3-Ingredient Authentic Easy Fettuccine Alfredo


This ultra-simple fettuccine alfredo recipe makes use of 3 ingredients to create a gourmet dinner in under 20 minutes. Perfect as a side dish, or add a protein to make this a complete meal!

3 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

Low spoons and it’s dinner time? No worries: this extremely simple pasta dish will have you eating like a low-stress Italian enjoying the hustle and bustle on the terrace of your favorite little restaurant. You can whip this up in under 20 minutes. Add a little leftover or precooked chicken for protein, and steam some veggies or open a bag of salad to create a complete meal you can be proud of. 

Now, is this a recipe for authentic fettuccine alfredo? Believe it or not, the answer is yes! This easy recipe is the real deal. The kind we get in restaurants here in American often uses heavy cream or egg yolks and flour to make a roux. This recipe is so much simpler, lighter, and is still so, so delicious. This is the kind of alfredo sauce you would find at Il Vero Alfredo in the heart of Rome!

What’s in 3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo?

Simple recipes call for simple ingredients, and this one is no exception. This creamy sauce comes together with 2 pantry ingredients, and one from the fridge. Hard to believe so much deliciousness comes from just a handful of ingredients!

  • Butter: This is one recipe where you really shouldn’t substitute margarine. Since there are so few ingredients, the rich flavor and texture of the melted butter becomes so important to the recipe, that I recommend using the highest quality unsalted butter you’re able to.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: I tried this multiple ways so you don’t have to. The grated cheese that comes in a bag from the refrigerated section will melt into a clumpy mess when you add it to the butter. Do NOT use that. Instead, you want the kind in the plastic container that you shake over your spaghetti. This will melt down into a creamy sauce. TL;DR: plastic container, yes; refrigerated bag, no. 
  • Fettuccine Noodles: Fettuccine pasta is not the same as spaghetti. It’s a wider noodle, which makes it perfect for soaking up the creamy deliciousness of the sauce. You’ll need 1 pound of pasta for this recipe. Feel free to use homemade fresh pasta, if you have the time and inclination. I use this one from Jo Cooks!
  • Water: While water is usually just a means to an end in pasta dishes, this one uses the water you cooked your pasta in as a secret weapon. That gorgeously starchy pasta water is the key to creating a silky smooth sauce. 
Ingredients for Authentic Alfredo Sauce

Making Authentic Fettuccine Alfredo

Step 1 | Boil the Noodles

Start by preparing the fettuccine noodles according to the package instructions in a large pot. You will want to boil them until they reach al dente. Keep a cup of cooking water and drain the rest of the water. 

Fettuccine Noodles

Step 2 | Melt the Cheese and Butter

While the noodles are boiling, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized pan. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until it’s melted too. This may looks slightly clumpy at this stage, but don’t worry. As you add the pasta water, the cheese and butter will blend to create that smooth sauce we’re looking for!

Authentic Alfredo Sauce

Step 3 | Finish the Sauce

On low heat, and stirring the whole time, add the reserved pasta water a little at a time until your sauce smooths out. You’re looking for a thick and creamy sauce. If you prefer a thinner sauce, just keep adding water to the cheese mixture until you get the desired consistency. Once you reach that stage, turn off the stovetop.

Making 3 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

Step 4 | Put it All Together!

Pour the sauce over the pasta, then toss to coat the fettuccine with a lovely layer of fresh alfredo sauce. Add a little grated parmesan, fresh herbs like fresh parsley or basil, and some cracked black pepper to the finished dish for an even more elevated experience. Your homemade alfredo sauce is ready to enjoy!

Authentic Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo

Did you know?

  • The name “alfredo” comes from the restauranteur Alfredo di Lelio. He was the creator of the original recipe!
  • Another name for this dish is “fettuccine al burro” which means “fettuccine with butter.”
  • Movie stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks fell in love with this dish on their honeymoon in 1920. They brought it back with them to America!


While this simple 3 ingredient fettuccine alfredo recipe can stand on it’s own, you can make a few additions to create a variety of alfredo sauce recipes!

  • Chicken Alfredo: Add leftover chicken or pre-cooked chicken strips (I love the convenience of these ones from Tyson!) to your pasta to make a quick version of chicken alfredo. You can also grill or bake chicken breasts, then slice and place on top of your fettuccine for the restaurant-quality look.
  • Garlic Alfredo: Love the taste of garlic? Before you melt the butter, sauté 2 tsp minced fresh garlic in 1 tbsp butter in your saucepan. Then, add the remaining butter and continue from there. For a slightly different version, you can just add 2 tsp of garlic powder to the sauce and heat through.
  • Spaghetti Squash Alfredo: Make the sauce the same way, but sub your fettuccine for cooked spaghetti squash. This is a super delicious option if you’re looking to increase your vegetable intake!


Can I use a different type of cheese?

While Parmesan is traditional, you can experiment with other cheeses like Romano or Asiago for a slightly different taste.

Can I add vegetables or protein to the dish?

Absolutely! Feel free to add cooked chicken, shrimp, or vegetables like broccoli or peas to make it a more substantial meal.

Is this recipe vegetarian?

Yes, if you use vegetarian-friendly Parmesan and omit any non-vegetarian add-ins. Always check your cheese for rennet content.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

While it’s best served fresh, you can make the sauce ahead of time and reheat it when ready to serve. Cook the pasta just before serving for the best texture.

How do I store my leftover fettuccine alfredo? 

Your fettuccine alfredo will stay good in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container. If you store the sauce without the pasta, you may need to reheat it on low heat while stirring constantly to avoid separating. 

I do not recommend freezing this sauce or the pasta. The texture of frozen pasta is just kinda weird — it’s much better to make it from fresh. And the sauce can get grainy and separate if you freeze it. 

3 Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo

A simple yet authentic recipe for creamy, delicious fettuccine alfredo!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $5.00
Servings: 8


  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lbs fettuccine noodles


  • In a large pot, prepare noodles according to package directions.
  • Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain the noodles and set aside.
  • In a medium pan, melt the butter.
  • Add parmesan cheese and whisk until melted.
  • Slowly add the reserved pasta water, whisking the entire time, until sauce becomes smooth and reaches desired consistency.
  • Toss noodles in sauce and serve with fresh herbs and black pepper.


Nutrition Facts
3-Ingredient Fettuccine Alfredo
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Similar Posts


    1. Thank you for the kind words! For sticky noodles, if you stir the noodles a few times right after you put them in, it breaks them apart. Then, after you drain them, you can add a drizzle of olive oil and toss!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating