Homemade Healthy Alfredo Sauce

By Rena Awada | Updated On January 8, 2023

Creamy, savory, and packed with flavor, this Healthy Alfredo Sauce is quick and easy to make with lighter ingredients! It’s so delicious, you’d never even guess that it’s a healthier recipe. Serve over pasta for a comforting dinner that the entire family will love.

Woman's hand spooning Alfredo Sauce from a glass jar.

Craving rich and cheesy fettuccine alfredo? But don’t want a heavy cream, high-calorie, high-fat meal that will make you feel too full and weighed down? Enjoy this Healthy Alfredo Sauce guilt-free!

This is a light version of the classic Alfredo Sauce that is made without any butter or heavy cream. Instead, it’s a simple blend of parmesan cheese, vegetable stock, light cream cheese, and milk that turns into a luscious cream sauce with a fraction of the fat and calories as the original.

Why you will love this recipe

  • A family favorite: Add this sauce to your favorite pasta and you’ll have a meal everyone will love. Even picky kids love this dish!
  • Healthier recipe: No heavy cream and butter to leave you feeling so heavy. This lightened-up recipe uses light cream cheese and your choice of milk. You can easily make this gluten-free and dairy free.
  • Super delicious: Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this alfredo recipe. This is richly flavored with a wonderful savoriness and notes of garlic, parmesan, and Italian seasoning. It’s downright delicious and completely indulgent tasting.
  • Quick and easy: This comes together in under 20 minutes making it the perfect weeknight dinner option. You can whip up the alfredo sauce while the pasta is boiling and toss everything together once it’s done.
White cream sauce in a jar on a cutting board.

Ingredients needed

This delicious creamy sauce has tons of wonderful flavors thanks to the combination of sautéed garlic, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Oil. Use olive oil or avocado oil to sauté the minced garlic.
  • Garlic. Always a must for flavorful Italian food!
  • Flour or cornstarch. To thicken the sauce, you’ll mix flour or cornstarch into the garlic and oil to make a roux.
  • Seasoning. A simple mix of salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning will bring out all of the delicious flavors.
  • Grated parmesan cheese. You can’t have alfredo sauce without a little bit of cheese. To keep things light, we’re just using 1/2 cup. A little bit goes a long way in this dish!
  • Vegetable stock. Mixes with the milk and cream cheese to give this sauce the perfect consistency. Use chicken stock, if that’s what you have.
  • Light cream cheese. Keeps this sauce thick and rich without the need for butter and heavy cream.
  • Milk. Any milk works – 2%, almond milk, or cashew milk. To really keep this low in calories and dairy free, we recommend non-dairy milk.
Ingredients for making cream sauce divided into small bowls.

How to make this recipe

Even though this Healthy Alfredo Sauce is lightened up, it’s plenty thick and creamy, packed with flavor, and is incredibly paired with fettuccine noodles. Here’s the simple method:

  1. Sauté garlic. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and minced garlic. Let it simmer for a minute until fragrant.
  1. Add flour & cream cheese. Next, add the flour in with the garlic and mix to combine. Add in the cream cheese and stir for another minute until the cream cheese melts or softens.
  1. Add milk & stock. Add in the milk and whisk it in with the cream cheese until completely dissolved. Next, pour in the vegetable stock with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Whisk and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened and smooth. 
  1. Add the cheese. Pour the parmesan cheese over the thickened sauce and whisk thoroughly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. This should take another minute. Taste and adjust if needed.
  2. Enjoy. Serve the sauce with your favorite pasta or store it in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Expert Tips

  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese from a block of REAL Parmigiano Reggiano will yield the best results. Don’t use pre-shredded cheese because its anti-caking agents prevent it from melting as well as the real stuff. It also won’t be as flavorful.
  • If boiling pasta to serve this over, be sure to salt the pasta water. Salting the water is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta, so make sure the fettuccine is well-salted as it cooks (otherwise this entire Fettuccine Alfredo recipe will taste under-seasoned).
  • When serving the sauce with fettuccine, be sure to toss the hot pasta with the alfredo sauce and some reserved pasta water. This is called emulsifying and it’s the best way to get a wonderfully smooth sauce that clings to the noodles instead of falling to the bottom of the pot!

Frequently asked questions

Is alfredo sauce good for you?

Traditional alfredo sauce is not considered to be a healthy recipe. It’s typically made with loads of butter, heavy cream, and cheese. It’s usually high in calories and fat, but this version is much healthier!

What can I substitute for heavy cream in alfredo sauce?

In this recipe, we’re substituting the heavy cream for a mixture made with oil, flour, stock, and light cream cheese. The sauce turns out plenty rich but is much lower in calories and fat.

Which is healthier marinara or alfredo?

Marinara is tomato based and doesn’t include butter, cream, or flour, so it is healthier when compared to alfredo, which is cream based and higher in calories and fat.

side shot of alfredo sauce in a jar

Ways to serve

No matter how you use this cream sauce, it’s bound to be a big hit! Here are some different ideas for serving:

Storage Tips

  • Storing: This will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container or jar.
  • Freezing: Milk can often separate when frozen, and cheese can become grainy. We recommend enjoying this fresh, or after being stored in the refrigerator.
  • Reheating: Rewarm the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Healthy Alfredo Sauce stored in a glass jar.

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More healthy sauce recipes

side shot of homemade alfredo sauce in a jar

Homemade Healthy Alfredo Sauce

Creamy, savory, and packed with flavor, this Healthy Alfredo Sauce is quick and easy to make with lighter ingredients! It’s so delicious, you’d never even guess that it’s a healthier recipe. Serve over pasta for a comforting dinner that the entire family will love.
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Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 231kcal
Author: Rena

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Tbsp flour of choice or 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk of choice (2%, almond or cashew milk)

Instructions

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and minced garlic. Let it simmer for a minute until fragrant.
  • Next, add the flour in with the garlic and mix to combine. Add in the cream cheese and stir for another minute until the cream cheese melts or softens.
  • Add in the milk and whisk it in with the cream cheese until completely dissolved. Next, pour in the vegetable stock with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Whisk and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened and smooth.
  • Pour the parmesan cheese over the thickened sauce and whisk thoroughly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. This should take another minute. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • Serve the sauce with your favorite pasta or store it in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Storing: This will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container or jar.
  • Freezing: Milk can often separate when frozen, and cheese can become grainy. We recommend enjoying this fresh, or after being stored in the refrigerator.
  • Reheating: Rewarm the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop.
  • Makes 1 Cup. Serving size is 1/4 cup

Nutrition

Calories: 231kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 1166mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 459IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 1mg
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