Alfredo sauce is a classic Italian pasta dish.
It’s creamy, rich, and simple to make.
But what happens when it goes wrong?
The sauce can turn out bland and boring, especially if you lack the right ingredients or lack seasonings.
If this happens to you, don’t worry!
Just follow these tips for fixing bland Alfredo sauce once and for all.
What is Alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is a creamy, cheesy sauce used in Italian dishes.
The name comes from Alfredo di Lelio, an Italian chef who created it at his restaurant in Rome in 1914.
It’s mainly made with butter, parmesan cheese, and other spices and herbs for extra flavor.
This sauce is usually served with pasta and can also be used as a dipping sauce for bread or vegetables.
It’s popular in Italian-American restaurants and is often made with heavy cream or garlic.
Common mistakes when making Alfredo sauce
Making Alfredo sauce at home is a fun experience to try if you want to control what really goes into the sauce.
But there are also many mistakes that most home cooks usually make while making their own sauce.
Using the wrong type of cheese
It’s common to grab whatever you have in the fridge, which is fine if you know how it will affect your sauce.
For example, if you were making a dish for kids and wanted something milder, then you might use mozzarella instead of Parmesan.
Or maybe there isn’t enough Parmesan in your house, so you added cheddar instead.
This kind of substitution may work out just fine—but only as long as all the cheese types are equally bland!
Overseasoning or lack of seasonings
Nobody wants salty or bland sauce.
But seasoning the sauce is not a simple task.
If more than needed, your sauce can mask all the main course flavors.
On the other hand, insufficient spices and herbs will result in a boring liquid.
So you need to find a good recipe and follow it or refer to our tips to fix bland Alfredo sauce below.
Not enough fat
Not enough fat can make your sauce easily breaks, and it will not stick around the pasta and becomes unappealing.
The solution is to add more butter, cream, or cheese.
If you use low-fat milk, it’s better to use whole milk instead.
Watery or heavy texture
You will want something heavier than water but lighter than heavy cream, and a soupy texture is a goal.
If it’s too thick, add more milk or broth.
If it’s too thin and watery, add more cheese.
Notice that we say “more” in both instances and not “a lot.” This is because you don’t want to change the flavor profile of your sauce by adding too much fat or dairy.
Boiling Alfredo sauce
Remember to never boil a dairy-based sauce like Alfredo.
This will cause curdles and ruin your sauce, at least in appearance.
Keep it over low heat and simmer until the flavor and texture are good.
Why is my Alfredo sauce bland?
The first thing to consider is why your Alfredo sauce is bland.
There are a number of possible reasons for this, including:
- A lack of seasoning: An Alfredo sauce is a simple recipe, and its flavor should be bold.
If your sauce doesn’t have much flavor, check how much spice and herb have been used.
- Watery sauce: If your sauce ends up too thin, chances are it will be bland too.
This is because too much water dilutes the seasonings‘ flavor.
- Use low-quality or expired ingredients: If you use low-quality ingredients or outdated spices and herbs, your sauce will lack flavor.
Fresh ingredients are always best, so check the expiration date on your spices and herbs before using them.
How to fix bland Alfredo sauce?
There are several ways to fix bland Alfredo sauce and save you some bucks:
If you find your Alfredo sauce lacking flavor, adding salt is a simple fix.
First, measure out the amount of salt needed with a measuring spoon.
This will ensure that you don’t overdo it and end up with overly salty Alfredo sauce!
Next, add the measured salt to your pan and stir until combined once it has dissolved into the sauce; taste test again to ensure that there’s enough saltiness for your liking (you may want to add more).
Add spices and herbs
Sure, you can use your favorite store-bought or homemade Alfredo sauce to make this recipe.
But if you’re looking for a new twist on the classic dish, here’s how to fix bland Alfredo sauce: Add spices and herbs!
Our best tip for adding pep is twofold: First, season the pasta water with salt and freshly ground black pepper before cooking.
Then add some Italian seasonings while sautéing the garlic and onion (we like using basil, oregano, and thyme).
Next, add fresh herbs like parsley or chives at the end of cooking time.
You can also stir in lemon zest or freshly squeezed lemon juice before serving.
Add salted butter
You can also add a small amount of salted butter to your sauce, bringing out the flavor in your Alfredo sauce and making it taste richer.
You can use unsalted butter instead if that is what you have on hand, but then be sure to add some salt at the same time so that it does not become too bland for your liking.
Again using one tablespoon as a guide, add about two teaspoons of salted butter per cup and stir until melted into the sauce before adding in any cheese or other ingredients for cooking.
Add cheese or cream
Add some high-quality cheese or cream.
If you’re using pre-packaged sauce or cheese, try switching to the good stuff instead.
A little bit of your favorite fresh Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can go a long way toward making the sauce taste much better!
Add a tablespoon of mustard to your Alfredo sauce.
Doing so will give the sauce a sharp, tangy flavor that will complement the cheese and creaminess of the dish.
Mustard adds a creamy texture to the sauce without being too heavy or oily.
Finally, it adds an extra kick of spice by combining well with the parmesan cheese to create an overall spicy flavor profile that really packs a punch!
Add an acidic ingredient
If your sauce is too bland, a quick fix is to add an acidic ingredient: lemon juice or vinegar.
You can also add a splash of wine, which will help balance out the flavors by adding acidity and brightness.
To add these ingredients, simply pour them into your mixing bowl as you whisk away.
If you’re using lemon juice or vinegar as an ingredient (rather than adding it in with the rest of the sauce), simply strain your Alfredo before adding any additional ingredients.
The key is to be patient and not give up on your sauce.
It might take some time to get it right, but you’ll have something that tastes amazing in the end.