Bursting with fresh flavor, this is an incredibly easy white wine sauce recipe that is perfect for pasta, seafood and chicken dishes. It’s light and refreshing for spring, summer and fall! Make it tonight – start to finish in less than 15 minutes!
Wondering what’s for dinner tonight? This white wine pasta sauce might be just the ticket.
I can’t resist lightening up our meals once it warms up outside. While pasta is a staple in our house throughout the year, my simple sauce recipes tend to change seasonally.
This simple white wine sauce recipe is delicate and mild, making it a favorite base for shrimp, scallops, classic baked chicken, mussels, mushrooms, my favorite roasted Italian veggies and other summertime favorites.
This sauce recipe is also what I based my chicken in white wine sauce recipe on, and that’s an equally delicious way to enjoy a light and tasty meal!
Best of all, this easy pasta dish is also super speedy to prepare, which means it’s a great weeknight dinner.
For the girls, this is an upgrade from their coveted favorite, buttered noodles. (Psst… if you’ve never had my version of this classic kid favorite, you’ve got to try this Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter.)
You’ll also love my lemon basil pasta, another light and easy dish that’s just as pretty as it is delicious. It’s so easy, you’ll want to add this one into your dinner rotation for sure!
This has been a staple in our home for 10+ years. One bite and you’ll know why!
Major bonus? This white wine sauce recipe is full of flavor, but light on calories so I can get my pasta fix without the guilt.
You can watch the video in this post to see how just how quick and easy my white wine sauce is!
As much as I enjoy cooking, I prefer to spend my time soaking up a little sunshine and fresh air while watching the girls play, vs slaving over the stove while making dinner.
I like to give a lot of detail in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” right under the title of this post and you’ll head straight there!
Table of Contents
White Wine Sauce Ingredients
- Olive Oil – High quality extra virgin olive oil adds a hint of flavor.
- Minced Garlic – You can freshly mince, but I just use minced garlic purchased in the produce aisle of the grocery store. You’ll never notice the difference and it’s one of my favorite shortcuts.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – Adds a little heat to this simple sauce.
- Salt – I like to use salt from a grinder for thick flakes, but table salt works well, too.
- Pepper – Fresh ground black pepper adds beautiful thick flakes and a subtle spicy flavor.
- Butter – The base for this delicious sauce. Salted or unsalted, your choice.
- White Wine – Use your favorite crisp white wine or white cooking wine.
How to Make White Wine Sauce
- Sauté – In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic, red pepper and sauté until golden (about a minute).
- Make Sauce – Add salt and pepper, wine and butter.
- Simmer – Stir two minutes, remove from heat and toss with pasta, chicken breasts, shrimp, or scallops.
Tips and Variations
- Reserve a little of your pasta water after cooking. This is always a good idea to help thin sauces if they thicken too much while cooking – just add a little of that warm, starchy water (up to 1/2 cup) for the perfect way to thin your sauce down, if needed.
- Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice over your pasta! The vibrant bright flavor of lemon compliments this dish beautifully.
- Instead of pre-packaged dry pasta, consider making fresh. It’s not as hard as you think, I promise – especially not with this pasta attachment for your KitchenAid mixer! Try my easy three ingredient egg noodles, or learn from all my best homemade pasta tips right here.
- Want even more vibrant flavor? Add a handful of shallots! Just a half of cup of shallots equals a major additional burst of yumminess. Instead of adding the shallots and garlic at once, I’d add the shallots first to the olive oil to soften before you add the other listed ingredients.
White Wine Pasta Sauce
Making this white wine sauce for pasta? Use your favorite noodle. I typically use fettuccine, but any noodle pairs well with this sauce because it clings to the pasta so well.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for a little color and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Who can argue with that simple, delicious flavor combination?
Mussels in White Wine Sauce
This classic French inspired version of a white wine sauce is a perfect flavor match.
You’ll add the mussels after beginning the sauce process. Refer to Ina’s delicious version of this recipe for a more detailed step by step, including the cleaning process for mussel shells, how long to cook, etc.
What an incredibly fragrant seafood pasta dish!
What’s the Best White Wine to Cook With?
There are a few types of white wines that will be perfect in this pasta dish.
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
The goal is to choose a crisp, dry white wine that won’t overpower the delicate flavors of whatever you’re pairing the sauce with… be it chicken, seafood, or veggies. Don’t choose a sweet wine like Riesling or something similar!
If you don’t drink white wine (or cook with wine at all) or simply don’t want to purchase a bottle to make this dish, I have found that white cooking wine (found in the salad dressing/vinegar area of your grocery store) works equally as well.
However, I like to give myself an excuse to have a glass or two, so I almost always use a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
Refrigerate – This White Wine Sauce keeps incredibly well in a jar, refrigerated for up to a week. Simply warm and toss with your favorite pasta, chicken or seafood.
This post was originally published in April of 2013 and updated with fresh details in February 2020.
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More Easy Pasta Recipes
I’ve got more pasta ideas where this one came from! You’ve got to check out these recipes for more of our household faves.
- Lemon Spaghetti
- Easy Pasta Bolognese
- Pasta con Broccoli
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Pasta Aglio e Olio
- Broccoli Pasta
White Wine Sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper fresh ground
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 pound pasta
- ½ cup parsley for garnishing
- ½ cup parmesan fresh grated
- In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add garlic, red pepper and sauté until golden (about a minute).
- Add salt, pepper, wine and butter.
- Stir 2 minutes, remove from heat and toss with pasta, chicken, scallops or shrimp.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Prepare noodles al dente.
- Garnish with parsley and fresh grated parmesan.
Recipe Notes, Substitutions and Variations
- Minced Garlic - Fresh minced or from a jar
- Butter - The base for this delicious sauce. Salted or unsalted, your choice.
- White Wine - Use your favorite crisp white wine like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio or white cooking wine.
- Pasta - Use your favorite noodle or make homemade Egg Noodles.
Mussels in White Wine Sauce
- Clean and prepare mussels. Add to the sauce.