There are two camps when it comes to jarred Alfredo sauce: those who use it and those who don’t. To be clear, those who do not, truly, truly do not. Ever. They don’t buy it because they prefer to make it from scratch or have no idea why they would want a jar or two in their pantry, especially if they don’t like fettucine Alfredo.
That brings us to those who do, which is clearly a large number of home cooks, as store shelves are piled high with Alfredo options. What’s inside the jar is more than just a creamy, comforting alternative to tomato-based pasta or pizza sauce for these people. It serves as an appetizer, a meal starter, and a finishing sauce.
Alfredo sauce can be drizzled over cauliflower or roasted vegetables or slathered on pasta, chicken, or fish. It can be mixed into marinara, used as a soup or creamy casserole base, or poured into a fondue pot for an instant hot dip.
The issue with jarred Alfredo, of course, is that it requires stabilizers and gums, which aren’t typically used in homemade Alfredo. The challenge is to ensure that the additives do not overpower the flavors of the main ingredients, cream and cheese, and that the texture is as luxurious and velvety as authentic Alfredo.
A good Alfredo sauce is a decadent, cheese-forward cream sauce with layers of flavor, a hint of salt, and umami richness. Bad Alfredo sauce is salty, flavorless, or so loaded with additives that it’s simply disgusting.
Here’s the lowdown on rich, comforting, pre-made Alfredo sauces that will transform food into a more delicious version of itself — as well as the sauce blunders that should never have made it into a jar, let alone onto store shelves. The nutritional information is for 1/4 cup of sauce.
Rao’s Homemade Alfredo
This rich, mouthwatering sauce is creamy, buttery, and bursting with cheese flavor. Its rich, complex flavor will elevate any dish. 100 calories, 9 grams of fat, 420 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Safeway charges $10.99 for 15 ounces. (4 stars)
Four Cheese Alfredo Bertolli D’Italia
Delicate seasonings and four different types of cheese combine to make this thick blend a delicious, velvety option. It’s spotless, opulent, and completely deserving. 110 calories, 10 grams of fat, 360 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. Safeway charges $6.49 for 16.9 ounces. (4 stars)
Aged White Cheddar Alfredo by Dave’s Gourmet
Fans of black pepper may enjoy this peppery, cheddar-based blend. It’s thin, but the cheese is strong enough to stand up to vegetables and other ingredients. 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, 340 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Whole Foods charges $9.99 for 15 ounces. (3½ stars)
Alfredo Pasta Sauce from Trader Joe’s
This luxurious sauce, made with fresh cream and a hint of parmesan and pecorino, is a great choice for true Alfredo fans. The cheese flavors are subtle, but the sauce tastes authentic. 80 calories, 6 grams of fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. The price for 16 ounces is $3.49. (3 stars)
Signature Reserve Pasta Sauce
This sauce is so peppery and acidic that it tastes like salad dressing with a strong cheese flavor. Heat will naturally neutralize the acid and help balance the flavors, so save it for casseroles and soups. 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, 430 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Safeway charges $6.99 for 13 ounces. (2½ stars)
Alfredo Prego Homestyle
This sauce’s generous cream, rich butter note, and sprinkle of cheese almost make up for the evaporated milk flavor. It’s edible, but it’s best used in dishes with a lot of flavor. 80 calories, 7 grams of fat, 390 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Safeway charges $4.49 for 14.5 ounces. (2½ stars)
Creamy Alfredo Classico
This sauce could work in a pinch because it contains both cream and salt, but it is severely lacking in cheese. 50 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 400 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Raley’s sells 15 ounces for $3.99. (2 stars)
Classic Alfredo Sauce O Organics
This thin, minimally cheesy blend tastes like canned milk and falls short of expectations. It requires significant culinary adaptation to be useful. 70 calories, 7 grams of fat, 420 milligrams of sodium, and 1 gram of sugar. 1 gram protein. Safeway charges $4.49 for 14.5 ounces. (1½ stars)
Whole Foods Premium Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce
It’s a mystery why this is labeled “Alfredo” when it’s not even creamy. Salt and pepper are the dominant flavors. 80 calories, 7 grams of fat, 370 milligrams of sodium, no sugar, and 1 gram of protein. 14.5 ounces for $4.99. (1½ stars)
Ragu Alfredo Classico Sauce
If you’re looking for a rich, cream-forward Alfredo sauce, this isn’t it. The flavor is nutty and cheesy, but it tastes like canned cream that has been sitting on the shelf for far too long. 90 calories, 9 grams of fat, 320 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Target charges $2.39 for 16 ounces. (1 star)
Alfredo, Good and Gather
Creamy Alfredo Sauce Sonoma Gourmet
This is a huge disappointment due to an overpowering garlic punch and a massive hit of herbs. The label describes it as “crazy good.” We respectfully disagree. 100 calories, 9 grams of fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Raley’s sells 15.5 ounces for $5.99. (½ a star)
Botticelli Premium White Alfredo Sauce
This salty sauce is a colossal flop. It has the consistency of mayonnaise. There’s no cream here, and the wonky sweet notes are off-putting. 100 calories, 8 grams of fat, 400 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, and 3 grams of protein. Raley’s sells 14.5 ounces for $5.99. (There are no stars.)