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This garlic butter pasta recipe is easy to make and is a versatile dish to have in your weeknight dinner arsenal! The flavorful garlic butter sauce for pasta takes only minutes to make with just a few ingredients.
This is one of those recipes that will be loved by both adults and kids alike! No worries about pleasing picky eaters with this one. To make a complete meal, we love to add a protein like Grilled Chicken Kabobs, Oven Baked Chicken Breasts, Sheet Pan Shrimp, or Easy Baked Salmon.Pin this recipe for later!
Table of Contents
Why We Love This Recipe
- Kid-Friendly – This is a great family recipe to make even when you have picky eaters at the table.
- Easy to Make – There really isn’t a pasta sauce recipe that is much easier than this one.
- Versatile – It’s a perfect recipe to pair with so many different main dishes.
Ingredients For Garlic Butter Pasta
You only need 5 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) to make this easy yet delicious pasta recipe!
- Noodles – I like to use spaghetti or linguine noodles
- Butter – Real butter, salted or unsalted.
- Minced Garlic – Freshly minced is best, but you can also use the pre-minced kind in a jar.
- Grated Parmesan – Freshly grated off the block. The pre-grated cheese in a can won’t melt properly.
- Fresh Parsley
- Spices – Kosher Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Red Chile Flakes (optional).
- Reserved Pasta Water
How To Make Garlic Butter Pasta
See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Just cook up the pasta and toss it with the garlic butter sauce that only takes minutes to make.
Cook Pasta – Start by getting a pot of water boiling, add some of the salt, and cook the noodles to al dente. Before draining the pasta, make sure to save 1 cup of the pasta water.
Make the Garlic Butter Sauce – To make the sauce, melt the butter over low heat in a large skillet then add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the cooked, hot pasta to the garlic butter and toss to coat. You can add in some of the reserved pasta water to create more of a sauce.
Garnish and Serve – Remove the pasta from the heat and top with the parmesan, red chile flakes (if using), and minced parsley. Divide into bowls and top with some fresh cracked black pepper.
The sauce is made by cooking garlic in butter so the flavor infuses. You can also use reserved pasta water to help it form into a thicker sauce.
Salting the pasta water is your best opportunity at flavoring the pasta itself since the pasta will absorb some of the salty water.
- Lemon – To add some fresh citrus flavor, you can add some fresh lemon zest or juice to the sauce.
- Vegetables – Try folding in baby spinach or chard to the hot pasta (it will wilt the greens) or adding steamed broccoli.
- Creamy Sauce – If you prefer a creamier pasta sauce, you can add a splash of heavy cream or extra grated cheese to the sauce.
- Don’t Overcook the Pasta – It’s always best to cook pasta until al dente. The pasta will continue to cook and soften when you add it to the hot butter sauce.
- Don’t Brown the Garlic – When cooking garlic, you want to cook it until it is fragrant, but not browned. Browned garlic has a bitterness that you don’t want to overpower the sauce.
- Storage – Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Reheat – Reheat the leftovers in a skillet over medium-low heat. You can add a splash of water or cream to remoisten the sauce. You can also add a little more liquid if you reheat in the microwave.
More Pasta Recipes
- Antipasto Pasta Salad
- Creamy Taco Pasta Salad
- Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Chicken Pasta Bake
- Garlic Parmesan Broccoli Pasta
Garlic Butter Pasta
- 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine noodles
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 4 small cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup fresh minced parsley
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes optional
- Heat a 3-quart pot of water to boiling. Add in 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, then add the noodles and cook to package directions.
- When the pasta is almost finished, reserve one cup of pasta water.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat and add the garlic. Let it cook for several minutes to infuse the butter. Add the hot pasta to the butter sauce, and toss to coat, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed to create a sauce.
- Remove from heat and add Parmesan, red chile flakes and fresh minced parsley, tossing continuously. Divide into bowls and garnish with fresh cracked black pepper.