Creamy Cajun Alfredo Sauce Recipe

This Cajun Alfredo sauce recipe is a spin on fettuccine Alfredo (or more accurately penne Alfredo!) Think of it as your building blocks to a Cajun chicken Alfredo.

cajun shrimp sausage alfredo pasta

With delicious Cajun seasoning, the flavor of this recipe is one I come back to again and again. Whether I’m simply throwing in a handful of veggies at the end, or taking the time to cook additional protein, it hands down always scratches my itch for some good old Cajun cooking.

What You’ll Need for Cajun Alfredo Sauce

PaprikaPaprika adds a sweet and smoky undertone to the sauce. It’s crucial for achieving the rich, complex flavor profile characteristic of Cajun cuisine.

Garlic. Garlic serves as a foundational flavor, offering aromatic depth. It’s almost unthinkable to have an Alfredo sauce without garlic! In our house, the more garlic, the better.

SaltSalt is salt, people. It’s essential. Who wants bland food?

Heavy cream. Heavy cream provides the velvety texture that you expect from an Alfredo sauce. It also serves as the base that carries all the other flavors. If you don’t have heavy cream, you can use either half-and-half or whole milk. Whole milk will make a thinner sauce. So that’s just something to keep in mind.

Butter. Butter adds a layer of richness and flavor that olive oil alone can’t provide. It also helps to create a smoother, creamier sauce. When it comes to butter, use good butter. Good butter is better.

Cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper is crucial for adding heat to the dish. It helps balance out the richness of the cream and cheese and elevates the sauce’s complexity. But hey, don’t like spice? Reduce the amount to suit your taste buds. No judgment. 

Olive oil. For sautéing garlic and enhancing the dish’s rich and spicy flavors, olive oil serves as the ideal cooking medium. It is recommended to use high-quality olive oil and in case of uncertainty, extra virgin olive oil is the best choice. To learn more about the various types of olive oil available, check out this brief guide.

Cajun seasoning. This blend brings the quintessential Cajun flavors to your Alfredo sauce. Its combination of spices and herbs gives the dish its distinctive taste.

Thyme. Thyme contributes an earthy flavor. It complements the spiciness and richness of the sauce, adding a layer of complexity.

Parmesan cheese. Parmesan cheese brings a nutty and salty kick, crucial for giving the sauce its cheesy depth. It also thickens the sauce to the desired consistency.

Penne. Penne serves as the perfect vessel for your Cajun Alfredo sauce. But feel free to play around with the type of pasta you like best. Pasta shapes with ridges are great options for holding creamy sauce in its nooks and crannies.

bowl of cajun alfredo sauce pasta

Making Cajun AlfredO Sauce

Prep time: 10

Cook time: 25

Total time: 35

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces penne
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp paprika

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Penne: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté Garlic: While the penne is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Make the Base: Add butter to the saucepan and let it melt into the olive oil and garlic. 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add Spices and Seasoning: Stir in the cajun seasoning, paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, and salt.
  5. Add Cream: Slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream, stirring continuously to integrate it with the spices and melted butter.
  6. Thicken with Cheese: Reduce heat to low and gradually add the grated Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until the sauce becomes creamy and smooth.
  7. Combine with penne: Add the cooked penne to the saucepan and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit of reserved pasta water to thin it out. Serve hot with a sprinkle of green onions.

Ratio Instructions

For a spicier sauce, feel free to increase the amount of cayenne pepper to your taste. For a cheesier recipe, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

bowl of cajun alfredo sauce pasta
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Cajun Alfredo Sauce with Pasta

This Cajun Alfredo sauce is a spin on fettuccine Alfredo. Think of it as your building blocks to a delicious Cajun chicken Alfredo.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cajun
Keyword: cajun alfredo sauce, Cajun Alfredo Sauce Recipe, cajun pasta
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 771kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Penne
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 tbsp Butter
  • ¼ Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • ½ tsp Thyme  dried or fresh
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 cup Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Paprika

Instructions

  • Prepare the Penne: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Sauté Garlic: While the penne is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Make the Base: Add butter to the saucepan and let it melt into the olive oil and garlic. 2-3 minutes.
  • Add Spices and Seasoning: Stir in the cajun seasoning, paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, and salt.
  • Add Cream: Slowly pour in the heavy whipping cream, stirring continuously to integrate it with the spices and melted butter.
  • Thicken with Cheese: Reduce heat to low and gradually add the grated Parmesan cheese. Continue to stir until the sauce becomes creamy and smooth.
  • Combine with Penne: Add the cooked penne to the saucepan and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit of reserved pasta water to thin it out.

Nutrition

Calories: 771kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1022mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2033IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 387mg | Iron: 2mg

MakE THIS Cajun Alfredo Your Own

Add veggies.

Not in the mood to make a salad to go along with your pasta? That’s fine. Throw in some veggies with your main pasta dish and call it a day. No shame! I personally love using asparagus or broccoli for a pop of green color, but any veggies will work. Red or orange bell peppers also add a nice bit of color and a pop of bright flavor. 

Up the protein.

Make it a Cajun chicken pasta by sautéing chicken in a skillet with some Cajun spices before adding it to the pasta. Boneless skinless chicken breast is a good standby when it comes to protein but chicken tenderloins also work well. But you can also up the Cajun theme by adding either sausage and/or shrimp

Cut the carbs.

Craving Alfredo but not the carbs? Whether you’ve gone keto or are gluten-free, try using zucchini noodles. It also means you’ve already got your veggies! We all know that purchasing ready-made zoodles is expensive, so make them at home with this fancy zoodle-ling machine I got from Amazon. It’s easy to use and dishwasher safe. 

Cajun Alfredo Sauce Substitutions

Swap Out the Heavy Whipping Cream

If you’re out of heavy whipping cream, a viable alternative is half-and-half or whole milk. If using half and half, you probably won’t notice a difference. But if you use whole milk, you’ll likely notice that the sauce is slightly thinner and less creamy. 

Swap the Cheese

If Parmesan cheese is not available, Romano or Grana Padano can fill in without sacrificing the salty and nutty flavors you’re after. In my personal opinion, for this recipe, use the cheese you like or have on hand. any sort of hard goat or sheep’s cheese will be delicious.

Make Your Own Cajun Seasoning

If Cajun seasoning is missing from your pantry, you can make homemade Cajun seasoning by creating your own mix of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder. You’ll want to use two parts cayenne and one part cayenne, garlic, and onion. You can also add a teaspoon of time if you’d like. 

Cajun Alfredo Sauce FAQs

How do you spice up Alfredo sauce?

If you’re looking to take your Alfredo sauce to the next level, consider spicing it up with some red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper. For a smoky twist, try adding just a bit of smoked paprika. I’m also a huuuuuge fan of Frank Red Hot Sauce. It’s got some zing to it but not too much spice.

What is the difference between Cajun seasoning and Creole seasoning?

When it comes to seasonings from Louisiana, there are some key differences between Cajun and Creole blends. Cajun seasoning tends to be spicier and less herb-forward, with a simple mix of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder. But when it comes to Creole seasoning, there tends to be a wider variety of spices like thyme, oregano, and sometimes even cloves.

How do you thicken Cajun Alfredo sauce?

If your Cajun Alfredo sauce seems a bit thin, don’t worry, there are ways to thicken it up. One option is to let the sauce simmer on low heat until it naturally thickens. Another method involves making a roux with butter and flour; cook it until it’s lightly golden and then add it to the sauce. Finally, you can also make a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch and cold water in equal parts, then add it to the sauce while stirring as it simmers until it reaches your desired thickness. You can also just very very slowly add a bit of flour. It’s sorta like a roux/slurry hack.

More Spicy and Cajun-Inspired Recipes

Pastalya Recipe

Creamy Rasta Pasta Recipe

Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning Recipe

27 Side Dishes to Serve with Jambalaya

Chili’s Cajun Chicken Pasta Recipe

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

Have questions or suggestions about this Cajun Alfredo sauce recipe? Leave them in the comments below.

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