The Pioneer Woman’s Alfredo

Updated 2.24.2020.

I have made Fettuccine Alfredo lots of times before, but the first time I tried to make it for my blog, it was an epic failure. Here’s what happened back in 2010:

Both BF and I are huge fans of Fettuccine Alfredo. Twice since I’ve met him, I have made homemade Alfredo sauce for him. Last night he decided that he wanted to try his hand at making the sauce. I don’t have a set recipe. Normally I just browse the internet for a recipe that sounds good and add or subtract as I go along. Last night was no different. I supplied him with a recipe that sounded decent. In my quest for the best Alfredo sauce recipe, I have come across two different ways to make it: using heavy cream or half and half and cooking the sauce on a high heat to reduce it or starting with a butter and flour roux. Personally, I prefer starting with a roux. I find it easier to thicken the sauce to the right consistency with a roux versus the reduction method.

Here is the recipe we used.

This is the worst Alfredo Sauce recipe I have ever used. Hands down. BF tried his hands at it first. We substituted heavy cream for milk (because I’ve never made Alfredo sauce with milk) and omitted the peas. I insisted we use fresh grated parmesan cheese because a) it melts better and b) it should taste better. I was in the laundry room folding laundry when BF called me into the kitchen. After adding the required amount of heavy cram to the dish and mixing it in, the mixture could best be described as doughy or crumbly. It in no way resembled sauce. We added another cup of heavy cream. The consistency became less thick but oatmeal-esque. I then added heaps of milk and finally thinned the sauce out. We added cheese and decided it tasted terrible (way too onion-y), so we tossed it.

In round two, I took over the helm. I figured because BF had never made the dish before, he must have done something wrong. I was wrong. The recipe sucked. Why would you have a roux that calls for half a cup of flour? That is way too much flour. I suspected this from the beginning but BF suggested that because the recipe called for milk instead of heavy cream, the milk makes a thinner sauce. I thought maybe he was right. I was convinced that when using milk in the recipe the sauce would turn out thinner. Normal! Round two was much the same as round one only it happened to me instead of BF. I refused to give up. The end product is absolutely nothing of what the recipe dictates. I added copious amounts of romano and parmesan cheese to make the sauce taste like something, all the milk we had in the house, salt, water (once we ran out of milk because the sauce was still disturbingly thick), another stick of butter, and finally I remembered we had chicken stock in the fridge so I thinned it out with that. Finally, finally we had some semblance of an Alfredo sauce.

BF had given up. He did not trust the sauce we ended up with, and so he ran to the store to get store-bought Alfredo sauce.

While BF sautéed raw shrimp with garlic and butter, I heated the oven for garlic bread. Suddenly the entire house was filled with smoke. There was some sort of oil burning in the bottom of the oven. I just used the oven the other day to bake cheesecake and that didn’t happen! I felt like the kitchen Gods were now mocking us.

The Fettuccine Alfredo with garlic shrimp turned out pretty good when all was said and done. (Four hours after we started making dinner.) The garlic bread? Not so much. It tasted faintly like cinnamon. (The last thing I cooked on that sheet was French toast… But I cleaned the pan afterward. I swear!)

Whoever designed this recipe needs to be fired from his job.

Over the years I’ve become loyal to one fettuccine alfredo recipe I’ve come to know well, which also happens to be about the simplest recipe ever. Hands down. Ridiculously easy to make. I promise.

It’s the Pioneer Woman’s.

It’s ultra-creamy, perfectly cheesy and ready in about 20 minutes. Does it get any better than that?


  • 1 lb Fettuccine noodles
  • ½ c. salted butter
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • Salt And pepper, to taste (I find this needs no additional seasoning)
  • 2 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente noodles.
  2. Meanwhile, grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl.
  3. In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter and cream. Pour the mixture over the cheese and allow the cheese to melt a bit in the warm cream mixture..
  4. When the pasta is ready, drain and immediately pour it into the bowl with cheese and cream. Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle the other half of the Parmesan into the bowl. Toss to combine. If the sauce seems too goopy, add some pasta water. It will emulsify the ingredients and make your pasta ultra-creamy.
  5. Serve immediately and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Add additional parmesan cheese as garnish.

Recipe rating: 

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