This truffle cream sauce is easy to make and pairs great with just about everything from pasta to poultry, steak, fish, mushrooms, baked potatoes and so much more.
The rich truffle flavor elevates your classic sauce base of cream, parmesan and garlic. And transforms something as basic as pan-cooked chicken into something you'd be proud to serve to friends.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Sophisticated yet accessible: Experiencing the luxurious taste of truffles doesn’t always need a restaurant visit. This sauce brings it right into your kitchen.
- Simple and quick prep: You won’t be stuck in the kitchen for long, but the flavors will suggest otherwise!
- Customizable: Truffle flavor and/or seasoning can always be adjusted to taste.
- Versatile: Elevate everything from pasta to grilled veggies, meat and chicken with this impressive sauce.
Here are some helpful notes on ingredients you'll need. See the recipe card below for exact quantities.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted butter to be able to control the saltiness.
- Onion – use yellow or white varieties. Make sure you chop finely.
- Garlic – this also needs to be very finely minced (see easy methods of peeling garlic here).
- Dried thyme – because it complements the truffle flavor and adds a layer of herby nuance.
- Broth or stock – I prefer unsalted or low-sodium options. Both chicken and vegetable broths are suitable.
- Cream – for the rich texture that makes this sauce special. Make sure your heavy/whipping cream is unsweetened (which can be the case in some countries).
- Salt – if using salted ingredients like salted butter or regularly salted broth, hold back on any additional salt. Once the sauce is ready, taste it and then add salt if needed.
- Black and white pepper – for some gentle warmth and depth of flavor.
- Parmesan cheese – grating it yourself will get you a quicker, smoother melt. Plus a whole lot better flavor. I use a microplane for grating, which yields a larger volume than store-bought grated cheese. So I go by the cheese weight or I pack my measuring cup tightly to get the right quantity.
- Truffle oil – black truffle oil and white truffle oil both work well in this sauce. Black offers a more robust flavor and white tends to be a bit milder and subtle. When trying a new brand, be sure to use sparingly. The flavor potency can vary widely across brands. Start with half the quantity of oil the recipe calls for, taste and then add more if needed.
How to make truffle cream sauce
Follow these simple, photo-assisted instructions to prepare this creamy truffle sauce. Check out recipe card below for a printable version that has quantities, instructions and notes in one place.
Step 1: Put butter in a saucepan and heat on medium-low. When melted, toss in chopped onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until it becomes translucent. Next add minced garlic and dried thyme and cook for another minute. Pour in the broth/stock, stir and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 2: After that, add heavy whipping cream along with salt, ground black pepper and white pepper. Mix and then allow to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes to reduce a little. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
Step 3: Add grated parmesan and stir (or whisk) until all of it has melted and you get a smooth sauce. Turn off heat.
Step 4: Mix in the truffle oil. Give the sauce a taste test and adjust seasonings to liking. This creamy goodness can be drizzled over cooked veggies, chicken or steak. See more serving suggestions below.
- Sauce won’t thicken: Give it time and avoid high heat. If still too thin, make a cornstarch slurry (1 teaspoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoons water/broth) and whisk it in gradually. Then simmer.
- Cheese not melting properly: Grate parmesan yourself to avoid anti-caking agents in store-bought versions. If that's not an option, use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce.
- Strong truffle flavor: Truffle oils come in varying strengths. Start with a smaller amount than recommended. If you've already added too much, add cream and parmesan to dilute the taste. Adjust seasonings as well.
- Sauce separating or splitting: Keep the heat low when adding cream. Add gradually and stir constantly. Maintain a gentle simmer, don't let the sauce boil. If the splitting has already happened, whisk in a splash of warm cream or milk to bring it back together. Another option is to use an immersion blender.
- Bitter taste: Sauté garlic until fragrant and slightly soft, but don't let it brown. If you're past that stage, add a little sugar to counteract the bitterness. Add a little at a time, you don't want the sauce overly sweet either.
- Too salty or less salty: Use unsalted butter and low-sodium broth. If using regularly salted varieties, cut down the amount of added salt. Add more after tasting the final sauce, only if needed. If you've already over-salted, put in a little more cream to balance it out.
Substitutions and variations
- You can use bouillon powder, concentrate or cubes dissolved in water as a substitute for broth/stock. Follow package instructions to make the required quantity of liquid. And avoid any extra salt until you have tasted the final sauce.
- It's also common to add a splash of white wine for some flavor complexity. Put it in after sautéing garlic and allow to slightly reduce before adding broth or stock.
- Vegan-style heavy cream can be used but expect a shift in overall taste.
- Shallots can replace onions. Use 1 shallot to substitute for ¼ of a medium onion.
- If parmesan is not on hand, grana padano, pecorino romano or asiago are solid replacements.
- For a spicy kick, add some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne.
- Half-and-half can be used instead of cream but then a roux will be necessary to achieve the right sauce consistency. After sautéing onions and garlic, add 2 tablespoons butter and let it melt. Then add 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, sauté 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the half-and-half to get a smooth, lump-free base.
- Fresh thyme can be used instead of dried. But you will need a little more of it.
What to serve with truffle cream sauce
- Steak – drizzle on a pan-seared ribeye or sirloin steak.
- Pasta – combine with cooked fettuccine, pappardelle, gnocchi or ravioli. Also throw in sautéed mushrooms.
- Roasted or grilled vegetables – pour it over veggies e.g. brussels sprouts, carrots, asparagus or even oven-roasted cauliflower steak and top with chopped parsley.
- Seafood – spoon it over butter-poached scallops, baked salmon or any baked white fish.
- Risotto – stir into a risotto during the last minute of cooking for a creamy finish.
- Mashed potatoes – mix with fluffy mashed potatoes and top with fresh chives.
- Omelet – drizzle over a soft omelet that's filled with sautéed spinach and feta.
- Chicken – pour over cooked chicken, whether grilled, roasted or pan seared.
- Mushrooms – stir into buttery, sautéed cremini mushrooms and serve on toasted sourdough.
- Baked Potatoes – drizzle on oven-baked russets and garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley.
- Veal – put it on pan-fried veal cutlets and serve alongside a crisp, green salad.
- Roast pork – serve with slow-roasted pork shoulder and a side of sautéed green beans.
- Bruschetta – spread on freshly grilled bruschetta and top with marinated cherry tomatoes.
- Lobster – drizzle lightly over steamed lobster tail.
Storage and reheating
- Storage: Allow to cool then transfer into an airtight container and store in refrigerator. It will remain good for up to 3 days. Avoid freezing as the texture and consistency of cream-based sauces can change upon thawing.
- Reheating: Gently warm on medium-low heat, stir constantly and whisk in 2 to 3 tablespoons milk/water to keep the consistency pourable.
Just so you know
- Creamy sauces thicken more as they cool, so when you are cooking, leave them slightly less thick than your final desired consistency.
- If you want to buy truffle oil, check online. You'll find options on sites like Amazon, eBay and Costco. Always read customer reviews. Some big manufacturers sell directly through their websites. Specialty stores that focus on gourmet or imported items may also carry it.
- If cooking for more people than this recipe serves by default, use the "+" sign on the recipe box below to increase the servings. The ingredient quantities will adjust automatically.
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter - (Note A)
- ¼ (28 g) medium onion - finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - finely minced large cloves
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup (177 ml) chicken or vegetable broth/stock - low sodium (Note A)
- 1 cup (237 ml) heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¾ cup (75 g) parmesan cheese - freshly grated, press down tightly into the cup to measure (Note B)
- 1 teaspoon black truffle oil - or white truffle oil
- First melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the chopped onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until it becomes translucent. Then add minced garlic and dried thyme and sauté for 1 minute.
- Pour in the broth/stock, stir, and allow to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Next put in heavy whipping cream, salt, ground black pepper and white pepper. Stir until everything is mixed well. Let it simmer for 3 to 4 minutes until it slightly thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent any scorching.
- Then put grated parmesan cheese and stir (or whisk) until all cheese is melted and well combined. Turn the heat off.
- Mix in truffle oil. Then do a taste test and adjust your seasoning as desired.
- You can drizzle this creamy goodness over grilled vegetables, seared chicken or steak. Or simply serve as a dip for warm, crusty bread. So many ways to use it (see Note C for serving ideas).
- Step-by-step photo instructions
- Recipe troubleshooting
- Substitutions and variations (full list)
- Serving ideas
The nutritional information provided here is calculated using a third-party nutrition calculator. These values are estimates, and we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed numbers. Please see our disclaimer page.