This 20-minute Creamy Lemon Garlic Pasta is a great staple pasta dish. It uses just a few ingredients that I almost always have on hand and makes for a fantastic main or side dish! The hot pasta gets tossed with a creamy parmesan garlic sauce to make this easy pasta dish irresistible!
This pasta dish tosses together hot pasta with a simple cream sauce, lemon zest and juice, herbs, garlic and red pepper flakes. Some of the key ingredients you'll need are:
- Garlic- I grate my garlic but you can also finely mince it if you don't have a grater
- Red pepper flakes- This pasta has a mild kick to it. You can omit these or add more depending on how you like spice.
- Cream- You'll reduce the cream to make a rich and decadent sauce.
- Herbs- I use fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley and thyme. Chopped basil would also be delicious.
- Pasta- I like using a long pasta for this dish, such as spaghetti or linguine.
While this pasta is best served immediately, it can also make for great leftovers. It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.
To reheat, add the pasta to a saucepan with a splash of water to just coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the pan on medium heat. As the water heats up, the pasta will become more pliable. Continue to occasionally toss the pasta, adding more water as needed, until hot. Taste and adjust for seasoning and top with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.
I love this dish as is, but if you are looking to add protein it would be great with grilled chicken, shrimp, or bacon. It would be great as a side dish along with any or all of these dishes:
- Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms for an appetizer
- Marinated chicken
- Roasted Broccolini
- Lemon and Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Raspberry Moscow Mule to drink
More quick pasta dishes you'll love
I hope this easy pasta becomes a staple on your table too. If you make this creamy lemon garlic pasta, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below!
Creamy Lemon Garlic Pasta
- 1 lb pasta I like using spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoon grated garlic
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less depending on spice preference
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest about 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice about 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley plus more for serving if desired
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and a large pinch of salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and red chili flakes and stir until fragrant, about 1 or 2 minutes (careful not to burn the garlic).
- To the saucepan, add cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and parsley. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (be careful the cream doesn't boil over), until you can run your spoon along the bottom of your pan and see the bottom for a few seconds.
- Stir in the parmesan. Add pasta and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, slowly add 1 tablespoon at a time of reserved pasta water until sauce coats the pasta. Serve immediately and top with fresh parsley, if desired.
- This amount of chili flakes gives just a slight kick. Feel free to omit if you do not like spice, or increase if you are craving more spice.
- Recipe was originally posted on September 15, 2020 and updated on February 16, 2023.