Full of zesty flavor, this Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta is creamy, cheesy, and full of vibrant flavor with a refreshing touch of tanginess. Even better, this decadent meal is made in one dish for easy prep and minimal cleanup!

Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta in a baking dish being scooped up with a spoon

Origins of Lemon Garlic Pasta

Enjoyed all across the world, lemon pasta is often mistakenly thought of as being an American dish. However, the truth is that the exact origins of the popular recipe remain unknown though it is largely believed to have been created in Naples, Italy by members of the lower class. Featuring simple ingredients, it was designed to be extremely tasty without the need for expensive ingredients like meat or cheese. 

Due to its incredible flavor profile and easy preparation, the dish quickly exploded in popularity. However, it was not served in restaurants until it was introduced in New York City in the 1970s. Today, there are endless variations of lemon garlic pasta featuring lots of different mix-ins and flavor profiles, and they’re all delicious! However, for our version, we took what we believe to be the original recipe and spruced it up with a good dose of cream and cheese for a super indulgent dinner. Not exactly authentic, it features the same refreshing taste for out-of-this-world comfort food you’ll love! 

Is This Recipe Healthy? 

You might be surprised to learn that this is a pasta recipe you can eat with zero guilt. A simple vegetarian recipe, it’s loaded with protein thanks to the cheese. Plus, it packs a punch of vitamin C and calcium! If you want, you can make it even healthier by mixing in veggies like spinach, mushrooms, or broccoli for a boost of nutrients. Then, feel free to add a high-quality source of protein such as chicken, shrimp, fish, or even tofu! 

In addition, if you’re looking for a lower-fat pasta recipe, try replacing the cream and cheese with low-fat versions for the same great taste and texture! With just a few minor tweaks you can turn this indulgent pasta dish into a family-friendly healthy recipe!   

Basic Ingredients You’ll Need

Minimal ingredients create a creamy, indulgent flavor with a bright burst of lemon for a refreshing tang. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Pasta – We prefer to use fusilli, bucati corti, or a similarly shaped pasta, but any pasta you like best will work. 
  • Broth – Any kind of broth you have on hand is fine. We just recommend using a low-sodium option so as not to overpower the other flavors with heaps of salt.
  • Flavor Additions – Garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, and Italian parsley combine to create an incredible taste. 
  • Cream – Heavy cream creates the most indulgent sauce. 
  • Cheese – A combination of shredded and grated Parmesan cheese creates a unique texture, unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. 

How to Make Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Once you see how easy this lemon garlic pasta is to make, your whole life will be changed! Cooked in one pot, it comes together without the need to even boil the noodles. Just follow the instructions below, and prepare to be amazed! 

  1. Preheat the oven. 
  2. Add the pasta, garlic, lemon juice and zest, broth, salt, and pepper to a large baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake until the pasta is al dente.  
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings as needed, and serve warm. 

Can I Make Lemon Parmesan Pasta Ahead of Time? 

This recipe is best served right away while it’s still warm. However, if you want to make it ahead of time, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. We don’t recommend freezing your lemon garlic pasta, because the creamy sauce won’t thaw well. 

Serving Suggestions

If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, you can easily serve this pasta all on its own. We promise it’s filling enough to count as a full meal! However, if you want to go all out, pair it with your favorite side dishes, appetizers, and, of course, don’t forget dessert! Some of our favorites are: 

More Lemon Pasta Recipes You’ll Love

Looking for more lemon-infused comfort food meals to dig into? Try out these easy dishes that are loaded with lemon! 

  • Quick to make and full of refreshing flavor, this Easy One Pot Lemon Pasta is a satisfying weeknight dinner you can have on the table in less than 20 minutes.
  • This One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta is made with minimal ingredients for a flavorful dinner that’s so easy to make!
  • Featuring Ricotta cheese and a splash of heavy cream, this Lemon Ricotta Pasta is also loaded with veggies for a healthier comfort food recipe.

Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta in a white baking dish topped with fresh herbs

Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta

4.14 from 22 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 6
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 52 minutes
Make this Parmesan Lemon Garlic Pasta in one pan for the easiest, creamiest, most delicious comfort food you'll ever create. No boiling required!


  • 16 ounces pasta uncooked (such as fusilli bucati corti or similar shape)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth or choice of broth
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice or juice of half a lemon
  • 1 zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a large oval baking dish add uncooked pasta, garlic, lemon juice, zest, broth, salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 45-50 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
  • Remove pasta from the oven, and stir in the remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!



Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 1227mg | Potassium: 438mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1259IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 263mg | Iron: 1mg

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

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

4.14 from 22 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 2 stars
    I’m so bummed because my pasta ended up so gummy it was inedible. The flavor profile was great! The texture was pretty gross. Bummer.

  2. I can never get pasta to cook evenly with recipes like this. I should have just trusted my gut and just made the pasta the traditional way, then mixed everything together. I wasted 45 minutes only to end up with half cooked, half toasted pasta 😞

    1. 5 stars
      My favorite pasta! I am curious though, what is the serving size? I’ve been assuming 1 cup but the recipe doesn’t say.

  3. 4 stars
    So, so easy and delicious! The only change I made was omitting the salt and using half the cheese. For my family, that worked perfectly. It was gobbled up! Thanks for making dinner easy tonight!

  4. What is 1/2 juice of lemon? Does this mean I take a lemon and squeeze out half the lemon or do you have a measurement of how much you need like a tsp or tbsp.

  5. Am I adding 1 1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese with the cream and parsley? Or am I adding 3/4 cup Parmesan with the cream and then sprinkling the other 3/4 cup Parmesan on top?

      1. When do I add in spinach,mushrooms, broccoli,chicken, shrimp? With pasta or after baking with cheeses and cream?

        1. You recommend adding cooked veggies/proteins after the pasta is cooked with the cheeses and cream. If you want to put uncooked veggies, you can stir it in after 30 minutes, cover and cook for the remaining 20 minutes. That way the veggies won’t get too mushy! Let us know how it turns out!

  6. I have a phillips pasta maker that i’m obsessed with and use for allll my pasta dishes, if I were to use fresh rigatoni what would I need to change?

    1. Yes, fresh pasta may not work the same as the liquid and baking time will differ. We recommend cutting down the liquid measurement by 1/2 and keeping an eye on the baking time! Fresh pasta usually requires half the cooking time as dried pasta.

    1. No, it is not an error. One is shredded and one is shaved. The shaved is more for garnish but feel free to use the same kind of cheese.

  7. I usually buy shredded parm at my grocery store deli. Is grated parm the green canned product or freshly grated? Thanks. We’ll be trying this in the next week or so!

  8. 3 stars
    Flavor was great but pasta was extremely gluey. I would’ve baked at least 10 min less. Also, because it was so gluey, I ended up using a ton more cream. A couple of changes and it’d be awesome.

  9. This looks so good. It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Waited too long to buy my cream and the heavy cream is sold out. Had to purchase a lighter ‘Creamo’, has only 10% fat. What do you expect that will do to the recipe and do I have to make other substitutions?

    1. That should still work out great! The heavy cream makes it taste richer, but a lighter version will be great as well! Enjoy your thanksgiving, be sure to let us know how it turns out!

  10. 5 stars
    AMAZING! I added a pint of heavy cream to the dish rather than a 1/2 cup as I wanted it to be extra creamy and it was perfect!

  11. 5 stars
    This was so good and easy to make! I made shredded chicken and added it to it. I will definitely be making this again.

  12. Hi there! I’m interested in trying this dish! I was hoping you could let me know what size oval dish you are using for this recipe?