Fettuccine alfredo is so luxurious and indulgent that eating it is truly a special event. As such, it would be a tragedy to waste the calories by using an average tasting jarred sauce. Special meals require a special touch and this alfredo sauce has it.Jump to Recipe
Why Make it at Home?
In blind taste tests I found that alfredo sauce made from scratch has a lot more flavor than jarred sauce. The parmesan is a lot more prevalent and the sauce itself is smoother and richer. And this flavor comes at practically no extra cost.
The cheapest jarred alfredo sauce I could find is Trader Joe’s. It costs $3.29 for a 16oz of sauce. About 21 cents per ounce. This one was very clearly the worst tasting sauce. It didn’t have any flavors of butter or parmesan even though they were on the ingredient list. The flavor profile was weirdly sweet, and frankly difficult to eat. No hate if you like trader joe’s alfredo sauce, it’s just not for me.
Rao’s costs $6.88 for a 15 ounce jar, which is 46 cents per ounce. And this one fared a lot better than Trader Joe’s. It tasted like actual alfredo sauce. But the flavor was not as strong compared to homemade. And it wasn’t as smooth either.
This recipe for homemade alfredo sauce uses $4.33 worth of ingredients and makes 9.5 ounces, which is also roughly 46 cents per ounce. This means homemade alfredo sauce costs about the same as high quality jarred sauces, but tastes even better.
The secret sauce to a perfect sauce.
Between the butter, cream, and parmesan, alfredo sauce is made with a lot of fat. All of which has to form an emulsion with the water in the cream to form a thick and velvety sauce. However, this means that it’s super easy for the fat to separate from the sauce due to overheating or inadequate mixing. The sauce breaks easily, something that almost never happens with the jarred stuff because they use one secret ingredient: Cornstarch
Cornstarch helps bind the fat to the water. This thickens the sauce, but more importantly lowers the chance of the sauce breaking. By incorporating this trick into our recipe we make this sauce bulletproof.
Garlic – The main flavor of alfredo. I use fresh minced garlic here, but minced jarred garlic works fine. In a pinch substitute with a tablespoon of garlic powder.
Parmesan – I highly recommend grating your own parmesan for this. Pre-shredded cheese doesn’t have as strong of a taste, and it comes with anti-caking agents that will make the sauce less smooth.
Half-and-half – I personally prefer the lighter flavor and feel of half-and-half over heavy cream. If you want the extra richness go with the heavy cream. Just don’t tell your doctor.
Better than Storebought Alfredo Sauce
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 tbsp butter
2 cups half-and-half
5 ounces grated parmesan (1 ½ cups)
2 tsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Small pinch of nutmeg
- Melt butter on medium low heat. Add garlic and gently fry until fragrant.
- Add half-and-half, Mix cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water to form a slurry. Add the slurry to the pan. Stir vigorously until combined. Simmer on low until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the grated parmesan and stir until fully melted and combined.
- Season with salt and pepper, and optionally nutmeg. Sauce should be slightly too salty when tasted on its own, so that it will be perfectly seasoned when eaten with pasta.
- Toss sauce with pasta of choice and enjoy.