Home Recipe IndexMain DishesVegetarian White Wine Cream Sauce

White Wine Cream Sauce

originally published 4.6.2021

This mouthwatering white wine cream sauce is rich, velvety and loaded with fresh spinach — perfect for your favorite pasta, ravioli or gnocchi! Ready in just 30 minutes, this easy sauce is great for a quick weeknight dinner, but elegant enough for date night!

We’ve been making this white wine cream sauce for several years now! It’s made with ingredients we tend to have on hand and is always there to save us on busy days when we need a quick dinner but are craving something cozy and comforting. While our favorite way to serve it is with tortellini, we’ve also been known to enjoy it alongside noodles, gnocchi and even over a plate of chicken!

plate of tortellini with white wine cream sauce, toasted bread and spinach

making the sauce

This sauce is a bit on the decadent side, but it’s so easy to whip up and hits the spot when you need something rich and creamy!

To make the white wine cream sauce, start by melting a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Saute a bit of minced garlic until aromatic and then add red pepper flakes to taste. We like to add a heaping spoonful of red pepper flakes, which makes the sauce quite spicy, but you can adjust to taste or omit completely if you’re not a fan. 

Now it’s time to pour in the white wine. You won’t need anything fancy here — we generally go with a cheaper bottle of sauvignon blanc or chardonnay and it always turns out perfectly. Cook the wine until it reduces by half and then add the heavy cream. To thicken the sauce, bring the mixture to a slight boil and cook for about five minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency.

And to balance out the rich sauce (kind of) we always toss in several large handfuls of fresh spinach and cook until the spinach is slightly wilted. Then just remove from heat and stir in a few heaping spoonfuls of parmesan!

close up of tortellini in white wine cream sauce

white wine cream sauce: FAQs

Which white wine should I use?

We want the wine to add acidity to the sauce but not sweetness, which is why we use a dry white wine. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are both good options for cream sauces.

Will white wine curdle a cream sauce?

Because dairy sauces can curdle with the addition of anything acidic (like wine), we reduce the wine before adding the cream. This sauce also calls for heavy cream which has a high fat content and therefore curdles less easily.

Can I use half and half or milk in place of the heavy cream?

Using lower fat alternatives to heavy cream (such as half and half or whole milk) will result in a sauce that is less rich and creamy. Half and half and milk also have a higher risk of curdling due to their lower fat content. That being said, half and half can be used as a substitute for a lighter sauce. But if using milk you’ll want to use a roux to thicken the sauce.

plate of tortellini in cream sauce with spinach and red pepper flakes

what to serve with white wine cream sauce

The best thing about this meal is that you really don’t need any sides other than maybe some toasty bread or something to dip into any extra sauce! Other than that, we mostly serve this dish alone or with a light vegetable side such as a quick salad or roasted veggies.

And actually, if we do feel like we need a little something extra, we’re big fans of adding ingredients directly into the pasta! A little leftover rotisserie chicken, some sauteed brussels sprouts or maybe a bit of pancetta or bacon — they all make excellent mix-ins! The white wine cream sauce complements so many different ingredients so feel free to get creative!

close up of tortellini in white wine cream sauce

Looking for more pasta recipes? Give these a try!

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plate of tortellini with white wine cream sauce, toasted bread and spinach

white wine cream sauce

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  • Author: Brittney
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Category: dinner
    • Method: stovetop
    • Cuisine: italian


  • 10 ounces (280 grams) pasta, ravioli or gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoon (30 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) white wine
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 handfuls (80 grams) fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup (20 grams) grated parmesan
  • kosher salt to taste


  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes.
  4. Add the white wine and cook for 5 minutes or until it has reduced by about half.
  5. Pour in the heavy cream. Increase heat to a light boil and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir frequently.
  6. Reduce heat and stir in the spinach. Cook until wilted.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Toss with the pasta and serve.


White wine: A dry white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, works well in this recipe.

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