Skip to Content

Lemon Pasta Recipe

This Lemon Pasta Recipe is simple, light and the perfect meal that comes together in under 15 minutes. This pasta dish makes a nice base for the addition of shrimp, chicken or salmon. You will love this light, zesty pasta. 

Lemon Pasta with Lemons

Want to save this recipe?

Just enter your email & get this recipe sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week! 

Save Recipe

LEMON PASTA RECIPE

When Mike and I were in Italy 7 years ago, we fell in love with the food. 

I have always loved pasta but there is something so much better about pasta straight from Italy. 

One dish I especially loved was a Lemon Pasta Recipe or spaghetti al limone as they call it. 

Lemon is one of my favorite ingredients, so I knew when I got home, this light pasta dish had to be on our menu. 

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

This pasta dish is a light dish that comes together in under 15 minutes and uses fresh flavors.

You’ll love this pasta in the spring or summer, and pairs great with a Lemon Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Green Beans with Brown Butter and Toasted Almonds.

We also love making this Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Lemon Ricotta Pasta, Cheesy Kale Pasta and this Lemon Basil White Bean Pasta

Lemon Pasta with parsley

It’s hard to beat a pasta that is so easy to make. 

This pasta is perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

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

You can easily use this pasta as a side dish to this Mediterranean Chicken. There is nothing like a lemon chicken pasta for some added protein.

For more  protein, bulk up the pasta using beans like chickpeas or white beans.

You will love the fresh lemons paired with the Parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil. It is the perfect day to make a light pasta.

Lemon Pasta Above

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS CREAMY LEMON PASTA RECIPE

This recipes uses the simple ingredients below:

PASTA: When I make this pasta dish I like to use spaghetti. But, it works great with any shape pasta such as angel hair, linguine, or macaroni. For a healthier version, try whole wheat pasta.

LEMON JUICE AND ZESTThe lemon juice and fresh lemon zest is what gives this pasta the sweet flavor. Use more or less based on your tastes. I highly suggest adding the lemon zest for that extra punch of flavor. 

CHEESE: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is the other key ingredient in this pasta dish. Look for a high quality chunk of Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, you can use pre-shredded cheese, too. 

FRESH HERBS:  Try using fresh basil, thyme or parsley. Fresh is best, if you can. 

PASTA WATER: Save some of that starchy pasta water and add little by little if you want a thinner pasta sauce.

Lemon Pasta with Fork

HOW TO MAKE LEMON SPAGHETTI

COOK THE PASTA: Cook the pasta until you have al dente pasta in a large pot of salted water. Don’t want to overcook your pasta, because it will continue to cook a bit when tossed with the sauce. 

MIX TOGETHER OLIVE OIL AND LEMON JUICE: While the pasta cooks 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.

RESERVE PASTA WATER: Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the water that the pasta cooked in to help create the lemon sauce.

ADD THE RESERVED WATER: 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 or milk to the pasta at this point. 

ADD THE SAUCE TO THE PASTA: Next, add the sauce into the pot with the hot pasta and stir until everything is well combined.

You can choose to add more of the reserved cooking water depending on the consistency you want from the sauce. 

Serve warm with extra fresh Parmesan, fresh parsley and crushed red pepper. I also love to serve a white wine with this pasta.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Lemon Pasta Above with Fork

COOKING TIPS FOR LEMON PASTA

  • When cooking this easy pasta recipe cook it until it just a bit over al dente. As you add the pasta to the sauce it will continue to cook a bit more.
  • For those that like garlic flavor in their pasta add minced garlic.
  • If you have some of this pasta as leftovers, add more good 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. 
  • Reserve some of the water when you cook the pasta and use that to thin out the lemon sauce if you want. The starch from the water will also the sauce coat the pasta better.
  • Use cream or milk to thicken the sauce of the lemon pasta. 
  • When possible, fresh lemon juice with this recipe and not store-bought bottled lemon juice. The flavor is much better from the fresh juice. 

WHAT CAN I ADD TO THIS CLASSIC LEMON PASTA?

This pasta al limone is a great base for adding protein from meat to beans.

Here are some ideas:

Lemon Pasta with parsley

HOW LONG DOES THIS LEMON PASTA RECIPE LAST?

This lemon pasta will keep in the fridge for up to three days in an air tight container.

When I go to reheat the leftovers I will often add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of water to help thin out the sauce or add some olive oil.

You can reheat the pasta in the microwave or in a skillet on low. 

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE THESE OTHER PASTA RECIPES: 

EASY TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE

ONE POT CHICKEN ENCHILADA PASTA

CREAMY CHICKEN AND CHORIZO PASTA

CHICKPEA PASTA RECIPE WITH FETA

CREAMY SUN-DRIED TOMATO PASTA

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA

Lemon Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

Lemon Pasta Recipe

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

This Lemon Pasta Recipe 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. Your guests are sure to love this one! 

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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 {optional}.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water and continue to whisk or stir until it is mixed together {you can also use cream or milk to create a thicker sauce if you liie}.
  5. Add the sauce into the pot and stir the pasta and sauce together until well combined.
  6. Serve warm with fresh herbs, more Parmesan cheese and crushed pepper.

Notes

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.

CommentLuv badge

Fried Ravioli - melissassouthernstylekitchen.com

Thursday 28th of September 2023

[…] Lemon Pasta from A Cedar Spoon. […]

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Monday 27th of February 2023

[…] might remember my Lemon Pasta that I […]

Mozzarella Chicken Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes - A Cedar Spoon

Monday 7th of February 2022

[…] LEMON PASTA […]

15 Minute Shrimp Linguine With Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Monday 15th of February 2021

[…] might remember my Lemon Pasta that I […]

Janice

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.

Julia

Friday 1st of January 2021

Love that idea!

Skip to Recipe