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This recipe for garlic butter pasta is simple to make but delivers big on flavor. It's made with real butter, lots of garlic, rich parmesan cheese, and finished with fresh parsley. You'll find that it's the perfect side dish for a protein-based meal, and it's ready in minutes!
Sometimes appearances can be deceiving and that's definitely the case with this garlic butter pasta. It might look plain, but the noodles hold a ton of flavor.
It's an easy recipe for weeknights, and you only need a few pantry staples to make it. Simply cook your favorite pasta until al-dente. Then, make a silky sauce that marries the garlic butter, pasta water, and parmesan cheese. Stir in some fresh parsley and you've got yourself a delicious side dish that goes with practically any protein-based meal. Buon appetito!
Why you'll love it
- It's full of flavor
- It's easy and quick to make
- You only need a few ingredients, and most of them are pantry staples
- It goes with just about anything!
How to make this garlic butter pasta recipe
This garlic butter spaghetti is so delicious, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make! Simply follow these steps:
- Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Before you drain the water, remember to reserve one cup of the pasta water.
- While the water is heating, prep the garlic by mincing three cloves and slicing the other three.
- Make the garlic butter by sauteeing the sliced garlic in butter for a couple of minutes then adding the minced garlic and letting it cook for another minute. We generously season the butter with salt and pepper as it adds tons of flavor to the pasta.
- Now make a sauce and bring it all together. Return the cooked pasta to the pot, pour the garlic butter sauce overtop, and toss to coat. Add the parmesan cheese and a splash of the pasta water, and toss the pasta again (adding just enough pasta water so that it creates a light silky sauce – you likely won't use it all). Mix in the minced parsley and serve right away.
Garlic butter pasta ingredients
Here's everything you'll need to make this garlic butter noodles recipe:
- Pasta – we prefer a longer noodle like spaghetti or linguine for soaking up the sauce, but any pasta will work here.
- Garlic – this recipe lives up to its name and uses a generous amount of garlic for lots of bold garlic taste!
- Butter – salted or unsalted, but only real butter will do here! It adds lots of rich flavor, and helps the sauce stick to the noodles.
- Sea salt + black pepper – these essential seasonings enhance all the other flavors. Use more or less salt depending on whether your butter is salted or not.
- Parmesan cheese – a dusting of parmesan cheese takes this dish from acceptable to amazing!
- Parsley – for a pop of green color and to brighten the flavors.
What's the best pasta to use?
Long noodles are a good choice for simple sauces like this garlic butter sauce because they get coated and can catch the fresh herbs for maximum flavor. Our favorite long pasta to use is classic spaghetti but we also love spaghettini, angel hair pasta, or linguine. If you prefer a shorter pasta, that's okay, too!
How long do leftovers keep in the fridge?
This pasta is best served fresh but store any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-4 days.
What to serve with garlic butter pasta
The beauty of this pasta dish is its simplicity, and that makes it easy to pair with just about any protein-based main or vegetable side.
It's what we serve alongside our lemon pepper chicken, but also tastes great with other meat mains like creamy tarragon chicken, Italian braised chicken with tomatoes and olives, or baked fish with lemon garlic butter.
- 8 ounces dried pasta
- 6 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot then drain the pasta then return it to the pot.8 ounces dried pasta
- While the water is heating, make the garlic butter sauce. Mince 3 cloves of the garlic and slice the other 3 cloves.6 cloves garlic
- Heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
- After you return the pasta to the pot, pour the garlic butter sauce over the pasta and toss well to coat. Add the parmesan cheese and a splash of the pasta water and toss the pasta again. Add just enough pasta water so that it creates a light sauce – you likely won't use it all. Mix in the minced parsley then serve it right away.½ cup grated parmesan cheese, ¼ cup minced parsley
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.