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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.

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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 the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Just cook up the pasta and toss it with the garlic butter sauce that only takes minutes to make.

Spaghetti boiling in a large pot.

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.

Melted butter and garlic in a skillet.

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.

Spaghetti in a skillet with minced parsley and parmesan cheese.
Spaghetti in garlic butter sauce with parsley.

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.

Recipe FAQs

What is garlic butter sauce made of?

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.

Do I have to salt the pasta water?

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.
Two bowl with pasta in them.

Helpful Tips

  • 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


Garlic Butter Pasta

5 from 2 votes
Garlic Butter Pasta recipe is easy to make and a versatile dish for any night of the week. Takes minutes to make and just a few ingredients!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 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
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  • 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.


Calories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 15gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 1973mgPotassium: 253mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1083IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 184mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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