How to make cream sauce for pasta, chicken, fish and more – a recipe collection of easy to prepare delectable cream sauces.
Go straight to the Recipe Card or
Browse the different recipes below (1 min) – the more involved recipes have their own how-to pages we link to while the really easy ones are included in the Recipe Card.
This collection of recipes is comprised of variations of basic white cream sauce that is easy, stable and truly delicious – no matter which direction your taste buds take you.
Most of the sauces are calibrated to yield four servings, but take this statement with a grain of salt – if you tend to enjoy more generous cream sauce helpings, especially as far as pasta is concerned, then perhaps you want to double the quantities. We often do. We leave the decision entirely up to you – recipes are guidelines, their perfection is in the hands of the cook.
And before you browse the different options, consider these helpful tips:
- for a thicker sauce without the wait time for simmering you can always mix a slurry (1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp cold water) and gradually add it to the simmering cream while you stir – the sauce will thicken instantly, you may not even need to use all the slurry.
- if a recipe calls for chicken stock to impart savory depth to the sauce you can use chicken base, and vice versa. The advantage of the base over the stock is shortened simmering time.
- non-stick pans are your friend when making a cream sauce, so are pans with larger cooking surface (faster reduction time)
- always use fresh heavy cream – not half and half, not regular cream. The fat content of heavy cream is what gives all the sauces below their stability, richer flavor and suave texture.
- because we don’t use butter in the recipes that follow, the sauces can be reheated on low heat and will not break, have less calories and cholesterol than butter based versions and taste just as fabulous.
Recipes: Creamy Sauces for Pasta, Chicken, Seafood & More
1. Spinach Cream Sauce
This is a multi-purpose sauce you can savor with all manners of pasta, drizzle over pan-seared or baked fish, sauted shrimp, seared scallops, chicken and pork. We recommend that you use fresh spinach but frozen chopped spinach works as well. Here is the recipe and short video showing how to make it.
2. Mushroom Cream Sauce
A simple preparation that can be made with different mushrooms – from cultivated button or cremini to wild mushrooms such as porcini or chantarelle. In Germany, and especially in Bavaria, this sauce is referred to as a ‘creamy mushroom stew’ and is most frequently served with bread dumplings. Go to the recipe for Creamy Mushroom Sauce.
3. Creamy Mustard Dill Sauce
Excellent with both fish and red meats, especially lamb. It includes some honey for balancing sweetness, which you can reduce or eliminate if you’d rather experience more of the Dijon mustard. Be sure to use fresh dill and season to taste. Find the recipe here.
4. Lemon Cream Sauce
Another multi-purpose, delicious cream sauce infused with the flavor and scent of fresh lemons and with a confident savory base. Find the full recipe here.
5. Garlic Cream Sauce
Hands down perfect for any kind of pasta. You can make it really, really simple or spruce it up by adding finely chopped fresh herbs, dried herbs, grated Parmesan, seasonings etc. See the Recipe Card below for ingredients and instructions.
TIP: If you want to make a creamy garlic sauce for pizza, to use instead of marinara, mix 1 cup crème fraiche (or sour cream), 1 egg yolk, minced garlic to taste (2 average cloves work well) and salt and pepper to taste. Then smother over the crust, pile on the toppings and bake your pizza. It’s delicious!
6. Chorizo Cream Sauce
A spicy, richly flavored Mexican chorizo sauce you can enjoy with chicken, pasta, fish or shellfish. Very simple to make, adjust the ingredients per your preference. See the Recipe Card below about how to make it or check out our Creamy Chorizo Pasta recipe.
7. Honey Mustard Cream Sauce
A breeze to make and so versatile! Goes perfectly with pork cutlets, chicken, salmon and more. Only a handful of ingredients besides heavy cream – Dijon mustard, honey and seasoning. Here is the recipe for the Thin Pork Chops dish shown above, the recipe for the sauce by itself is in the Recipe Card below.
8. Spicy Cream Sauce (Cajun or Red Pepper Flakes)
The spiciness in this one can come by way of Cajun seasoning or good old red pepper flakes and you are in full control over the intensity of either. To infuse the sauce with umami we employ chicken stock/chicken paste. Very simple to make, see the Recipe Card below for instructions.
9. Simple Heavy Cream Cheese Sauce
This cheesy cream sauce is true north when it comes to decadent, from scratch mac and cheese. It never fails to earn us the good graces of our son and many, many more kids Chris has made it for while working at various restaurant. The only thing you need to pay attention to is the temperature of the heavy cream – it must be on the lower side so as to not cause the cheese to break. And in the unlikely event that the cheese does break, then you can simply blend the whole thing, add a bit more cream and gently heat it up on low. Go to the Recipe Card for the details.
10. Whole Grain Mustard Cream Sauce
11. Shrimp Cream Sauce
The perfect creamy shrimp sauce to take a steak into surf ‘n’ turf territory or ladle over a baked fish fillet or simply a bowl of al dente pasta. Full recipe here.
12. Bacon Cream Sauce (Multi-Purpose)
You have two options for this easy sauce – use smoked bacon to infuse the cream with its smokiness in addition to the other delicious flavor agents that part take in its making, or use pancetta and capitalize on its intense porky umami flavor. Either way you choose to go, this creamy bacon sauce is wonderful with pasta, scallops, baked potatoes, fish, plainly prepared chicken, steak and more! Full recipe here.
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Garlic Cream Sauce (with Optional Parmesan)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
- 4-6 cloves garlic (adjust to taste), minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2-3 tbps grated Parmesan (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
Chorizo Cream Sauce*
- 1 cup of Mexican chorizo (removed from the casing)
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
Honey Mustard Cream Sauce
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
Spicy Cream Sauce (Cajun or Red Pepper Flakes)
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tsp chicken base
- 2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste) OR 2 tsp (or to taste) red pepper flakes + 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Simple Cheese Cream Sauce
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (must be good melting cheese such as cheddar, at room temperature)
Whole Grain Mustard Cream Sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
GARLIC CREAM SAUCE (with OPTIONAL PARMESAN)
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and while constantly moving it around with a wooden spoon, sauté if for 30-40 seconds or until fragrant and just beginning to turn golden. Add the heavy cream, stir, bring to gentle simmer and simmer until the sauce thickens to your liking. Remove from heat. Add the grated Parmesan (optional) and stir until it melts and blends in with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
CHORIZO CREAM SAUCE
In a non-stick pan over medium heat begin to brown the chorizo while gently breaking it up with a wooden spoon. When mostly cooked through, remove any excess fat with a small spoon (may not need to). Add the heavy cream, stir, bring to simmer and cook for another couple of minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
HONEY MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE
In a sauce pan over medium heat add the heavy cream, mustard and honey. Whisk until combined and simmer briefly until the sauce thickens to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
SPICY CREAM SAUCE (CAJUN OR RED PEPPER FLAKES)
In a sauce pan over medium heat add heavy cream and chicken base. Stir to combine and bring to simmer. Add Cajun seasoning OR red pepper flakes (plus optional Parmesan). Simmer until sauce thickens to your liking or thicken with slurry.
SIMPLE CHEESE CREAM SAUCE
Add the heavy cream to a sauce pan, place on stove and heat over the highest setting of low available before you get to medium-low. Add garlic salt and dried oregano and stir. Once you observe the cream forming a skin on the surface, it is hot enough. In batches add the shredded cheese and stir to combine. Add the next batch only after the previous one has been incorporated. When the sauce is smooth, remove from the heat and serve immediately. Leftovers of this sauce must be warmed up on low, with a bit of extra heavy cream, otherwise the fat from the cheese might cause it to separate.
WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD CREAM SAUCE
In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the heavy cream and the whole grain mustard. Bring bring to simmer and let reduce for a couple of minutes until it reaches your desired thickness.
*Mexican chorizo, which is raw, ground, spiced sausage that must be cooked before consumption.
Also consider/visit the links to the following Cream Sauce Recipes:
Nutritional information has not been noted because it varies for the different recipes listed.