Now, this is my kind of comfort food! Pasta, garlic, parmesan, a little heat, and fresh herbs! That’s it, and those are some of my absolute favorite things. Buttered pasta was my favorite meal as a kid and this is basically my adult version.

This recipe is so fast and easy! By the time the pasta cooks, the sauce is ready and all you have to do is add it together. This pasta can be a meal on its own alongside a salad or it can be a side dish to something like a steak or roasted chicken. I like to eat this cold as well, but that’s also because I am pasta obsessed. 

Video tutorial here! 

Tips to make Lemon, Garlic, and Parmesan Pasta: 

  • The amount of garlic added is totally up to you and how much garlic flavor you like. Three cloves tend to be a good amount for my liking.
  • Save some of the pasta water! This helps if the pasta thickens up as it cools or if you want it to be a little saucier.
  • I love lemon, maybe a little too much. This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of lemon juice, but you can start with 1/4 cup and taste it before adding the rest. It’s lemony.
  • Don’t skip the fresh herbs. The freshness of the herbs elevates the pasta.
  • Adjust the heat to your liking. If you don’t love spicy food, you can leave out the red pepper flakes. If you LOVE the spice, then add more. 1/2 teaspoon is the sweet spot for me.
  • This can be made with regular pasta, protein pasta, or even gluten-free pasta!
lemon garlic parmesan pasta

Print Recipe


1 pound pasta; make it healthy with a protein pasta and/or gluten-free pasta 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil 

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (add more or less depending on how much garlic flavor you like) 

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 

The zest of one lemon, about 1-2 teaspoons 

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh parsley and basil for topping 

Salt and pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add enough salt to flavor the water. 

Add in the pasta and cook until al dente. Save about 1 cup of the pasta water. 

While the pasta cooks heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add in the butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add in the garlic along with a sprinkle of salt, and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. It should be fragrant but be careful not to let it brown. 

Add in the red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir together.

Add in the cooked pasta. Before stirring, add half of the cheese on top of the pasta, and then stir to combine. Let the pasta cook in the lemon/garlic sauce for a couple of minutes. 

Add the rest of the cheese and the fresh herbs, then toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

If the pasta needs to be loosened up a bit, stir in some of the reserved pasta water.