Garlic Lemon Pasta (One Pot)

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Quick, easy, creamy lemon pasta recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 30 minutes. Loaded with garlic, butter and cheese!

I love using lemon in recipes. it gives it such a strong zesty flavor punch, as can be seen in this Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken (One Pot) and this Lemon Pepper Chicken (One Pot). The lemon flavor in today’s dish comes from lemon zest and fresh lemon juice that really makes it so delicious!

Easy Lemon Pasta Scooped in Tongs

How to make lemon pasta from scratch?

  1. Saute ginger and garlic- In some butter until fragrant.
  2. Add water, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, spaghetti- Mix until combined.
  3. Cook– Until liquid is reduced and pasta is cooked through.
  4. Add cheese- This includes cream cheese and parmesan cheese.
  5. Enjoy– Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices and dig in!

What sides to serve with creamy garlic lemon pasta recipe?

Bread is a classic side. Try crusty bread, garlic bread, cheesy breadsticks, soft dinner rolls or Bruschetta (One Pan).

Roasted vegetables make a great side dish. My favorite is these Oven Roasted Vegetables (One Pan).

To make a very filling meal, serve alongside soup. I suggest one of these: Italian Wedding Soup (One Pot) or Carrot Ginger Soup (One Pot) or Roasted Red Pepper Soup (One Pot).

Salads are always a popular side. Try this Cucumber Onion Salad (One Bowl) or these Marinated Tomatoes (One Bowl).

Creamy Lemon Garlic Pasta in Black Pot With Tongs

Lemon butter sauce

Here is my family’s lemon sauce that can be used in so many other ways. I used a modified version of this sauce in the recipe card below.

  1. Heat 1/4 cup butter in a nonstick pot.
  2. Then, add 1 clove garlic (finely minced), 1 tbsp lemon zest and saute until just fragrant.
  3. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice and cornstarch slurry (1 cup water or broth mixed with 1.5 tbsp cornstarch).
  4. Whisk everything together and let it cook until sauce becomes smooth and thick.

For lemon cream sauce, you can mix in some heavy cream at the end.

This can be used immediately or it can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Lemon chicken pasta– Mix in some shredded rotisserie chicken at the end.

Lemon garlic shrimp pasta– Mix in some sauteed shrimps at the end.

Garnish options- Lemon slices, crumbled bacon, fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, thyme, chives e.t.c.

Add other cheeses- I used cream cheese and parmesan but you can also use ricotta, feta, mozzarella or anything else you like.

Make it spicy– Add some red chili flakes.

Add vegetables– Such as a bag of mixed frozen veggies.

Add seasoning blends– Such as Italian seasoning.

Closeup of Spaghetti with Lemon Butter Sauce


Refrigerate– In a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Freeze– I don’t recommended freezing leftovers because pasta does not thaw well and the texture is different.

Reheat– In the microwave.

Tips and Techniques

How to make pasta sauce thicker? Let it cook uncovered until excess liquid is absorbed or evaporated.

How to make pasta thinner? Add more water until you reach the desired consistency.

Broth vs. Water- Either can be used. Obviously broth would give it more flavor. Make sure it’s low sodium.

Use unsalted butter– Because this prevents the meal from becoming too salty.

Adjust quantity of lemon juice and lemon zest- This is based on your preference. Add more for a stronger zesty flavor and add less for a milder flavor.

Use full fat cheeses– Because this creates the richest and creamiest results.

Stir often– Because this prevents the pasta from clumping.

Use a non-stick pot– Because it prevents the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

Use fresh lemon juice– It tastes so much better and fresher than the bottled juice.

Don’t omit lemon zest- Even though it’s a small quantity, it adds a lot of flavor!

More One Pot Pasta Recipes

A Tong Full of Garlic Lemon Pasta

One Pot Lemon Pasta

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Quick, easy, creamy lemon pasta recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot over stovetop in 30 minutes. Loaded with garlic, butter and cheese!

Servings: 4 People
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: homemade garlic lemon pasta
Calories: 658 kcal
Author: Abeer Rizvi


  • 1/4 cup Butter Unsalted
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic Finely minced
  • 1 tsp Ginger Finely grated (Optional), Can also use 1/2 tsp Ginger powder instead
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice Freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp Lemon zest
  • Salt To taste
  • Pepper To taste
  • 16 oz. Spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Cream cheese Full fat
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese Full fat
  • 1-2 tbsp Parsley Fresh, Roughly chopped, For garnish


  1. Heat butter in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat until melted.

  2. Add garlic, ginger and saute for a few seconds until fragrant. Don't let it burn!

  3. Add water, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and mix everything together. 

  4. Add the spaghetti and mix again. 

  5. Lower the heat to medium and cook without cover until the water is almost evaporated. Be sure to stir often.

  6. When pasta is cooked, add cream cheese and mix together. 

  7. Remove pot from heat and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. 

  8. Garnish with parsley and some lemon slices. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • If the pasta is not cooked through, add a little more water and cook for a bit longer. 
  • In the pictures above, I used less cheese but I prefer it with the amount listed above. 
  • Read all my tips above.
  • Tastes best when served immediately but leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave. 
Nutrition Facts
One Pot Lemon Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 658 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 14g70%
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 346mg14%
Potassium 308mg9%
Carbohydrates 88g29%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 20g40%
Vitamin A 885IU18%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 161mg16%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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