Classic Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
916 Calories
67g Fat
61g Carbs
20g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 916
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 67g 85%
Saturated Fat 41g 206%
Cholesterol 189mg 63%
Sodium 474mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Protein 20g
Calcium 312mg 24%
*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.)

This classic fettuccine Alfredo is made with cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. It's a traditional Italian dish made with just a few basic ingredients that most home cooks are likely to have on hand.


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  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese (freshly grated, plus more for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (chopped, plus more for garnish)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for fettuccine alfredo
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  2. Fill a large soup pot with cold water and add a handful or so of Kosher salt. Stir and taste; it should taste like seawater. Cover the pot and heat the water until it boils.

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  3. Drop the fettuccine into the boiling salted water and cook according to package instructions, about 6 to 9 minutes, or until al dente or tender, but still firm to the bite.

    Drop fettuccine in water
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  4. While the fettuccine cooks, heat the butter and cream in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble.

    Butter in milk
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  5. Lower the heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has reduced somewhat. Remove from heat.

    Lower the heat and simmer gently
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  6. Add the cheese and toss until fully mixed. Adjust consistency with additional cream if necessary.

    Add the cheese and toss
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  7. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Stir in the chopped parsley
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  8. Drain the fettuccine and toss with the Alfredo sauce.

    Drain the pasta
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  9. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and garnish with additional chopped parsley.

    Sprinkle with cheese
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  10. Serve right away and enjoy!


  • As with any recipe that has few ingredients, it is important that each ingredient is fresh and the best quality you can get. Make sure you use freshly grated Parmesan cheese (from the refrigerated cheese section, not from the shelves in a canister).
  • You also want to use fresh parsley and not dried. For a special treat, buy fresh fettuccine instead of from a box—or make your own homemade pasta
  • When making cream-based sauces, you might be tempted to substitute milk or half and half for the heavy cream, but be aware that these ingredients do no behave the same way.
  • Milk and half and half will curdle when simmered, but heavy cream is more stable, which is why it's the choice for cream sauces.

Recipe Variations

  • It's a lovely sauce served just as it is, but to make fettuccine Alfredo even more special you can add a protein or vegetables. Some grilled chicken, sliced into strips, turns the dish into chicken Alfredo. If you add cooked shrimp, the pasta becomes shrimp Alfredo; for a vegetarian Alfredo, toss in some sautéed mushrooms or steamed asparagus. Peas are also a nice addition no matter if you add other ingredients or not.
  • If you are eating vegan, there are a few ways to alter this recipe to accommodate your needs, whether it be using a dairy-free roux in place of the cheese or tofu and vegan cream cheese.
  • Toss the pasta and sauce with about 1 cup of steamed fresh or frozen peas.
  • Add 1 to 2 cups of steamed broccoli florets to the pasta and sauce mixture.
  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup of diced cooked ham along with steamed fresh or frozen peas.
  • Toss the pasta and sauce with about 1/4 cup of sliced green onion tops.
  • With Garlic: Saute 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced, in half of the butter for about 2 minutes. Add to the cream along with the remaining butter pieces and continue with the recipe.
  • With Chicken: Slice 4 chicken tenderloins into small pieces. Brown the chicken in a skillet in a small amount of vegetable oil or butter. Sprinkle with seasoned salt or Cajun or Creole seasoning. Toss the cooked chicken with the fettuccine and sauce.