Lemon Spaghetti

Quick Summary

Lemon Spaghetti with Garlic Toasted Breadcrumbs is the perfect pasta dish and only takes 20 minutes to make! The lemon sauce is light, refreshing, and so delicious! Top the spaghetti with garlic toasted breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil for a simple, but gourmet meal!

lemon spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs on plates

You know a recipe is good when you tell your family how amazing it is after every single bite, ha! That is what happens when I make Lemon Spaghetti with Garlic Toasted Breadcrumbs.

And I don’t do this because I am looking for compliments, I just can’t help myself because it is SO good. Luckily, everyone agrees with me and expresses their love for the pasta too. Lemon spaghetti is a family favorite!

The light lemon sauce is bursting with lemon flavor. It is so refreshing and so good with a healthy amount of salty Parmesan cheese and sweet basil.

To take the lemon spaghetti to the next level, I make garlic toasted breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top. Don’t skip them because they are INCREDIBLE!! They add a nice garlicky, salty, crunch. Plus, carbs on carbs? Always a good idea.

Promise me you will try my lemon spaghetti recipe. It is restaurant quality but EASY to make at home!

lemon spaghetti ingredients

Pasta Ingredients

You are a few ingredients way from the BEST dinner ever!

  • Spaghetti– we use classic spaghetti but any pasta will work. You can even use gluten-free pasta if you need the dish to be gluten-free.
  • Olive oil– for the lemon sauce.
  • Lemon– you need lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.
  • Parmesan cheese– buy a wedge of good Parmesan cheese and freshly grate it for this dish. There are only a few ingredients so using quality ingredients is important.
  • Butter– to add a rich flavor to the pasta.
  • Garnish– crushed red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and extra Parmesan cheese.
garlic breadcrumbs in pan with oil

Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

I top the lemon spaghetti with toasted garlic breadcrumbs and they take the pasta dish to the next level. Don’t skip the breadcrumbs!

  • Olive oil– to get the bread nice and crispy!!
  • Ciabatta bread– tear the bread into small pieces, you want a rustic look. You can also use French bread or sourdough bread.
  • Garlic– use fresh garlic cloves and mince with a sharp knife or use a garlic press.
  • Salt– always!

To make the breadcrumbs: in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bread pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is golden brown and toasted. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt, to taste.

The toasted breadcrumbs are SO good. I sometimes have to make more because I end up snacking on them while I cook. Oops!!

lemon spaghetti in pot with wooden spoon

How to Make Lemon Spaghetti

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta. Pour the pasta back into the pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
  • Pour the lemon sauce over the cooked spaghetti. Add the butter and toss until well combined, the butter will melt over the warm pasta. Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss again. If you think the pasta needs a little more liquid, you can add a little more of the water.
  • Season with crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, to taste. Divide the pasta among bowls and garnish with fresh basil, extra Parmesan cheese, and the toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
lemon spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese

Serving Suggestions

Serve any of the following dishes along side the spaghetti for an amazing meal!

Storing Tips

To be honest, we usually don’t have leftovers when we make this one because everyone loves it! But if you do, store the leftover spaghetti in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Store the toasted breadcrumbs in an airtight container on the counter for up to 1 week.

lemon spaghetti with garlic breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and herbs on plate

More Pasta Recipes

Lemon Spaghetti with Toasted Garlic Breadcrumbs

This is the perfect pasta dish and only takes 20 minutes to make! The lemon sauce is light, refreshing, and so delicious! Top the spaghetti with garlic toasted breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil for a simple, but gourmet meal!
4.84 from 6 votes

Ingredients
  

For the toasted breadcrumbs:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely torn ciabatta bread
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt

For the spaghetti:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil and extra Parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions
 

  • To make the breadcrumbs: in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bread and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is golden brown and toasted. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water and drain the pasta. Pour the pasta back into the pot.
  • While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
  • Pour the lemon sauce over the cooked spaghetti. Add the butter and toss until well combined, the butter will melt over the warm pasta. Add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss again. If you think the pasta needs a little more liquid, you can add a little more of the water.
  • Season with crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, to taste. Divide the pasta among bowls and garnish with fresh basil, extra Parmesan cheese, and the toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.

Notes

Store leftover spaghetti in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store leftover breadcrumbs in an airtight container on the counter for up to 1 week. 

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcal, Carbohydrates: 63g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 24g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 289mg, Potassium: 218mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 226IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 131mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords spaghetti

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Maria

I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I make a similar recipe, but for a little more nutritional value I add green onions and zucchini sauteed in olive oil, with some toasted nuts, like pine nuts or pistacchios.

  2. Made this for the first time. Added sun dried tomatoes and diced ham and feta. Yum! Next time I think I will cut back on olive oil and increase butter ! Thanks for a lite summer pasta that isn’t cold!

  3. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe!! So light and yummy! Thank you so much for a great alternative to red sauce on spaghetti!

  4. 4 stars
    I’d give this 4.5 starts if possible. A wonderful change from red sauce pasta dishes. A summertime treat! Of course I Iove anything lemon, but this was not overwhelming with lemon flavor. Just right.

    Remember to save some of the pasta water as you will need it.

    I will definitely be making this again soon.

  5. 5 stars
    I make this dish for guests frequently. I do use a mix of white wine and lemon juice for my sauce. I serve with roasted shrimp which complements the flavors perfectly.

  6. 5 stars
    WOW!! I made this because I happened to have everything in house and it sounded easy and tasty. I made it exactly as the recipe said. The lemon wasn’t overpowering at all. My husband and I loved it!! I made the bread bites – delicious and very easy. I also used your recipe for roasted green beans. It was all prepped and on the table in 30 minutes or so. Scrumptious