This lemon butter pasta sauce is a simple yet delicious recipe, perfect for a quick weeknight meal! With lots of garlic and lemon flavor, this easy recipe will become a new favorite!

Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Sometimes I’m surprised at how simple ingredients can create a flavorful meal. This lemon butter pasta sauce is easy but so delicious! The result of butter, olive oil, garlic, and lemon is a tangy, slightly creamy sauce perfect for tossing with pasta. The lemon adds a bright, refreshing note to the dish, while the butter brings a rich, indulgent flavor. This sauce pairs well with various pasta shapes, from linguine to penne, although I’m partial to spaghetti.

This dish is based on a classic Italian pasta dish called pasta al limon although I can’t say this is a traditional or authentic recipe. But I think you’ll like it!

How to Make Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

What to Serve with Lemon Garlic Butter Pasta

Because this is a relatively decadent dish, I recommend pairing it with something a little lighter. Roasted vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower, bring a satisfying crunch and balance to the richness of the pasta. A fresh green salad with a tangy dressing like my vegan Caesar dressing or simple vinaigrette can balance the flavor of the pasta and add variety to the meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is lemon butter sauce made of? Just like it sounds, this sauce is made with lemon, butter, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Can I use vegan butter? You can but be sure to use a high-fat butter like Miyoko’s cultured butter or another creamy substitute.
  • Why is my lemon butter sauce too sour? If you used too little butter or substituted it with a low-fat option, it could contribute to the sourness of the sauce. Balance it out with a little extra butter.
  • How to make pasta extra tasty? Be sure to add salt to the water when boiling pasta. This helps add flavor to the dish.
  • How to season bland pasta? If your pasta tastes a little lackluster, add a little extra Parmesan cheese or sprinkle on some Pecorino Romano. You could also add a sprinkle of Italian seasoning or oregano.
  • Can I use gluten-free pasta or chickpea pasta? Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend it, as the starchy pasta water contributes to the texture of the sauce. Without gluten in the pasta, you won’t get the same starchy pasta water. You can give it a try, but keep in mind that the resulting sauce won’t be as rich.

How to Store and Reheat Leftover Pasta

If you have leftover pasta that you want to store and reheat, store the pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When reheating, you can either use the microwave or the stovetop. If using the microwave, sprinkle a little bit of leftover pasta water over the pasta, cover the container with a microwave-safe lid, and heat for one to two minutes, stirring occasionally until heated through.

If using the stovetop, place the pasta in a saucepan or skillet with a splash of pasta water or broth, cover it with a lid, and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Avoid overcooking the pasta when reheating, as this can make it mushy. Once it’s heated through, add a little extra Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

More Pasta Recipes

If you’re looking for more pasta ideas, try my vegan vodka sauce or my simple cream cheese pasta recipe.

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Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Lemon Butter Pasta Sauce

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups pasta 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This lemon butter pasta sauce is a simple yet delicious recipe, perfect for a quick weeknight meal! With lots of garlic and lemon flavor, this easy recipe will become a new favorite!


Units Scale
  • 8oz spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the butter and garlic and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of pasta water to the skillet.

  4. Add the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Add an additional 1/4 cup of pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
  5. Top with Parmesan cheese and season with salt.

Keywords: Lemon Butter Pasta Sauce