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Lemon Pepper Pasta

Lemon pepper pasta in two bowls.

Why is lemon pepper pasta so delicious?

We make pasta all the time around here, but this pasta was such a great addition to our dinner time line up. It’s lemon flavor is delicate and light but it is absolutely full of flavor. Ready in 15 minutes, lemon pepper pasta make a perfect “fancy” week night meal.

2 bowls of lemon pepper pasta garnished with pecorino cheese, cracked black pepper and lemon wedges.

Here’s what you’ll need to make lemon garlic pasta

Lemon pepper pasta in bowls, one being held by hands.

How to make this lemon pepper pasta recipe

You can start this recipe off by cooking your pasta of choice according to the package directions, to al dente. While the pasta is cooking you can make the sauce, they should be done right around the same time, depending on the pasta type.

how to make this creamy & peppery lemon butter sauce for pasta

Melt the butter, on medium heat, in a sauce pan and add the garlic. You will want to allow the garlic to simmer for about 30 seconds to a minute. Now you can add the lemon juice and the zest, heavy cream, pecorino cheese, parsley, salt and black pepper.

It really is best if you can use fresh cracked black pepper or coarse black pepper to achieve the most flavor. I also threw some lemon wedges into the sauce while it was simmering, to make it extra pretty.

Close up of two bowls of lemon pepper pasta.

You are going to want to lower the heat and simmer the lemon sauce until the pasta is cooked. Before you drain the pasta, remember to reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water. Toss the drained pasta with sauce, adding about 1-2 tbsp of pasta water at a time. I ended up adding about ¼ cup total.

Top with grated or shredded pecorino romano cheese, lemon wedges and more fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Serving with lemon wedges allows for adding some extra lemon zing to the dish, but if you really are a lemon lover, add a bit more lemon zest for garnish!

A hand squeezing a lemon wedge over a bowl of lemon pepper pasta.

FAQs and tip on making lemon pepper pasta

Do I have to add lemon zest?

You do no have to add the lemon zest to the recipe. If you do not have a zester, you could skip this step. This will make the lemon flavor more mild, so if you want the full lemon flavor I would add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice instead.

How can I get lemon zest if I do not have a zester?

You can carefully use a knife to “peel” some of the yellow skin of the lemon. The trick here is to only remove the yellow layer, as the white layer of the skin will add bitter flavor.

What does pasta water do to sauce?

Adding some starchy pasta water to your sauce will actually bind the sauce to the pasta, meaning it helps it stick to the pasta. This makes the pasta so much more flavorful, and really completes the dish!

Close up of lemon pepper pasta with a lemon wedge.

More delicious main course recipes you should try

Lemon pepper pasta in bowls.

Lemon Pepper Pasta

Ready in 15 minutes, this lemon pepper pasta has a delicate lemon flavor balanced perfectly with fresh cracked black pepper.

  • Author: Theresa
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lightly dried, fresh chopped parsley
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup or more of pasta water
  • 2 heaping tbsp pecorino cheese


  1. Boil large stock pot of water, salt the water, and boil pasta according to package directions to al dente.
  2. Melt butter in spall sauce pan.
  3. Add minced garlic and sautée for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add lemon juice and zest, heavy cream, parsley, and black pepper.
  5. Sautée for another minute or two and reduce heat to simmer until pasta is ready.
  6. Drain pasta, reserving about ½ cup of pasta water.
  7. Add lemon pepper sauce to pasta and toss to coat
  8. Optional: Add pasta water 1 tbsp at time until you reach desired consistency of sauce.
  9. Garnish with grated pecorino romano cheese, ledmon and fresh herbs.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 283
  • Sugar: 1.8 g
  • Sodium: 252.9 mg
  • Fat: 7.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.4 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 9.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 20.7 mg

Keywords: lemon pepper pasta, lemon pasta, lemon pepper recipe, lemon pepper pasta recipe, easy lemon pasta


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