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Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta

This creamy lemon shrimp pasta is a delightful and zesty dinner.

It’s a one-pot dish that’s fast enough for a busy weeknight but elegant enough for a romantic dinner.

Loaded with creamy sauce, chewy noodles, and succulent shrimp, it’s not one to miss.

Pasta with lemon sauce and shrimp on a white plate.
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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta 

Believe it or not, you can make a batch of lemon garlic shrimp pasta in under 30 minutes.

Not only that, but you can do it in one pot! So clean-up is a breeze.

You’ll love every bite of the tender shrimp and linguine coated in creamy lemon sauce.

It’s bright, mild, and full of aromatics. And if you want to add a kick, a few red pepper flakes really make this pasta dinner pop.

Ready to eat? Great! Let’s take a look at what you’ll need.

Ingredients

The beauty of this one-pot pasta dish is that it mostly calls for pantry staples.

Other than the fresh fruit, you likely have everything on hand as we speak!

  • Spaghetti – Go for spaghetti or angel hair pasta for the best results.
  • Large Shrimp – The bigger the shrimp, the meatier they are. Also, be sure to get raw shrimp. That way, there’s less chance of them overcooking.
  • Olive Oil – To cook the shrimp.
  • Garlic, Salt, and Black Pepper – Essential seasonings that provide an aromatic backbone and enhance the natural flavors of the shrimp.
  • Red Pepper Flakes (optional) – For those who like a bit of heat. Add as many or as few as you like.
  • Lemon Zest and Juice – Since this is the main flavor, it’s vital you use fresh juice.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Broth and Heavy Cream – For the sauce, to give it depth and a creamy finish.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese – A salty, nutty element that’s truly mouthwatering.
  • Fresh Parsley – A sprinkle of parsley adds a fresh, herby finish to the dish.

The full measurements are detailed at the bottom of this page.

Creamy lemon shrimp pasta in a bowl with fork.

How to Make Lemon Shrimp Pasta

Ready to make creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Cook the pasta to al dente per the package instructions. Save a cup of pasta water before draining.

2. Sauté the shrimp in the olive oil and season with with salt and pepper.

3. Make the sauce. Remove the pink shrimp from the skillet and add the garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon, and broth. Simmer, then add the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Use pasta water to adjust the thickness.

4. Combine pasta and shrimp. Toss the pasta and shrimp in the sauce until well coated. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

5. Serve and enjoy! Finish with parsley, lemon slices, and extra Parmesan.

Lemon shrimp pasta in a skillet.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Here’s how to elevate your dish to the next level:

  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. They only need around 2 minutes per side, until they’re pink.
  • Cook the pasta to al dente. You want the strands slightly tender with a bite.
  • Stick to room temperature heavy cream. Lower-fat alternatives won’t do. They might curdle because of the lemon juice’s acidity. Also, be sure it’s not cold, otherwise it might split.
  • How to thicken the sauce. The longer the sauce simmers, the thicker it becomes. But if you want it extra thick, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and mix it into the sauce.
  • Flavor the sauce with wine. A splash of white wine, like Pinot Grigio, introduces an exquisite depth to the sauce. Do this after cooking the garlic when you add the lemon.
  • Consider capers for a briny kick. Are you a fan of chicken piccata? This would be similar, only it has a fresher finish thanks to the shrimp.
  • Mix in extras. Feel free to add mushrooms, asparagus, or even chicken to find your perfect combo.

And if you enjoy this one-pot lemon dinner, try this one-pot lemon garlic chicken recipe!

Lemon shrimp pasta served on a white plate.

How to Store

Here’s how to keep your lemon shrimp pasta delicious for round two:

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To Store: Pop cold leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

To Reheat: Warm leftovers in a saucepan over low heat with a splash of milk.

Note: Do not freeze lemon shrimp pasta. The sauce and shrimp can suffer in texture and flavor after thawing. The sauce might separate or become grainy, and the shrimp could turn rubbery. 

More Easy Pasta Recipes To Try

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Gigi Hadid Pasta
Easy Pasa Carbonara
Pesto Pasta
Baked Rigatoni Pasta

Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta

Course: Main CourseCuisine: Italian
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Total time

30

minutes

This creamy lemon shrimp pasta is a delightful, zesty dinner that’s fast enough for a busy weeknight but elegant enough for a romantic dinner.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces spaghetti (or any long, thin pasta noodles)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

  • 1 lemon, zested

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

  • lemon slices and Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large pot of well-salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, then drain and set aside.
  • Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, then season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, and cook until pink, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low and sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then, stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and broth. Bring to a simmer and let reduce for 2 minutes.
  • Slowly stir in the heavy cream followed by the Parmesan cheese in small handfuls until the cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the reserved pasta water until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Add the cooked pasta and shrimp to the skillet. Toss everything together until the pasta is evenly coated in the sauce.
  • Taste and season with more salt and pepper, as needed.
  • Serve with with chopped parsley, lemon slices, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use large, raw shrimp for the best results. If using frozen, thaw them in the fridge overnight.
  • Use full-fat, room-temperature cream for the best results. Low-fat, cold cream is more likely to split in the lemon juice.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

3 thoughts on “Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta”

  1. Hi Kim, I wonder if there is a healthier option for heavy cream? This recipe sounds amazing. I am on WW and would love to try it!

    thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Judy! I’m not sure about WW points, but you could swap the heavy cream for Greek yogurt to lighten it up.
      It’s a small amount so it shouldn’t change the flavor too much.

      Another terrific option is silken tofu. Blend it with skim milk or water until it’s the same consistency as heavy cream, then swap it right in. You could even add a teaspoon of nutritional yeast and leave the Parmesan cheese off the dish to make it even lighter!
      That way, you get a nice creamy finish without changing the flavor of the dish.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  2. I would appreciate all the nutrition values listed. I’m putting together low sodium and low carb meals for my daughter. She’s on dialysis has a heart condition and diabetes. So cooking for her is very difficult without nutrition values with recipes. Thank you.

    Reply

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