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This zesty lemon chicken pasta recipe is quick, simple to make, and has a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce. It’s ready in just 30 minutes for a weeknight treat!

Prefer a creamy sauce? Try my Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta.

lemon pepper chicken pasta in a white bowl

Why you’ll love it

This simple chicken pasta recipe doubles both as an easy weeknight meal and a fuss-free dish for a special occasion! We’ve got tender pan-fried chicken and pasta in a perfectly seasoned buttery and bright lemon sauce, topped off with parmesan cheese. What’s not to love?

This pasta isn’t too heavy since there’s no cream, but it’s still plenty filling and incredibly comforting. It’s a fabulous date night recipe! You could even throw in some capers if you happen to have some and want Chicken Piccata vibes.

What you’ll need for this pasta

  • Pasta – I used spaghetti, but you can use whatever is in your pantry
  • Chicken – strips of golden pan-fried chicken pair amazingly with the vibrant lemon sauce
  • Garlic powder – seasoning the chicken with garlic powder gives a subtle garlic flavor
  • Lemon pepper – gives the chicken a bright lemony boost. This can be purchased in a jar at most grocery stores in the spice section. I use McCormick brand.
  • Olive oil – for pan frying the chicken until golden
  • Butter and garlic – the rich aromatic base of the sauce
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest – we’re using both to bring the lemon flavor over the top! Feel free to reduce the amount of lemon juice (or zest) if you’re not someone who likes a bold lemon flavor.
  • Italian seasoning – a herb blend that typically includes rosemary and thyme. It comes all in one convenient jar.
  • Parsley – adds a fresh element to finish the dish
  • Parmesan – grate your own parmesan for the best results! Don’t skip this delicious cheese topping.
lemon garlic chicken pasta in a skillet

How to make lemon chicken pasta

This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Boil a pot of water for the pasta and cook it according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, slice the chicken breasts lengthwise to get 4 thinner pieces, then season them with garlic powder, lemon pepper, and some salt & pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the chicken until golden and cooked through, then transfer it to a plate.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the garlic, followed by the lemon juice and zest, Italian seasoning, parsley, and a splash of the hot pasta water. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, then add the cooked chicken (slice it into strips) and toss.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve!

What to serve with this pasta

Tools for this recipe

  • To zest the lemon, I use my trusty Microplane zester.
  • I always recommend using an instant read meat thermometer to take the guesswork out of whether chicken is cooked without letting it get overcooked and dry. It makes cooking chicken so much easier. It’s done at 165F.

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container, but it’s best fresh.
  • Simply reheat over a low heat in a small saucepan.
  • Freezing probably wouldn’t work well with this one.
close-up of lemon chicken pasta

Questions about this lemon butter chicken pasta? Let me know in the comments below! You can always find me on Instagram as well to showcase your creations.

lemon pepper chicken pasta in a white bowl
5 from 5 votes

Lemon Chicken Pasta

This zesty lemon chicken pasta recipe is quick, simple to make, and has a delicious lemon garlic butter sauce. It's ready in just 30 minutes for a weeknight treat!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta I used spaghetti
  • 2 chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


  • Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. You will need to use a bit of the hot pasta water in step 6 of the recipe, so don't drain it before then.
  • Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (so you have 4 thinner pieces). Season them with the garlic powder, lemon pepper, and a bit of salt & pepper (go easy on it especially if the lemon pepper contains a lot of salt).
  • Add the oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes/side or until it's cooked through (165F), then transfer it to a plate.
  • Take the skillet off the heat for a minute or two so the pan cools down a bit, then return it to the burner over medium heat.
  • Add the butter to the skillet and let it melt, then stir in the garlic and let it cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add in the lemon juice + zest, Italian seasoning, parsley, and 2 tablespoons of the hot pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Take the skillet off the heat.
  • Slice the chicken, then add it back to the skillet and toss everything together. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, season with salt & pepper as needed, and serve immediately.


  • This pasta is quite lemony, so feel free to add a bit less lemon juice and/or zest than suggested if you’re not a big fan.
  • If needed, add a little more of the hot pasta water than suggested (keep tossing to get a smooth sauce).


Calories: 537kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 402mg, Potassium: 591mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 493IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 168mg, Iron: 2mg

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.

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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!

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5 from 5 votes

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  1. Cara says:

    This was delicious!! I also added in some fresh spinach to the butter, lemon, garlic sauce before adding the pasta, and I added some chopped Roma tomatoes at the very end after mixing in the Parmesan! It turned out amazing 😍👩🏼‍🍳🤌🏻💋

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      So glad to hear it, Cara! Love those additions.

  2. Matt says:

    I loved this recipe! Very light with so much flavor. I can’t wait to make this again in a few weeks!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that, Matt!

  3. Busterbird says:

    What a delicious dish! I halved the recipe and used leftover, cooked lemon pepper chicken breast, so I tweaked the recipe slightly to account for that. I’m going to be making it again today, and it has not been a week since I first tried the recipe. It’s that good! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. Oooh – I see a reviewer used shrimp in this – I have some in the freezer – might need to try that (later in the week). 😍

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad it was a hit!! 😀 Thank you!

  4. Rita says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe, it’s a hit with the whole family young and old. I love that it’s simple but full of flavour. It’s me in regular rotation at our house, thanks for the recipe

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m thrilled to hear that!! You’re very welcome! Appreciate your review, Rita!

  5. Sam says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I was impressed that it really took 30 mins. Started from scratch and it all came together easily and quickly. My 6 and 2 year old really enjoyed it, which was a nice treat that I didn’t have to continually bug them to eat their dinner. I will definitely be adding this into the meal rotation!!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s so nice to hear, Sam!! 🙂

  6. Anita Gregory says:

    5 stars
    Another great recipe!This was so tasty another one to add to my list. So much flavour and nice and easy to make too! :0)

    1. Natasha says:

      Thanks so much!! 🙂

  7. Jayne S says:

    5 stars
    Ding ding ding!!! yet another one of your recipes are a hit in my house. Easy and super duper delicious.
    Sharing your website with all my friends. 🙂

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      That’s so nice of you, Jayne! We really appreciate it. So happy you’re enjoying the recipes 🙂

  8. Meg Shriki says:

    5 stars
    Just made this subbing in shrimp for chicken and added a a bit of chopped tomato while the sauce cooked. So quick and absolute delicious! Thanks as always Natasha. Your recipes never disappoint!

    PS I doubled the lemon…yum!

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, and I love the shrimp idea! 🙂 You’re very welcome!!

    2. Liz says:

      How did you cook the shrimp before adding?