This easy parmesan cream sauce brings together the salty nuttiness of parmesan with cream and nutmeg. The result is a rich and creamy white sauce with a hint of warm flavor.
All it takes is a handful ingredients and a large skillet to whip this sauce up on the stove top. You can use it as part of your main dish, tossed with pasta or drizzled over proteins, or it can be part of a side like veggies or potatoes.
If you’re looking to make a quick meal on a weeknight, this easy recipe delivers — but it’s also perfect for date night, too.
The next time you’re trying to come up with easy dinner recipes, try this quick and simple homemade parmesan cream sauce.
Table of Contents
What is Parmesan Cream Sauce?
Parmesan cream sauce is a slight variation on a traditional alfredo sauce. It’s an easy cream sauce with a hint of warmth imparted by the nutmeg.
The other major difference between parmesan cream sauce and alfredo is the absence of garlic in parmesan creams sauce.
This sauce is perfect for elevating a dish by adding just that slight twist on the original. It’s a great way to dress up proteins or vegetables — and, of course, it’s perfect paired with noodles for a quick pasta dish.
There are only a few simple ingredients needed to make this delicious parmesan cream sauce so make sure to use high quality ingredients to let the flavors shine.
- Unsalted butter – Since you’re adding salt to the recipe, avoid using butter that is salted. You’ll be better able to control the flavor of the sauce.
- Flour – While you can use alternative flours to make this sauce, we like to use traditional all purpose flour.
- Heavy cream – Make sure to use heavy cream to get the right rich, luxe consistency.
- Whole milk – Avoid using skim milk of other lower fat versions — the fat from the dairy is what gives the sauce its silky smooth texture.
- Parmesan cheese – Resist the urge to save time with packaged cheese that’s been shredded or grated. Instead, grate your own cheese for the freshest flavor.
- Smoked Paprika- This spice adds warmth and pizazz to the sauce and pairs with nearly any flavor affinity.
- Coarse kosher salt – You can use any salt that you prefer but a coarse kosher salt gives the sauce just the right flavor.
- Ground black pepper – You grind it fresh or you can use your table shaker.
How To Use Parmesan Cream Sauce
You can use this versatile sauce with anything you might put an alfredo sauce on, or you can get creative with how you use it, too.
- Pasta – While it’s most popular over fettuccine, you can also use it on other styles like penne, cavatappi, or your favorite pasta. It works well on stuffed pastas like ravioli, tortellini, or stuffed shells.
- Vegetables – Toss steamed vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower with this savory sauce for an upgraded veggie dish.
- Potatoes – Drizzle this tasty sauce over roasted potatoes, spoon it onto baked potatoes, or dress up your mashed potatoes with it. You can even use it as a dipping sauce for french fries.
- Fish – Salmon, cod, and other grilled or roasted fish can be topped with this creamy sauce.
- Meat – Elevate your roasted chicken breasts or pork chops with a drizzle of this. You can also serve it alongside a nice juicy steak.
While this smooth, creamy sauce is perfect just as it is, there a lots of different ways customize it, too.
- Crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne – Toss in a few dashes of these for some spiciness.
- Capers – Add briny tang and a touch of color with capers.
- Pesto – The bright basil and slight nuttiness in pesto will add layers of flavor.
- Basil – Slice some fresh basil and mix it into the sauce or sprinkle over top for garnish.
- Green onions – Green onions are another great garnish for this parmesan cream sauce.
- Italian seasoning – Shake in a little bit of Italian seasoning for even more flavor.
- Garlic – You can make this into a garlic cream sauce by mincing or pressing a garlic clove (or lots of garlic cloves). Or, you can shake in some garlic powder.
- Sun-dried tomatoes – Brighten up the color and flavor of the sauce with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes toward the end of cooking.
- Olive oil – To add some healthy fat you can replace some of the butter with olive oil.
Storage and Freezing
This flavorful parmesan cream sauce is great to keep around for busy weeknights or impromptu get-togethers.
Refrigerator: Store homemade parmesan sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-7 days.
Freezer: Freeze this sauce for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Other Savory Sauces
Parmesan Cream Sauce Recipe
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in flour until it forms a paste.
- Whisk in the cream and milk until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and smoked paprika.
- Taste test to determine if the sauce needs salt and/or pepper.
- Whisk until smooth and serve hot.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.