Lemon garlic shrimp pasta is the perfect dish to make when you want to make an impression, with minimal effort.  Shrimp are gently sauteed and then tossed with al dente pasta, in a buttery, garlicky concoction of parsley, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whether you’re a shrimp cooking veteran or a beginner, this is the perfect recipe, and the best part is this can be made in about 30 minutes! 

Lemon garlic shrimp pasta in black plate on wood table.

Editor’s Note: Originally Published on January 24, 2019.  Updated with full process shots and expanded info.

For the most part, this recipe requires household staples, such as lemon, butter, and garlic.

Not everyone has fresh parsley or shrimp on hand, but I’ve made it a point to always include parsley on my weekly shopping list because I use it so frequently in many of our pasta recipes.

Pro Tip: If you buy a large bunch of parsley or it’s growing too fast in your garden, divide it up, and freeze it.  I take a good size handful, enough for 1 pound of pasta, and wrap it in foil.  When I need some fresh parsley, I grab a pack or two from the freezer. My Grandmother and Mother always stored parsley this way.

I also try and keep shrimp on hand as well.  I usually have a bag of uncooked frozen shrimp in my freezer to use in a pinch.

Costco and Whole Foods sell affordable 2-pound packs of frozen shrimp.  I like to buy peeled and deveined raw 21-25 per pound size.

Lemon garlic shrimp pasta in black pan with tongs.

How to make it

  1. Place clean and dry shrimp in a bowl with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper.  Mix well and set aside.
  2. Zest the lemon and give any longer strands a chop.
Lemon garlic shrimp pasta recipe process shot collage group number one.
  1. Chop or slice the garlic.
  2. Mince the fresh parsley.  Also, start boiling the pasta in salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt per gallon of water) to “al dente”.  Basically, undercook the pasta by 1-2 minutes.  Be sure to reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  3. Heat a large pan to medium heat.  Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, then the shrimp
  4. Saute the shrimp until cooked through.  Roughly 4  minutes depending on their size.  A good way to cook shrimp is to spread them out and flip them after 2 minutes.  Don’t be afraid to cut one open to check if they’re done.  They will be nontranslucent and very firm and plump when touched.  The objective is to cook the shrimp right to the done point but not overcook them.
Recipe process shot collage group number two.
  1. When finished place the shrimp on a plate, tent with foil, and set aside.
  2. To the same pan add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the garlic until nicely golden (about 2 minutes).
  3. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water and set aside right before draining the pasta.  You won’t need all the pasta water, but it’s good to save just in case.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pan and mix with a wooden spoon.  Use the spoon to scrape up the good flavor bits on the bottom of the pan.
Recipe process shot collage group number three.
  1. Add the pasta into the pan and the 1/2 stick of butter.  Coat the pasta well, cooking for about 1 minute longer.  If you can flip a pan, do it now to emulsify the pasta water and butter so that it clings to the pasta.  Otherwise, coat it as well as you can with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add the shrimp, parsley, lemon juice, and zest to the pasta, mix and toss together.  Taste test right now and adjust salt, pepper, and crushed pepper levels before serving.  If the pasta is dry add a couple of ounces of pasta water to loosen it up.

Top tips

  • Shrimp. Make sure they are completely thawed and that the baking soda trick is used.  You will have great shrimp every time!
  • Pasta water. With any pasta dish, I recommend reserving some pasta water. In this particular dish, the sauce is actually made from the pasta water and butter combination.  The starchy pasta water and butter concoction cling to the pasta and coat it so well during the last minute of cooking.  Save the remaining pasta water, and if required, use a few ounces to loosen everything up if you’re not serving immediately.  I do however recommend you serve right away.
Lemon garlic shrimp pasta in black plate on table.

If you love shrimp and pasta, give these recipes a try

If you’ve enjoyed this Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.

We strive to satisfy a number of learning styles.  If you are someone who prefers to learn by watching, you can find most of our recipes on YouTube and our Facebook Page.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

4.99 from 53 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Sauteed shrimp and al dente pasta are tossed in a garlicky lemon butter sauce and topped with fresh parsley.


  • 1 pound large shrimp 21/25 count
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 large lemon juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for finishing
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
  • 6 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 cup pasta water reserved
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Place cleaned and dry shrimp in a bowl with 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1/8 tsp of crushed red pepper.  Mix well. 
  • Meanwhile cook pasta "al dente" in salted water (2 Tbsp kosher salt per gallon of water) and reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water before draining. 
  • Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add in a 1/4 cup of olive oil and saute shrimp for about 4 minutes or until done (when the shrimp are firm and pink).  Remove shrimp and set aside tented with foil to keep warm.  To the same pan add the garlic.  Saute garlic for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Add a 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pan.  Also, add the butter and the al dente pasta.  Cook for 1 minute tossing to coat well so the sauce absorbs and clings to the pasta.  Add the shrimp, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, and toss/mix again.  
  • Turn off the heat and taste test.  Make final adjustments to salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  If the pasta becomes too dry add a couple more ounces of pasta water.  Serve with a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on each plate and lemon wedges on the side.  Enjoy!


  • The recipe easily doubles or triples.
  • Always reserve extra pasta water just in case the pasta dries out while sitting and or waiting to serve.
  • Salt is kept to a minimum so adjust according to taste.
  • Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.  Though, I recommend eating all the shrimp on the same day.  Shrimp doesn’t reheat too well.


Calories: 561kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.8g | Protein: 32.4g | Fat: 33.6g | Saturated Fat: 10.7g | Cholesterol: 311mg | Sodium: 560mg | Potassium: 297mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!Check us out on Instagram at @sipandfeast or tag #sipandfeast!

This recipe was originally published on January 24, 2019.  It was completely updated on July 13, 2021.

4.99 from 53 votes (11 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Tina says:

    5 stars
    A perfect shrimp pasta dish! As always, easily obtained ingredients and easy to follow directions. It is also a very quick dish to prepare. Everyone in my family loved it and we’ll be making it again.

    1. James says:

      We’re so happy you all enjoyed, Tina!

  2. Cory says:

    5 stars
    This was so simple but so delicious.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed, Cory!

  3. Kathleen says:

    5 stars
    I added peas and arugula at the end. Forgot to save pasta water but used white wine

  4. Lilah says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Used fresh meyer lemon from my tree, the zest just made it so fresh and light! Recipe is perfect as is, I just added spinach.

  5. Jill Waters says:

    Not only was the pasta excellent, the leftovers made a great spaghetti frittata for lunch the next day.

  6. Barbara Zingalli says:

    Your chicken dishes are incredible and following your directions and hints make it very easy to prepare a great meal. I love the chicken paprikas, the chicken with mushrooms and spinach and chicken scarpariello. One by one I am committed to making them all. Thanks a million for being a great chef and generously passing them along to us.

  7. Nancy says:

    Fabulous, make this all the time. Love it.

  8. Laurie says:

    5 stars
    This dish was easy and delicious. I made it for the two of us, and we ate all of it! I followed the directions for enhancements and added white wine.

  9. Jean Jenkins says:

    When I have a dish with shrimp in it that needs to be reheated I remove the shrimp and let it come to room temperature. Reheat the remaining dish and when heated add the shrimp. The heat of the dish warms the shrimp.

  10. Reuben Sanchez says:

    Delicious. I’ve tried several variants of this recipe across the internet, and this one is my favorite so far. Personally, the serving size was more fitting for 2 dudes in their mid 20s. No way it would serve 4 of us.