Creamy and zesty, lemon spaghetti is a perfect weeknight pasta recipe! It’s quick to make with tender spaghetti tossed in a refreshing, garlicky lemon sauce with parmesan and herbs. Add your favorite protein for an all-in-one meal.
Love simple-to-make but delicious pasta dinners like Fettuccine Alfredo? This buttery lemon spaghetti is about to become a new favorite!
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Spaghetti Recipe
When life hands you lemons, forget the lemonade. We’re making creamy lemon spaghetti! This is a fresh and zesty 15-minute pasta recipe that ticks every box. This spaghetti recipe is:
- Flavorful. This pasta is rich, garlicky, and bursting with bright flavors of parmesan and lemon zest. The ingredients are easy, but the flavors are totally gourmet.
- Versatile. Lemon spaghetti is delicious on its own or served as a side dish. Try it with your favorite summer grilling recipes (like rosemary chicken kabobs).
- Quick. Have your creamy sauce ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta. It’s the perfect dinner for busy weeknights!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Since there are so few ingredients needed to make this fresh lemon spaghetti, quality is key. Check out some notes on what you’ll need below, and scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.
- Spaghetti – Or any pasta you’d like. Other good options are linguine and fettuccine. Or, channel your inner Nonna with homemade egg noodles.
- Butter – You can use butter or olive oil. Butter has a richer flavor.
- Garlic – Freshly minced. You can adapt the number of cloves to taste.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – For a hint of kick. Feel free to omit the red pepper flakes if you’re sensitive to spice.
- Heavy Cream – Or whole milk.
- Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated parmesan cheese. Another hard, sharp cheese, like pecorino or Parmigiano also works. Reserve some of the grated cheese to use as a garnish, too.
- Parsley – You can substitute fresh chopped parsley with another herb, like thyme or basil.
- Lemons – You’ll need the zest and juice.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Lemon Spaghetti
The beauty of this fresh lemon pasta is in how simple it is to make. Find printable instructions in the recipe card. For now, here’s a quick step-by-step! You’ll start by boiling spaghetti noodles on the stovetop, and while you’re doing that:
- Make the sauce. Melt butter in a skillet, and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Let the garlic cook for a minute so that it’s fragrant. Then, pour in the heavy cream.
- Add the pasta. Drain your cooked spaghetti and immediately toss it with the cream sauce.
- Finish and serve. Lastly, stir in parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season your lemon pasta to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle over some extra parm, and serve. That’s it!
Tips for Success
These are my pro tips for the best possible pasta dish:
- Use fresh lemon. This is a MUST for the best possible flavor when making lemon pasta. Also, zest the lemon before you squeeze it for the juice.
- Freshly grate the cheese. Buy a wedge or block of parmesan and grate it fresh. The flavor and texture is a million times better!
- Salt the pasta water. Add 2-3 spoonfuls of salt to the water you use to boil the spaghetti. Well-seasoned pasta water is key to flavorful pasta!
- Make use of the pasta water. For an even saucier dish, transfer the cooked pasta directly from the pot of boiling water to the sauce, along with a ladleful of pasta water. The starches in the pasta water emulsify with the sauce, making it creamier.
- Add breadcrumbs. Turn this lemon spaghetti into a variation of my creamy Caesar pasta with a sprinkling of garlicky toasted breadcrumbs.
What to Serve With Lemon Spaghetti
Zesty lemon spaghetti is the perfect side dish or light dinner, especially in warm weather months. Serve your creamy lemon pasta dinner outdoors, paired with a glass of Pinot Grigio and easy apps like bruschetta or Tuscan sausage dip with a rustic homemade baguette. For a heartier meal, add a protein, like grilled chicken or shrimp, and serve this spaghetti with a side of green salad or asparagus.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
- Fridge. Store any leftover lemon spaghetti in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, add the pasta to a saucepan, sprinkle it with a bit of water, and warm it on the stovetop until heated through. You can also use the microwave.
- Freeze. Due to the cream sauce, I don’t recommend freezing. Luckily, this recipe is quick to whip up fresh every time!
More Easy Pasta RecipesPrint
Creamy and zesty lemon spaghetti is a comforting pasta recipe filled with refreshing flavor. Whip up the garlicky lemon sauce in the time it takes to boil your pasta!
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
- zest of 2 lemons
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional – extra Parmesan to garnish
- Boil pasta according to package directions.
- When the pasta is almost done melt butter in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for one minute. Whisk in the heavy cream
- Drain the pasta and add it immediately into the butter mixture, coating the pasta evenly.
- Add in the Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice stirring to evenly incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately and garnish with extra Parmesan Cheese if desired.
Store airtight in refrigerator for up to 3 days
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 508
- Sugar: 3 g
- Sodium: 245.1 mg
- Fat: 18.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 70.9 g
- Protein: 17.7 g
- Cholesterol: 45.8 mg
Keywords: pasta recipe, cookies and cups, dinner recipe, butter, lemon