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A bowl of shrimp pasta with garlic, lemon, and herbs on a white linen background.

Garlicky Lemon Shrimp Pasta

  • Author: Laura Bolton - Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Savory, Dinner, Seafood
  • Method: Sautee
  • Cuisine: American


An easy lemon shrimp pasta, packed with tons of flavor from garlic, fresh herbs and lemon, a generous bit of butter, and lots of Parmesan cheese. A favorite quick pasta dish for busy weeknight dinners! Gluten-free friendly.


  • 8 oz dry pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, linguini, etc.)
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined ¹
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • half of one small lemon, juiced and zested ²
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
  • optional: 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and add your pasta. Cook al dente, according to package directions, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water for the sauce before draining.
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, herbs, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Cook for about 30 seconds, until softened.
  3. Add the shrimp in an even layer, season with salt and pepper, and cook 1-2 minutes per side until just pink and opaque. Watch them carefully and be sure not to overcook or they will become tough. Transfer to a plate and tent lightly with foil to keep warm until the pasta finishes cooking.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, add the remaining butter, and lemon juice and zest to the pan, and stir until melted and combined.
  5. Add the drained pasta to the skillet along with the Parmesan and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss with the garlic butter sauce and add the shrimp. Season well with salt and pepper, to taste. Thin the sauce with more reserved pasta water, as needed.
  6. Divide between bowls, and garnish with more fresh basil or parsley and Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!!


¹ Look for large shrimp (somewhere in the 20 to 30 count per pound range). You can use fresh or frozen (and defrosted) shrimp. Also, while leaving the tail on the shrimp is much prettier for presentation, it’s a lot easier to eat if you remove the tails first!

² Start with about 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1 tsp lemon zest and adjust according to your tastes. If you can find them, Meyer lemons are my favorite choice.

Make it gluten-free: simply use a gluten-free pasta of your choice.

Keywords: lemon shrimp pasta, garlic butter, herb, seafood, easy pasta