This Lemony Garlic Parmesan Pasta is super simple (but BIG on flavor) and pairs beautifully with all kinds of protein mains (think: seafood, poultry, beef, and pork!). 

top view of a shallow bowl filled with garlic parmesan pasta sitting on a kitchen towel on a marble surface

This recipe is…

There are very, very few things I love more in this world than a big ole bowl of buttery, garlicky parmesan noodles. This versatile starchy side goes with EVERYTHING (from baked cod, to pork tenderloin, to lemon pepper grilled chicken, and beyond!), and for as simple as it is, the flavors are really out of this world. 

While this pasta isn’t your typical pasta + sauce dish (and let me tell you, a good heavy cream based pasta sauce is my jam), this reliable recipe is perfect for when you need to add something comforting (in the form of carbohydrates) to your dinner menu and is sure to be a simple side that impresses every person you serve it to! 

Pasta is life! If you’re looking for easy, no boil pasta bakes, try our Chicken Alfredo Bake, sausage pasta bake, and our chicken pesto pasta bake. If you’re looking for a really delicious, special, more hands-on pasta recipe, be sure to try our stuffed pasta shells.

top view of the ingredients for garlic parmesan pasta - spaghetti noodles, butter, lemon, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese

Garlic Parmesan Pasta Ingredients

Just a few, simple ingredients yield the most delicious, everyday dinner side! Here’s what you’ll need to bring this easy pasta side together: 

  • Spaghetti – to start, you’ll, of course, need 12 ounces of spaghetti noodles (angel hair noodles work great here too!). Use whichever ones you love the most! 
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – in order to keep your noodles from sticking (especially if you are using gluten-free noodles – they tend to stick!), you’ll need to have 1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil on hand. 
  • Butter – to make these noodles buttery and delicious, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of butter (or extra-virgin olive oil is that’s what you have on hand!). 
  • Garlic – 2 cloves of sliced garlic helps this pasta live up to its name! If you’re out of fresh garlic, feel free to use a 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder here.
  • Sea Salt – we’ll also use a ½ teaspoon of sea salt to season our pasta,…
  • Parmesan Cheese – …a ½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese to add some delicious, cheesiness to the dish, and…
  • Lemon Juice – …2 tablespoons of lemon juice (the juice from about one lemon) to brighten everything up!

What is the best gluten-free pasta?

Our favorite gluten-free pasta brands are Jovial and Barilla. Each of these brands is about as close taste and texture-wise to regular pasta as it gets, and we find that these noodles clump together less than other brands we’ve tried (though we do still toss them in olive oil!). 

How to Make Garlic Parmesan Pasta

This dish is super simple to make (think: no prep time + the cook time is quick!), and just three steps stand between you and garlicky, parmesan-y, buttery, noodle-y goodness! Here’s how you’ll pull this side together:

  1. Boil the Noodles – grab a pot and boil the noodles according to package instruction cook time, then drain the water, and toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. 
  2. Melt Butter + Add Garlic – melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to brown, then remove from heat.
  3. Add the Pasta, Parmesan, Salt, and Lemon Juice – add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to combine with the garlic butter. Add the parmesan and salt and toss to combine again, then stir in the lemon juice. Serve immediately!
the side view of a shallow bowl of spaghetti noodles seasoned with pepper sitting on a marble surface

How to Keep Pasta From Sticking

Sticky noodles are a no-go, and these are our best tips for ensuring clump-free pasta every single time:

  • Stir – be sure to stir the noodles occasionally while they cook. 
  • Toss in Olive Oil – right after draining the water from your noodles, toss the noodles with olive oil. This is the best way that we’ve found to keep the noodles from sticking!
  • Run Them Under Hot Water – if the noodles are still clumped together after stirring and tossing in olive oil, run them under hot water, tossing the whole time with tongs. 

How to Serve

Parmesan garlic pasta goes with everything, y’all! Enjoy this easy side with our really delicious, simple baked cod with tomatoes, a juicy cut of pork (oven roasted pork tenderloin or pan seared pork chops!), grilled chicken, perfectly-grilled steak, simple sauteed shrimp, or any other protein that you love (the Fed + Fit website has TONS of delicious protein mains)! These easy sauteed green beans or even some simple steamed broccoli would add a really yummy green veggie to the mix!

We hope that the whole family absolutely loves this perfect garlic parmesan pasta side dish!

Lemony Garlic Parmesan Pasta

4.80 — Votes 5 votes
By Amber Goulden
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
This garlic parmesan pasta is the perfect side dish for anything from fish to chicken!


  • 12 ounces spaghetti we used this one for gluten-free
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • Boil the noodles according to package instructions, then drain and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to brown, then remove from heat.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and toss to combine with the garlic butter. Add the parmesan and salt and toss to combine again, then stir in the lemon juice. Serve immediately.


Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 541mg | Potassium: 217mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 273IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 427
Keyword: garlic pasta, lemon garlic pasta, parmesan pasta, pasta, pasta side dish

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  1. The ingredients include olive oil, yet the directions don’t mention it. So is olive oil used or not?

    1. Hi Krystal! The olive oil is used in the first step! After you cook the pasta, drain it, then toss with the olive oil. -Team FF

  2. 5 stars
    This is now my new favorite way to make pasta. I used banza spaghetti and it turned out great. So simple and delicious!

    1. Yum! We love that you have found a new favorite! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. -Team F&F

  3. Sounds very good. Does this reheat well? Could I prep it a day or two early?