Creamy Pesto Sauce

You only need a handful of simple ingredients for this Creamy Pesto Sauce, and it’s ready in about 20 minutes. It’s an easy sauce recipe when you’re craving pasta for dinner.

photo of tongs pulling up pasta with sauce

I love easy recipes, and quick and simple pasta dishes are among my favorite recipes on this site. And today, I have a super easy sauce recipe for you: creamy pesto sauce. It’s perfect with pasta.

Like the others, this pesto sauce recipe is easy – 20 minutes easy, plus it’s so rich, creamy, and cheesy.

The pesto adds a punch of brightness that balances out the richness. It’s pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

recipe ingredients


  • Use a long pasta shape like fettuccine, spaghetti, bucatini, or linguini.
  • Butter and heavy cream is the sauce base.
  • Basil pesto – you can use homemade fresh basil pesto or store-bought to make it really easy.
  • Grated Parmesan cheese brings the cheesiness.
  • Fresh parsley and lemon juice add a pop of freshness. You could also garnish with some chopped fresh basil leaves.

How to Make It

You can make the pesto sauce while the pasta is boiling. It’s quick and easy!

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the cream, and whisk to combine. Once the cream is warmed up, add the pesto and whisk again.

photo showing the butter and butter in the pan and a photo with the pesto added

Cook the sauce for a minute or two – don’t let it boil. Add the parsley and Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.

You can keep the sauce on medium-low heat if you’re still waiting on the pasta to cook. Just give it a whisk every so often.

Once the fettuccine is al dente, drain it and add it to the pan with the sauce. Use tongs to toss it in the pesto sauce. It’s okay if a little of the pasta water transfers over with the fettuccine – it will just add to the sauce.

Add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice, toss again, and serve. It’s best enjoyed when it’s made.


I love this recipe because you can use any kind of pesto, so it’s easy to switch up. I’ve seen lots of different kinds available at the grocery store, or you can make homemade pesto.

  • Roasted Garlic Pesto – I love the flavor of roasted garlic in this version.
  • Spinach Parsley Pesto – A fresh and light pesto made with spinach, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and asiago cheese.
  • Beet Tops Pesto – This a great way to use beet greens, so they don’t go to waste.
  • For even more ideas, browse my Pesto Recipes recipe round-up.

You can also add a protein like cooked chicken or shrimp to make it more filling. If you do, cook it before you make the sauce, and then add the cooked chicken or shrimp to the sauce at the end with the pasta.

Or, to make it really easy – just toss in some shredded rotisserie chicken at the end.

Side Dish Ideas

Because it’s so rich, this recipe makes four servings on the smaller side. So, adding a side dish is a good idea.

Or skip the side and treat yourself to a double serving. Just an idea.

fettuccine added to the pan with the sauce

So simple and so delicious. I hope you give this creamy pesto pasta recipe a try!

Happy Cooking,

fettuccine and pesto sauce in a pan

More Easy Sauce Recipes

If you like this creamy pesto Alfredo, you need to try some of my other favorite pasta sauce recipes, too:

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe, along with your recipe star rating.


Creamy Pesto Sauce

creamy pesto sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

You only need a handful of simple ingredients for this creamy pesto sauce, and it’s ready in about 20 minutes. It’s perfect for a quick dinner when you’re craving pasta.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American


  • 8 ounces fettuccine
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Juice of a half lemon
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Boil the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add the cream and whisk the two together.
  3. Add the pesto and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Cook the sauce (don’t let it boil) for a couple of minutes before adding the Parmesan cheese and parsley. Stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.
  4. Add the cooked pasta and toss to coat it in the sauce. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top, toss again, and serve.


Pesto: Use your favorite homemade pesto or store-bought to make it really easy.

Salt: I don’t add salt because the cheese and pesto have plenty, but you might want to add more once the sauce is made. Give it a taste before you add the pasta.

Protein: Add cooked shrimp or chicken at the end to make it more filling.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 553
  • Sugar: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 248.7mg
  • Fat: 37.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 19.9g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 15g
  • Trans Fat: 0.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.5g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Protein: 10.8g
  • Cholesterol: 81.6mg

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

Post updated from the archives. First published in February 2021.


  1. This is fantastic!!!! My daughter and I found this recipe and it was awesome!! Quick, easy and our family of seven loved it!!!

    1. I don’t have a specific brand recommendation, but definitely use a refrigerated pesto and not one that is shelf stable.

  2. Loved it! Used a little less butter than the recipe called for, and didn’t have parsley. But it turned out great!

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