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Fettuccine Alfredo. Only 5 ingredients!!

Fettuccine Alfredo. Using only 5 ingredients. Simple preparation and top quality ingredients ensure the best, creamiest and most flavourful Fettuccine Alfredo every time.

Fettuccine Alfredo Close up

Fettuccine Alfredo

I was inspired to post this Fettuccine Alfredo recipe for a friend who asked me how I make mine. When she asked, I was reminded of a chain restaurant I went to a couple of years ago with a group of coworkers.

I may get a take-out meal from a chain restaurant on occasion but they are generally not my choice for a full service, sit down meal. The reason most often is the shortcuts they make for convenience and the quality of ingredients is often not up to par. 

parmigiano reggiano shown in chunks and grated on a wooden background

Parmigiano reggiano. The better quality the parmesan, the better the Alfredo sauce.

On that visit I thought the Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken seemed like a safe bet. I was wrong.

The sauce was flat, flavourless and appeared to have been somehow thickened partly by cornstarch. It was no better than wallpaper paste.

I suspect it wasn’t prepared on site but probably bulk prepared at a food production facility and shipped in. That’s certainly not what I pay for in a good restaurant meal.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo

Don’t make Fettuccine Alfredo heavier than it needs to be. 

Many people also make Fettuccine Alfredo much heavier than it needs to be, adding over the top ingredients like cream cheese. I especially object to the cream cheese type recipes because the cheese is too strongly flavoured.

This often overpowers the flavours of the garlic and Parmesan which should be front and centre.

Cream and butter make the best base for this sauce. The much used Italian practice of reserving a little of the pasta water to help regulate the thickness of pasta sauces is a secret to success here too.

I didn’t count the salt and pepper or the pasta water in the ingredients number or the optional herbs either. It was labelled as such just to give an idea  of the essential ingredients of the recipe.

The dish can stand on its own as a great lunch, as a starter course, or as a side dish for endless entree options.

Fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken bacon and tomato

Fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken bacon and tomato

We often use this basic recipe t0 add things like peppers, tomatoes, bacon and grilled chicken or shrimp for a complete pasta meal.

Bacon slice being cooked in frying pan. Close up.

Crisp cooked bacon is a great addition on its own too!

Originally published September 2016.

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Fettuccine Alfredo image with title text

Fettuccine Alfredo

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Fettuccine Alfredo Close up
Yield: 6 as a side dish

Fettuccine Alfredo - using only 6 ingredients

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Fettuccine Alfredo - using only 5 ingredients. Simple preparation and top quality ingredients ensure the best, creamiest and most flavourful Fettuccine Alfredo every time.


  • 3/4 pound package fresh fettuccine pasta, about 350 grams
  • 1/3 cup real dairy butter, no substitutes
  • 6 cloves finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 cups whipping cream, 35% milk fat or greater
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano is best
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely chopped Italian parsley, basil or oregano (optional)
  • in Some reserved water used boiling the pasta


  1. Cook the fresh fettuccine in well salted boiling water as directed on the package. Be careful not to overcook the pasta; al dente or even a little under is best for this recipe.
  2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan and add the chopped garlic over medium low heat. Cook until the garlic softens but does not brown.
  3. Add the whipping cream and simmer on medium heat for a few minutes until the volume reduces slightly.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. (Careful with he salt, if you don't want to use it that's fine, there is plenty in the parmesan cheese to provide seasoning)
  5. Add the drained cooked pasta to the pan and sprinkle in about 1/3 of the parmesan cheese. Toss well.
  6. Add the rest of the cheese in 2 portions tossing well after each addition. If at any time the alfredo sauce gets too thick, just add a little splash of the pasta water to loosen it up before adding more cheese.
  7. If using the fresh herbs, toss them in at the very end.
  8. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 serving

Amount Per Serving Calories 682Total Fat 50gSaturated Fat 31gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 149mgSodium 799mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 19g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Tuesday 28th of May 2024

Loved this. I used ~ 200 grams of cold water shrimp and ~ 50 grams of prosciutto sauteed in butter for no more than one minutes. With these ingredients I did not add salt. I also added ~ 100 ml. dry white wine to the milk and cream. I did not need any pasta water to thin. Next time I will try some smoked salmon rather than the prosciutto.

Shirley Furlong

Monday 14th of February 2022

Thank you for this recipe. It looks easy and quick. I have just started making my own pasta, and a home made Alfredo sauce is absolutely essential to complement the pasta. This week's pasta night decision is made!


Sunday 24th of December 2017

This was a simple recipie that turned out great! I am picky with my Alfredo and this was by far the best I’ve had!


Sunday 12th of February 2017

Hi Barry

Could you please post a recipe for the Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken, Bacon and Tomatoes you mentioned above? Thanks in advance.

Barry C. Parsons

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

It literally is just adding grilled diced chicken, diced tomatoes and chopped cooked bacon.

Ines Di Lelio

Tuesday 27th of September 2016


With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”. More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo", this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908). Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family. In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 "Il Vero Alfredo" (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality). See also the website of “Il Vero Alfredo” . I must clarify that other restaurants "Alfredo" in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand "Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma". I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale. Best regards Ines Di Lelio



Con riferimento al Vostro articolo ho il piacere di raccontarVi la storia di mio nonno Alfredo Di Lelio, inventore delle note "fettuccine all'Alfredo" (“Fettuccine Alfredo”). Alfredo Di Lelio, nato nel settembre del 1883 a Roma in Vicolo di Santa Maria in Trastevere, cominciò a lavorare fin da ragazzo nella piccola trattoria aperta da sua madre Angelina in Piazza Rosa, un piccolo slargo (scomparso intorno al 1910) che esisteva prima della costruzione della Galleria Colonna (ora Galleria Sordi). Il 1908 fu un anno indimenticabile per Alfredo Di Lelio: nacque, infatti, suo figlio Armando e videro contemporaneamente la luce in tale trattoria di Piazza Rosa le sue “fettuccine”, divenute poi famose in tutto il mondo. Questa trattoria è “the birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”. Alfredo Di Lelio inventò le sue “fettuccine” per dare un ricostituente naturale, a base di burro e parmigiano, a sua moglie (e mia nonna) Ines, prostrata in seguito al parto del suo primogenito (mio padre Armando). Il piatto delle “fettuccine” fu un successo familiare prima ancora di diventare il piatto che rese noto e popolare Alfredo Di Lelio, personaggio con “i baffi all’Umberto” ed i calli alle mani a forza di mischiare le sue “fettuccine” davanti ai clienti sempre più numerosi. Nel 1914, a seguito della chiusura di detta trattoria per la scomparsa di Piazza Rosa dovuta alla costruzione della Galleria Colonna, Alfredo Di Lelio decise di trasferirsi in un locale in una via del centro di Roma, ove aprì il suo primo ristorante che gestì fino al 1943, per poi cedere l’attività a terzi estranei alla sua famiglia. Ma l’assenza dalla scena gastronomica di Alfredo Di Lelio fu del tutto transitoria. Infatti nel 1950 riprese il controllo della sua tradizione familiare ed aprì, insieme al figlio Armando, il ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” (noto all’estero anche come “Alfredo di Roma”) in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 (cfr. il sito web di Il Vero Alfredo). Con l’avvio del nuovo ristorante Alfredo Di Lelio ottenne un forte successo di pubblico e di clienti negli anni della “dolce vita”. Successo, che, tuttora, richiama nel ristorante un flusso continuo di turisti da ogni parte del mondo per assaggiare le famose “fettuccine all’Alfredo” al doppio burro da me servite, con l’impegno di continuare nel tempo la tradizione familiare dei miei cari maestri, nonno Alfredo, mio padre Armando e mio fratello Alfredo. In particolare le fettuccine sono servite ai clienti con 2 “posate d’oro”: una forchetta ed un cucchiaio d’oro regalati nel 1927 ad Alfredo dai due noti attori americani M. Pickford e D. Fairbanks (in segno di gratitudine per l’ospitalità). Un aneddoto della vita di mio nonno. Alfredo fu un grande amico di Ettore Petrolini, che conobbe nei primi anni del 1900 in un incontro tra ragazzi del quartiere Trastevere (tra cui mio nonno) e ragazzi del Quartiere Monti (tra cui Petrolini). Fu proprio Petrolini che un giorno, già attore famoso, andando a trovare l’amico Alfredo, gli disse che lui era un “attore” della cucina romana nel mondo e gli consigliò di attaccare alle pareti del ristorante le sue foto con i noti personaggi soprattutto dello spettacolo, del cinema e della cultura in genere che erano ospiti di “Alfredo”. Anche ciò fa parte del cuore della bella tradizione di famiglia che continuo a rendere sempre viva con affetto ed entusiasmo. Desidero precisare che altri ristoranti “Alfredo” a Roma non appartengono e sono fuori dal mio brand di famiglia. Vi informo che il Ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” è presente nell’Albo dei “Negozi Storici di Eccellenza – sezione Attività Storiche di Eccellenza” del Comune di Roma Capitale. Grata per la Vostra attenzione ed ospitalità nel Vostro interessante blog, cordiali saluti Ines Di Lelio

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