Skip to Content

Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo So Easy You’ll Be Shocked

Creamy fettuccine alfredo will blow your jarred sauce out of the water. With just 4 ingredients, this rich, amazingly easy comfort food classic will be a true favorite!

Jump to Recipe

The night I made this for dinner, I laughed. Cackle laughed.

Serial killer laughed.

Because I realized y’all been gettin’ duped by the jarred garbage.

With just fresh pasta (store bought–I’m not that nuts), butter, cream, and parmesan, there is ZERO reason to buy the jarred nasty unless you just like eating a container of preservatives.

Is fettuccine alfredo healthy?

Giggle snort. I mean–not if you’re worried about calories or fat. In this house we follow the idea that not all fats are created equal and that they aren’t anything to fear if you have good ones.

Vegetable oil is out but grass fed butter, real parmesan cheese, and non homogenized cream are wonderful things to nourish your body with in this fettuccine alfredo so it’s up to you to decide how healthy yours will be.

It’s not really logical to swap the ingredients in this recipe for low fat versions. You should just make something different instead.

What ingredients will give fettuccine alfredo the best flavor?

This is super important. Because there aren’t very many ingredients, each one needs to be as high quality as you can afford and access.

Cheese

You need parmigiano-reggiano. AKA the only real parmesan cheese there is. You will be able to recognize it by the stamped letters on the rind.

The flavor is unmatched compared to anything else and since it’s the primary flavor in this dish, it cannot be skipped or substituted. Most any grocery store will carry the real thing these days. Ask your cheese person if you need help.

And if you use that jarred powder I’ll hunt you down.

Butter

Good butter also lends flavor and richness. Remember that your spreadable butter in a tub is NOT butter. That’s oil made to look like butter. Buy something that fits your budget, but I like Kerrygold grass fed butter or I make my own.

Salted or unsalted doesn’t really matter here. I keep salted on hand all the time.

Cream

In this case you need heavy cream, also known as heavy whipping cream. It’s in a pint container in the dairy section with the milk.

If you can get your hands on a good one that’s wonderful–I have a local place where I can buy non homogenized, low heat pasteurized cream but get what you have access to. You won’t use it all, so consider using the leftovers to make whipped cream for strawberry shortcakes.

a container of non homogenized milk

Good pasta

I know you think I’m a total food snob by this point but I just want your fettuccine alfredo to taste good. You can certainly use any dried fettuccine. It’s fine. But if you want something richer, buy a refrigerated fresh version.

And if you’re feeling really spunky, make your own.

How to make fettuccine alfredo step by step

Step 1: Make sure you have your ingredients pre-measured and ready to go because this recipe comes together FAST. Start by cooking your pasta.

If you are using dried pasta cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender (follow the box instructions). If you have fresh pasta, be prepared to only cook it about 2 minutes and don’t over cook it.

a pile of fresh uncooked pasta

As the pasta cooks, remember to reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water for thinning your sauce.

dipping a cup in a pot of pasta water

Step 2: Once your pasta is cooked and drained, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.

half a stick of butter melting in a large skillet

Step 3: Add the cream but don’t stir just yet; add in step 4 (the cheese) then stir.

pasta, cream and butter in a skillet together before stirring

Step 4: Add the grated parmesan cheese and pasta water and stir to combine. The cheese will melt and the sauce will coat the noodles.

pasta with grated parmesan on top before stirring in

How can I keep fettuccine alfredo from clumping?

Fettuccine is one of those things you have to eat warm. In just minutes it will start to cool, thicken and clump and there’s not a ton you can do to fix it.

You could add additional water to the sauce when assembling but my best recommendation is to be ready to eat as soon as its cooked or learn to like it cold and clumpy.

Additions to your pasta

This pasta is a blank slate for additions. There’s so much that will compliment it!

  • Chicken–we added chicken to ours after I took the pictures and it was nice to have something a bit more hearty in it. Rotisserie or any pre cooked chicken will work. I like to roast and shred chicken in bulk.
  • Shrimp–a good quality pre-cooked shrimp would be great. Grilled would be even better. I love Argentenian Red shrimp!
  • Garlic–yes I know there’s no garlic in my version. I find that it’s totally overpowering and not necessarily original to the recipe. Feel free to add it.
  • Herbs–parsley or thyme would really pump things up! Always use fresh.
a skillet of fettuccine alfredo with a spoon in it and a blue napkin

Creamy Fettuccine Alfredo

Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 420kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces fresh fettuccine 12 ounces dried fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter unsalted also works
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese 4 ounces before grating
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt *See Note 1
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Pre measure all ingredients before you begin.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, get the 1/2 cup of pasta water from the pot and set aside, then drain and put the pasta back in the pot to keep warm.
  • In a 12" or larger skillet, melt the butter over medium heat just until melted. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the pasta, pasta water, cream, parmesan, half the salt, and pepper.
  • Stir gently to combine and allow the parmesan to melt. Serve immediately.

Notes

Note 1: Parmesan can be very salty. Start by adding half the salt (or no salt if you want to be sure) after the cheese has been added and melted then adjust the seasoning as needed. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 420mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 745IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 1mg

a loaf of sliced cinnamon bread on a table
Homemade Cinnamon Bread (Swirled, Nuts or Raisins)
← Read Last Post
a freezer bag of peaches on a table
How to freeze fresh peaches
Read Next Post →
Recipe Rating