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.
10 Best Ways to Thicken Alfredo Sauce
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. And I’ve rounded up 10 easy ways!
Ready? Let’s begin!
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 fettuccine 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.
- Add extra cheese to the sauce after cooking.
- Mix until it’s melted and smooth.
- Add more as needed.
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.
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! So if you’re like me and don’t mind a hint of acidity, this technique is for you.
Here’s how to incorporate cream cheese:
- Cut a block of full-fat cream cheese into cubes.
- Whisk the 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.
- Add more as needed.
If you’re not a fan of cream cheese, but that’s all you have at the moment, start with a few cubes and go from there.
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 cheese. Cool huh?
- Add a teaspoon of butter to your Alfredo sauce.
- Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until you get your desired consistency.
- As more as needed.
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 the taste.
Don’t add the eggs while the sauce is super hot! Otherwise, you’ll get a lumpy sauce with bits of scrambled eggs.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.
- Let the sauce cool slightly.
- Add an egg yolk or two (depending on how much sauce you have) and stir well.
- Once the yolk and sauce have been incorporated, turn on the heat to medium and keep stirring until you get your desired thickness.
5. Add Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is an essential component of American Alfredo sauce, so add more of that to thicken it!
Here’s what to do:
- Bring some cream to a low simmer.
- It should thicken slightly.
- Add it slowly to the sauce, mixing well.
I have to admit, this isn’t my preferred method.
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 option either.
6. Add Flour
Starch does a fine job at giving Alfredo lovely thickness. Be sure to cook it well, though, because flour leaves a starchy flavor when undercooked.
To add flour to Alfredo sauce:
- Mix 3 tablespoons of flour into half a cup of water.
- Whisk until smooth and lump-free.
- Whisk the slurry into the Alfredo sauce over medium heat.
- Keep stirring until thickened.
Aside from regular flour, corn flour works well.
Dilute a teaspoon of corn flour in 3 teaspoons of cold water and add to the sauce. Stir vigorously until thick.
Apart from adding simple 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.
Here’s how to make a roux:
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan.
- Then, mix in 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk until combined.
- Cook for a few minutes.
- Whisk the roux into the sauce, and stir for 5 minutes or until your desired consistency is achieved.
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.
- Blend a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot into half a cup of water.
- Add the slurry to the simmering sauce.
- Stir over medium-high heat until thick.
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.
- Mix the powder with the butter and cream prior to cooking.
- Or, 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.
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. And all you have to do is mix the two:
- Lightly coat cooked pasta in olive oil and toss it in the sauce.
- Let it simmer on low heat for 7 minutes.
You’ll be surprised at what difference this simple technique makes!
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