Skip to Content

Lemon Pasta

Sharing is caring!

Lemon Pasta is simple, light and the perfect meal that come together in under 15 minutes. This pasta dish makes a nice base for the addition of shrimp, chicken or salmon.

Lemon Pasta with Lemons


If you love pasta and lemon, then this lemon pasta is for you! 

This pasta dish is a light dish that comes together in under 15 minutes.

I love making this pasta in the spring or summer and pairing it with a Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Green Beans with Brown Butter and Toasted Almonds. 

You really can’t beat a pasta that is so easy to make.

I always have recipes like this Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Mediterranean Pasta or Caprese Pasta in my back pocket for busy nights.

I especially love this on those busy weeknights when I don’t have a lot of time to cook.

It also is nice on a day that you are trying to eat less meat.

Lemon Pasta with parsley

It is the perfect base for adding your favorite roasted vegetables or protein, like shrimp or grilled chicken.

You can easily create a lemon chicken pasta by grilling this Mediterranean Chicken and adding it on top of the pasta. 

You can bulk up the pasta using chickpeas or white beans for extra protein.

I also really enjoy adding roasted or grilled vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans or carrots.

You could also make these Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables and add those on top of the pasta. It is a great pairing. 

Lemon Pasta Above


PASTA: When I make this pasta dish I like to use spaghetti. This recipe works great on any pasta though.

You can try angel hair, linguine or a small shape like macaroni. For a healthier version try whole wheat pasta.

LEMON JUICE AND ZEST: The lemon juice and zest is what gives this pasta the sweet flavor. You can use more or less based on your tastes. 


CHEESE: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is the other key ingredient in this pasta dish.

If you can find a high quality chunk of Parmesan cheese that works great or you can buy pre-shredded cheese. 

FRESH HERBS: I like to add fresh herbs to my pasta depending on what I have on hand. Try fresh basil or parsley. 

Lemon Pasta with Fork


  • You will start by generously salting the water and then brining it to a boil. Add your pasta and cook until just past al dente. You don’t want to overcook your pasta because it will continue to cook a bit when tossed with the sauce. 
  • Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the water that the pasta cooked in. This helps create the lemon sauce. 
  • In a large mixing bowl add the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest, Parmesan cheese salt and pepper, crushed red pepper flakes {optional} and stir to combine. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water and continue to whisk or stir until it is mixed together. 


  • There is an optional step if you want a creamier sauce. You can add about 1/2 cup of cream to the pasta at this point. 
  • Next add the sauce into the pot with the pasta and stir until everything is well combined. You can choose to add more of the reserved cooking water depending on the the consistency you want from the sauce. 
  • Serve warm with extra fresh parmesan, crushed red pepper {optional} and fresh herbs. 

Lemon Pasta Above with Fork


  • When cooking the pasta I like to cook it until it just a bit over al dente. When you add the pasta to the sauce it will continue to cook a bit more so you don’t want it to be overcooked. 
  • This lemon pasta is a great base for adding protein. You can create a Lemon Pasta with Chicken or a Lemon Pasta with Shrimp. I have also added Mediterranean Salmon which was a nice addition. 


  • Another great option to add to this pasta is grilled or roasted vegetables. The lemon sauce is a nice pairing for the vegetables. Try carrots, zucchini, green beans or tomatoes. 
  • If you have some of this pasta as leftovers you may want to add more olive oil and lemon to the pasta when you are ready to eat it. Sometimes the pasta soaks up the sauce when it sits in the fridge. 
  • Some other fun additions to this lemon pasta is artichokes, capers, olives or sun-dried tomatoes. The saltiness of those ingredients goes nicely with the sweet lemon sauce. 

Lemon Pasta with parsley

As the warmer weather months approach keep this recipe on hand. It really is a great addition to a lot of main dishes, especially shrimp or salmon.

I often find myself adding grilled chicken and capers to give me a similar taste to Chicken Piccata. You can also add a simple side salad and a loaf of crusty bread for a complete meal. 





Lemon Pasta with Fork

Lemon Pasta

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 1 pound of spaghetti {or pasta of your choice}
  • 3 lemons, juiced and the zest of 1 of the lemons
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper {optional}
  • Fresh herbs {like parsley and basil}, chopped
  • Cream is optional for a thicker, creamier sauce


  1. Generously salt a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and add the pasta in. Cook until just over al dente, making sure not to overcook.
  2. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until well combined. Add crushed red pepper and cream if you like. The cream will help thicken the sauce and make it creamier.
  4. Add the sauce into the pot and stir the pasta and sauce together until well combined.
  5. Serve warm with fresh herbs, more Parmesan cheese and crushed pepper.


I like to use this pasta as a base for protein--like grilled shrimp and chicken. You can add beans like chickpeas or white beans.

Grilled or roasted vegetables are also great. Try carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower or tomatoes.

Other nice additions are capers, artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes.

The Best Red Sangria Recipe in cups
The Best Red Sangria Recipe
← Read Last Post
Black Sea Bass Recipe in Cast Iron Skillet
Black Sea Bass Recipe
Read Next Post →

CommentLuv badge


Friday 1st of January 2021

I love lemon pasta and this recipe is a great, simple one to follow. I usually add a small handful of pan-toasted fresh breadcrumbs on top for a little added crunch.


Friday 1st of January 2021

Love that idea!

Italian Sausage Pasta - A Cedar Spoon

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

[…] special occasions. Some years we will go lighter and make this Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta or this Lemon Pasta with grilled chicken or grilled […]

Anne Kepner

Friday 10th of May 2019

Beautiful pasta recipe, and a delicious excuse to use the lemons off of my tree! Love your side dish suggestions too~they all sound so delicious!


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

I absolutely love pasta, however, I have never had it with lemon. In fact, I very rarely have anything with lemon. It's not that I don't like lemon, I just never learned how to cook with them. This recipe looks delicious and very simple to make. I am going to have to give this one a try next time I get my hands on some lemons.


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Hope you enjoy it!