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This Lemon Pasta is made with fresh lemon, garlic, cream, butter, parmesan cheese, and spices and all tossed with your favorite type of pasta. A light and creamy sauce that highlights fresh lemons!
It is wintertime in Arizona and we have an abundance of fresh oranges and lemons ready to be picked from the trees. We have a large lemon tree but it is still pretty new so it only gives us about 50 lemons but I am so grateful for every single one of them. There is so much satisfaction from picking it fresh from the tree!
So we have been cooking and baking up a storm with all of our lemons! I asked you on my Modern Honey Instagram what types of lemon recipes you loved and you were so helpful. I loved all of your ideas and it made me wish I could make every single one of them.
One of the top 10 most requested lemon recipes was a fresh creamy lemon pasta. My husband and I drove down to the Queen Creek Olive Mill and picked up some of their fresh pasta and went home and created this luxurious, creamy, light lemon and garlic cream sauce to be tossed with their fresh linguine pasta. It was heavenly!
Why should I use fresh lemons in Lemon Pasta?
This lemon pasta recipe is made with fresh lemons. I suggest only using fresh lemons in this recipe instead of the lemon juice you buy in the squeezer bottle from the grocery store. Since this lemon linguine recipe calls for both lemon zest and lemon juice, it is imperative to use fresh lemons. It is what gives this pasta dish a light, zesty, fresh flavor.
What ingredients are in Creamy Lemon Pasta?
It is so easy to make this homemade lemon pasta recipe and you only need 8 fresh ingredients. Fresh lemon zest and juice are definitely the star of the show!
- Fresh Lemon (both lemon juice + lemon zest)
- Heavy Cream
- Parmesan Cheese
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Freshly Ground Pepper + Salt
- Fresh Pasta
What type of pasta should I use in Lemon Pasta?
You can use any type pasta with this creamy lemon sauce! I have used spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, tortellini, ravioli, farfalle, and pappardelle. Trader Joe’s carries ricotta and lemon zest ravioli and that would be excellent with this lemon cream sauce. I love to pick up fresh pasta from the grocery store.
How to make Creamy Lemon Pasta:
This takes less than 15 minutes to make so it is quick and easy!
- Start by getting your water ready to cook your pasta. I always suggest generously salting the water which allows the salt to infuse the pasta and give it flavor. While the pasta is cooking, carefully scoop out 1 1/2 cups of pasta water to add to the sauce later.
- Saute butter and garlic for 1 minute. You want to make sure and saute it only for 1 minute so it doesn’t burn and become bitter. I suggest having the heavy cream measured out and ready to add to the skillet. Add in cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Lemon juice may make the cream look a tad curdled so I suggest using a whisk for the creamiest sauce.
- Add in parmesan cheese 1 Tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition. This ensures that the parmesan cheese won’t clump together.
- Add in some of the pasta water to the sauce to thin it out and give it some salty flavor and starchiness.
- Toss the sauce with the drained cooked pasta. Add in more lemon zest if you want more lemon flavor. Top with freshly ground black pepper, fresh lemon zest, and red pepper flakes.
Salt your pasta water!
Add a generous amount of salt to your boiling water when cooking your pasta to infuse it with flavor.
Substitutions and Variations:
You can use any of your favorite types of pasta in this recipe.
For a less fat version, you can use half-n-half instead of heavy cream.
For extra spice, add more red chili flakes.
If you love lemon, check out these popular lemon recipes:
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Lemon Bars
- Chinese Lemon Chicken
- Lemon Sugar Cookies
- Skillet Lemon Butter Chicken
- Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
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Creamy Lemon Pasta
- 12 ounces Pasta of choice*
- 6 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Zest**
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (plus more for garnish)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 3/4 cup Pasta Water
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- In a large pot, heat water over high heat. Generously salt the water as this infuses flavor into the pasta as it cooks.
- While the pasta is cooking, carefully scoop out 1 cup of pasta water and set it aside to add to the sauce later.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and let it begin to melt. Add in garlic and saute for ONLY 1 minute. Add heavy cream and stir. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. I suggest using a whisk to continually stir to make it extra creamy. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken -about 5 minutes.
- Add in parmesan cheese, only 1 Tablespoon at a time, to avoid clumping. Stir well with whisk after each addition.
- Stir in 3/4 cup of pasta water into the sauce. Let it thicken for about 3-4 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper and lemon zest, if needed.
- Toss the drained cooked pasta with the lemon cream sauce. Garnish with red pepper flakes, lemon zest, grated parmesan cheese.
- Pasta suggestions — spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, tortellini, farfalle, ravioli, pappardelle, etc.
- I suggest starting off with 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon zest and adding more to taste.
- Make sure to salt your pasta water before adding the pasta. This infuses a lot of flavor!
- Carefully remove 1 cup of pasta water while the pasta is cooking. You will most likely only need 3/4 cup for the sauce but I like to have a little extra on hand in case the sauce needs to be thinned out.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.