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Alfredo sauce is a delicious and creamy pasta sauce, but it can be tricky to reheat. This post will guide you through the best different methods of reheating Alfredo sauce so eating your leftovers will be just as delicious as when they were fresh!
I love a creamy Alfredo pasta! They are some of my favorite recipes to create and eat, like this One Pot Cajun Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce, Cajun Alfredo Sauce or Cajun Salmon Alfredo Pasta.
Did you know you can reheat leftover alfredo so it's just as creamy as when it was fresh? This post will go through all the best ways to reheat alfredo sauce so you can enjoy your leftovers another day.
What is Alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is a decadent and creamy pasta sauce, usually served with fettuccine pasta.
It originated in Italy as a very simple pasta dish containing only butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, and fettuccine.
The version of Alfredo sauce we know in the US has evolved into a rich and creamy sauce usually made with heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and butter. It is typically served with fettuccine noodles, but really can be served over any pasta.
There are many variations of Alfredo sauce and fettuccine Alfredo now adding different ingredients for a spin on the classic sauce. Onions, shallots, garlic, seasonings, black pepper, white wine, and fresh herbs are commonly added. It is common to add protein like in shrimp or chicken alfredo for a filling and delicious meal.
Why does Alfredo sauce break when reheated?
We’ve all been there before. You try to reheat your previously creamy fettuccine alfredo pasta leftovers the next day only to find an oily greasy mess. It is so disappointing when your alfredo sauce breaks. So why does Alfredo sauce separate when reheating?
A cream sauce, like alfredo sauce, is an emulsion, meaning tiny droplets of fat are suspended in the liquid of the sauce. In this case, the fat comes from the butter, milk fats from the heavy cream, and even the parmesan cheese.
When the sauce is made and the emulsion forms, it creates a smooth creamy sauce. But if something disrupts the emulsion, the fat and liquid will separate, causing the sauce to “break”. A broken sauce can look pretty unappetizing with greasy pools of fat.
There are a few reasons why Alfredo sauce can break, like having too much fat, too much liquid, reheating it too quickly or at too high temperatures, or just letting it sit out for a while at room temperature.
Microwaving Alfredo sauce will most likely cause it to break, but I have a few tips to ensure your sauce stays silky smooth and delicious!
Best methods for reheating Alfredo sauce
Alfredo sauce will commonly separate during the reheating process. There are a few things to keep in mind when reheating a creamy Alfredo sauce to keep it from breaking, and they all have to do with keeping the sauce emulsified.
- Reheat slowly - Gradual heat helps the sauce stay emulsified.
- Use a low heat - In order not to shock the sauce.
- Keep it moving - Quick stirring helps keep the emulsion suspended.
Luckily there are a few different ways to reheat your Alfredo sauce and leftover fettuccine alfredo without it breaking. Here are some step-by-step instructions.
All of these methods will work with reheating alfredo sauce alone, or alfredo sauce and pasta that were stored together. When reheating with pasta, be gentle when breaking up the noodles so they don't tear apart.
Reheating Alfredo sauce on the stove top
The stovetop method is my favorite method for reheating alfredo sauce.
Add cold leftover alfredo sauce with or without pasta to a nonstick skillet or small saucepan, and turn to medium-low heat.
Add a little water or milk to the sauce to loosen it up.
Gently break up the sauce/pasta and mix it together as the sauce heats up. If reheating sauce only, use a whisk.
Continue stirring until the sauce is warmed throughout and creamy.
If your Alfredo sauce was stored with the pasta, be gentle when breaking up the pasta so you don’t tear the noodles apart.
The stove method works because you are using a low heat to warm up the sauce slowly while whisking it to keep the sauce emulsified.
Reheating Alfredo sauce in the oven
Reheating Alfredo sauce with the oven method is best for reheating large quantities of sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Add Alfredo sauce with or without pasta to an oven-safe dish with a splash of water or milk.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil. This will keep the sauce from drying out.
Heat the dish in the oven for about 10 minutes, then stir. Add more liquid if it becomes too dry.
Repeat until the sauce and pasta is warmed throughout and creamy.
Reheating alfredo sauce with the oven will require adding a little more liquid than the other methods.
The oven method works because the oven provides a gentle heating method to warm the sauce slowly. Just be sure to mix occasionally and add liquid as needed to keep the sauce creamy.
Reheating Alfredo sauce in the microwave
This is the quickest and easiest method for reheating Alfredo sauce!
Add Alfredo sauce with or without pasta to a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of milk or water.
Reheat at 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring in between, until the sauce is warmed throughout.
Reheating at short intervals on low power is the key to getting Alfredo sauce not to break using the microwave method.
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Quick tips for reheating Alfredo sauce
There are few things to remember to keep your Alfredo sauce from breaking while reheating.
- ADD LIQUID. Add a small amount of water, milk, or cream, to the sauce when necessary to keep it from drying out.
- KEEP IT MOVING. You will need to stir frequently while reheating to re-emulsify the sauce.
- LOW AND SLOW. Use slow heating methods with low to medium heat for the best results.
- STORE PROPERLY. It is easier to reheat the sauce alone, than with the pasta, so when able, store the sauce separately from the leftover pasta. If you have to reheat the sauce and pasta together, gently break up the pasta with a wooden spoon to separate it.
Follow these easy steps to keep your alfredo sauce it’s original creamy texture!
How to fix a broken Alfredo sauce
If your Alfredo sauce separates and breaks, there are few ways to fix it to make it creamy and smooth again.
Add a little liquid to the sauce, like milk or hot water, and vigorously whisk the sauce to reincorporate the fats. If available, using pasta water would work too.
If your sauce is separate from the pasta, you can use an immersion blender or blender to remix the sauce together.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is best to store leftover sauce separately from the leftover pasta. This makes reheating the sauce easier. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Yes! If you use low and slow heat with a splash of liquid while whisking, you should be able to reheat the Alfredo sauce without it breaking. It is best to store your alfredo pasta sauce separately from the pasta.
The best method to reheat Alfredo sauce without separating is to reheat it slowly with a little bit of water or milk, and stir frequently.
I don’t recommend freezing Alfredo sauce since it will likely separate and become grainy after defrosting.
Homemade Alfredo sauce will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Store bought sauces usually have a longer shelf life, but I would eat it within a week of the jar being opened.
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Hey good lookin', what ya got cookin'? I'm Lauren and I love to teach you how to make the good stuff, from scratch! I use fresh quality ingredients to create impressive but approachable restaurant worthy recipes.
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