This easy-to-make lemon garlic shrimp pasta combines al dente pasta with succulent, tender shrimp and a deceptively rich sauce! Toss it all together in just 20 minutes for a tasty family meal that is sure to be a new favorite!
Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Garlic Butter
For the best rich, lemon-garlic butter pasta covered in sauteed shrimp, look no further. This recipe hits all of the best flavors! It’s an excellent weeknight dinner that will leave you questioning why everything isn’t dipped in this spectacular sauce.
There’s something about lemon and garlic that is the perfect complement to shrimp and seafood. Add pasta, and you have a meal made in heaven that everyone loves!
The best lemon garlic shrimp pasta you’ll ever have!
Also, if you’re like me, there are nights when you need an extra hour in the day! Lemon garlic shrimp pasta can be on the table in 20 minutes. It’s one of the most flavorful recipes I have that you can serve up in no time at all!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Deceptively Indulgent! Lemon garlic butter could make anything taste heavenly!
Balance! I love the way this recipe combines fresh citrus, spicy pepper flakes, and rich butter and Parmesan. It’s the perfect balance of them all!
It's Quick! This dish can be on the table in around 20 minutes. Perfect for a quick, light family dinner.
Other than the shrimp, these are all pantry staples at my house. There’s nothing too seasonal here but lemons, and you can always store zest and juice in the freezer to use when fresh fruit is harder to find.
- Dried Spaghetti - Use any kind of long pasta for the best results. For a super quick dinner, use angel hair pasta!
- Olive Oil - Use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for great flavor and to keep the butter from burning.
- Butter - Use rich, fatty butter for the best flavor. European butter like Kerrygold, Plugra, Lurpak, Wuthrich, or Echire have a higher fat content which adds more flavor to butter-based sauces.
- Garlic - Garlic has all kinds of healthy properties and adds its unmistakable unique flavor.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional) - Crank up the heat with these flavorful flakes! They're completely optional, but add a wonderful bit of flavor contrast.
- Shrimp - For the most flavorful shrimp, be sure to buy them uncooked. Starting from raw is so much better! They will be grey but turn pink when cooked.
- Parsley - This herb makes an excellent garnish, adding a refreshing pop of green to an otherwise monochromatic dish. The flavor also pairs exceptionally well with shrimp!
- Lemon - Lemon is always a refreshing smell and taste. The bright 'pop' of citrus was made for serving with seafood!
- Salt & Pepper - These spices intensify and highlight all of your ingredient flavors.
- Parmesan Cheese (optional) - Hard cheeses make great finishers for pasta. Asiago or Romano both work well in this recipe, too!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
With only four steps and 20 minutes, you can create an impressive dinner for four. All you need is a large pot to boil pasta, a large skillet, a pasta dish, and a zester.
- Cook the pasta. Add 8 ounces of dried spaghetti to boiling, salted water. Cook according to instructions on the package. Reduce suggested cooking time by 1-2 minutes for al dente texture. Drain and set aside.
- Saute the shrimp. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is completely melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and an optional ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Saute for around 60 seconds to release the flavors.
Then, add 1 pound of shrimp (tails removed if desired). Saute for 3-4 minutes. When done, the shrimp should be pink and curled up. They should no longer be transparent.
- Combine with pasta. After you have cooked the pasta and shrimp are done, add the pasta directly to the skillet without draining all the water. A little extra water is great. Heat everything up over medium heat and stir in about ¼ c of reserved pasta water.
Toss the pasta so it is coated thoroughly with the water and it’s heated all the way through. If the pasta is dry, add more pasta water.
- Flavor the dish and serve. Take the skillet off the flame and toss in the zest and juice of 1 large lemon, ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Lemon garlic shrimp pasta makes a delightful dinner and heavier-duty lunch. It pairs well with anything green, like microwave-steamed broccoli, sauteed asparagus and cherry tomatoes, or roasted green beans, and don't forget the garlic bread!
Garnish with a sprig of parsley and a lemon slice. Enjoy!
💭 Angela's Tips & Recipe Notes
- To prepare shrimp for cooking, thaw, peel, and de-vein.
- If you purchased frozen shrimp, let them thaw in the fridge overnight or submerge the unopened bag in a bowl of cold water for about 45 minutes for a faster option.
- Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
- Cook the pasta while sauteing the shrimp. If you think through the recipe in its entirety, it is most time-efficient to cook the pasta while sauteing the shrimp. When the pasta is done, you can transfer it straight into the shrimp pan with whatever cooking water is needed.
- Reserve the water when you drain your pasta. Combining your lemon garlic shrimp juices left in the skillet with the starchy pasta water creates a great sauce. The starch helps add flavor and thickens the liquid. Don’t forget to save your pasta water when you drain your noodles!
- When adding extra heat to this dish, use crushed red pepper flakes, not cayenne pepper. While both crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper are great ways to add spice to a dish, there are a few differences to keep in mind. Ground cayenne is made only from the cayenne pepper, pepper flakes are made from 3-4 different kinds of chilis. As a result, cayenne pepper tends to be much hotter on the Scoville chart.
Place any cooled leftovers into an airtight storage container. Keep refrigerated for up to 3-4 days at most, and be sure to discard leftovers if there is ever an 'off' odor, especially when dealing with seafood.
🍝 Other Great Pasta Recipes
- Cream Cheese Pasta
- Shrimp Scampi
- Southern Baked Mac & Cheese
- Grilled Chicken Alfredo
- Bechamel Pasta Bake
- Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs
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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- 8 oz dried spaghetti (or your favorite long pasta)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon garlic (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
- 1 lb shrimp (medium or large shrimp - thawed, peeled, deveined, and tail removed if desired)
- 1 large lemon (zested then juiced)
- ¼ cup parsley (fresh, chopped)
- each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional, for serving)
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions, typically minus a minute or two for al dente texture. Drain and set aside.8 oz dried spaghetti
- Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet or non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Add the minced garlic and optional crushed red pepper flakes and saute for about a minute. Add the shrimp, stir, and continue to saute for 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp are curled up and no longer transparent.2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoon garlic, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 lb shrimp
- Once the shrimp are cooked, either remove from heat and toss with drained pasta, or add cooked pasta directly from the pot. Heat over medium and stir in about ¼ cup of the pasta water. Toss to coat thoroughly and stir until heated through. Adjust the amount of pasta water as needed if your pasta seems dry.
- Remove from heat and finish with lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss until well coated and serve with optional Parmesan cheese if desired.1 large lemon, ¼ cup parsley, each, salt & pepper, 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
- Ideally, timing-wise, your pasta is cooking while the shrimp is sauteing. This makes it easiest to transfer the pasta directly into your skillet with the shrimp taking plenty of the pasta water with it.
- The starch in the pasta water helps to make a great sauce when combined with your lemony garlic shrimp juices. Be sure to reserve the pasta water if and when you drain the pasta.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!