Easy Make-Ahead Alfredo Sauce

This makes enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta -- or 1/2 pound if you like it extra-cheesy!

Swap out the Parmesan for any favorite cheese to make your own version of this cheese sauce.

For a garlicky alfredo sauce, saute 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic with the butter before adding the flour.

You can use 2% or skim milk for this recipe, but the sauce will be thinner.

This recipe can be scaled up to make larger batches. Just keep the ratios of flour, butter, milk, and cheese the same.

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 1 3/4 cups of sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus extra as needed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (3 to 3 1/3 ounces, 85 to 128 grams)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Method

1 Warm the milk: In the microwave (30-second bursts) or on the stovetop, warm the milk until it's warm to the touch and a bit steamy. (It does not need to be boiling hot; just warm.) Set aside.

How to Make Alfredo Sauce - warm the milk

2 Make the roux: Melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over top, then whisk together using a whisk.

Continue to cook the roux, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. This cooks off the raw flour flavor. It's ok if the roux turns a golden color, but continue immediately to the next step if it starts to brown significantly.

How to make Alfredo Sauce - start the roux How to make easy alfredo sauce with simple roux Roux for Alfredo sauce

3 Whisk in the warm milk: Add about 1/4 cup of the warm milk to the roux and whisk. Add another 1/4 cup and whisk some more. The roux will seize up into clumps.

Continue adding the milk in small 1/4-cup increments, whisking continuously. The clumps will eventually smooth out and look like mashed potatoes, then a thick puree, and then a sauce. Once it looks like a sauce, whisk in any remaining milk. This step should only take about a minute. You can move through the phases fairly quickly.

Easy Alfredo sauce - whisking milk into roux How to Make Alfredo Sauce - getting lumps out of roux Easy Alfredo sauce - roux with milk whisked until creamy Make-Ahead Alfredo Sauce

4 Cook the sauce: Once all the milk has been added, continue to cook the sauce over medium heat while whisking, for 3 to 5 minutes. It's ready when it looks like heavy cream -- slightly thickened and silky.

5 Stir in the Parmesan: Add all of the cheese at once. Whisk until the cheese has melted into the sauce and is no longer visible. At this point, the sauce should look quite thick and creamy.

You can cook it a little longer, whisking occasionally, to let it thicken a little more if you like, but it's better to err on the side of a too-thin sauce at this point. It will thicken a bit more when you reheat it.

Adding cheese to Easy Alfredo Sauce How to Make Alfredo Sauce with any cheese Creamy Alfredo Sauce that easily reheats

6 Store the alfredo sauce: Transfer the sauce to storage containers and cool completely. A skin will form on the surface of the sauce and the sauce will thicken to a paste-like consistency; this is normal. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to a month.

Refrigerate or freeze alfredo sauce

7 Reheat the sauce: If your sauce was frozen, transfer it to the fridge to thaw overnight before reheating.

Transfer the sauce into a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Gently warm over low heat, or in 30-second bursts in the microwave, until warmed. Stir occasionally, or between every 30-second burst in the microwave. It will start off very thick and paste-like, but will soften and return to a sauce as it warms.

If the sauce seems too thick, whisk in a splash of milk, broth, or water until the sauce is as thinned as you like.

How to reheat Alfredo Sauce Can freeze Alfredo sauce and reheat Easy Alfredo Sauce that reheats beautifully

8 Use reheated sauce immediately: Toss with cooked pasta or pour over cooked vegetables, chicken, or fish.

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Comments

  • Carrie

    Delicious!! Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Natasha

    First time I made this I absolutely fell in love , thank you so so much for sharing this !

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Deena G.

    This is so delicious and easy. My kids are lactose intolerant so cream, milk and cheese are usually a no-fly zone. However, Parmesan is naturally lactose free and by using lactose-free milk (which is 100% dairy BTW – many people think it’s not real milk), my kids got to enjoy an amazing dinner of Fettuccini Alfredo! This is a new keeper recipe and house favorite. Thank you so much!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Julie

    Thank you for this recipe Emma, It is a wonderful with easy to follow directions that produce a solid sauce. I changed it up a bit to make it a little more flavorful, made a boatload of it (4 batches at a time) and served it to over 200 people at my son’s graduation party. It was a huge hit and I received many compliments. I added crushed garlic to the butter, used 1 c. 1% milk + 1/2 c. half and half, substituted fresh parm/romano for about 1/2 of the cheese, and added about 1/8 to 1/4 t. crushed red pepper. I used Farfalle pasta and added chunks of chicken breast (grilled or pan fried). I made it 2 days in advance, poured the sauce over the pasta and chicken in chaffing pans and refrigerated it until we were ready to serve. I made 4 extra batches and jarred it to add in as needed and we used it all, the noodles really soaked up the sauce but I thought letting it set a couple of days made it extra yummy. We heated it in the oven (covered) before serving it up in a chaffing dish. It was delicious and now one of our family’s favorites!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Allison

    What a great idea to make ahead and be able to freeze the sauce. You have some great tips in this article and I’m going to try this tomorrow, make a double batch and freeze half of it. My family loves Alfredo sauce and I’m always looking for ways to make life easier.

  • Stephanie

    This sounds delicious! I’m looking to feed about 20 people with this, how much sauce would you recommend I make?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Stephanie! I think if you figure that 1 pound of pasta will feed 6 to 8 people, and one batch of this alfredo sauce is enough for 1 pound of pasta….[doing the math in my head]… I’d recommend making three batches of sauce and 3 pounds of pasta. You might have some leftovers, but those are good too!

  • NDT

    Could a non-dairy milk be used as a substitute?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, NDT! I haven’t tested this with non-dairy milk, so I’m not 100% sure. My instinct is that a creamy variety, like cashew or soy milk, would work ok. If you give it a try, let us know how it works out!

    • Tamsin

      I have made Alfredo sauce with cashew milk, it is great!

    • Sandy

      I am using Smart Balance and whole Lactaid milk and all cheese aged over 60 days (no lactose) for Gluten and Lactose allergy . Works beautifully !

  • tonichow

    Would the recipe work using a lower fat milk?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Tonichow! Your alfredo sauce will be a little thinner and less rich-tasting if made with low-fat milk, but yes, this recipe should still work. Enjoy!

  • L

    Easy & delicious! I would definitely double the batch next time, we had no leftovers! Smashed a clove of garlic and melted it in with the butter, wonderful flavor. This is a keeper :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kim

    Can you preserve this in a jar with a lid in a pressure cooker?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Kim! I’m not sure! I think that if you find a reliable recipe elsewhere for pressure cooker canned alfredo sauce and it has similar ingredients to this, then you can follow that method. Sorry that I couldn’t be of more help!

  • June Cini

    Alfredo is made with cream.

    • Emma Christensen

      When you’re doing a make-ahead version like this, I think whole milk works better. You’re welcome to use cream if you like, however! I think it would work just fine.

  • Patrick

    Steam fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, bay, basil, sage in the milk, then strain before adding the milk to the roux. I find it much easier to mix the roux and milk off the heat, then back on the stove to thicken.

  • Patricia

    Sounds tasty. Why do recipes call for unsalted butter and then add salt?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Patricia! It’s so that you can control the amount of salt in the recipe! Store-bought salted butter can contain variable amounts based on the brand. If you use unsalted and add it yourself, then you know exactly how much salt has been added. Make sense?

  • Shaysha

    Can this be frozen?

  • Marie

    Hi! Great photos :)
    Thank you for the recipe.
    Can you please explain the difference between Alfredo sauce and Bechamel?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Marie! This alfredo sauce is just a bechamel with cheese. (Bechamel is just roux + milk, no cheese.) Enjoy!

  • ap duffy

    This will be especially yummy with fresh pasta and peas and a twist of fresh grated nutmeg! I can’t wait until I am off my March diet…thank you Emma!!

  • Megan at Lush to Blush

    Mmmm! This sounds so delish. I love the fact that it reheats well, too!

  • Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    I love the idea of making this ahead. This pasta in its simplicity is so delicious and full of flavour.

  • Natalie

    This is such a useful little recipe as someone who loves making stuff ahead of time

  • Sara @ Last Night's Feast

    I love this idea! Thank you!