How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce


Alfredo sauce is a delicious sauce that’s popular among pasta eaters. And homemade Alfredo sauce is one of the best tasting creamy sauces that’s supposed to taste rich. But what if it’s too soupy? We’ve complied our top 20 recommended methods for how to thicken Alfredo sauce without compromising flavor and methods that enhance the quality.

alfredo sauce
homemade Alfredo sauce

What is Alfredo Sauce?

Alfredo sauce is a white creamy sauce that’s traditionally used on a variety of pasta noodles. It can be seasoned as desired. It’s usually cheese in flavor and can have hints of garlic.

Whether you’re working with homemade pasta sauce or store-bought pasta sauce, let’s face it, sometimes Alfredo sauce is just not thick enough. This can be because it’s just plain made soupy or the recipe ingredients need to be adjusted.

Regardless of the situation, we’ve come up with our top 20 best methods to fix your Alfredo sauce and make it thicker.

alfredo sauce on noodles
alfredo sauce on noodles

How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce: 20 Best Methods

Following are our top 20 ways to thicken Alfredo sauce without compromising quality or flavor.

You can choose the one that’s best for you according to dietary restrictions, availability, and personal preference.

Dairy-Based Thickeners

1. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is one of the frequently used ingredients called for in recipes for homemade Alfredo sauce.

Adding more cream cheese can help to act as a thickening agent if your sauce is too thin.

2. Parmesan Cheese

Shredded parmesan cheese can be used to resolve the problem of how to thicken Alfredo sauce. We’ve even used parmesan cheese from a shaker and added that to the mix to do the trick.

Using parmesan cheese adds to the delicious flavor of your creamy white sauce.

parmesan cheese
parmesan cheese

3. Shredded Cheese

Other flavors of white shredded cheese that have a mild flavor, such as mozzarella work well to add to the consistency of your sauce.

We recommend you start by adding a small amount and mixing well until it’s all incorporated. Then add more if needed.

4. Heavy Cream

The protein from a full fat heavy cream, when mixed with cheeses such as parmesan, cream cheese, or mozzarella, can make your sauce thicker.

Be careful of using a large amount of heavy cream solely as this can make the problem of your sauce seeming too watery even worse. And we don’t want that to happen.

5. Egg Yolks

Here’s how to thicken Alfredo sauce with egg yolk. Egg yolks work well to thicken creamy Alfredo sauce. To use them we recommend cracking them into a bowl or cup and whisking them first before adding them to the sauce.

Once added to the sauce, continue to whisk until well incorporated. Make sure to cook thoroughly.

6. Butter

If your Alfredo sauce contains cheese, butter contains milk and protein and when combined with cheese and heated emulsifies and works as a thickening agent.

Piece of butter in white bowl.
Piece of butter in white bowl.

7. Plain Greek Yogurt

Plain Greek yogurt works similarly to butter in that the full fat milk and protein bind together when heated with the cheese content and make the sauce thicker.

Starch-Based Thickeners

8. Cornstarch or Arrowroot

Cornstarch or arrowroot can be used to thicken Alfredo sauce. Cornstarch has no flavor and it works well when it’s heated to thicken most any dish.

To use cornstarch or arrowroot as a thickening agent, it’s best to add a bit to some water first to make a slurry so that you don’t end up with lumps. Make sure that your slurry is nice and smooth before it’s mixed to the Alfredo sauce.

9. Tapioca Powder

The best way to use tapioca powder as a thickening agent is to add a bit to some warm water and then whisk until smooth. Once this has been completed, the mixture can be added to the sauce.

10. White Flour

If you have all-purpose white flour on hand, this can be a great solution to making your Alfredo sauce thicker.

But don’t dump in a scoop of flour all at once or you’re likely to end up with lumps. Instead, create a slurry by adding some water to your flour and whisking until smooth. Then add to the sauce mixture and continue whisking until fully incorporated.

white flour
white flour

11. Rice Flour

Using rice flour to thicken your creamy pasta sauce works similarly to white flour. Create a slurry of water and flour first and then mix it until it’s smooth. Add to the sauce and stir until the desired consistency is achieved.

12. Roux

A roux consists of flour and melted butter or fat heated and whisked together as a thickening agent. It can then be added to your desired dish and mixed until well incorporated. Using a roux doesn’t alter the flavor of the dish it’s added to.

13. Use Cashews for a Vegetarian Alfredo Sauce

Thinking about how to thicken Alfredo sauce without flour or cornstarch? This could be your desired solution.

To use cashews for a vegetarian Alfredo sauce, you’ll want to soak them in hot water until they’re soft and then process them in a food processor or blender until smooth.

14. Crushed or Powdered Nuts

For how to thicken Alfredo sauce without heavy cream, you can use crushed or powdered nuts for a nice vegetarian addition.

15. Toss in Some Pasta Cooking Water

You can add some of the water that your pasta cooked in to make the Alfredo sauce thicker. But be careful not to add too much or it has the potential of making your thin sauce thinner.

16. Thicken with Pasta

Sometimes Alfredo sauce can be thickened just by adding your pasta to it. The starch of the drained wet pasta has a way of making the sauce thicker in some cases.

Veggie-Based Thickeners

Vegetable based thickeners can work quite well too, take special note of the second two if you don’t want to add all the carbs that can come with the starch add ins. Here are our three best recommendations for vegetable-based thickeners.

17. Potato

Dried potato flakes such as instant mashed potatoes won’t alter the flavor of your pasta sauce. Add a small amount, stir, and then add more if needed, until the desired consistency is achieved.

Dehydrated potato flakes in a wooden bowl
Dehydrated potato flakes in a wooden bowl

18. Cauliflower

Cauliflower provides a good solution that is vegetable based. To use cauliflower as a thickener, cook it first and then puree it in a blender. Add the desired amount for how to thicken Alfredo sauce.

19. Yellow Squash

Yellow squash can be used similarly to cauliflower. Just cook and puree it first and add the desired amount to the mix. Yellow squash is somewhat sweet in flavor but is mild enough to not alter the dish significantly.

Other Methods

Don’t have the desired ingredients mentioned above to add? No problem, you can simply cook down the mixture.

20. Reducing the Sauce

Reducing the sauce by cooking off excess water can help to thicken the mixture.

One word of caution about choosing this method though is to cook your sauce using a low temperature slowly and stir it regularly. It’s a risk to cook creamy based dishes such as this on high heat because they burn easily.

My Alfredo Sauce is Too Thick, What Should I Do?

If your Alfredo sauce is too thick, chances are you’ll want to add some liquid to thin it down a bit. Remember to add a little at a time so that you don’t create the opposite problem and make it too thin.

The best liquids to use to thin your Alfredo sauce are milk, cream, or even broth such as a vegetable broth or chicken broth. Stir constantly using a whisk until the desired consistency is reached.

alfredo sauce thickened
Alfredo sauce thickened

Secrets to Make the Creamiest Pasta

The secret to making the creamiest pasta is to use full fat ingredients such as heavy cream and full fat cheeses.

You’ll also want to use a whisk and stir the mixture constantly over low heat so that it mixes to a nice, creamy Alfredo sauce.

Common Mistakes When Making Alfredo Sauce

Homemade Alfredo sauce or white sauce for pasta and other dishes can be one of the most delicious dishes. However, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when making Alfredo sauce.

Not Enough Butter

Butter consists of protein and milk that works as an emulsifier with the cheese when it’s heated and mixed together. Be sure to use enough butter as it reads in your recipe.

Adding Butter at the End

Don’t wait to add the butter at the end. Instead, add butter when the recipe calls for it. Usually, it’s one of the first ingredients to go into the mix.

Using Milk Instead of Heavy Cream

Using milk instead of heavy cream won’t give you the same quality results. Instead, your Alfredo sauce will turn out watery and too thin compared to when heavy cream is used.

Why Consider Thickening Alfredo Sauce?

Whether you’re trying to find the answer for how to thicken store-bought Alfredo sauce or how to thicken homemade Alfredo sauce, a good reason to thicken is because it turned out to be too watery or thinner than you desire.

noodles on sauce
noodles on sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that refer to how to thicken Alfredo sauce. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please feel free to drop it to us in the comments box and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Why is my Alfredo sauce not thickening?

It’s possible that your Alfredo sauce is not thickening because too much milk has been added. You’ll want to choose a thickener from our list above to compensate for your Alfredo being too thin.

It’s also possible that your Alfredo sauce hasn’t cooked long enough yet for it to become thick.

Will Alfredo sauce thicken as it cools?

It’s possible that your Alfredo sauce will thicken as it cools. This depends on the recipe or the ingredients used.

If your Alfredo sauce doesn’t thicken as it cools, you can always warm it up again and add one of the recommended thickening agents from our list above.

How do you thicken creamy pasta sauce?

The best way to thicken creamy pasta sauce is to use cream cheese, parmesan cheese, or shredded cheese, but any of the ingredients listed above will do the job and can be used according to personal preference or dietary restrictions.

Does butter thicken Alfredo sauce?

Yes, if your Alfredo sauce contains cheese, butter contains milk and protein and when combined with cheese and heated emulsifies and works as a thickening agent.

How can I thicken Alfredo sauce without parmesan cheese?

Yes, there are many alternative ingredients listed above such as shredded cheese or cream cheese that can be just as effective.

How long does Alfredo sauce last in the fridge or freezer?

Homemade Alfredo sauce will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. And it can be frozen for up to 2 months without compromising quality.

What to add to Alfredo sauce for better flavor?

In our opinion, homemade Alfredo sauce has the best flavor. Ingredients such as cheese, garlic, and salt help to add delicious flavor.

Can I use whipping cream instead of heavy cream for Alfredo sauce?

Heavy whipping cream is one of the best things to use when making homemade Alfredo sauce.

How do I make Alfredo sauce without heavy cream?

The fat content of the heavy cream is what helps to make Alfredo sauce so delicious as well as helps to thicken the mixture. You can’t really substitute plain milk for heavy cream without compromising quality.

Fun Twists on Basic Alfredo Sauce Recipes

Thinking of changing up the flavor of your Alfredo sauce or kicking it up a notch? Here are some alternative flavors and add-in ideas for your basic Alfredo sauce recipes.

Alfredo Pizza

Use your Alfredo sauce instead of pizza sauce to make a pizza. This creamy sauce tastes delicious with chicken as a topping or any other traditional toppings you desire.

Alfredo Shrimp Bake

Add shrimp to your cooked pasta and Alfredo, along with any flavors or seasonings and bake it in the oven to make a delicious casserole or Alfredo shrimp bake.


Alfredo sauce can be used in lasagna in place of or in addition to the tomato or marinara sauce. It gives an added dimension of interest in flavor or can provide a delicious alternate flavor to a traditional tomato-based recipe.

Meaty Alfredo

Consider altering your meaty spaghetti and combine the two using fettuccini noodles or Alfredo sauce in a cooked hamburger addition.  


Best Alfredo Sauce Recipe

California Pizza Kitchen Creamy Fettuccini Recipe Copycat

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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