You might have heard that some pasta sauces are unsafe for pregnancy. What about alfredo sauce?
Alfredo sauce is safe to consume during pregnancy because it is cream-based and not raw egg-based.
While it sometimes contains egg yolks, the sauce is cooked on medium heat. To make it safer, you can use pasteurized eggs. The rest of the ingredients are generally safe.
What are the safety concerns for other ingredients, and is fresh homemade alfredo sauce better than store-bought? Learn the answers below!
Is it Safe to Eat Alfredo Sauce When Pregnant?
Alfredo sauce and alfredo-based dishes are generally safe for pregnant women to consume.
A typical alfredo sauce has the following ingredients:
- Heavy cream
- Egg yolks
- Cheese (usually freshly grated Parmesan or Romano)
- Chicken or shrimp
Most of these are safe for pregnant women when cooked. If you want to be extra safe, choose pasteurized eggs and make sure the heavy cream is also pasteurized.
Another thing to remember is that this dish is pretty high in calories. If you want to make it a little less dense, you can use regular pasteurized cream or a light version.
If you ask us, a homemade alfredo sauce is better than a store-bought commercial one. You can make homemade sauces fresh, and they don’t contain any preservatives. You can also customize it as much as you want by using less salt, cream, or cheese.
The great thing about store-bought alfredo sauces, on the other hand, is that not only are they delicious, but they also reduce your cooking time.
Most brands don’t indicate whether or not ingredients are pasteurized, but if the sauce is made in the U.S., it’s most likely safe, as dairy made in the U.S. is required to be pasteurized.
Some brands we can recommend are:
- Prego Alfredo Sauce
- Classico Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce
- Bertolli Alfredo Sauce (this brand is made in Italy but uses pasteurized part-skim milk)
- Little Italy Bronx Alfredo Sauce (also uses pasteurized milk)
- Rao’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce (also uses pasteurized milk)
Again, these products contain eggs, so to guarantee safety, we recommend heating them to at least 160 °F (71.1 °C), which is the egg’s minimum safe internal temperature.
Is There Raw Egg in Alfredo Sauce?
Most homemade alfredo sauces are cooked at medium-high heat, which is around 375° F – 449° F (190° C – 232° C) (source: Perfect Stove).
The safe minimum internal temperature for eggs is 160 °F (71.1 °C) (source: USDA). This ensures that pathogenic microbes will be killed off, which prevents sickness caused by bacteria present like salmonella.
It is best to use pasteurized eggs for any sauce you make. However, unpasteurized eggs are also safe if you cook them at their safe internal temperature as stated above.
If you are at a restaurant, ask if the eggs in the alfredo sauce are pasteurized. If they’re not, ask if the chef can cook the egg along with the sauce.
Some alfredo sauce recipes have you add the egg at the end of the cooking process, which might not safely cook the eggs. As long as the eggs are cooked in the sauce at low heat (200° F–300° F (93° C–149° C) (source: Perfect Stove), the sauce should be safe.
Alfredo Dishes When Pregnant
Alfredo sauce is most commonly used in pasta dishes, particularly fettuccine. So, for example, chicken alfredo or shrimp alfredo is fettuccine with chicken or shrimp in alfredo sauce.
For chicken alfredo, the chicken should be cooked at a minimum safe internal cooking temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) (source: USDA). Most chicken alfredo recipes also call for medium heat when cooking the chicken.
For shrimp alfredo, the safe minimum internal temperature is 145 °F (62.8 °C). Shrimp cooks quickly, so most recipes suggest cooking them at medium to high temperature for 1–2 minutes on each side or until the flesh is white.
Most recipes call for fettuccine, but you can also use spaghetti or any pasta of your choice. Pasta is boiled, which means it is fully cooked.
This makes alfredo pasta not only a safe dish for pregnant women, but also satisfying, and delicious! We hope this article helps!