Alfredo sauce, also known as “alfredo cream” or “white cream sauce,” is a simple sauce that is perfect for any dish. The best way to eat it is surely to make it from scratch as it can be made with just three ingredients: butter, heavy whipping cream and parmesan cheese. (Check out our Alfredo Sauce recipe here). But no worries – even if you can’t make it from scratch there are so many great options these days for store-bought alfredo sauce.
Whether you’re making your sauce or using a store-bought one, sometimes you’ll find the need to thicken it. The most common ways to thicken alfredo sauce are with things that are typically in your pantry or refrigerator.
Here we will look at some ways how to thicken alfredo sauce:
These are a great way to thicken alfredo sauce without affecting the flavor profile.
The most typical way to make an alfredo sauce is to use a roux. A roux is a mixture of a fat – most typically butter and a thickening agent – most typically flour. Butter is melted in a pan and then flour is sprinkled and stirred to create a paste. Then to the paste a liquid is added – most commonly milk or heavy cream and then alfredo is created.
2. White Flour
Flours can be used to make a bit of a slurry and add to the sauce to make it thicker. 1 part flour to 2 parts liquid and then adding it to your sauce should thicken it nicely. Just make sure that when you make the slurry, there are no lumps in your mixture.
This works as a great thickening agent. The easiest way to accomplish this is to mix about a spoonful of cornstarch to 2 spoonfuls of liquid – it could be water or chicken stock or even milk. You will add this mixture, also called a slurry to the sauce and as it starts to cook, the sauce will thicken.
4. Tapioca Flour
This is a great alternative to flour and makes the sauce gluten free. It’s also called tapioca starch or cassava flour. You could use this the same way as using other flours, simply use about a 1:2 ratio of the starch/flour to liquid. Again, making sure to mix it well so all the lumps are out.
5. Rice Flour
Another great gluten free option is rice flour. You will need to use a bit more of the rice flour to your liquid – about 1.5 to 2 flour to liquid. The rice flour doesn’t add flavor, but does thicken your sauce. If you have a really keen tongue, you might notice a bit of grittiness as the rice flour doesn’t completely dissolve in.
These are a great way to thicken your sauce by making them creamier and more satiating.
6. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are a terrific thickener for many things and pasta sauce is one of them. There are a few tips, make sure that you are using room temperature egg yolks. It helps to give them a mix and add a bit of whatever liquid you are using, so if you are using milk, add some to the yolks and then mix them together and then set aside while you create the sauce.
Once you have created a sauce add a bit of the heated sauce to the yolks to temper them, then you can add that mixture into the pan and thicken your sauce. Don’t skip on any of the steps or you could end up scrambled eggs!
7. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is another method to add a creaminess to your sauce. Keep in mind, it is best to use the full fat version of cream cheese as this melts the best and incorporates into the sauce. You can cut the brick of cream cheese into smaller cubes and then add it to your sauce and it will melt and create a thick cheesy and tangy alfredo.
8. Heavy Cream
Heavy Cream can also produce a super rich and creamy sauce with a hint of sweetness to it. So as you create your alfredo, instead of using milk, heavy cream can really provide that fattier richness that makes your sauce super smooth.
Alfredo sauce is typically made with parmesan cheese and parmesan is a terrific thickener. You buy it pre-shredded or grate your own. You can even use the stuff in a can, but it tends to not thicken and melt as well. If you can get the good stuff, buy a good block of it and shred it into your sauce to make it nice and thick.
10. Shredded Cheese
Another way to make a thicker sauce is to use shredded cheese, this will make the sauce more similar to a mac and cheese sauce, but still yummy! Since pre-shredded cheese has a powder on it to prevent caking and sticking, the best is to shred your own. Any type of cheese will work, but if you choose a stronger cheese the taste will affect the sauce.
We all love butter and butter can certainly be used to help pull a sauce together and make it nice and glossy, and it can also help make it a bit thicker too. It works best to add some butter to a bit of cornstarch or flour and then use it to thicken your sauce.
12. Plain Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is also a wonderful thickener for sauces. For alfredo sauce, make the sauce with the butter, milk and garlic and parmesan and then let it cool a bit. Once it’s not super hot, you can mix in the plain Greek yogurt to make the sauce thick and fluffy.
These are a great way to add extra veggies and nutrients to your alfredo sauce, and they are also great for those who are both gluten-free and vegan.
Potato is a great option to thicken your sauce up. Due to its mild flavor profile, it seems to go unnoticed. Make sure to fully cook the potatoes before blending into the sauce. Add extra water as needed, to ensure the sauce doesn’t get clumpy.
Cauliflower also works really well and blends right into the sauce. Cook the cauliflower until softened and then puree them with a little bit of the water you used to cook them in, or even a bit of your favorite stock – chicken, beef or vegetable. You would create your sauce and then add in the vegetable puree to thicken it.
15. Yellow Squash
This one might be favorite of the veggie-based thickeners. I feel like it’s healthier than the potato but has a better flavor than the cauliflower. Using the same technique, you’ll want to steam/cook the squash until softened. Then puree them with stock or the water that was used to cook them. Since squash already has liquid in it, you won’t need as much water.
With so many different ways to thicken alfredo sauce and so many ways to adjust it to your liking, we hope you will give it a try! Wow your family and friends with this pasta sauce at your next meal!
If you like this post, we think you’ll really like our Best Alfredo Sauce recipes post.