This 5-ingredient garlic cream sauce (garlic alfredo sauce) is rich, creamy, dreamy, and made with a simple combination of parmesan, butter, garlic, and cream at its base (with several flavor variations!). Perfect for making creamy garlic pasta, pouring over seafood and meat, veggies, and more!
Grate/mince the garlic and grate the parmesan (using the small holes on a grater/microplane).
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring often, so the garlic doesn't burn.
Add the flour, stirring constantly for about a minute until golden.To use cornstarch, create a cornstarch slurry by mixing it with a few spoonfuls of milk instead of making a roux. Then add it to the sauce after all the cream is incorporated. Note that the amount needed will differ from flour.
Slowly start incorporating the cream, little by little, stirring constantly. Then, season it with salt and pepper.
Allow the creamy garlic butter sauce to simmer and thicken (usually 2-3 minutes).
Add the parmesan, stir well, and remove the sauce from the heat.
You can now either use the sauce as is. However, when using this for creamy garlic pasta, I always dilute it with some starchy pasta water, allowing it to simmer and thicken slightly to my desired consistency.
Store: store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. It can become thick/gummy but will loosen up upon reheating and whisking. Freeze: allow the garlic alfredo sauce to cool and then transfer to airtight container/s (jars or containers) with a little headspace OR Ziplock bags (I like to portion mine). Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Upon thawing, the consistency can seem a little odd, but whisk it well when reheating, and it should sort itself out. Reheat: you can reheat the garlic cream sauce gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until piping hot (or at least 165ºF/74ºC). You may need an extra splash of cream or milk to bring it back to your desired consistency.
Adjust the garlic to taste: in fact, you can adjust the amount of garlic and parmesan to taste.
Don't burn the garlic: when sautéing it, it can turn lightly golden but shouldn't brown, or it can make the whole sauce have a burned taste.
Whisk constantly: when adding the flour and slowly pouring in the cream, it's important to whisk constantly. Not only to avoid burn but also for a super-smooth, lump-free sauce.
To thicken without flour/starch: you can rely on the parmesan cheese (adding more if preferred) and starches in the pasta water to thicken the sauce. Allowing it to simmer for longer to thicken and reduce will also work.
To use roasted garlic: the flavor is far more mellow, so you may want to use up to an entire head for roasted garlic cream sauce.
Can I use milk instead of cream? As this is a roux-based sauce, using whole milk instead of cream will work but won't be as rich. You could even use whole plant-based milk (plus vegan butter). If preferred, you could also use half and half or make your own 50/50 milk and cream combo.
Do I need to use flour/a thickener? Technically, you could create this creamy garlic sauce with no kind of thickener, as the parmesan will naturally thicken it. However, when adding extra pasta sauce to it (as I do), the roux helps to creamy it creamy and luxurious.
Why does the sauce taste floury? This usually happens if you didn't cook it for the full minute before adding the cream. It needs to reach a golden color to reduce that "raw flour" taste (but not more).
Can I use salted butter? Technically, you could. I prefer not to, though, as I’m then able to season it to taste.
Check the blog post for more ingredient notes, optional add-ins, and serving recommendations!