Why Is My Alfredo Sauce Not Thickening?

You can try a few different things to thicken Alfredo sauce. The first approach is not only the simplest, but possibly the best-tasting as well. Cheese, typically Parmigiano-Reggiano and in large quantities, is the main component in Alfredo sauce. You can add more cheese than is specified in a recipe to thicken alfredo sauce until you have the desired consistency.

When Alfredo sauce won’t thicken, what should you do?

First, cream cheese

When the cream cheese is smooth, cube it and stir it into the Alfredo Sauce in a pot over heat. Be patient as it could take a short while for the cream cheese to melt and become creamy. Unless you don’t mind a heavier cream cheese flavour, start out with a small amount at a time.

Parmesan cheese, 2.

Add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese of a high calibre to the sauce. Your best bet in this case is freshly grated full-fat Parmesan cheese. I enjoy purchasing a large block of Parmesan from Costco and grating it by hand. If you understand what I mean, it works MUCH better than anything you would find already grated in the spaghetti section of the grocery store shelf.

3. Diced Cheese

It can also be effective to whisk in some high-quality cheese that you have grated yourself. If necessary, you could utilise pre-shredded meat, but pre-shredded meat doesn’t often melt well in sauces, so stick with a name brand. If possible, use a box grater or food processor to shred your own cheese. Depending on your preferences, you should try mozzarella, provolone, or even white cheddar.

4. Cream of Heavy

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk a small amount of heavy cream into the sauce and cook until it simmers or thickens slightly. Though it can take a lot of cream to thicken a lot of sauce, it’s not always the best solution.

Fifth, cornstarch (or Arrowroot)

Make a slurry by combining a little amount of cornstarch with some cold water (or another liquid) in a small bowl. Pour the slurry into the boiling sauce in a skillet over medium-high heat and stir slowly. Until the spicy sauce has the correct thickness, slowly whisk in the slurry.

6. Flour

In a small bowl, combine some flour with a little water and whisk until smooth, just as you would with cornstarch. While the sauce is cooking in a pan, gradually whisk the flour mixture into the sauce.

Seven. Egg yolks

Be careful with this one so your sauce doesn’t contain scrambled eggs! In a small bowl, place one or more egg yolks (or more, depending on how much sauce you have…). Add a little spicy sauce to the eggs while you whisk them. More hot sauce should be whisked into the yolks until they have absorbed a sizable amount of the sauce and the eggs are heated. The yolks are then incorporated into the spicy sauce-filled skillet. You won’t get smooth curdled eggs if you simply whisk cold egg yolks into hot sauce. Done that, been there, not good.

8. Produce

You read that correctly; Some veggies can be pureed and then added to the sauce. Cauliflower that has been cooked and pureed (like by steaming…) would be fantastic! So long as you don’t mind the flavour of vegetables in your sauce.

9. Roux

Over medium heat, melt some butter; after it has melted, stir in the same amount of flour. Butter and flour should be smoothed out by whisking. In a pan over medium heat, whisk a small amount of the roux into the sauce that is simmering.

Butter 10.

Similar to the roux, add equal quantities of softened butter and flour in a small bowl and stir until the mixture resembles paste. To thicken a simmering sauce, whisk in a small amount at a time.

Which one do I prefer then? If I had to choose one, I would start by trying to add more grated Parmesan cheese. I think it would taste the nicest and be quick and simple.

How much time does Alfredo sauce take to thicken?

Any sauce can be thickened by adding thickening ingredients like starch and egg yolks, whether you’re thickening a thin chilli or a sloppy pasta sauce. We’ll also take a look at some uncommon thickeners. Cream sauce and even soups are frequently thickened with roux.

Reducing the Sauce:

The simplest technique to thicken the sauce without flour is perhaps to simply boil off any excess heavy cream or pasta water that you may have added to your sauce. Additionally, since it won’t change the flavour of chilled alfredo sauce, it is a fantastic method for thickening it.

Just bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down, and let it simmer until it thickens. To keep the sauce from burning and sticking to your pan, keep stirring. The alfredo sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, so keep that in mind as well.


The use of flour to thicken sauce is quite typical among chefs. All you have to do is combine a spoon or two of flour with a little water to create a slurry. Stirring continuously, gradually incorporate in this mixture to your Alfredo sauce.

The sauce should be simmered until it has thickened and the flour is completely cooked. This method works well if you’ve already created alfredo sauce using cream cheese and heavy cream and don’t want to add more cheese to thicken it because it won’t make the sauce too heavy.


This ingredient makes sense because bechamel and other white sauces start with a roux basis. This is a fantastic substitute for adding egg yolks or cream cheese if you’re creating a “thin” alfredo meal without heavy cream (or trying to make the real Italian Fettuccine alfredo).

Butter is melted in a skillet and flour is added in a proportional amount to make roux. The flour is then heated through and cooked in the butter for a few minutes, giving off a faint nuttiness. Then the roux from the alfredo sauce is incorporated into the sauce and cooked until it is thick and creamy.

Egg Yolks:

When done correctly, this produces a gorgeously thickened sauce like carbonara. As a result, it pairs particularly well with the straightforward Italian alfredo sauce, which may become overly thick and custard-like when egg yolks are added to heavy cream.

In order to thicken your alfredo sauce without cream, first temper some egg yolks. Beat some yolks until they are smooth and runny to achieve this.

Then, whisking continuously, add a ladle’s worth of your alfredo sauce to the egg yolks. To avoid scrambling the eggs, add the sauce carefully and check that it’s not too hot.

As you keep adding sauce, whisk continuously to ensure that the eggs are fully combined. Continue stirring as you add this mixture to the remaining Alfredo sauce.

The sauce needs to simmer on medium-low heat for a few minutes to thicken. Alfredo sauce can be thickened with eggs if you have gluten intolerance.

Cream Cheese:

As long as you don’t mind your pasta tasting a little acidic, cream cheese is a suitable thickening for American alfredo sauce. It is also a wise choice if you are preparing a parmesan-free alfredo sauce.

Just cut your cream cheese into cubes and give it a little time to soften. Although letting your cheese out for 15 minutes can do, room temperature is prefered. After that, stir the cheese into a hot pot of Alfredo sauce.

This should be done gradually, with a small amount of cheese added at a time. Be patient as it will take some time for the cheese to emulsify and thicken. Additionally, the heat should be kept to low since hot temperatures can cause cheese to “split,” resulting in a gritty and unpleasant sauce.

No cream cheese in your refrigerator? Many of these practical cream cheese replacements are effective.


Like flour, cornstarch works well to thicken most sauces, including those with cream as one ingredient. Here’s how to use cornstarch to thicken a sauce: A couple of spoons of cornstarch whisked with a little water until the mixture was smooth and lump-free.

Then, gradually incorporate this slurry into your alfredo sauce while continuously stirring to prevent the slurry from congealing.

Then, over medium-high heat, gradually whisk the slurry into the simmering Alfredo sauce. As soon as the sauce achieves the required thickness and consistency, continue whisking. Even better, use arrowroot powder, which functions similarly to cornstarch.

Potato flakes work well as a thickening as well. However, avoid using cornmeal because it will partially separate from the sauce and leave it “gritty.”

Shredded Cheese:

Any other type of shredded cheese will work in place of the cream cheese in an alfredo sauce. There is such a thing as mozzarella alfredo sauce, especially when it contains freshly shredded high-moisture mozzarella.

To ensure that the cheese melts easily, avoid buying pre-shredded varieties when using shredded cheese. Instead, shred some high-quality cheese yourself and stir it into the sauce as you gradually add handfuls of it, melting it into the alfredo.

As the cheese melts, the sauce will gradually emulsify and thicken. Use Monterey jack, provolone, or white cheddar for the best results.

Mashed Vegetables:

Mashable starchy veggies are an excellent method to thicken sauce if you want a creamy but nutritious Fettuccine alfredo. Cucumber, leeks, or potatoes that have been boiled can be blended or mashed into a form of puree. If necessary, you can add a little milk to the puree to thin it down.

Then, simply whisk continuously while adding the mashed vegetables to the alfredo sauce in a skillet over heat. The sauce will become considerably creamier as a result of the starch that is produced when the veggies are mashed.

Remember, though, that the completed product will have a taste of the vegetables. While many individuals enjoy the additional flavours, some people prefer to cover up the taste of the cauliflower by adding more cheese and Italian seasoning.

Parmesan Cheese:

Regardless of the type of Alfredo you are preparing, this process works beautifully. Simply grate a brick of parmesan cheese and toss it into the sauce while heating it to medium. The best approach to emulsify the sauce and make it creamy and shiny is to use full-fat cheese.

Since parmesan is already present in the sauce, adding more won’t alter its flavour. Add a little milk or a splash of pasta water to thin out the sauce if you’ve added too much cheese and it’s too thick.

Crushed or Powdered Nuts:

Vegan Alfredo on the menu? Instead of using cheese or eggs as a thickening, you can use crushed almonds.

If you’re attempting to avoid gluten, this is a fantastic alternative. It is extremely adaptable because you can use practically any nut you have on hand, particularly cashew or almonds.

After lightly toasting the nuts until fragrant, grind them into a fine powder in a spice grinder. After that, stir this powder into the Alfredo sauce and boil for a while until it thickens.

Additionally, you can soak the nuts in some hot water and mix the resulting paste to thicken your sauce even more quickly.

Is runny Alfredo sauce appropriate?

It is true that an authentic alfredo sauce will thicken as it cools. But alfredo sauce tastes best when it’s hot or at least warm, so keep the heat low until you’re ready to serve, stirring now and then.

A chef’s preference for alfredo sauce thickness is entirely arbitrary. Some people want it a little bit thin, while others prefer it excessively thick.

The most important thing is that the pasta be completely covered in alfredo sauce.

How may creamy pasta sauce be thickened?

Even the greatest of us have experienced this: Despite your meticulous attention to detail, the dish didn’t come out as you had hoped. A gravy should have enough thickness to coat the back of a spoon, right? Why shouldn’t Alfredo sauce adhere to the pasta strands’ sides?

Professional recipe developers (like the people in our Test Kitchen) make an effort to foresee everything, but occasionally extraneous variables interfere. Perhaps you like your gravy a little thicker than they do, or perhaps the humidity level in your kitchen hindered the flour’s ability to thicken things up.

Use these techniques to easily mend sloppy, thin soups and underwhelming gravies.


Adding flour is a great technique to thicken dairy-based sauces, thick soups, and gravies if avoiding gluten is not an issue. My prefered technique is to prepare a roux (a mixture of all-purpose flour and fat in equal parts) and whisk in 2 ounces for each cup of liquid. You won’t have to worry about your family getting sick or the food tasting like raw flour because the flour is already cooked throughout the roux-making procedure.

As an alternative, you can mix some water right into the uncooked flour; use roughly 2 tablespoons for every cup of liquid in your recipe. When the sauce has thickened and the flavour of the flour has been cooked off, whisk the slurry into the pot and simmer it for a few minutes.

The next thickening is preferable if you need to keep clarity while increasing viscosity because flour will obscure your sauce.

Cornstarch or arrowroot

The gluten-free alternatives to thickening with flour are cornstarch and arrowroot. Additionally, they’ll keep the sauce pure and free of clouds. In the recipe, 1 tablespoon is required for every cup of liquid. Cornstarch and water are combined to make a slurry, which is then added to the saucepan. Until the cornstarch is thoroughly integrated and the sauce begins to thicken, whisk continuously over high heat. (Find out when it’s okay to eat cornstarch.)

What makes the two different from one another? In a nutshell, arrowroot freezes better than cornstarch and is naturally free of GMOs. However, it does turn slimy when mixed with dairy, so avoid using it as a gravy thickening.

Tomato paste

The beginning of the preparation is the ideal moment to add tomato paste. When heated, the sugars caramelise and the essential oils are released, but you may whisk it in at the end to help tomato-based soups and sauces bind. It can also be used to brown sauces or beef stews, though we wouldn’t suggest it for dairy-based sauces because it gives a splash of colour and tomato flavour.

Reduce the liquid

Reducing the liquid is a fantastic method to thicken things up if you have a lot of additional time. The other flavours will concentrate when the liquid evaporates, which may or may not be a good thing. You might transfer some of the sauce to a large saute pan to speed up the process because boiling a large stockpot of sauce can take some time. When it’s nice and thick, simply stir it back into the main pot.

Swirl in a pat of butter

If you’re almost there but not quite, this technique will give you an extra boost even if it won’t add much thickness. Just be sure to incorporate the butter into your sauce right before serving. High heat will cause the butter-infused sauce to crack, undermining the purpose of its thickening ability.

Add an egg yolk

Egg yolks are a traditional method for thickening custards and salad dressings, but they also excel at thickening rich cream sauces. Place the egg yolk in a bowl and gradually whisk in about a cup of the hot sauce to prevent the egg from scrambling. Then, while whisking constantly, pour the tempered yolk mixture into the saucepan.

Puree some vegetables

When pureed, starchy vegetables like potatoes, winter squash, or celeriac make great thickening agents. These vegetables can be easily roasted, boiled, and then processed in a food processor until smooth. The sauce will rapidly thicken once you whisk it into it. You may also include cooked beans or lentils of any kind, steamed and mashed cauliflower, or other vegetables, but keep in mind that the latter would give the dish more flavour.

You could also be able to purée half or more of your soup or sauce to thicken it up, depending on the type of recipe you’re cooking. It would thicken things up without adding any additional ingredients, but it would also lessen the dish’s lumpy consistency.

Try these fixes the next time your sauce seems a little thin. You’ll undoubtedly discover one that suits your recipe.