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One Pan Lemon Garlic Pasta

This buttery, lemony garlic pasta dish is one the whole family will love and you’ll love that it all comes together in one large skillet and with a few quality ingredients.

lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

If you love easy pasta recipes that pair fresh parsley, fresh lemon, and have the brightness of summer, you’ll love this dish!

A creamy pasta dish is one of my favorite things and the lemon garlic butter sauce in this recipe hits the spot every time.

Add in the shredded parmesan cheese and it’s a match made in heaven.

The best part about pasta al limone, or lemon pasta as some like to call it, is that it’s delicious recipe that requires so little hands on time.

And, if you love this recipe as much as we do, be sure to try my other one pot pastas- creamy white sauce chicken pasta and my Italian meat sauce with spaghetti.

lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

Why You’ll Love this Lemon Garlic Pasta recipe

  • All you need are 15 minutes to whip up this recipe, which makes it an easy dinner for busy weeknights.
  • The combination of fresh lemon juice, heavy cream, and warm butter create a delicious, creamy sauce that coats your favorite pasta in the best way.
  • This simple pasta recipe is great for the summer since the lemon and fresh basil have a brightness to them, but they can be enjoyed any time of the year.
  • Lemon garlic pasta is an easy recipe to add extras, such as summer vegetables or chicken to.
  • Pasta al Limone can be served as the main dish or as a side dish for a luxurious dinner.
lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

Tell Me About this Lemon Pasta recipe

  • Taste– You will love the combination of freshness and comfort that you get with the lemon garlic pasta sauce. Add a bit of “heat” with some red pepper flakes.
  • Texture– Cook your pasta noodles according to the package instructions so you get the perfect al dente pasta. You want a bit of “chew” left in your noodles so they hold up when tossed with the buttery lemon garlic sauce.
  • Ease– A one pot pasta and comes together to create a scrumptious meal with a few simple ingredients.
  • Time– This perfect dish is a quick meal that you can have on the table in no time.
ingredients for lemon garlic pasta

Ingredients for Lemon Garlic Butter Pasta

  • Pasta– I prefer a thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, but any long noodle will work. This sauce works best when the pasta shape is a long pasta, rather than a round pasta, such as a penne or elbow noodle.
  • Garlic– Grab 2 cloves of fresh garlic and mince them finely. If you want even more extra flavor, use roasted garlic! If in a pinch, you can use garlic powder.
  • Lemon– You can adjust the amount of brightness of this dish by adjusting the amount of lemon juice you use. Before you juice your lemon, zest the lemon so you can sprinkle the lemon zest on the fresh pasta dish before serving.
  • Butter and Oil– This creamy sauce uses both butter and oil to develop the flavor and richness of the sauce.
  • Heavy Cream– This rounds out the final sauce and gives it the fat you need to be a cream sauce. This paired with the pasta water is where the magic happens.
  • Pasta Water– Reserve a cup of pasta water to bring the sauce together and give it structure without making it watered down.
  • Grated Parmesan– The ingredients are simple, yet choosing a high quality parmesan can take it to the next level. You will get the nutty flavor that gives depth by using a good parmesan.
  • Chopped Parsley– Parsley is great at bringing a brightness to this simple pasta dish that helps balance the richness of the sauce.
  • Salt and Black Pepper– Of course, every good meal needs a bit of enhancement with salt and pepper.
pasta cooking in a large pot

How to make Lemon Garlic Pasta

  1. Cook the Pasta– In a large pot, bring water to a low boil. Add your pasta and cook it until slightly al dente. You don’t want it to have some “chew” left when you toss it with the sauce. Scoop out your reserved pasta water and put it in a bowl to use in the sauce. Drain the pasta.
  2. Make the Sauce– Heat butter in a large skillet and add the olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Sauté for 1 minute. Take 1/2 cup of the pasta water and slowly add it to the sauce, stirring constantly. Add the cream and turn the heat off.
  3. Toss and Plate the Pasta– Add the pasta to the sauce, toss to coat the pasta completely. Plate the final pasta and sprinkle with chopped parsley, fresh lemon zest, and grated parmesan.
lemon garlic sauce simmering in a saucepan

Add Ins for this delicious pasta dish

  • Toasted Pine Nuts– Pine nuts add a buttery and sweet flavor to this dish. When you toast them, you get even more depth and flavor.
  • Cherry Tomatoes– Add a burst of vibrant flavor with some cherry tomatoes.
  • Seasonal Vegetables– Sliced zucchini would taste amazing in this delicious dish.
pasta tossed with a sauce in a pan

Tip for delicious lemon garlic pasta

The secret to any great pasta dish is in the starchy pasta water.

As you cook the pasta, the starch in the pasta cooks out into the water.

This starchy water is perfect for holding the cooked pasta and the sauce together, especially in buttery types of pasta sauces.

lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

What to eat with Lemon Garlic Pasta

  • Italian Salad with Sourdough Croutons
  • Buttery Sourdough Focaccia Bread
  • Crusty No-Fail bread
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts
lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

How To Store Leftover Chicken Pasta

This recipe makes for particularly delicious leftovers. Simply place leftover pasta and chicken into an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

How To Reheat White Sauce Chicken Pasta

Sometimes at work, a microwave is all you have access to. In that case, a minute or two is all you need to reheat your chicken pasta. However, if you have the option, it’s best to use either the oven or stovetop to reheat your leftovers.

  • Stovetop – Place your leftover pasta in a small, skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat and let it heat through for a few minutes.
  • Oven – Make sure your chicken penne pasta is in any oven safe dish, and cook it for 5 to 10 minutes at 325°. For an added touch, consider sprinkling some breadcrumbs over the top. It will give you a nice, crusty top similar to a pasta bake when finished.

Lemon Garlic Pasta Recipe

lemon garlic pasta in a wooden bowl

Lemon Garlic Pasta

Liz Quick
This buttery, lemony garlic pasta dish is one the whole family will love and you’ll love that it all comes together in one large skillet and with a few quality ingredients.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 large saucepan
  • 1 stock pot


  • 16 ounces spaghetti
  • ¾ cup pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablepoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • cup fresh chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional for a bit of heat


  • In a large stock pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Toss in a few tablespoons of salt to season the water. Add the pasta and cook until al denté. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta water when done. Drain the pasta.

Pasta Sauce

  • In a large saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat and add to it the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. Stir and allow the garlic to get golden- about 1 minute.
  • If using the crushed red pepper flakes, add them now.
  • Slowly add the pasta water while stirring. Add in the cream slowly while stirring. Once combined, toss in the parmesan cheese and stir until it softens and begins to melt.
  • Turn the heat down and add in the pasta. Toss carefully until the pasta is coated.
  • Add in more pasta water until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Toss the fresh parsley on top of the pasta and serve immediately.


As you cook the pasta, the starch in the pasta cooks out into the water.
This starchy water is perfect for holding the cooked pasta and the sauce together, especially in buttery types of pasta sauces.
Keyword lemon garlic pasta

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