Creamy, dreamy, spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce. A delicious but light cream sauce with a fresh citrus twist! A tasty and quick meal, perfect for a busy day.
Pasta Cream Sauce with Lemon
If you haven’t realized this already, there’s something you should know about me. I’m a pasta LOVER. Probably because of my very strong, 100% Italian heritage on my mother’s side. It’s just in my blood!
Developing pasta recipes is my absolute favorite. I came up with this Spaghetti with Lemon Cream Sauce a couple of weeks ago. Creamy sauces are my favorite, but I was getting tired of my go-to recipe so I developed this one with a lemony twist. I love it!
Lemon Cream Pasta Sauce Ingredients
- Spaghetti noodles
- Minced garlic cloves
- Chicken broth
- Lemon juice
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh parsley
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How to make Lemon Cream Sauce
This recipe uses a shallot, but if you don’t have one simply use an onion and it will still taste amazing. A shallot is just a milder and slightly sweeter onion, so it’s great for a dish with pretty mild flavors, like this one.
Since this sauce simmers for a while, I just add the garlic cloves in whole and then remove them to finish the sauce. You still get all the flavor with less work!
One of my goals with this lemon cream sauce was to lighten it up a little bit more than a traditional cream sauce and give it a really fresh edge. I actually only use a splash or two of cream, and the base of the lemon cream sauce is chicken stock.
I added the lemon at the very end after I’d reduced the sauce so it wouldn’t be too strong of a flavor. I used one lemon, and that was enough for me. However be sure to taste the sauce and adjust it to your preference. Always taste!!
I also like to throw in some sausage sometimes – it makes having pasta more appealing to Andy. Ha! This is totally optional and up to you. If you do add meat, you’d cook it before you cook the onions, and just add the onions and garlic in when the sausage is almost cooked through.
I also use the term “deglaze” in the recipe. Don’t be afraid! All this means is that you’ll be adding a liquid to a hot pan and then scraping the bits of cooked onion and meat off the bottom of the pan with your cooking utensil of choice.
This gives you great flavor and makes any sauce incredible. If you like to cook with wine, deglaze the pan with about 1/3 cup of some kind of white wine, and then after it’s almost reduced add in the remaining balance of chicken broth.
Last, sprinkle some fresh herbs on that pasta! Since this lemon cream sauce is a lighter sauce with a fresh lemon twist, a more mild herb like parsley pairs beautifully. But be creative and mix it up! That’s another thing I love about pasta, the herbs you use can totally transform an old favorite into a newly flavored favorite.
How to Store and Reheat Lemon Cream Pasta Sauce
You can keep your leftover pasta stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
When you reheat the pasta you can do so in single servings on a plate in the microwave or in larger portions in a pot on the stove.
I find that adding a couple of tablespoons of cream to the pasta as it heats will help to rehydrate it and give a creamier consistency.
Can creamy lemon sauce for pasta be frozen?
No, cream-based sauces don’t freeze well. Freezing destabilizes the cream and causes it to separate.
FAQ for Lemon Cream Sauce for Pasta
Lemon can cause the cream to curdle just a bit but the two can still be used together in many recipes without a problem.
Heating the cream in the saucepan, as directed in this recipe, before adding the cream will keep the sauce from curdling when the lemon is added.
Lemon can cause cream sauces to curdle. As mentioned above, adding the lemon to the cream after it’s been heated will keep it from curdling. Whisking continuously as you add in the lemon juice will help it evenly distributed throughout the sauce without breaking and curdling.
You can thicken your sauce by letting it simmer uncovered until thickened.
You can use heavy whipping cream, or heavy cream depending on what you have on hand or can more easily find in stores. The difference between the two is a little fat content but both will work perfectly for this recipe.
You don’t need to use a specific type of cream for this recipe. If you don’t have cream, you can use half and half but it won’t be as creamy.
Looking for more easy pasta recipes?
- Slow Cooker Marinara
- Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
- Sausage Pasta Bake
- Quick Alfredo Pasta Recipe
- Cheesy Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Homemade Chicken Alfredo Recipe
- Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
- Easy Homemade Alfredo Sauce
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Pasta Primavera
- Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Instant Pot Marinara
Lemon Sauce for Pasta
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot minced, see note
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons cream
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley chopped
- Boil pasta water and cook pasta until al dente (cook while prepping sauce).
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Add shallot and cook until soft and translucent.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth to deglaze the pan and simmer for about 5-8 minutes until the sauce is reduced by about one third or one half and is slightly thickened.
- Add cream, whisking until heated through.
- Add lemon juice, whisking until heated through.
- Turn off the heat. Add the parmesan cheese, stir to combine.
- Add salt and pepper, adjust to taste.
- Toss with cooked pasta and sprinkle with fresh parsley.