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How to Make Jarred Alfredo Sauce Better (quickly and easily)

There’s nothing better than fettuccine alfredo. Now, making alfredo sauce from scratch can be time-consuming, but jarred alfredo sauce is mediocre at best. So here’s how to make jarred alfredo sauce better.

As a general rule, jarred alfredo sauce can be made better by adding fresh minced garlic, chicken stock, white wine, a small amount of grated nutmeg, and cream cheese. Then top the finished product with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, the highest-grade parmesan cheese.

Jarred alfredo sauce often has thickeners added which do make the sauce thicker but don’t do anything to add flavor. And often, they detract from the flavor.

But there’s a lot more to know.

In this article, we will find out what spices you could add to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better and whether you should add butter. We will also find out if you can add cream to it. And we will explore how to make it thicker, in addition to other riveting facts.

Let’s dive right in.

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What spices should I add to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better?

You can add the following spices to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better:

  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Garlic

You use nutmeg while baking, right?

But did you know that you can also use it to add extra flavor to your sauce? It gives it an extra nip.

Basil, for example, is also an antioxidant, with many health benefits. Even though you’re eating pasta, it’s good to know that you can use these spices to elevate the quality, not just its flavor.

Each spice adds a distinct and rich flavor and has health benefits. Just be sure you use a little bit of each one. They are spices, after all.

All of that being said, use dried spices sparingly, especially if they won’t be simmering for a long time.

They could remain dry in the finished product and be off-putting texture-wise.

Fresh herbs will always be superior to dried spices, so consider adding a fresh sprig of rosemary to the sauce while it simmers or a chiffonade of basil right before serving.

Should I add butter to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better?

Butter can be added to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better. Butter gives the sauce a creamy texture and enhances its flavor. Even better is to sauté fresh minced garlic (and/or mushrooms) in butter before mixing it up with the sauce.

Butter acts as a great emulsifier, so it will be great in the sauce. And it will be a natural blend seeing as it’s one of the main ingredients in making the jarred sauce.

Mix the butter and garlic in a pan.

You may choose to roast the garlic a bit. Then, add the mixture to your sauce. The jarred alfredo sauce’s flavor and texture will be better. Trust me.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to make spaghetti sauce thicker? 

You’re in luck because that’s what I explored in a recent article I published. In it, I get into how to thicken spaghetti sauce with or without cornstarch and why the sauce could be runny.

I also explained how to thicken pasta sauce quickly. I went further to explain how to thicken the sauce without tomato paste and whether simmering helps in giving the sauce the right consistency.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Should I add cream to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better?

Yes. You can add cream to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better. When cream is added to the sauce, the depth of flavor is enhanced, and it assumes a rich, creamy texture. You can also use lower fat substitutes, but heavy cream is better.

Do be aware that too much cream can thin the sauce too much. At that point, it will need to simmer longer or have something like cream cheese added to thicken it.

Did you thin it out too much?

So, what do you do? While your alfredo sauce is in a saucepan over medium heat, whisk some heavy cream into it and let it simmer for a while.

Stir frequently, so it doesn’t begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. Add small tabs of butter and/or cream cheese to thicken.

Why does jarred alfredo sauce taste bad?

Jarred alfredo sauce tastes bad because it’s pasteurized. And because thickeners, such as modified food starch, and low-quality and unnecessary ingredients are used. 

For example, cheap oil like soybean or canola oil often gets used in place of butter, and low-quality parmesan cheese typically gets used also.

Sugar, whey powder, and egg yolks are also used, none of which would be used if you were making it from scratch.

Like food starch, whey powder and egg yolks are employed as thickeners.

The process of pasteurization and the low-quality of ingredients affect the flavor of alfredo sauce adversely. Butter, (or at least extra virgin olive oil) rather than soybean oil is ideal, and aged parmesan cheese would be better. Now to be sure, some brands are better than others.

But the pasteurization still kills a lot of the flavor. So at the very least, look for a refrigerated one over a shelf-stable one.

Now you know why the mass-produced jar sauce that you get at the grocery store doesn’t taste so great. When you’re in a hurry, it’ll do, but don’t expect it to be as rich as a homemade sauce that you can put together yourself.

To make homemade alfredo, you would need butter, cream, and good quality parmesan with a little salt and a touch of nutmeg, a pantry staple that adds a sweet aroma to the sauce.

How to make jar alfredo sauce thicker

You can make jarred alfredo sauce thicker by adding various food items you already use regularly.

Depending on the food item, you’ll probably make a slurry, a puree, or roux, or you’ll have to shred the food item first. When added in sufficient quantity, this changes the consistency of the sauce.

The following are food items you can use:

  • Butter
  • Sautéed vegetables such as fresh garlic, mushrooms, and onion
  • Freshly grated Italian cheese such as pecorino romano
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese (ideally Regianno parmesan)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Egg Yolk
  • Heavy Cream

Let’s look at how to use a couple to make your jar of sauce thicker.


Mix equal parts of softened butter and flour in a small bowl until it has a paste-like quality. Then, whisk a little at a time into the sauce.


You can puree some vegetables and add them to the sauce. Steamed cauliflower would be great.

Of course, you can use other veggies you like.

Wash, peel, and dice the veggies, then steam or sauté until it’s soft enough. Blend it and add it to your sauce. The vegetables will make them thicker by improving the texture, and it will give it a rich flavor. But unless you are pureeing them, remember not to overcook the veggies.

Freshly grated cheese

Ideally, you want to shred the cheese yourself because pre-shredded cheese does not always melt easily in the sauce. Simply use a box grater or food processor to shred the brand of cheese you like.

Italy is home to some of the finest cheeses in the world.

So ideally look for whole pieces of Italian cheese that you can grate yourself at home. There are lots of choices for parmesan and it can be confusing.

The flavor and saltiness can vary a lot, and how long the cheese is aged will affect both the overall quality as well as the price. But if money is no object, Parmigiano-Reggiano is always considered the best parmesan cheese available.


In the article, we found out what spices you could add to jarred alfredo sauce to make it better and whether you should add butter to it.

We also found out if you can add cream to it.

Then, we looked at why jarred alfredo sauce tastes bad. Finally, we wrapped things up by exploring how to make it thicker.

But if you go to all that trouble, you might consider making and canning your own alfredo sauce!

Not only will it taste better, but you can control the quality of ingredients and if you can it or freezer bag it, you can make a big batch and have plenty on hand for months to come!

Image by Mote Oo Education from Pixabay and also Barilla Creamy Alfredo and Garlic Alfredo Sauces by theimpulsivebuy which is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text and graphic overlay added.

Jeff Campbell