo Sauce with Cream Cheese is a quick pasta dinner recipe with tons of garlicky, cheesy flavor. The whole family will love this easy meal.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • Prepare fettuccine according to package directions. Set aside. Reserve about ½ pasta water to thin the 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.

Notes

  • To store. To store your leftovers, place the sauce and pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep for 3-4 days.
  • To reheat. You can reheat this cream cheese Alfredo sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop over low heat. Stir it frequently to keep it from separating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 572kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 24g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 116mg, Sodium: 542mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g

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2 Responses
    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.
      Jessica

      I would do 1.5 cups heavy cream and .5 cup chicken broth. If you do all heavy cream, I think it will be too much thick cream. Hope this helps!

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.