This Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is thick, creamy, and better than the restaurant chain! It’s hard to believe that the best Alfredo sauce simmers to perfection in just 20 minutes!
The best thing about this family favorite is the simple ingredients and the fact that this easy dinner idea is ready in 30 minutes! It took a long time to take a good alfredo sauce and turn it into something better than Olive Garden’s alfredo sauce recipe. Now the whole family loves staying at home for a night in with an Italian side salad, pull apart garlic bread, the popular pasta dish, and a thick slice of classic cheesecake to top the night off! If you want the chicken version, try my grilled chicken alfredo recipe instead.
Italian-inspired nights are the best! Some of our other favorites are making pasta from scratch with our favorite marinara sauce recipe, fried raviolis, and homemade cannoli (or cannoli dip). You can also use this same sauce recipe and pair it with homemade tortellini as another easy recipe.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- fettuccine noodles – the thick sauce sticks really well to longer pasta.
- unsalted butter – if you used salted you may need less at the end.
- fresh garlic cloves – you can also use store-bought minced garlic. In a pinch, add a few dashes of garlic powder.
- all-purpose flour – this is going to be the thickener in our creamy sauce.
- heavy cream – adds a creamy consistency and richness.
- milk – we are using whole milk.
- Italian seasoning – for added flavor.
- fresh parmesan cheese – we are going with freshly grated to add a ton of flavor. You can also use shredded.
- Salt and black pepper – season to your liking.
freshly chopped parsley, additional cheese if desired.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Pasta – While the original Olive Garden recipe comes with fettuccine, you can use any type of pasta. The smaller varieties may leave more sauce in the bowl versus others, such as penne or rigatoni. It’s also delicious with homemade pasta.
- Add protein – homemade alfredo sauce goes great with grilled chicken, shrimp, and salmon. If you are running low on time you can even use rotisserie chicken.
- Veggies – broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus pair well with this popular sauce.
- Cheeses – romano cheese and mozzarella can also be used if you really like cheesy pasta. Just remember that this will thicken the sauce as it simmers. If it gets too thick, you can add a splash of milk or chicken broth to thin it out.
- Seasoning – make your own homemade Italian seasoning blend.
PREP: Boil your favorite pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions. Once done, drain the pasta and save 1-2 cups of pasta water.
Step 1: While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Step 2: Saute the minced garlic until fragrant.
Step 3: Sprinkle the flour over the garlic and butter and cook for another minute so it’s bubbly.
Step 4: Whisk the cream and milk slowly into the flour mixture so a smooth sauce forms. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Pro Tip: If the sauce gets too thick, thin it with the reserve pasta water, a little milk, or cream.
Step 5: Add the seasoning, then the parm one handful at a time. Stir until smooth and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 6: Toss the cooked fettuccine with the delicious sauce and thin it as needed with the pasta water.
GARNISH: Top with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
- This easy alfredo sauce recipe is rich and thick. I love thinning it with pasta water since it’s already salted. The starches from the pasta also make for a good texture for the sauce.
- Instead of the milk and flour, you can use 4 ounces of cream cheese to make it richer, keto-compliant, or a low-carb recipe.
- For those following a low-carb diet, serve with zucchini noodles instead.
Did you know that Olive Garden was originally owned by General Mills and was later acquired by Darden Restaurants. Today, Olive Garden is part of the Darden Restaurant Inc. family of brands, which also includes Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, and other restaurant chains.
Keep the leftover alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
The dish is said to have been created by a chef named Alfredo di Lelio, who ran a restaurant in Rome, Italy in the early 20th century. According to legend, di Lelio created the dish to tempt his wife, who was pregnant and suffering from morning sickness, to eat. The dish was a hit with customers, and eventually, it became known as “Fettuccine Alfredo.”
No, Olive Garden’s classic Fettuccine Alfredo dish is not vegan. It typically contains parmesan cheese, butter, and heavy cream, all of which are derived from animal products.
More Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
Better Than Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe
- 8 oz. fettuccine noodles
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- Boil fettuccine noodles in a large pot of salted water until cooked to desired tenderness. Drain pasta, reserving 1-2 cups of the pasta water if needed for the alfredo sauce.
- To make the Alfredo sauce, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add the minced garlic and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Sprinkle the flour over the butter and garlic and saute an additional 1 minute until combined and bubbly.
- Slowly whisk the cream and milk into the flour mixture, until a smooth sauce forms. Bring to a low simmer. Add remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning and then the Parmesan cheese, one handful at a time, and stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Toss cooked fettuccine with the Alfredo sauce, using the reserved pasta water to loosen the mixture and thin the sauce as needed.
- Serve with fresh parmesan cheese and a garnish of chopped parsley.