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Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini is a quick meal that is loaded with rich flavors that taste like they took all day to create, but are ready in under 30 minutes.  This will be a huge hit recipe that your entire family will go crazy over!

For a lighter version of this creamy favorite try Skinny Fettuccini Garlic Alfredo.  It has half the calories, but you won’t even be able to tell!

Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini on a white plate.

Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini

This recipe has been around in my home for years and it has been a tried and true meal we all enjoy.  The creamy sauce with the fresh lemon flavor is incredibly delicious.  The lemon garlic bursts through in every bite.  It is the perfect twist on the classic homemade alfredo sauce that we all love.

Lemon garlic cream fettuccini feels like a gourmet meal with rich garlic and perfectly cooked fettuccini, but it is really a simple pasta recipe that even a beginning cook can prepare.  Since it is ready to serve in under 30 minutes, it makes a quick weeknight meal, but is luxurious enough for a homemade celebration.  Add in some grilled chicken or shrimp for a full meal or let it shine by itself, and soon this recipe will become a family favorite in your home as well!

Lemon Garlic Fettuccini Ingredients:

These ingredients are all must have items that you will find yourself using again and again.  They are simple to prepare and easy to find in the grocery store, but are loaded with incredible flavors you will start to crave.

  • Fettuccini: Use whichever pasta you have on hand.  I just love how these thick noodles hold up to the cream sauce.
  • Butter: Melt unsalted butter in the pan to sauté onion in until tender.
  • Onion: Chopped onion smells so amazing as it cooks with the butter to form a great flavor base for the sauce.
  • Garlic cloves: Adds rich garlic flavor.
  • Lemon peel: The peel is where most of the lemon flavor comes from so add more or less to your taste.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Gives the sauce its rich creamy texture.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste!
  • Cream cheese: Allow cubes of cream cheese to come to room temperature before adding them in.
  • Lemon juice: Fresh and bright flavor twist to a classic cream sauce.
  • Fresh parsley: Minced parsley on top adds great color and flavor.
  • Grated parmesan cheese: Optional but highly recommended for the perfect nutty flavor at the end.

How to Make Homemade Fettuccini:

This super easy recipe is perfect when you are wanting to satisfy a pasta craving quick!  It is ready in under 30 minutes.  While your fettuccini cooks, you can prepare the sauce and have it ready to toss with the pasta when it is al dente.  A vibrant and rich dinner has never been so easy!

  1. Cook Pasta: Cook the fettuccine according to package directions and drain.
  2. Make the sauce: In a large skillet over medium high heat melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and lemon peel. Slowly stir in the heavy cream, salt and pepper. Whisk in the cubed cream cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add in the lemon juice.
  3. Combine pasta and sauce: Add pasta, and parsley to the sauce. Toss to coat.
  4. Serve immediately: Garnish with lemon peel, parsley, parmesan cheese if desired.

Process of making Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini.

Tips for the BEST Creamy Fettuccini:

This is one of the best pasta dishes because it is easy, delicious and versatile.  Here are my pro tips for making this pasta dish an over the top success.

  • Ingredients: Use the freshest ingredients possible for the most vibrant flavors.  For example, freshly grated parmesan cheese will give you the best melt into your lemon garlic cream sauce.  The store bought kind is coated with preservatives that do not allow the cheese to melt properly.  Fresh garlic will have a stronger flavor too.
  • Salt the pasta water:  Adding salt to the pasta water will bring out the flavor of the pasta as it cooks.
  • Garnish: For more color and a punch of flavor add in chopped plum or cherry tomatoes at the end or even sprinkle some red pepper flakes in for a bit of heat.
  • Protein: Add in shrimp or chicken to make this a complete protein-packed meal.
  • Serve with: Roasted Asparagus, Caesar Salad, and Perfect Soft and Buttery Rolls.

Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini in a frying pan with sliced lemon mixed in.

How to Store Lemon Fettuccini:

The best thing about pasta for dinner is the leftovers.  They store well and still taste amazing the next day for a hearty lunch.  Just be sure to store in an airtight container after the pasta has cooled, but no longer than 2 hours after preparing it.

  • Refrigerator: 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: 4-6 months if properly stored in a freezer bag.  However, due to the nature of cream sauces, freezing is not ideal.  The sauce may break and it can be hard to regain the creamy texture after thawing.
  • Reheat: To warm leftovers in the microwave, heat for 30-45 seconds then stir and repeat until heated throughout. If the sauce is not as creamy, add a bit of liquid to return it to its original creamy texture. Try milk, broth, or cream and stir vigorously.

Close up of Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini with a fork removing some.

More Lemon Garlic Recipes:

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Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini

4.34 from 3 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Delicious and creamy fettuccini with added lemon and garlic for the perfect twist.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 8 oz fettuccini uncooked

Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce:


  • Cook the fettuccini according to package directions and drain.

Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce:

  • To make the sauce, In a large skillet over medium high heat melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and lemon peel. Slowly stir in the heavy cream, salt and pepper. Whisk in the cubed cream cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add in the lemon juice.
  • Add pasta, and parsley to the sauce. Toss to coat. Serve immediately and garnish with lemon peel, parsley, parmesan cheese if desired.


Updated on July 22, 2020
Originally Posted on March 6, 2014


Calories: 366kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 8gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 244mgPotassium: 257mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1147IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was delicious! I added some rotisserie chicken and some chicken broth just to thin out the sauce a little. Added red pepper flakes and it was so good!

  2. 3 stars
    I felt like I was eating melted cream cheese. Which I guess that’s what this recipe is. Sauce was thick, I had to add more whipping cream. Way too rich for myself, my one toddler ate it. Next time I’ll cut the cream cheese amount in half, and add Parmesan to the melting process.

    1. I agree with this. Much too rich for me personally, seemed like it needed more acidity as well even with the lemon juice. I might try cutting with white wine vinegar or something If I ever try this again.

  3. I am going to try and make your lemon garlic cream sauce with fettuccini today. I am going to add shrimp! It’s a snow day, so a great day to be in the kitchen just cooking!

  4. Is this supposed to be a side dish? Because 8 ozs of pasta split between 6 people (with 0 protein) is like three bites each. Only going to work if everyone at the table is under the age of 5.

  5. Yes, I’d also like to know about the butter as well as the first 3 ingredients….where do they get introduced??

    1. I’m with Vanessa. The first three ingredients aren’t introduced into the recipe instructions, aside from mixing them in the bowl.

  6. This sounds so good right now! I can’t get enough pasta lately (21 weeks pregnant). I seriously have made pasta for the last 4 meals. My husband is getting a little worried!

  7. This is a great weeknight dinner idea! So easy and creamy looking. I am drooling over the lemon garlic cream sauce. Pinned!

  8. This sounds delicious and I have all the ingredients on hand. Question: the recipe says 1/4 butter. Is that 1/4 cube, 1/4 cup 1/4 lb, or what?

    1. Just found the recipe on Taste of Home. The correct measurement is for 1/4 cup of butter. Also, the TOH recipe consists of 2 chopped plum tomatoes, which are smaller and meatier than regular salad tomatoes.

  9. For the Lemon Garlic Cream Fettuccini recipe, you listed 1/4 butter. What is the unit of measurement?