3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (2024)

Disclaimer: This article may contains affiliate links.That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may make a small commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our privacy policy.

Jump to Recipe

Fettuccine Alfredo is one of the most delicious and indulgent of Italian pasta dishes. This rich pasta slathered in a creamy parmesan sauce is the definition of comfort food for many, however, there are countless out there who are looking for a lighter than the traditional Italian-American sauce that relies on a healthy amount of heavy cream to get its famous results. But did you know that the original form of this dish is a fettuccine Alfredo without cream recipe? It’s true!

Invented by Roman chef Alfredo di Lelio in either 1907 or 1908 and it quickly gained popularity. Alfredo’s dish was known for its creamy consistency and also for the fact that he prepared it tableside — it was that quick and easy to make. And this fettuccine Alfredo recipe without cream uses the same three ingredients and general technique that Chef di Lelio did all those years ago!

So if you’re looking for an amazing three-ingredient fettuccine Alfredo recipe without cream, then look no further. Unlike other classic Italian dishes (like my mushroom risotto), this recipe is so incredibly easy and fast to throw together that it’s sure to quickly become one of your favourites. Forget any other version of this dish you’ve had before, you will soon realise that this pasta doesn’t need to the addition of heavy cream or any other ingredients that have been added to it since it emigrated Stateside.

Whether you’re looking for something a bit lighter than the Italian-American cream-based version of this dish (there is still a fair bit of butter in it, so we can’t be under any pretences that it is light) or you’re looking for a classic Roman fettuccine Alfredo to perfect your Italian pasta skills, then you’ve come to the right place. This fettuccine Alfredo without cream recipe is sure to astonish you both with how quick and easy it is and how delicious it tastes — I promise you won’t miss the cream!

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (1)

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream

As I’ve already said, fettuccine Alfredo is one of the most simple dishes that you could have in your repertoire and it uses classic Italian pasta techniques that are also used in other Roman dishes like cacio e pepe, pasta alla gricia and spaghetti carbonara (yes, this one traditionally has no cream in it, either!).

The way that the sauce gets its signature creamy, silky consistency is by creating an emulsion of butter, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and starchy pasta water. Three ingredients. That is it. Much like other fantastic Italian fare (including my homemade gnocchi recipe), you don’t need many ingredients to make a remarkable dish!

To make this dish a bit easier and for the sauce to come together a bit better, I also recommend cooking your pasta in a bit less water than you typically. Heavily salt 2-3 litres (8-12 cups) of water and bring to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add your fettuccine pasta (using fresh pasta here is always better than not!), stir to prevent it from sticking together and cook for about a minute less than it says to on the packet.

Meanwhile, melt your butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Because there are so few components to this 3-ingredient fettuccine Alfredo recipe without heavy cream, I recommend using a high-quality European butter rather than the cheap, less flavourful butters that are common in American supermarkets.

Ladle about 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of pasta cooking water into the skillet and whisk to combine with the butter. Now, whisking constantly, sprinkle in your Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. This is pretty much the exact same process used in my lemon pasta recipe and my pesto pasta, if you are interested.

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (3)

Please use real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese that you’ve grated yourself. You can also use Grana Padano if you’d like, however, it is imperative that you don’t use any kind of pre-grated cheese as it won’t melt and emulsify in the sauce. Using a younger Parmigiano Reggiano (12 months old) will also assist in its ability to melt.

Whisk constantly as you add your cheese. Once your pasta has finished cooking, transfer it directly into the skillet using tongs or a spider. Do not drain the pasta water — you want it to cling to the noodles and you may need to add more to loosen out the sauce!

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (4)

Toss the noodles in your sauce until the pasta is completely coated and the sauce is emulsified, glossy and creamy. Add in a bit more pasta water here and there to get the desired consistency and continue tossing until it’s reached. Taste to adjust for seasoning, adding salt and pepper where necessary.

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (5)

And that is it! All you need to do is serve it up and top with a bit more parmesan cheese if desired. Some freshly ground black pepper is always a good addition, as well.

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (6)

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream

Yield: 4

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

This recipe is the classic way to make this dish. Achingly simple and much lighter than the Italian-American counterpart, try this for yourself if you're looking for a comforting Italian classic in a flash.


  • 500g (1 pound) fettuccine pasta
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 100g (3.5 ounces) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Bring 2-3 litres (about 8-12 cups) of heavily salted water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add your pasta, stir to ensure it doesn't stick together, and cook for one minute less than it says on the package.
  2. Meanwhile, melt your butter in a large skillet over medium heat. While the pasta is cooking, ladle about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water into the pan. Whisking constantly, gradually sprinkle in your cheese until a loose yes hom*ogenous sauce has formed.
  3. Remove your pasta from the cooking water using tongs or a spider (do not drain the water!) and transfer it directly to the skillet.
  4. Toss the pasta in the sauce, adding a bit more pasta water if needed to loosen the consistency, until the sauce coats the noodles and it is glossy and emulsified, about one minute.
  5. Serve immediately, topping with more Parmigiano Reggiano and black pepper to taste.
Nutrition Information:

Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 534mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 16g

Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

And there you have it, an incredibly easy fettuccine Alfredo recipe without heavy cream and using only three ingredients! This is such a quick and delicious recipe that it’s sure to make it into your regular recipe repertoire.

Are you on the hunt for a recipe for fettuccine Alfredo without cream? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!

Like It? Pin It!

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (7)

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo Without Cream Recipe (2024)


What can you use instead of heavy cream in Alfredo sauce? ›

Here are a few options:
  1. Milk: You can use regular or non-dairy milk, such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk, as a substitute for heavy cream. ...
  2. Half-and-Half: Half-and-half is a mixture of equal parts whole milk and light cream. ...
  3. Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt can add.
Jun 30, 2023

How do you thicken Alfredo sauce without heavy cream? ›

Add Cheese

This first method is not only the easiest, but also arguably the most delicious. The key ingredient in Alfredo sauce is cheese—generally Parmigiano Reggiano—and lots of it. To thicken Alfredo sauce, simply add more cheese than the amount called for in a recipe until you achieve the consistency you want.

Can you add milk to pasta sauce instead of cream? ›

Whole milk is an excellent substitute for heavy cream. It adds richness to your pasta sauce without the excess fat. Simply simmer your favourite pasta sauce with whole milk until it thickens to your desired consistency. The result is a velvety and indulgent sauce that pairs beautifully with pasta.

What is the original Alfredo sauce made of? ›

Real alfredo sauce is made with 3 simple ingredients: butter, Parmesan cheese and fresh fettuccine pasta. There is absolutely no cream in this dish (cream is common in most American-style alfredo sauce recipes). Make this dish with my fresh homemade pasta, fresh sourdough pasta or store-bought fresh pasta.

What can you add instead of heavy cream? ›

This article reviews 10 of the best substitutes for heavy cream.
  • Milk and butter. ...
  • Soy milk and olive oil. ...
  • Milk and cornstarch. ...
  • Half-and-half and butter plus butter. ...
  • Silken tofu and soy milk. ...
  • Greek yogurt and milk. ...
  • Evaporated milk. ...
  • Cottage cheese and milk.

What is a good substitute for heavy cream in pasta? ›

15 Best Substitutes For Heavy Cream in Pasta
  • Half and Half (+ optional butter and flour) Half and half is a great option because it's made from half cream and half milk (whole milk). ...
  • Milk + Corn Starch. ...
  • Milk + Flour + Butter. ...
  • Greek Yogurt + Milk. ...
  • Cream Cheese. ...
  • Sour Cream. ...
  • Silken Tofu + Plant-Based Milk. ...
  • Coconut Milk.
Jun 23, 2022

Can you thicken Alfredo with flour? ›

Add Flour

There are a few ways that you can add flour to your Alfredo sauce. You can toss a tablespoon of flour directly into the sauce and cook it until the flour taste is gone. You can also mix it with water to create a slurry, similar to how you would add cornstarch. Or you can cook it with butter to create a roux.

How do you thicken Alfredo sauce with pasta water? ›

After 12 ounces of fettuccine pasta noodles are finished cooking, reserve 2 cups of the pasta water to include in your sauce. The starchy water is essential to creating a thick, creamy sauce consistency.

What can I add to Alfredo sauce to make it better? ›

Flavor Boosters

Nutmeg: A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg can elevate the flavors in your Alfredo sauce. However, use it sparingly; a little goes a long way. White Wine: A splash of a good-quality white wine can add depth and complexity. Make sure to cook off the alcohol by simmering the sauce for a few extra minutes.

What is a substitute for cream in sauce? ›

Regardless of what you're making, the following are the best heavy cream substitutes for cooking, baking, or whipping into dessert.
  • Half-and-half + butter. ...
  • Milk + butter. ...
  • Coconut cream. ...
  • Milk + cornstarch. ...
  • Greek yogurt + milk. ...
  • Alt milk + oil. ...
  • Heavy cream powder.
May 25, 2022

Can I use sour cream instead of heavy cream? ›

Sour cream is an easy replacement for heavy cream. It can be easily stirred into a dish and offers another flavor profile to soups, stews and sauces. Plus, using it as a heavy cream substitute is a great way to use up that lingering tub in the fridge.

What is a substitute for 1 cup of heavy cream? ›

If you have butter and milk (whole milk or even half-and-half work best), you can make your own heavy cream substitute. To make 1 cup of heavy cream, melt 1/4 cup of butter and slowly whisk in 3/4 cup milk. This works for most baking or cooking recipes that require heavy cream, but it will not whisk into stiff peaks.

What mother sauce is Alfredo made from? ›

The five mother sauces are: Bechamel, Espangnole, Tomato, Hollandaise, and Veloute. Each take some practice and skill to master, and some are easier than others to perfect. Bechamel is a white sauce, made of flour, butter and milk. It's typically the base for Alfredo sauce or white country gravy.

Do they eat Fettuccine Alfredo in Italy? ›

Fettuccine Alfredo, minus the spectacle, has now become ubiquitous in Italian-style restaurants outside Italy, although in Italy this dish is usually called simply "fettuccine al burro".

What is Alfredo called in Italy? ›

In Italy Alfredo sauce does not exist, therefore it does not have a name. I googled a homemade recipe to see what would come close to it in Italy, from one website it says the ingredients are butter, cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley.

Can you use sour cream instead of heavy cream? ›

Sour cream is an easy replacement for heavy cream. It can be easily stirred into a dish and offers another flavor profile to soups, stews and sauces. Plus, using it as a heavy cream substitute is a great way to use up that lingering tub in the fridge.

How do you thicken cream Alfredo sauce? ›

The easiest way to accomplish this is to mix about a spoonful of cornstarch to 2 spoonfuls of liquid – it could be water or chicken stock or even milk. You will add this mixture, also called a slurry to the sauce and as it starts to cook, the sauce will thicken.

Can you substitute light cream for heavy cream in Alfredo sauce? ›

Light cream: Though not as rich as heavy cream, light cream falls somewhere between 18% and 30% fat. It can be used as an equivalent in just about any recipe.

Can I use light cream instead of heavy for Alfredo? ›

(In my quest to eat healthier, I now make it with light butter, light cream and reduced fat Parmesan cheese. It still tastes wonderful, but there isn't any guilt!)

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rob Wisoky

Last Updated:

Views: 6426

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rob Wisoky

Birthday: 1994-09-30

Address: 5789 Michel Vista, West Domenic, OR 80464-9452

Phone: +97313824072371

Job: Education Orchestrator

Hobby: Lockpicking, Crocheting, Baton twirling, Video gaming, Jogging, Whittling, Model building

Introduction: My name is Rob Wisoky, I am a smiling, helpful, encouraging, zealous, energetic, faithful, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.