It doesn’t get much better than a simple lemon garlic pasta recipe. This simple pasta recipe is ready in less than 30-minutes and so yummy.
When in doubt, make lemon garlic pasta! It’s ready in less than 30 minutes, packs in all the flavors, and is so versatile. Plus, it’s very likely that you have everything you need on hand.
This simple pasta recipe can be made as-is or you can up the anty and add a protein such as shrimp or chicken. The meal is completed with a dusting of parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
“Great recipe and the lemon is so yummy!!!” – Alyse
What You Need for Lemon Garlic Pasta
Onion: a little bit of onion is an incredible base for any pasta sauce.
Garlic: this recipe calls for an entire head of garlic. Make sure not to press/smash your garlic – only mince it.
Olive oil: olive oil is used to break down the onion and garlic.
White wine: any dry white wine works for lemon garlic pasta sauce.
Starchy pasta water: the secret to any pasta sauce is starchy pasta water. That’s right, reserve some water from your noodles.
Lemon juice: lemon juice is added right at the end — freshly squeezed!
Butter: right before serving, add butter for a flavor blast of deliciousness.
Parmesan cheese: freshly grated parmesan cheese is added right at the end before serving.
Pasta: choose your own adventure here! We make some noodle recommendations below 😀
The beauty of this recipe is that it works with pretty much any noodle. Here are our favorites:
- Angel hair
Want to take this easy pasta recipe up a notch? We’ve got some great ideas for you to add protein and more veggies to this recipe.
Chicken/Shrimp: any kind of cooked (grilled, pan-fried, baked) chicken or shrimp would be amazing in this pasta.
Spinach/Kale: wilt down 3 or 4 huge handfuls of spinach and/or kale to add some greens to this dish.
In-Season Veggies: saute or roast any of your favorite in-season veggies. Add anywhere from 3-4 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, peas, zucchini, etc.
A Tip About Garlic
In this recipe, we recommend mincing a full head of garlic, but we don’t recommend pressing or smashing your garlic. Why? Sometimes when garlic and lemon are cooked together, the PH level can turn the garlic green or blue.
No fear, if it does turn color, it is still safe to eat!
Pasta Sauce Not Thick Enough? Check Out Our Guide!
Sometimes, even the most experienced cooks can end up with a watery pasta sauce. But have no fear — we have three different ways that you’ll be able to thicken your sauce!
Our guide: How to Thicken Pasta Sauce (3 Ways), will have your dish looking and tasting great in no time.
Allow the pasta to cool, then store your leftover lemon garlic pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To reheat: gently warm in a saucepan over low heat, adding a splash of milk or cream to loosen up the sauce if needed. You can also microwave it on a lower power setting, stirring periodically to ensure even heating.
Add a squeeze of fresh lemon upon serving to brighten up the dish again.
Lemon Garlic Pasta
- 8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ large white onion diced
- ½ teaspoon salt separated
- 1 head garlic peeled and minced (not pressed)
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ⅓-½ cup starchy pasta water
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 slices fresh lemon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta to the water. Cook the pasta until al dente (5-7 minutes).
- Before straining the pasta, remove 1 cup of the pasta water from the pot and set it aside.
- Strain the pasta, rinse with warm water and set aside.
- Next, heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil.
- When the olive oil is fragrant add the onion to the skillet and sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cook the onion for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and toss with the onion. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Toss the onion and garlic with the white wine.
- Add the starchy water to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil.
- Turn the heat to low and let the sauce reduce and thicken for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice to the skillet and simmer for 1-2 more minutes.
- Lastly, Add the butter and remaining salt to the sauce and stir until the butter melts.
- Add half of the pasta to the skillet and toss it with the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta to the skillet and toss until all the pasta is covered in sauce.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese, cracked pepper, parsley, and fresh lemon.
Tips & Notes
- We note to mince the garlic rather than to press it to try to avoid discoloration to the garlic. Sometimes when garlic and lemon juice are cooked down together the PH change can cause the garlic to turn blue or green. IT IS SAFE TO EAT THE GARLIC, just looks different.
- This recipe is supposed to be a light, fresh, and easy 30-minute meal. It has a light and lemony flavor. If you would like it to be saucier, add more starchy water.
- You are adding starchy salted pasta water, salted butter, and salt to this recipe so be cautious of how much salt you add. Perhaps wait to add the majority of the salt to your pasta until the end of the recipe.
- Adding the butter at the end of the recipe makes the sauce glossy and thick.
- We highly recommend using freshly cracked pepper.
- Please use fresh lemon juice rather than store bought lemon juice, the flavor will be best.