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Lemon Garlic Pasta

This pasta with lemon butter garlic sauce is a simple and easy dinner that you can throw together in minutes.

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This Lemon Garlic Pasta is a simple and easy dinner that you can throw together in minutes. The whole family will beg you to make this cozy pasta dish over and over again.

A plate of lemon garlic pasta topped with Parmesan cheese, parsley, and a slice of lemon.

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One bite of this pasta with lemon butter garlic sauce and you’ll realize that a fabulous dinner doesn’t need to be complicated. In under 15 minutes, you’re going to have perfect al dente noodles tossed with a luscious lemon sauce.

A simple dinner that tastes amazing? Let’s do this!

Serve this incredible pasta alongside Grilled Tomatoes and Cheese for a delicious meal.

Lemon Butter Garlic Pasta Variations

  • Noodles – I used fettuccine but anything that is long and thin will work (spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, etc.).
  • Gluten-free – use gluten-free pasta and sub in gluten-free flour OR 2 tsp of cornstarch instead of 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour for the sauce.
  • Butter – if you need to make this plant-based, use all olive oil or a dairy-free butter.
  • Protein – top with white beans, leftover chicken (like from a dry brined roast chicken), Air Fryer Frozen Shrimp, Instant Pot Ham, or Air Fryer Scallops.
  • Cheese – Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago are all delicious.
  • Veggies – add in some baby spinach in the last minute of cooking, top with Air Fryer Aspargus or Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli, or stir in some baby peas.
  • To make this fully plant-based, use veggie broth instead of the chicken stock and leave out the Parmesan.
  • Lemon – one nice big one will be perfect for this recipe. We are using the zest (outside) of the lemon, so if organic fits your budget, that’s a great option.
  • Shallots – I love them but if you don’t have any on hand, use finely diced white or yellow onions.
dried fettuccine, shallot, butter, lemon, and other ingredients on a white board.

Equipment

Don’t worry, you don’t need anything fancy to make this delicious lemon garlic pasta. You’ll want a 3-4 quart saucepan for cooking the noodles, and a large frying pan or braiser for making the sauce.

Nice to have items: a silicone spatula, whisk, citrus juicer, tongs, a strainer, and Microplane or small grater for creating the lemon zest.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • This recipe serves 2-3 if you’re using this as a main dish, or 4-6 if you want it as a side.
  • The sauce is thick and creamy. If you prefer a thinner sauce, set aside 1/3 cup of pasta water instead of 1/4 cup.
  • Garlic – if fresh garlic is too strong for you, cook the butter and garlic on low for longer to soften it, or replace with some Air Fryer Roasted Garlic or Instant Pot Roasted Garlic.
  • For easy prep, use garlic paste or pre-chopped frozen garlic.
  • If you have leftover shallots, use them to make a batch of Easy Pickled Shallots or Chicken and Bacon Risotto.
  • Dry lemon? Roll the lemon on the counter while applying pressure to make it juicier.
  • Make sure you warm the milk before adding it to the butter sauce. Cold milk will curdle when it interacts with the lemon juice/zest.
a fork twirling a serving of garlic fettuccine over a dark grey plate.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 ratings

Lemon Garlic Pasta

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time17 mins
This pasta with lemon butter garlic sauce is a simple and easy dinner that you can throw together in minutes.

Ingredients

  • 10 oz dry fettuccine noodles
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic {finely minced}
  • 2 tbsp shallots {finely minced}
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white cooking wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock {sub in vegetable broth if needed}
  • 1/2 cup whole milk {warmed}
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon zest {~1 large lemon}
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil.
  • Add fettuccine noodles and cook until al dente, ~10 minutes. Make the sauce while the pasta cooks.
    10 oz dry fettuccine noodles
  • Drain all but ¼ cup of water from the fettuccine. Keep noodles in the saucepan with 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  • In a large deep frying pan melt butter over medium-low heat.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Add olive oil, garlic, and shallots. Stir until shallots are starting to soften, and a few of the pieces are starting to brown.~5 minutes.
    2 tbsp olive oil, 6 cloves garlic, 2 tbsp shallots
  • Sprinkle flour over the top of the garlic and shallots, and whisk to combine. Cook for 2 minutes.
    1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Slowly whisk in white wine, chicken stock, warmed whole milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice, whisking constantly to incorporate.
    1/4 cup white cooking wine, 3/4 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1.5 tbsp lemon zest, 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Increase the temperature to medium heat and whisk constantly while it cooks at a near boil for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat and add the cooked fettuccine noodles and ¼ cup pasta water to the lemon butter mixture. Use tongs to combine the pasta and sauce. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Top pasta with fresh chopped parsley and grated pecorino or Parmesan.

Notes

  • Noodles – I used fettuccine but anything that is long and thin will work (spaghetti, angel hair, linguine).
  • Gluten-free – use gluten-free pasta and sub in gluten-free flour OR 2 tsp of cornstarch instead of 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour for the sauce.
  • Plant-based- if you need to make this plant-based, use all olive oil or a dairy-free butter, vegetable broth instead of chicken stock, and leave out the Parmesan.
  • Make sure you warm the milk before adding it to the butter sauce. Cold milk will curdle when it interacts with the lemon juice/zest.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Garlic Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 300 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 53mg18%
Sodium 64mg3%
Potassium 211mg6%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 181IU4%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 51mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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16 comments on “Lemon Garlic Pasta”

  1. The perfect pasta. This had all the right amounts of comforting, creamy and tangy and we’ll definitely be having this again.5 stars

  2. Another rating for this.  It was delicious the first day and was even better the next day.  We had it again/leftovers for dinner OMG. It was awesome.  I sauté some garlic in olive oil because it was a bit dry leftover.  But my kids said I can make this one day and we eat it the next day.  Wow thanks for this new recipe for our rotation. 5 stars

    • Awww, so happy to hear that! I wonder if you might want to add a bit more pasta water on the day you cook it. That might make it a bit less dry on day two.

  3. This was a hit in the house. Everyone loved it.  We added smoked chicken pieces to ours. We also used lactose free milk.  This will be a recipe we will make again. Super easy and very delicious. 5 stars

  4. I find leeks a better substitute for shallots.

  5. Question about the milk aspect. I’m lactose intolerant and we need to use lactose free or an alternative milk. Could you make this without any of the milk? Or would that just not be the same? 

  6. This easy pasta dish was an excellent addition to our Lenten meat-free rotation! We threw this together in no time after a long day at work. Our gluten free pasta worked really well and everyone was pleased!5 stars

  7. I LOVE the new order of the recipe instructions. So easy to follow by adding the amounts with the directions. The pictures are gorgeous and make everything look so appealing. Definitely making this lemon pasta for dinner tonight!!5 stars

  8. This looks really yummy! I will have to mess with the ratios in order to feed my whole fam but I definitely want to try it!

    • I know for your crew that will be a lot of sauce. A big and not too deep pan would work best to allow you to stir it well. Maybe like a dutch oven or something?