This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

This creamy lemon pasta recipe is simple and fast to make with everyday ingredients! The zesty lemon brightens the decadent parmesan sauce.

If you love simple sauces that feel fancy, try this White Wine Cream Sauce for Ravioli

close-up of creamy lemon pasta in white bowl

I’m so excited about this creamy lemon pasta sauce! I just love how easy and quick it is, and it’s great that you don’t need a ton of ingredients or time to make something so comforting. Butter, cream, a touch of garlic, parmesan, and lemon juice are always in my kitchen… it’s a wonder I didn’t post this recipe long before now.

A simple roux (butter & flour) is the base of this sauce, and it’s what helps give the sauce a thicker consistency in only a few minutes. The sauce isn’t a super thick one, but it nicely coats those tasty little tubes of pasta. 

You can serve this pasta as a tasty side dish or as the main course. 

close-up of lemon cream pasta

Recipe notes & tips:

  • I used rigatoni, but feel free to sub with whatever pasta you’ve got on hand. Penne would work great as well!
  • I don’t recommend subbing anything else for the cream in this recipe. The citrus is very likely to curdle the sauce, and heavy (or whipping) cream can withstand it due to the higher fat content.
  • You could add some shrimp or cooked chicken (like rotisserie chicken) if you wanted to add a protein to this dish. 
  • To zest the lemon, I use my handy Microplane zester/grater (you can also grate the cheese with it, but I used my Zyliss grater). I highly recommend grating your own parm… it tastes and melts better! I always keep a wedge in my fridge.

What to serve with lemon cream pasta?

This pasta is delicious as a side dish (try serving it with my Parmesan Crusted Chicken) or as a main course. If it’s your main event, I recommend serving it alongside a light salad (like with a vinaigrette dressing), or you could make breadsticks or garlic knots.

creamy lemon pasta in skillet

Other creamy lemon recipes to try:

creamy lemon pasta in two white bowls

Will you give this pasta with a lemon cream sauce a try? Questions? Let me know in the comments below!

close-up of creamy lemon pasta in white bowl
4.96 from 48 votes

Creamy Lemon Pasta

This creamy lemon pasta recipe is simple and fast to make with everyday ingredients! The zesty lemon brightens the decadent parmesan sauce.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta rigatoni or penne recommended
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth/veg broth or dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice + zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garnish: fresh parsley & extra parm optional


  • Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
  • When the pasta is about 10 minutes away from being done, add the butter to a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melts, sprinkle the flour in and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring fairly often.
  • Add in the garlic, followed by the broth (or wine) and lemon juice + zest. Let it bubble for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the cream and cook it for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened up to your liking.
  • Stir in the parmesan cheese and take the skillet off the heat. Season with salt & pepper as needed (I am generous with both).
  • Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated (I like to add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water to the sauce prior to draining it, especially if it's become a tad too thick). Garnish with more parmesan and a bit of chopped parsley if desired. Serve immediately.


  • This pasta makes 4 reasonably-sized portions with plenty of sauce, but if you've got really hungry people and you're not serving it with anything else, I would double the recipe. Serves 2-4 depending on how much people eat.
  • I do NOT recommend subbing the heavy cream for anything with a lower fat content (e.g. half-and-half or milk) because the lemon in the sauce is very likely to curdle it, and you'll have to add more flour to thicken the sauce.
  • 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.


Calories: 508kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 19g, Cholesterol: 104mg, Sodium: 257mg, Potassium: 193mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1122IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 143mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

Leave a comment

Please leave a recipe rating!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! Easy to follow for a quick and delicious meal. Have enjoyed it twice now. Easy for a single meal, and works excellent for a crowd pleaser.

  2. My husband is lactose intolerant and therefore misses out on many creamy restaurant dishes (Lacteeze doesn’t always work) so I like to experiment at home. While travelling in our motorhome, I made this recipe with the addition of shrimp and chives and he absolutely loved it. He’s asked me to make it again soon.

    Fantastic recipe! Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this recipe a handful of times now. I never leave reviews but I had to come back to the website and say how awesome this dish is. I like mine a little more lemony so I add more lemon juice. This is my go to pasta dish now!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this per the recipe with rigatoni and it was delicious! My husband said it was better than any pasta he’s had in restaurants! I garnished with more of the grated parm and lemon zest. I will be making this again and again. Probably will add shrimp! So good, thank you for sharing this recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! This recipe was amazing. I made the pasta and sauce per the directions. Then I added asparagus and hot Italian turkey sausage. Will definitely be making this again and trying different add ins. Thank you for this recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this tonight exactly like the recipe except I used 1 more teaspoon of lemon juice 😁. It came out deliscious!! Next time I’m gonna add some chicken or maybe use ravioli? Either it was easy, yummy and quick. Just like our family likes!!

  7. I haven’t tried it yet, but could you make the sauce ahead of time and keep in fridge until you’re ready to make the pasta? Or can you make it all, toss it together, put in the fridge and reheat in the oven? Just wondering because I have a large crowd I want to make this for and I want to cook ahead of time.

    1. Hi! So, I wouldn’t recommend warming up cooked pasta with a cream sauce as it tends to change texture and the sauce can often separate. You could make a batch of the sauce ahead and then boil the pasta right before serving. I would be sure to reheat the sauce over a low heat so it doesn’t separate. Maybe give the reheating a test run prior to making the large batch so you know what to expect. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    This sauce is delicious. The lemon really cuts the heaviness that white sauces tend to have. So fresh tasting!