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What Is Alla Panna Sauce?

Are you looking through a recipe book and encountered a dish that calls for Alla Panna? Perhaps you’re eating out and have seen it on the menu. Either way, you are going to want to know what it is. Here is all you’ll want to know.

So, what is Alla Panna sauce? All Panna is a creamy, rich, and cheesy sauce made from butter, heavy cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan). It is commonly eaten with Tortellini pasta.

As you can imagine, this is a rather decadent sauce.

But at the same time, entirely delicious.

But what does your typical recipe look like and how would you make it yourself?

Let’s find out!

What Is Alla Panna Sauce Made Of?

Panna sauce is primarily made of butter, cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan). Although some recipes also call for other herbs and spices, such as parsley, basil, or cayenne pepper.

Panna actually means “cream” in Italian so it is no surprise that this ingredient is fundamental to the sauce!

Other than this, while the fundamentals of the sauce remain largely unchanged from recipe to recipe, you will see subtle variations.

For instance, I have seen some recipes with olive oil, others with vodka!

And then you will typically find garlic, salt, and pepper too.

Nevertheless, this is based on cream as the name suggests, first and foremost.

What Does Alla Panna Sauce Taste Like?

Alla Panna sauce is thick, rich, creamy, and cheesy. It has a natural earthiness and nuttiness from the parmesan cheese, and other herbs and spices used can add depth to the flavor.

How To Make Your Own Alla Panna Sauce

Alla Panna sauce is best made fresh and requires minimal ingredients. IT serves brilliantly with fresh pasta too which simply needs to be folded in.

Here is a quick recipe for this sauce that you can use for your upcoming pasta dishes.


  • 3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups of Heavy Cream
  • 2/3 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese,
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Optional: 4 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon of Chopped Fresh Parsely
  • Optional: 1 Tablespoon of Chopped Fresh Basil


Step One: Add the butter to a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add your garlic, if using, and sauté until they turn translucent.

Step Two: Add the cream and whisk continuously; until it begins to bubble and thickens.

Step Three: Add the optional parsley, basil, and salt, and pepper. Whisk together until smooth in consistency.

Step Four: Fold in the Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese and stir gently until cheese is completely melted and integrated.

Step Five: Keep sauce warm until ready to use.


Rich and decadent.

That’s the only real way to describe Alla Panna.

It’s just unbelievably delicious; that is if you like creamy, cheesy sauces.

But it just coats pasta so well and goes down so easily.

So do give it a try.

Related Questions

What Is The Difference Between Alfredo And Alla Panna?

The main difference between Alfredo and Alla Panna is mostly a linguistic one. Alfredo is the term widely used in the US, whereas Alla Panna is the term known and used in Italy. That being said, the ratios of the ingredients does also dimmer somewhat; Alla Panna is typically a little thicker in consistency.