This Lemon Garlic Pasta is tossed with nutty browned butter, plenty of garlic, and Parmesan cheese for a simple pasta dish that will have you wanting seconds. The bold flavors of lemon shine through in this simple dish and the recipe takes just 20 minutes!
One of my kids is straight up obsessed with pasta and honestly…she probably gets it from her mama. 😉
We eat a fair amount of pasta in this house and have quite a few go-to recipes depending on what we’re in the mood for.
The pasta loving kid is mostly meatless these days, so this Browned Butter Lemon Garlic Pasta is on major rotation lately.
We love the bold, vibrant flavors of lemon and garlic paired with the nutty richness of browned butter and Parmesan cheese.
Never made browned butter before? It’s so simple (you just cook the butter til it browns!), but it makes a world of difference. You’ll find browned butter in some of these favorites too: Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats, Browned Butter Oatmeal Cookie Cups, and Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Glaze.
As you can see, we often use browned butter in sweet recipes, but today we’re showing you how tasty it is in a savory pasta dish!
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Spaghetti – I’m using dried spaghetti noodles for this pasta dish but you could use other types of noodles like fettuccine or linguine or shaped pasta. We often use protein pasta (made with chickpeas) for this recipe to add some protein.
Butter – You’ll need a half stick of butter for this recipe. You’ll brown the butter to add some toasty/nutty flavor to it. Salted or unsalted butter works.
Garlic – We like lots of garlic here and think you should probably go ahead and measure garlic with your heart. We recommend 4 cloves, but feel free to go crazy.
Lemon – The juice from one freshly squeezed lemon will add a bit of zing and brighten up the flavors.
Parmesan – You’ll mix some grated Parmesan cheese with the browned butter and noodles to make a silky, creamy sauce!
Salt & Pepper – You can add more or less of this to taste. We also garnish the pasta with some freshly minced parsley!
What We Love About This Recipe:
- This dish is ready in less than 20 minutes for an easy, tasty lunch!
- You can easily add protein to this recipe – toss in some grilled chicken and add an extra squeeze of lemon juice.
- The richness of the browned butter pairs perfectly with the bright flavor of fresh lemon.
How To Brown Butter:
Heat: You’ll need a large skillet for this as you’ll be adding the pasta in with the browned butter when it is ready. Start heating the butter over medium heat until it has melted.
Whisk: Continue cooking the butter over medium heat after it’s melted. The butter will begin to foam and sizzle. You’ll need to whisk it continuously so that it can brown but not burn. As you whisk, keep an eye on the color of the butter…it’ll go from mostly clear to yellow to golden to brown fairly quickly.
As soon as the butter has turned a nice golden brown color with a nutty smell remove the skillet from the heat so the butter doesn’t burn.
BROWNED BUTTER RECIPES!
This easy browned butter recipe is a quick and simple way to prepare toasty, nutty flavored browned butter! I use it in lots of recipes, especially baking. Check out a few more of my favorites:
How To Make Lemon Garlic Pasta With Browned Butter:
Pasta: Bring some salted water to a boil and cook the pasta per the package instructions until it is al dente. Don’t drain the pasta, you’ll need a bit of the pasta water!
Garlic: Just after preparing the browned butter and removing the skillet from the heat add in the minced garlic with the browned butter. The residual heat ought to be enough to cook the garlic.
Lemon: Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the skillet with the browned butter and then pour in a quarter cup of the pasta water.
Pasta: You can now start transferring the pasta from the pot to the skillet with some tongs. Let most of the water drip off the pasta before adding it to the skillet.
Cheese: When you’ve added the pasta in with the browned butter you can pour the grated Parmesan cheese over the pasta and toss it with the tongs.
The heat should melt the cheese and it’ll mix with the brown butter to form a silky sauce. If the pasta seems dry, add a little bit more pasta water.
Serve: We liked to serve this lemon garlic pasta with some salt and pepper to taste and parsley for garnish. Some extra grated or shaved Parmesan is perfect over top.
This recipe calls for grated Parmesan cheese. We highly recommend buying a wedge of Parmesan and using the small holes on a box grater (or a microplane grater) to grate the cheese yourself. This will turn it into almost a powder that will melt into your sauce nicely.
While you can use the green shaker can of Parmesan, it’s really not what you want for this recipe. Because the recipe has so few ingredients, we want the best quality of ingredients that we can use and that green shaker cheese doesn’t really do this dish justice.
Lemon garlic pasta works well with shrimp or chicken added to it too!
This pasta makes a quick and simple lunch that’s super easy to prepare for as many people as you’re looking to feed. The recipe below feeds 2 hungry adults, but feel free to adjust as needed.
Try my lemon garlic pasta with some shredded chicken, grilled chicken, Parmesan crusted chicken, or easy air fryer shrimp to make this into a heartier meal!
It’s pretty much just regular butter that has been heated until it has turned a nice toasty golden brown. It adds a nutty flavor to the butter and is a great way to enhance flavors in lots of recipes.
I like spaghetti noodles for this recipe but really any shape of pasta could be used here.
This pasta is best enjoyed right away but you can keep leftovers sealed in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few days. It may dry out in the fridge so you may need to add a bit of water when reheating.
MORE PASTA RECIPES!
- Taco Pasta Salad
- Cajun Shrimp and Sausage Pasta
- Million Dollar Pasta
- Buffalo Mac and Cheese
- Pizza Pasta Bake
- Tortellini Alfredo
- One Pot Spaghetti
Browned Butter Lemon Garlic Pasta
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- shaved Parmesan for topping
- fresh minced parsley for garnish
- Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, brown the butter over medium heat by melting it in a large skillet. Butter will sizzle and begin to foam. Continue whisking until the butter is golden brown and then remove from the heat. Do not burn.
- Mince the garlic and add to the skillet with the browned butter. The residual heat will cook the garlic. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add 1/4 cup of pasta water to the butter.
- Use tongs to transfer the pasta to the skillet with the butter, letting most of the water drip off before adding to the skillet. Pour the cheese over the pasta and toss with tongs to form a silky sauce.
- Add more pasta water, a little at a time, if pasta seems dry.
- Season with salt and pepper and top with shaved Parmesan and parsley before serving.
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