Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce + Video

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Olive Garden Alfredo sauce is a creamy cheese sauce, perfect on pasta or veggies. With our copycat recipe, you can make it easily at home!

I love copycat recipes. One of the easiest ways to recreate restaurant recipes at home is to experiment with your cooking.

If you have a favorite restaurant recipe you would like to create, just start with the basic recipe ingredient and adjust the seasonings and ingredients until you have matched their taste.

Don’t be afraid to make substitutions to see how you and your family like them. You can always improve on your favorite restaurant’s signature dishes!

olive garden alfredo sauce over pasta

If you don’t feel confident enough about your creative cooking ability, I have a lot of copycat restaurant recipes that you can make!

A few of our most popular Olive Garden™ recipes are the pasta fagioli soup, the amazing salad with Olive Garden Italian dressing, and the breadsticks!

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

The Olive Garden is one of our favorite restaurants. So, it only makes sense that I’d want to try a few Olive Garden copycat recipes at home.

If you aren’t in the mood for Italian food, consider making some of our wildly popular copycat Cracker Barrel recipes. That down home comfort food can’t be beat!

Watch the video in this post to see us make the Olive Garden Alfredo recipe from start to finish!

 

adding milk to saucepan for creamy cheese sauce

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Cheeses – For the best authentic Italian flavor, I use a blend of freshly shredded Romano and Parmesan. You could substitute other hard aged cheeses like Gruyere, Gouda, or Asiago, but definitely shred them fresh from a block rather than using preshedded cheese.
  • Substitutes for heavy cream in Alfredo sauce 

While heavy cream is one of the things that creates the creamiest Alfredo sauce, there are a few possible substitutions.

Using evaporated milk, equal parts Greek yogurt and milk, or a combination of regular milk and butter are options that might work for you. Half and half also works as a lighter substitute for heavy cream.

For a vegan Alfredo sauce, you can try using soy milk with a dash of olive oil.

making olive garden alfredo recipe in saucepan

Olive Garden Alfredo Recipe Tips

Bring the cheese to room temperature before using it. Also, be sure to add the cheese gradually to prevent it from clumping.

Monitor the heat. The base of the sauce should be warm, but not too hot. Otherwise the cheese separates, causing the consistency to be grainy.

Use high quality dairy products. Using a good quality butter is important to the creamy consistency of the Olive Garden Alfredo sauce. European butter has less water content than most brands of American butter.

grating block of romano cheese for olive garden alfredo sauce recipe

Kitchen Tools You’ll Need

One of the reasons this recipe is so popular is because you don’t need any special tools to make it!

  • Medium (2-3 quart) Saucepan
  • Box Grater
  • Whisks – I’ve had this set for over 10 years and it is still as good as the day I bought it. With 3 sizes there is a whisk for every job.

Uses and Serving Suggestions for Olive Garden Alfredo

There are a lot of different uses for Alfredo sauce! The most popular meal is fettuccine Alfredo. But it’s delicious over gnocchi too.

Or use a different type of pasta, like rotini, homemade ravioli, shells, or even cavatelli pasta. I also have a scrumptious 20 minute recipe for tortellini alfredo.

Feel free to add meat and/or cooked fresh veggies to your sauce, too. Chicken, Italian sausage, and shrimp Alfredo are all fantastic options! You can even use it as a substitute for red sauce in homemade lasagna.

adding shredded parmesan cheese to half and half for alfredo sauce recipe

Storing and Reheating Leftover Sauce 

If you have leftover Alfredo sauce, be sure to refrigerate it within two hours. Store the Olive Garden Alfredo sauce in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing odors from nearby foods.

NOTE: The sauce will thicken up quite a bit in the fridge, but it does thin out as you reheat it in a microwave or slowly on the stove top. If you want to thin it more, you can stir in a couple of tablespoons of milk or water.

Freezing homemade Alfredo sauce – Dairy based sauces like Alfredo don’t freeze very well because they tend to separate as they thaw out. It does work for me, but only when I reheat it very slowly over very low heat, stirring often.

Alfredo Sauce Recipe FAQ

How do you make a creamy Alfredo sauce?

One of the best things about this Olive Garden Alfredo recipe is that it turns out perfectly rich and creamy. If you are trying to replicate that at home, be sure that you use fresh Parmesan cheese, not pre-shredded cheese.

Definitely avoid using powdered Parmesan cheese. The flavor isn’t even close to the real thing!

close up fork twirling olive garden cheese sauce into fettucine

Enjoy!

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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plate of olive garden alfredo sauce over fettucine

Other Olive Garden Recipes


pile of pasta with white sauce sits on a plate

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce + Video

Donna Elick
Olive Garden Alfredo sauce is a creamy cheese sauce, perfect on pasta or veggies. With our copycat recipe, you can make it easily at home!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 6

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups half and half, or 1 cup milk plus 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh shredded Romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or white

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together butter, garlic and half & half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), then remove from heat.
  • Stir in cheese, a handful at a time. Gently stir until the cheese melts before adding the next handful.
  • Return pan to burner over medium heat. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Stir until cheese sauce is smooth and the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
    Remove pan from heat and allow sauce to cool for 5 minutes. Alfredo sauce will thicken even more as it cools.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Video

Donna’s Notes

Freezing Alfredo sauce
If you want to freeze the sauce, it will stay good in an airtight container for up to six months. The sauce WILL separate as it thaws. To recombine, reheat slowly and gently over low heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 189cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 477mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled (shown over pasta) Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

Originally published February 2014, updated and republished March 2022

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62 Comments

    1. You are absolutely correct about adding a sprinkle of nutmeg… but it should be fresh, whole nutmeg that you grate yourself… don't buy the ground nutmeg in the spice isle of your local grocery store; there is a difference in taste.

    1. What is the recipe you follow? Please? If its the same from olive garden and a chef there I would love to know the real one!

  1. I've been making the same sauce for over 20 yrs. I got mine off the back of the Ronzoni fettuccine pasta box.

    1. I also got the recipe off the box, however, did it not call for 1 egg yolk and some sour cream? I have not made it for ages due to health reasons.

  2. I work at Olive Garden and that is not the recipe for Alfredo…. It is However the recipe for Carbonara sauce.

    1. It's actually not the recipe for either. This is my copycat version of their sauce. NOT Olive Garden recipes. Thanks for the input! Hope you enjoy it.

    2. haha this is definitely NOT Carbonara sauce, as it does not have bacon…..you certainly are not a chef there!!

  3. They use heavy cream, whole milk, fresh garlic, flour sal,pepper and parm cheese, not the fresh grated but the sprinkle kind. No eggs. I used to work there making sauce.

  4. Sorry, not even close to Olive Garden's. The flavor was pretty good but the eggs gave it a weird texture.

    1. The eggs may have scrambled while you were cooking them. Ours was perfectly smooth. Try it again if you like the flavor and strain the sauce if necessary. Enjoy!

  5. I worked at I believe to be the first olive garden in kissimmee Florida on orange blossom trail back in the eighties when they made everything right there THIS is not the recipe the real recipe is so much easier and taste just like it. half and half knorr white sauce mix and sprinkle it from a can parm cheese and butter.Any questions [email protected]

    1. This is not meant to be their recipe, this is my version of their Alfredo Sauce (a copycat) That recipe you gave is so sad. Hopefully they have changed to real ingredients in the last 30 years. Thanks for stopping by mark!

  6. I don't put eggs in mine. Don't think I'd try this recipe. If you use heavy cream and butter, you won't need the eggs. And FRESH finely grated cheeses make a HUGE difference.

  7. The recipe for their alfredo sauce is right on the Olive Garden website….. this copycat is pretty darn close, and YES they use egg yolk also…

  8. I always add a dash or two of hot sauce to every creamy white sauce recipe. It just adds a tiny bit of zing.

  9. Made this about a month ago. Making it again this weekend – so good! Added chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms.

    An instant favorite with the girlfriend.

  10. Can someone please tell me how many servings this makes. There are 6 people in my family.just need to know if I need to make more than one. Thanks

  11. There are two different points when you say to remove from heat. Which is correct? Or are you actually supposed to turn the heat back on at some point? If so, how high for how long?

    1. Both are correct. The first time you are going to return to low heat and then remove again. Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  12. I have used milk too but been told by chefs and fantastic cooks that the milk causes separation and other problems when making Alfredo so I only use it for thinning, if needed, ONLY..maybe a few tblsp at best. Instead I would use a full 16oz of heavy whipping cream. also..I never use garlic powder! ONLY fresh garlic or garlic salt. I have the quick cheap version then the expensive fancy version. The diff is the cheese mostly. To get off cheap buy the Italian blend of shredded cheeses (usually has about 5 or 6 diff italian cheeses and can be found at any grocery store for a few bucks)..throw in no more than a 3 cup bag of the mix. This is gonna be very thick and you MAY need to heat it good and add a bit of the milk to thin it. or add more butter to thin or you could just use a little less cheese, either way will work! Now, depending on your taste buds and budget you can also add an additional amount of straight shredded parmesan but you will need to add some more of that heavy cream and butter to adjust! or you can take any mix of imported Italian cheeses but make sure you are heavy on the parm and do not forget the romano, asiago..hmm who does not love that, right? Anyway..!! also, ((((( for a smooth texture add 1-2 tsp of cream cheese but NO MORE! or instead of it being smooth it will start to taste like cream cheese and that will suck!))) Don't forget a little nutmeg-try to keep it fresh if you can! I make this on a regular basis along with other cheese sauces so I kinda got it down and do not really use "recipes" so to speak since we all enjoy diff things, I think what is most important to remember when making alfredo is the HEAVY whipping cream and the eggs, butter and garlic!! If you get that part right then you always have an olive garden experience with your sauces..always! the rest is just dependant on what you prefer, what you can afford or what you have time for. Oh..also..the butter will thin your sauce too until it starts to cool..so if your a little too thick, kick up the heat and throw in some butter and beat the crap out of it with a whisk! Enjoy! BTW-Guess what I am making for dinner tonight? yeah-you got it! tonight it's gonna be chicken Alfredo but grab about 20 oz of the medium cooked shrimp. This will allow a family of 4 to get drunk on at least 15-20 shrimps each! That is like a shrimp for every heavenly bite..almost! But we are hogs..this could actually feed a good six people if you are going restaurant style.

    1. Hi, do you know if this sauce freezes well? How do you keep it or do you need to make a fresh batch everytime? Thanks

    2. Generally, dairy/butter sauces "break" upon reheating. The butter separates from the cream/milk. It's all in the chemistry. So freezing is pointless. Fresh batches are really the only way.

  13. I used preshredded parmesan cheese and it wont melt all the way into my sauce? Did I use the wrong kind of cheese?

    1. Awww, it should be FRESH SHREDDED Parmesan. The other has additives in it that may cause it to thicken up too much and not create a smooth sauce. Let us know how it goes next time.

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