This easy lemon basil pasta recipe is quick enough for a weeknight dinner, but tastes special enough for date night!

Even better? It’s on the table in 15 minutes. It’s going to be one of your favorite pasta dinners!

bowl of pasta with gold fork and lemon in background
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There’s nothing that I love more than a fresh, home cooked meal that isn’t time consuming. As the girls get a little older, I find myself busier than ever trying to keep up with school, parental responsibilities and finding time for a little fun in between.

This time of year, I find myself making this easy lemon basil pasta. I’ve even got a Lemon Basil Pasta Salad that is wonderful for picnics and barbeques!

It’s light, refreshing and everyone enjoys it. Even better, I can make it from start to finish in about 15 minutes including time to chop basil and grate fresh parmesan!

If you love family friendly pasta dinners, don’t skip this incredible round-up of Chicken Pasta Recipes!

Lemon Basil Pasta

One night when we needed a quick dinner, I realized that I had butter, garlic, white wine and thought to myself… why not try a little lemon juice?

I garnished with fresh basil and parmesan (which is a staple in our home) and from that combination, one of our favorite new summertime recipes was born! It’s the perfect spring and summer pasta recipe so you can spend more time doing what you enjoy outdoors.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Simple Ingredients – When you need something fresh and fast, this is it!
  • So Summery – This isn’t your traditional heavy, cheesy pasta dinner. It’s light, airy, and full of sunshine flavor.
  • Vegetarian – This accommodates vegetarians and could even be vegan with an easy vegan butter and Parmesan swap!
white bowl of lemon basil pasta with a gold fork

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Pasta – Use your favorite noodle or make your own egg noodles! It also pairs well with Arugula Pasta
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted, your preference, but we tend to use salted butter so we don’t need to add much extra at the end.
  • Minced Garlic – Freshly minced or from a jar in the produce section of your grocer.
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed or store bought (in produce section and juice aisle, will say 100% lemon juice).
  • White Wine – Use your favorite, whatever you have on hand or white cooking wine. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio all work well.
  • Basil – Fresh, sliced in thin strips.
  • Parmesan – Fresh shavings of parmesan.
A small glass jar with fresh basil stems inside.

Variations

bowl of pasta topped with basil and parmesan lemon in the background

How to Make Lemon Basil Pasta

  1. Make Pasta – Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare pasta. Strain.
  2. Make the Sauce – In a saucepan, melt butter and add garlic. Reduce heat, add lemon juice and wine. Stir until warm.
  3. Toss – Toss pasta with sauce.
  4. Garnish – Top with fresh grated parmesan and basil.

Tips

  • Use fresh basil for the best flavor and texture.
  • Too tart? Add a hint of sugar or reduce the amount of lemon juice.
  • Learn how to grate cheese for the freshest finish to all your pasta dishes!
white bowl of lemon basil pasta with gold fork resting on top

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you cut basil?

For this pasta recipe, you’ll want your basil to be in slender ribbons. It’s easiest to stack a few leaves and cut through them in strips, all at once! You can also use a pair of herb scissors to make it incredibly easy.

Why do you put lemon juice in pasta?

Fresh lemon juice is an incredible flavor enhancement! It’s sodium-free, vegan, and full of bright citrus flavor that no bottled seasoning or spice can match.

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – This pasta can sit out at room temperature for up two hours while serving.
  • Refrigerate – Store in an airtight container up to 3 days. Top with fresh basil when ready to serve.
  • Freezer – Yes, you can freeze this basil pasta. Simply add to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. Defrost slowly over low heat, adding a little veggie broth to loosen up the sauce.
closeup of pasta in a bowl with blue napkin and gold fork

Reheat

  1. In a saucepan over low-medium heat on your stove, warm this pasta for 5-6 minutes until heated through.
  2. If you’d like to loosen the sauce, add a little vegetable or chicken broth to the pot as it warms.

Serving Suggestions

This basil lemon pasta pairs well with so many fun side dishes and proteins!

bowl of pasta with lemon and basil

More Pasta Inspiration

lemon basil pasta in white bowl with gold spoon and lemon in background
4.99 from 51 votes

Lemon Basil Pasta

Light and refreshing Lemon Basil Pasta made with staple ingredients and topped with fresh strips of basil for amazing flavor.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients  

  • 3 tablespoons butter salted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup basil fresh, sliced thin
  • ½ cup parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 pound pasta

Instructions 

  • Bring a pot of salty water to a boil. Prepare noodles al dente.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Reduce to medium low heat.
  • Add lemon juice and cooking wine, stir until warm.
  • Toss with drained pasta.
  • Top with parmesan and basil.

Julie’s Tips

Optional Additions

To Store

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days. Top with fresh basil.
Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 184mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 294IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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40 Comments

  1. This looks delish! Do you think italian sausage would go with it? My husband likes meat with his spaghetti and that is what I can currently find in my fridge that needs to be eaten 😉

    1. I’ve made it with both chicken and seafood but haven’t tried red meat. Let me know if you do! Enjoy!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so delicious! I have made it several times and our whole family loves it! I like sautéed shrimp with it the best. I just sauté it in all the ingredients of the sauce in a separate pan…butter,garlic,a little lemon juice perfect! This meal has such a lovely lemon flavor I feel like I spent hours cooking or am sitting at a fancy restaurant every time I enjoy. Thanks!

  3. Julie,

    Hi,
    I’m confused about the nutritional facts. 4 servings in one lb of pasta plus the sauce and only 109 cals? There must be a mistake. Nevertheless it sounds delicious.

    1. I’m sorry, it’s not factoring in the noodles. The nutrition has been a work in progress, thanks for altering me to it!

  4. Hello,
    I just discovered your blog and I’m in love already with tons more to check out.
    I immediately wanted to sign up for email notices about posts from you but I can’t find
    where to do this. Are you not doing the blogging world a huge disservice by not getting your blog out to those who don’t do social media but to read blogs? Please consider or let me know how to sign up…..I don’t want to miss a post. Thank You.

    1. My apologies. I have 3 places to sign up on my homepage and 2 on others. I’m always trying to balance being user friendly and not overwhelming readers. I appreciate you pointing it out. You can sign up here. It’s so nice to meet you, have a beautiful day!