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 chicken pasta recipe
This lemon chicken pasta doubles both as an easy weeknight meal and a 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 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 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
- 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.
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!
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.
Questions about this lemon butter chicken pasta? Let me know in the comments below!
Lemon Chicken Pasta
- 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).
- 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.