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How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce

by insanelygood

Alfredo sauce is meant to be a creamy and velvety coating to fettuccine. But what do you do if the sauce is too runny? 

If you’re wondering how to thicken Alfredo sauce, you aren’t alone.

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Pasta with Alfredo Sauce and Chicken

No one wants soupy pasta. So when you notice your Alfredo sauce not thickening the way you want it, it’s so easy to panic.

But the game’s not over, so don’t abandon all hope just yet! 

There are several pasta-bilities to thicken your soupy sauce. I’ve rounded up 10 easy ways!

Ready? Let’s begin!

Parmesan Cheese

1. Add Parmesan Cheese 

Alfredo sauce is made with cheese anyway, so you might as well add copious amounts to thicken it.

I mean, it’s not like you’ll eat Alfredo when you’re on a diet, so you need not go easy on the cheese!

Your best bet here is high-quality parmesan cheese, freshly grated. I’m telling you, freshly grated cheese thickens a lot better than any pre-shredded cheese.

Other cheeses work well, too, such as ooey-gooey mozzarella, sharp provolone, and milky white cheddar cheese.

Again, the key is to shred it yourself since pre-shredded cheese won’t melt as well.

Add the cheese to your boiling sauce and give it a mix.

Cream Cheese

2. Add Cream Cheese 

Unlike the cheese I’ve mentioned above, cream cheese has a slight tanginess that will alter the taste of your Alfredo sauce.

I love the flavor it brings to the table, though! If you’re like me and do not mind a hint of acidity in your sauce, this technique is for you.

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Just whisk in some cubed softened cream cheese into the sauce and stir until smooth. Cream cheese takes time to melt, so you’ll need a bit of patience. 

If you’re not a fan of cream cheese, but that’s all you have at the moment, start with a few cubes and just keep adding if necessary.

Butter

3. Butter

Did you know that the classic Fettuccine Alfredo is made with just cheese and butter? Yup, no cream, no eggs. Just those two ingredients should be enough to get a thick and creamy sauce.

So, aside from adding more cheese, another trick is to add more butter. Butter contains milk and protein, which emulsifies as it combines with the cheese. 

Add a teaspoon of butter into your Alfredo sauce and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until you get your desired consistency.

Egg Yolk

4. Egg Yolks

Using egg yolks is an Italian-approved technique to thicken Alfredo sauce. I love this method because not only does it thicken the sauce beautifully, but it also doesn’t alter its taste.

Don’t add the eggs while the sauce is super hot! Otherwise, you’ll get a lumpy sauce with bits of scrambled eggs. 

Start by turning off the heat. Once it’s cooled a little, add an egg yolk or two (depending on the sauce quantity) with the Alfredo and stir well.

Once the yolk and sauce have incorporated, turn on the heat to medium and keep stirring until you get your desired thickness. 

Bowls of Heavy Cream

5. Add Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is an essential component to American Alfredo sauce, so add more of that to thicken it!

Let the cream simmer for a few minutes to get that super thick consistency.

I have to admit, though – this isn’t my preferred method at all.

It relies too much on the cream to thicken, so you must use a lot of it! Sure, it makes the sauce insanely creamy, but it’s not the cheapest of options either.

Bowl of Flour With Egg

6. Add Flour

This starch does a fine job at giving your Alfredo that lovely thickness. Be sure to cook it well, though, because flour leaves a starchy flavor when undercooked.

To use, add 3 tablespoons of flour in half a cup of water and mix well until diluted. Whisk in the mixture into the sauce and stir until thick.

Aside from regular flour, corn flour works fine as well. Dilute a teaspoon of corn flour in 3 teaspoons of cold water and add to the sauce. Stir vigorously until thick. 

Mixing Flour and Melted Butter

7. Roux

Apart from adding flour, a flour-butter mixture, also known as a roux, works great as well. Because there’s butter, a roux will not only thicken but also make the sauce even richer.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan. Then, mix in 3 tablespoons of flour until combined.

Whisk the roux in the sauce, and stir for 5 minutes or until your desired consistency is achieved.

Bowl of Cornstarch

8. Cornstarch or Arrowroot 

Two other starches that make fine thickeners are cornstarch and arrowroot.

They’re especially great if you plan on making a huge batch of sauce because they won’t cause it to spoil as quickly as flour does.

To use, dilute a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot in half a cup of water. Add the slurry into the simmering sauce, and stir over medium-high heat until thick.

Tapioca Powder

9. Tapioca Powder

Tapioca is a cassava-based starch that can thicken any sauce. It’s much more powerful than cornstarch! The only downside is, it’s not as commonly available as cornstarch. 

Tapioca is available at certain health food stores. While tapioca granules are also effective, it’s much better to get tapioca powder because it dissolves much faster. 

Tapioca also reheats well because it holds water well. So, when you warm frozen or refrigerated Alfredo sauce, it will still keep its consistency. 

One way to use it is to mix the powder with the butter and cream mixture prior to cooking.

Or you can also dilute it first in water before adding it to the sauce. It will thicken at a lower temperature than cornstarch, so keep the heat below 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alfredo Sauce in a Bowl

10. Thicken With Pasta

And finally, if you don’t have any of the above ingredients available, just have faith in your fettuccine! Pasta is starchy, so sometimes it’s enough to thicken up your Alfredo sauce.

Lightly coat your cooked pasta in olive oil and toss it in the sauce. Let it simmer on low heat for 7 minutes.

You’ll be surprised what difference this simple technique makes!

How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce

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Ingredients

  • Alfredo Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  • Place the cornstarch into half a cup of water.
  • Mix into a slurry.
  • Add the slurry into the simmering Alfredo sauce, and stir over medium-high heat until thick.
How to Thicken Alfredo Sauce

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