Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta

April 16, 2022

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This Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta is delicious classic comfort food fit for any day of the week! It’s made with tender linguine pasta, savory shrimp, and both are tossed in a rich, vibrantly lemony, cream-based parmesan cheese sauce.

If you enjoy this recipe also be sure to try out my ever so tasty Shrimp Scampi recipe too!

Shrimp pasta with creamy lemon sauce on a white oval serving platter shown from above. Platter is resting on an aqua colored cloth and lemons are shown to the side.

The Best Shrimp Pasta!

This dish is much like fettucine alfredo but with a lemon and shrimp upgrade. It delivers outstanding flavor and you’ll find it to be perfectly hearty!

It’s easy to make and destined to impress even picky eaters.

All you’ll need to finish the meal and make it a hassle free dinner is to pair it with steamed or roasted broccoli or asparagus.

This is my idea of the best shrimp pasta recipe, try it an let me know if you agree!

Shrimp pasta with lemons shown on a platter from a side view.

Shrimp Pasta Recipe Ingredients

  • 12 oz. dry linguine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (or extra large)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into 1-Tbsp pieces
  • 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (2.5 oz)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp parlsey, for garnish (optional)

Ingredients needed to make lemon shrimp pasta.

Collage of four photos showing how to cook shrimp and pasta in skillet and pot.

How to Make Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta

  1. Cook pasta in pot: Bring a large pot of water to a boil (with about 4 quarts water). Season water with salt and cook pasta to al dente according to directions listed on package. Before draining reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  2. Cook shrimp in skillet, set aside: Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Dab shrimp dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper. Add to skillet in a single layer.
  4. Let cook until pink on bottom, about 1 – 2 minutes. Add garlic, turn shrimp and continue to cook until cooked through (shrimp should be opaque).
  5. Transfer shrimp to a sheet of foil and wrap loosely to keep warm.
  6. Make pasta sauce in saucepan: In a medium saucepan heat cream along with lemon zest and red pepper flakes over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and let simmer until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.
    Add in butter and whisk until melted.
  7. Remove cream mixture from heat, then stir in parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Toss together pasta, sauce and shrimp: In the skillet used to cook shrimp toss the drained linguine with sauce and lemon juice. Thin with pasta water as needed. Toss in shrimp.
  9. Serve warm garnished with parsley if desired.

Collage of six photos showing how to make sauce for pasta and toss with pasta and shrimp.

More Ways to Make It

  • Use another type of pasta. For similar long strand options use something like fettuccine, spaghetti, or bucatini. Shorter options like penne or ziti will work too.
  • Swap the shrimp for a different protein. Other options would be cooked chicken or white fish.
  • Try with a different cheese. Pecorino Romano is another good alternative here.
  • Make it herby. For more herby flavor you can add more parsley or toss in some fresh basil.
  • Add a vegetable. Tasty additions here would be sautéed mushrooms, bell pepper or asparagus.

Helpful Tips for the Best Shrimp Pasta

  • Be careful not to overcook shrimp or it can become rubbery. It should just become opaque and pinkish.
  • For the perfect pasta texture cook just to al dente for a faint bite, and for a sturdier pasta that holds up well to a hearty sauce.
  • Don’t forget to save some pasta water to thin the sauce. Pasta water is essential, regular water doesn’t have the added starches which helps the sauce and pasta cling together.
  • Add the cheese off heat so it doesn’t clump and rather melts smoothly. If needed you can return to just warm heat if it doesn’t melt completely from residual heat.

Can It be Reheated?

  • While it’s best the first day it’s made it can also be stored in the fridge and rewarmed.
  • I recommend reheating the pasta and shrimp separately in the microwave until just until warm enough (cooking separate will ensure the shrimp doesn’t end up way overcooked).
  • Rewarm the shrimp on 50% power so it’s not harshly heated.

Close up photo of shrimp pasta with creamy lemon sauce.

More Satisfying Pasta Recipes to Try

Shrimp pasta with creamy lemon sauce on a white oval serving platter shown from above. Platter is resting on an aqua colored cloth and lemons are shown to the side.
5 from 3 votes

Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta

It's delicious classic comfort food fit for any day of the week! It's made with tender linguine pasta, savory shrimp, and both are tossed in a rich, vibrantly lemony, cream-based parmesan cheese sauce.
Servings: 5
Prep20 minutes
Cook20 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. dry linguine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb. large shrimp* (or extra large)
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into 1-Tbsp pieces
  • 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (2.5 oz)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp parlsey, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil (with about 4 quarts water). Season water with salt and cook pasta to al dente according to directions listed on package. Before draining reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  • Meanwhile heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Dab shrimp dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper. Add to skillet in a single layer.
  • Let cook until pink on bottom, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add garlic, turn shrimp and continue to cook until cooked through (shrimp should be opaque).
  • Transfer shrimp to a sheet of foil and wrap loosely to keep warm.
  • In a medium saucepan heat cream along with lemon zest and red pepper flakes over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and let simmer until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in butter and whisk until melted.
  • Remove cream mixture from heat, then stir in parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese has melted. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • In the skillet used to cook shrimp toss the drained linguine with sauce and lemon juice. Thin with pasta water as needed. Toss in shrimp.
  • Serve warm garnished with parsley if desired.

Notes

  • Shrimp usually loses some water weight, so while the package may say 1 1/4 lbs it's usually more like 1 lb. Same with frozen shrimp once thawed.
Nutrition Facts
Creamy Lemon Shrimp Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 675 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 35g54%
Saturated Fat 20g125%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 328mg109%
Sodium 572mg25%
Potassium 299mg9%
Carbohydrates 54g18%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 1121IU22%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 355mg36%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.