Creamy White Pizza and Pasta Sauce

Creamy white sauce for pizza recipe

The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva

  • Total: 23 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 13 mins
  • Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
61 Calories
3g Fat
5g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 61
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 125mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 87mg 7%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 77mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pizza sauce doesn't have to be tomato-based one-hundred percent of the time. There are plenty of alternatives for topping a flavorful pie, from vegan pesto to the classic pesto alla genovese to a bold olive tapenade. But an all-time favorite has to be a white sauce: garlicky, creamy, and delicious. Made from simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, our white sauce makes a cheesy addition to your vegetarian pizza (or meat pizza) but it can also be used to top focaccia, vegetables, or pasta. Omnivores can mix this sauce with shredded chicken or sausage to stuff calzone, or make open-faced sandwiches with the meats of their choice.

Although people think of white sauce as the same as Alfredo sauce, they're nothing alike. Italian Alfredo is a butter and cheese-based pasta dish that results from mixing egg pasta with butter and abundant amounts of Parmigiano. What is known in the U.S. as Alfredo is a take on the original, but filled with cream, milk, and other ingredients. Our sauce is an in-between: buttery and cheesy, minus the cream.

This rich cream sauce has a real punch of flavor and the recipe makes a generous amount, enough for one large pizza or six to eight servings of pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 1 1/4 cups milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or dried basil and oregano)

  • 1 dash kosher salt

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for creamy white pizza sauce
    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring with a fork until the mixture is thick and pasty.

    Melt butter in saucepan
    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva
  3. Turn up the heat to medium-low and then slowly add in the milk, whisking it all together and stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

    Add in milk
    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva
  4. Add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning (or basil and oregano), salt, and pepper. Allow your sauce to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it has thickened.

    Add seasoning
    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva
  5. Stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese until the cheese has melted and is well incorporated. Your white sauce will thicken further as it cools, so add a bit more milk if needed and, conversely, don't worry if it seems too thin while on the stovetop over the heat. 

    Stir in parmesan cheese
    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva
  6. Serve with your favorite pizza crust or pasta.

    Use on pasta
    The Spruce Eats / Viktoriya Stoeva
  7. Enjoy!

How to Store White Sauce

If you have leftover sauce, place in an airtight container and place in the fridge once it has cooled off. Use the sauce within 3 to 5 days, but reheat only what you need, as repeated reheating and cooling off will spoil the sauce.

Warm up in a saucepan and add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it out, if needed.

How to Use White Sauce on Pizza or Pasta

Here are a few ideas for recipes you can try to make the best use of this delicious sauce:

  • Pizza: use your favorite crust and cover it with white sauce. Use one of the following combination of ingredients to top it: sautéed kale with garlic and shaves or parmesan; sautéed spinach, roasted pine nuts, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes; slices of brie and apples, topped with fresh arugula; sliced fresh figs, caramelized onions, and Gruyere.
  • Pasta: mix cooked pasta with white sauce and use one of the following combinations of ingredients to make a filling and nutritious dish; cherry tomatoes, basil, and cubed mozzarella; steamed peas, chopped walnuts, and Pecorino Romano; chopped green and red peppers, green olives, and broccoli florets.
  • Vegetables: pour the sauce on lightly steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans, top it with generous amounts of parmesan, and broil for 6 minutes.
  • Dip: use the sauce as a dip for pieces of warm naan, crusty bread, or crudités.