This 30-minute creamy lemon shrimp pasta recipe is easy to make on a weeknight and impressive enough to serve at a dinner party! The creamy white wine sauce is so special.
Looking for more fancy yet totally simple recipes? Try these Creamy Lemon Garlic Pan Seared Scallops or my Salmon Pasta with a Creamy Garlic Sauce.
Why you'll love it
Sometimes creamy pasta is the only thing that will do, and this creamy shrimp pasta recipe is one of my favorites. White wine, parmesan cheese, plump and juicy shrimp... say no more! This dish is comforting and decadent. The lemon cream sauce is everything you'd expect it to be. It's bright, silky, and rich.
And it's just so simple. This easy shrimp pasta cooks really fast, uses everyday ingredients, and the whole thing is ready in about half an hour. That makes it an awesome pasta for date night or when you're entertaining guests since it never fails to impress. My mom loves it as well, so you know it's good! It isn't exactly health food, but the occasional treat is encouraged. 😉
What you'll need
- Pasta - spaghetti is my preference since it looks elegant and the creamy sauce perfectly coats it
- Shrimp - we're using frozen uncooked shrimp. Unless you live right by the ocean, this is the best option. The kind at the seafood counter is also previously frozen then thawed, so it's actually less fresh.
- Lemon - we're using both lemon juice and zest in this dish for maximum brightness. It probably goes without saying, but always use fresh lemon juice.
- Butter - for the base of the sauce
- Garlic - aromatic goodness! I use this garlic press to mince the cloves. No peeling necessary, and no sticky fingers when using it.
- White wine - we're using dry white wine here. Choose sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or even chardonnay. Just pick one you enjoy the taste of. Don't use cooking wine.
- Heavy cream - for that luxurious creamy quality
- Italian seasoning - my go-to blend of fragrant dried herbs that comes in a single jar
- Flour - to thicken the sauce
- Parmesan - for a cheesy touch to make the sauce next-level tasty. Always grate your own from a block for taste, texture, and so it melts properly. I use my Microplane to grate it (and for the lemon zest).
How to make creamy lemon shrimp pasta
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Boil the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, add the butter, lemon juice and zest, garlic, wine, cream, and Italian seasoning to a skillet over medium-high heat. Simmer for a few minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the flour until the sauce is smooth, and then stir in the parmesan cheese. Continue to simmer. Add in the shrimp and cook until they're pink.
- Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the hot starchy water and adding it to the sauce. Toss with the spaghetti, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.
Substitutions and variations
- I made this creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta with spaghetti, but you could definitely sub in your pasta of choice if you wish. I do like longer varieties. Linguine or fettuccine would be amazing too. Or whatever your favorite shape is.
- I do not recommend subbing the heavy cream for something with a lower fat content. The sauce won't thicken up properly and would likely curdle due to the acidity of the lemon juice.
- The sauce is quite lemony in flavor. If that's not your thing, you can use only one tablespoon of lemon juice instead.
- If the sauce isn't thickening up enough, simmer it for a bit longer before you add the shrimp. You could also try adding more flour, no more than 1 tsp at a time.
What to serve with creamy shrimp pasta
- I like keeping it simple and serving a slice of bread or two with it. I recommend a crusty bread like a French baguette. Pair it with a glass of white wine, and you're all set.
- A side salad is a great counterpoint to the richness of the pasta. Try my Super Simple Parmesan Arugula Salad, or toss together some mixed greens with my Homemade Italian Salad Dressing for a fabulous meal.
Leftovers and storage
- This lemon garlic pasta is best eaten fresh since it has seafood, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat until warmed through. You could add in a splash of cream too.
- I don't recommend freezing leftovers of this one.
Hope you love this creamy shrimp spaghetti recipe! Leave me a review below if you made it or have any questions. You can also find me on Instagram to showcase your creations.
Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta
- 8 ounces pasta (I used spaghetti)
- 1 pound shrimp (I used 31-40 count size) peeled & thawed
- Zest and juice of one lemon (about 2 tbsp lemon juice)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 2 dashes of Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Chopped parsley (optional)
- Boil a large, well-salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook al dente as directed.
- Meanwhile, add the butter, lemon zest and lemon juice, minced garlic, white wine, cream, and Italian seasoning to a skillet over medium-high heat. Let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes.
- Gradually add the flour to sauce, stirring/whisking constantly to ensure sauce is smooth.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- Continue to simmer the sauce on medium heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce should be noticeably thickened by now. If not, continue simmering it for a few more minutes.
- Add shrimp and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes until sauce is thickened as desired and shrimp are cooked.
- Drain the spaghetti (reserve a tablespoon of the pasta water and add it to the sauce), then toss the pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
- If you followed the directions and your sauce isn't thickening enough, you could try simmering it for a bit longer before you add the shrimp and/or add more flour (no more than 1 tsp at a time).
- This is my favorite lemon zester.
- The sauce is quite lemony. If you're not into that, use only one tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on September 9, 2015. It's been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!
T Stricklin says
This recipe is a keeper!!! In fact, I have never made one of your recipes that was not delicious and a keeper.
The only change I did for this recipe was I did cook the shrimp separately in olive oil, salt & pepper first, then drained them & added shrimp to sauce.
It was delicious!!!
I'm thrilled you enjoyed this and other recipes of mine. 😀 Thanks for your review - it is appreciated!
KEEPER!!! Made this for my mom and she LOVED it!! I followed it exactly with the exception of I added a cup of wine, really boosted the flavor!!
That's awesome!! Glad it was a hit! 😀
A great base recipe but needed a few changes for my taste. There’s absolutely no need for flour, the sauce becomes very thick as it’s bubbling in the first step - also, 1 cup parm cheese seemed like a lot to me, I used 1/2c and it was perfect. Still very thick, I added about 1/4c pasta water and it still coated my pasta perfectly. Also, I added more Italian seasoning than was called for, plus fresh spinach for color & nutrition. I enjoyed the end result very much, and the author was right, this is a VERY lemon-forward recipe, which I love, but cut the amount of lemon if you don’t.
This recipe - as you stated it - is mine, too, and I got it off a Mission Angel hair pasta box edge back in the mid 1990s! 🙂 Everyone loves it. I use sliced asparagus vs spinach.
This fish was named Lemon Pasta Primavera with Shrimp! It makes you look like a chef, but it’s simple; quick, the point is freshest/best ingredients. Making this tonight after a long while of not, and I’d list my little cardboard box side, scissors cut recipe! LOL I knew it had no flour nor is it required using heavy cream annd 1/2 cup real Parm, the only Parm to bother using! I’m adding scallops tonight, high heat quick seared first, with my jumbo shrimp, and yes on the thyme/oregano additions/Italian seasoning. I’m not into the red pepper nor was it in the original recipe I’d found. A warm loaf of Italian or French bread, quick weeknight meal, salad optional 🙂
Thanks for the reminders!
And thank you to this website for posting your version - it too appears lovely! 🙂
Valerie Bernunzio says
Yum! Yum! Yum! I made this last night for dinner and it is definitely a keeper. The lemon I used was rather large but, hey, that's OK because I love lemon and it had more than two tablespoons worth.
You're two for two in my book Natasha. Planning to make some Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup later in the week too. 😋
I'm thrilled you enjoyed it!! 🙂
Marlene Terry says
Delicious! Followed the instructions except I used chicken broth instead of wine (didn't have any). Next time I might use a little more lemon juice. But this was a hit as is! Thanks!
You're very welcome, Marlene! 🙂
Elaine Armitage says
Made this for supper tonight. I added some scallops with the shrimp. My family loved it! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
You're very welcome, Elaine! 🙂
Lenora Davis says
I made this for guests last evening and everyone raved about it. I decided to add scallops and crab and it was delicious. I love the creamy lemon flavor.
Wonderful!! Love the additions!
Susan Kirkbright says
This was delicious!! Just make sure the shrimp is thawed. I used frozen shrimp and when I added them to the sauce, the water in the frozen shrimp thinned the sauce somewhat when they heated up in the sauce. Still tasty, though! Thanks!
I'm so glad you liked it! 🙂 Yes, definitely thaw shrimp prior to adding to sauces.
This pasta is SO good!!!! I followed the recipe exactly except I used linguine instead of spaghetti because that’s what I had. This recipe is worthy of a dinner party! I will definitely be making this on a regular basis. Thank you for yet another amazing recipe!!!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're very welcome!! We're so happy you enjoyed this one. 🙂
Would chicken stock work instead of wine?
Thérèse DEL FABBRO says
Loved it❤️❤️❤️Did that recipe for my birthday today what a treat❤️❤️❤️
I'm so happy you enjoyed it!! Happy birthday!! XO
Marlene H says
I made this dish tonight and it was absolutely delicious. However, when I put the cream in the lemon and butter mixture it curdled. It did eventually get better when I added the flour. Is this normal? It always happens when you add lemon to dairy.
I'm glad you enjoyed it! Did you use heavy cream or something lower fat? I've never had proper cream curdle on me before (even with the lemon).
Delicious! My 10 year old was in charge of dinner tonight. Directions were easy to follow, and the meal turned out to be a keeper. We added julienned peppers to the meal as well.
Fantastic!! 😀 I love that.
Should I use salted or unsalted butter ?
I always cook with unsalted butter... it lets you better control salt at the end after you taste it. If using salted butter, just be careful how much salt you add so it's not too salty. Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂