This quick and easy Fettuccine Alfredo for one can be made in less than twenty minutes and makes a fabulously cheesy lunch or dinner.
Hey, you know what’s great? Fettuccine Alfredo.
You know what’s not great? Fettuccine Alfredo leftovers. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll eat them (oh I’ll eat them), but the sauce always gets a little funny looking on day two, and the noodles end up too hot or too cold or too soft after microwaving.
So given the choice, I’d rather not make more than can be eaten immediately.
That’s where today’s recipe, Fettuccine Alfredo for one comes in handy.
This post and its photos have been updated. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.
When I feel like making pasta for just myself, this is my go-to cheesy pasta recipe (well, this and my Mac and Cheese for One). It makes just one 2-ounce serving of pasta (yay portion control!)
AND takes only as long to make as it takes to bring some water to boil and cook some fettuccine noodles.
The sauce is a classic Alfredo sauce, which means no roux. It’s just butter, some cream or milk, a little parmesan, and a sprinkling of spices, so it comes together quick.
You heat everything together for just a couple of minutes while your pasta cooks and in 11-13 minutes (or whatever cooking time your pasta package says) you have a bowl of creamy, cheesy pasta perfection.
- Milk, half and half or heavy cream: The Alfredo sauce can be made with whatever dairy you have on hand. Half and half is my preferred choice here. Cream will give you the richest, thickest sauce, and milk will make a thin (but still delicious sauce). To make a rough half and half substitute, combine approximately 2 parts milk to one part cream (it doesn’t have to be exact). If you have leftovers of either, check out my posts on what to do with leftover heavy cream or leftover half and half.
- Parmesan: Go with freshly grated parmesan if you can. It melts more smoothly than the pre-shredded, bagged stuff. But if bagged is all you have, you can use it, your sauce might just be a little lumpy. This recipe calls for 1/2 ounce of cheese, which will be between 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup of parmesan depending on how you grate it (2 tablespoons for a box grater/pre-shredded cheese, 1/4 cup using a microplane). Don’t worry too much about getting the exact right amount of cheese. A little extra parm never hurt anyone.
- Fettuccine: Fettuccine noodles are obviously classic here, but use whatever pasta you want.
How to Make Fettuccine Alfredo
- Start by boiling your pasta in salted water.
- While your pasta cooks, melt butter and add milk/half and half/cream and the spices to the pot. Cook until it begins to steam and then stir in the cheese.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and toss the pasta with the sauce. Top with more parmesan and enjoy!
Fettuccine Alfredo for One Variations
- Garlic Alfredo – Before adding the cream, add 1/2 teaspoon of minced or crushed garlic to the melted butter and cook until browned, about 30 seconds. Omit the garlic powder.
- Broccoli Alfredo – In the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time, toss a handful of broccoli florets in with the boiling fettuccine noodles and cook until tender.
- Chicken Alfredo – Add 3 ounces/ 3/4 cup of chopped warm cooked chicken (I like to use the method from my post How to Cook Chicken Breasts for Salads and Sandwiches) to the sauce just before pouring over the pasta.
What to serve with Fettuccine Alfredo?
More Quick Pasta Dishes
- Buttered Noodles for One
- Short Rib Mac & Cheese
- Chicken in White Wine Butter Sauce
- Quick Creamy Sausage Pasta
- Quick Basil Chicken Pasta for Two
A Note on Serving Size
This makes one 2-ounce serving (the recommended serving size) of pasta. If you want a big restaurant-sized portion or are feeding a big eater, double the recipe. To change the recipe yield, hover over the number of servings in the recipe card below (or click if you are on mobile) and slide the slider.
Quick and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo for One
- 2 ounces fettuccine noodles
- 1 tablespoon (14g) butter
- ⅓ cup half and half, milk, or heavy cream *
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of dried parsley (optional)
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ ounce (2 Tbs to 1/4 cup )* shredded parmesan cheese for the smoothest sauce, use freshly grated parmesan
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and cook fettuccine according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- When your pasta is nearly finished cooking, in a small pot, melt butter. Stir in half and half/milk/cream, garlic powder, optional dried parsley, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Heat until steaming, just before it's ready to simmer. Turn heat to low and stir in parmesan.
- Continue to stir over low heat until parmesan is completely melted into the sauce. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Pour sauce over drained fettuccine noodles and toss. Allow the pasta to sit for 5 minutes to cool and sauce to thicken slightly.
- Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and enjoy!
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This post was originally published on 4/24/17. It was updated on 10/26/20 with new photos and additional information and tips.