Mozzarella alfredo pasta sauce is a creamy and delicious pasta sauce without any parmesan! Made with mozzarella cheese, garlic, butter, and cream, it's the perfect base for a simple fettuccine alfredo. It's the perfect 20 minute meal for a cozy dinner.
You'll love this mozzarella alfredo as a side dish or a main dish when paired with grilled shrimp or chicken. Or you can keep it vegetarian and add broccoli, mushrooms, or spinach.
Since mozzarella is also a lower sodium cheese, this alfredo sauce without parmesan is a great low sodium pasta sauce option.
Alfredo Sauce with Mozzarella Cheese
Why make homemade alfredo sauce with mozzarella cheese and not parmesan? For some of my readers, this has to do with tyramine content. Parmesan cheese is both high in glutamate and tyramine which is not always brain-friendly. Making a mozzarella alfredo sauce is also low histamine! I knew I had to try to re-create that creamy, classic sauce, but for those who either only had mozzarella in their fridge, or those looking for an alternative to parmesan.
I love this recipe because the texture is super cheesy, especially since you get that great cheesy pull that mozzarella gives. And although you miss some of that umami flavor from parmesan, the garlic and butter provide lots of great flavor.
You'll love this mozzarella alfredo recipe because:
- 5 ingredients - Not a lot of grocery shopping required for this recipe.
- Low histamine and tyramine - Great for those who cannot tolerate aged cheese.
- 20 minute meal - This recipe is so easy to make!
- Versatile - Keep this simple as a side dish or add grilled proteins or vegetables.
- Special diet friendly - This recipe fits gluten free, vegetarian, and migraine diets. This mozzarella alfredo sauce is also much lower sodium that parmesan.
What Mozzarella is Best for Pasta?
I've tested this mozzarella alfredo sauce 2 different ways - with fresh high moisture mozzarella, and with low moisture mozzarella.
This recipe works best with low moisture style as the high moisture kind can become a little clumpy and stringy. That being said, both turned out delicious. I found that adding the mozzarella at the very end and mixing with tongs prevented everything from being too clumpy. I also recommend grating a block yourself over buying pre-grated, but shredded works too.
Using a whole milk/fat mozzarella will give you the best flavor and texture. Boar's Head and Calabro are some of my favorite brands.
- Mozzarella - Choose a low moisture mozzarella as discussed above, or use my tips for cooking with a fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Butter - A quality European butter or Kerrygold are my go-to's since this has such limited ingredients and mozzarella doesn't have the same depth of flavor as other aged cheeses.
- Heavy Cream - Look for one without carrageenan.
- Pasta - I recommend linguine or fettuccine, but any pasta can be used.
- Parsley - Totally optional, but makes a great garnish.
How to Make Mozzarella Alfredo Sauce
Step 1: Boil the Pasta
Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. Most importantly, reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water for making the sauce.
Step 2: Make the Alfredo Sauce
Begin by using a large pan that can support you putting the pasta in it. Melt butter over medium heat, then add in the minced garlic. Stir often so it does not brown. Pour in the heavy cream and bring everything to a simmer. Simmer the sauce till it becomes thick and you can see a visible line when you run a wood spoon through it.
Step 3: Add in the Pasta
Add in the pasta and begin to coat it with the cream sauce. Add in pasta water till you get the desired thickness. Then, over low heat, add in the mozzarella shreds. The mozzarella cheese is best mixed in with tongs. Keep mixing the pasta till all the cheese has melted. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste, then garnish with parsley.
If you do end up using a high moisture mozzarella, don't worry. Although the texture won't be as ideal and it may clump, it's still very delicious. Just make sure you serve it quickly and warm. You could troubleshoot this by making it into more of a baked pasta, and heat it in the oven with some cooked veggies.
Substitutions and Variations
- Pasta - Use any type of pasta you like whether it's chickpea pasta, cassava, regular wheat pasta, fresh pasta, dried pasta. This sauce would also work over spaghetti squash but may not mix quite as well. I'd make it more into a casserole.
- Mozzarella - If you can't find a particular mozzarella that will work, try this Boursin pasta instead.
- Protein - I recommend adding grilled shrimp or baked chicked.
- Vegetables - To add vegetables, sauté them in the same pan before making the sauce. I would recommend sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, chopped asparagus spears or broccoli.
- Sauce for chicken or fish - You don't just have to use this mozzarella alfredo sauce over pasta, but it can also work over chicken or fish.
- Heavy cream - Heavy cream thickens while reducing much better than half and half or milk, so this recipe doesn't require flour or cornstarch (or any type of thickener) to be added. If you want to substitute the heavy cream, you will need to thicken the sauce by adding one of these.
If you intend to make this pasta with mozzarella into a main dish, I highly recommend serving with one of these side dish pairings:
For a main dish pairing, I recommend:
This mozzarella alfredo pasta is best if it's served right away. It can be stored in the fridge up to 3 days, but will not reheat quite as well. To reheat, I recommend covering the dish with a paper towel and microwaving in 30 second increments, stirring often. Or place it into a small skillet and add a little bit of heavy cream, stirring often over medium low heat until it is heated through.
Yes! This is what this mozzarella alfredo sauce recipe helps you do. While it does change the flavor and bit of the texture, it's still got the same elements of the creamy comfort food you love.
For this pasta, you want to melt the mozzarella over low heat so it doesn't burn or curdle. Using the tongs to toss the pasta with the cream sauce, it should help to evenly incorporate the cheese throughout.
If you read the notes about mozzarella, sometimes different brands can cook different ways, or perhaps the way it was heated just didn't work out. Don't worry, the recipe will still taste delicious and will just have more of a casserole-like texture.
I don't recommend freezing this alfredo sauce, but for a great pasta recipe that can be meal prepped, try this lazy lasagna.
Mozzarella Alfredo Sauce
- 8 oz fettuccine pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1 cup mozzarella freshly shredded, full fat and low moisture recommended
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- kosher salt
- Optional: Italian parsley and nutmeg
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water.
- In a large pan big enough to hold the pasta, melt butter over medium heat, then stir in garlic and sauté about 1 minute till soft. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a low simmer, stirring often with a wood spoon till thick and leaves a line in the pan when stirred (about 5-6 minutes). Add in the cooked pasta, using tongs to toss with the cream sauce till it's well-coated.
- Add in the mozzarella cheese, and continue to toss the pasta with the tongs till the cheese has melted. Add ¼ cup of hot pasta water if more liquid is needed to keep the pasta creamy and glossy. Taste and adjust any seasonings, adding salt, pepper, or a pinch of nutmeg as needed. Top with parsley, if desired.
- Serve immediately and warm! The longer the pasta sits and cools, the more the cheese will begin to firm up again.
- For best results, choose a low moisture mozzarella with full fat/whole milk - freshly grated preferred! I recommend Boar's Head or Calabro. I've also used fresh mozzarella for this and it does taste good, but it also gets a little more watery and firms up.
- Tongs will help to best mix the pasta sauce and cheese with the pasta.
- Mozzarella is already a low sodium cheese, so to make this lower sodium, don't use salted water for the pasta. For gluten free, use gluten free pasta, or just use the sauce alone over vegetables or chicken.