Lemony Garlic Parmesan Pasta

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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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

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! 

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!

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!

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!). 

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. 

What to Serve with Parmesan Pasta

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 (tenderloin or 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!

More Pasta Recipes


Lemony Garlic Parmesan Pasta

This garlic parmesan pasta is the perfect side dish for anything from fish to chicken!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian



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


  1. Boil the noodles according to package instructions, then drain and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Keywords: pasta, parmesan pasta, garlic pasta, lemon garlic pasta, pasta side dish

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