This Lemon Pasta with Shrimp is a family-friendly recipe that gets rave reviews from everyone who tries it! It comes together in less than 30 minutes with penne, shrimp, and a savory cream sauce. 

Looking for more rave-worthy pasta recipes? Try our Lemon Sausage Pasta, Pesto Pasta, or Lemon Asparagus Chicken Pasta

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This Shrimp Lemon Pasta Will Become an Instant Favorite

This lemon and shrimp pasta looks and tastes like it came from the kitchen of a 5-star restaurant, but it couldn’t be easier to make at home! It’s one of the very first recipes I learned to make for my husband.

All you need are a handful of ingredients, and everything comes together quickly. 

It’s a filling comfort food that even my picky eaters look forward to eating. We love adding broccoli or spinach for extra veggies, similar to our chicken and broccoli pasta bake.

The key is to use jumbo shrimp and avoid overcooking it. With my fool-proof tips and tricks, you’re sure to achieve a creamy, delicious pasta dish every time. It will have the whole family asking for seconds! 

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Shrimp Pasta Recipe

  • Minimal equipment: Unlike some pasta recipes that require several moving parts, dirtying up lots of pots and pans, this recipe comes together with just a pot and a skillet.  
  • Quick to make: This shrimp pasta comes together in less than 30 minutes, meaning it’s perfect for busy weeknights. 
  • Great meal prep options: It’s easy to make a large batch, and leftovers store and reheat well for easy meals for days. 

Lemon Shrimp Pasta Ingredients

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

ingredients for shrimp lemon pasta.
  • Pasta: I like to use penne pasta, but any small or medium-sized pasta will work. 
  • Shrimp: Use peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp with the tails left on or off, and make sure they’re fully thawed before you begin. 
  • Olive oil and unsalted butter: We use this to cook the shrimp and sauté the garlic. 
  • Garlic cloves: For the best flavor, use whole garlic cloves, not pre-minced varieties. 
  • Heavy cream: Creates a rich flavor and a thick, creamy sauce. 
  • Parmesan cheese: Adds a nutty, salty flavor to the sauce. 
  • Lemon juice and zest: Both are added at the end to add brightness to the lemon shrimp pasta. 
  • Italian parsley: Adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor and helps brighten the dish. 

How to Make Shrimp and Lemon Pasta

Before you get started, you’ll need a large pot and a large non-stick deep pan for this recipe. The recipe card below has all the details you need. 

cooked pasta in a pot.

Step 1: Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente according to the package directions. 

seared shrimp in a saucepan.

Step 2: Heat the oil in a pan, and arrange the shrimp in a single layer. Cook on each side, and transfer the shrimp to a plate. 

minced garlic with butter in a pan.

Step 3: Reduce the heat to medium, and melt the butter. Add the garlic to the pan, and sauté just until fragrant, stirring constantly. Be careful not to let the garlic burn! 

cream in a saucepan.

Step 4: Stir in the cream, and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Let it thicken without coming to a rapid boil. 

lemon cream sauce with parsley in a saucepan.

Step 5: Whisk in the Parmesan cheese followed by the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Remove the pan from the heat, and season to taste. 

penne pasta and cooked shrimp in cream sauce in saucepan.

Step 6: Stir in the cooked pasta and shrimp. Serve with more Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper. 

Lemon Shrimp Pasta Recipe Variations

This shrimp lemon pasta can be adjusted to suit your preferences. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

  • Shrimp: Feel free to substitute the shrimp with chicken if preferred. 
  • Veggies: Sauté vegetables to add more color and nutrients to the dish. Mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, and kale all work well. 
  • Pasta: Substitute the penne with a longer pasta shape like linguine or spaghetti.
  • Parmesan: Substitute with Romano or Asiago cheese. 

Tips for Making Lemon and Shrimp Pasta

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer, leaving space in between each piece. Otherwise, they won’t cook evenly. 
  • Keep a close eye on the shrimp. Shrimp cook extremely quickly and become rubbery if overcooked. So, watch them carefully, and remove them from the skillet as soon as they’re pink. 
  • Avoid overcooking the pasta. Follow the pasta package instructions, cooking it just to al dente. Remember, it will continue to cook slightly in the pan. 
  • Do not boil. Be careful not to bring the lemon and shrimp pasta to a boil. Reduce the heat as needed as you simmer the sauce. 

What to Serve with Lemon Shrimp Pasta

This recipe is plenty filling enough to serve on its own. However, if you want to bulk it up, you can add a chopped wedge salad, dinner rolls, roasted asparagus with lemon, or oven roasted broccoli

close up lemon and shrimp pasta on a plate with a side of fork.

Storing Leftover Shrimp and Lemon Pasta

Store leftover pasta with shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

I do not recommend freezing this recipe! The dairy and shrimp won’t thaw well. 

How to Reheat Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

When you’re ready to eat, reheat your pasta in a skillet over low heat. Add a splash of extra heavy cream as needed to freshen it back up. Do not warm your pasta in the microwave; your shrimp will become rubbery and the sauce oily.

If you try our shrimp and lemon pasta, please leave a star rating and a comment letting us know how you liked the recipe.

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lemon shrimp pasta in a white bowl garnished wiht parsley.

Shrimp and Lemon Pasta

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  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


Our favorite shrimp pasta in a creamy lemon sauce. It comes together incredibly quickly with basic ingredients. 


Units Scale
  • 12 oz. dry penne pasta or any other small-cut pasta
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (21-25), peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest, from about 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley


  1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, pat dry the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large deep non-stick pan over medium-high heat. You’ll need a pan large enough to fit the pasta and shrimp. When oil is hot, add shrimp to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Immediately remove to a plate and lightly cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. Reduce the heat to a medium and add butter. When butter is melted, add garlic and saute just until fragrant while stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Stir in heavy cream. Let it come to a simmer and slightly thicken for about 2-3 minutes. Do not let it come to a rapid boil. Reduce heat if needed. Whisk in Parmesan cheese and then lemon zest, juice, and parsley. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper, as needed. 
  5. Stir in cooked pasta and shrimp. Serve with more Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked pepper.


  • Have everything ready: This recipe comes together pretty quickly so it’s helpful to have everything measured and prepared before you begin cooking.
  • Pan type: If using a stainless steel pan to cook the shrimp, use 2 tablespoons of oil. 
  • Leftovers: It’s best to reheat leftovers on the stovetop over medium-low heat so the sauce does not turn oily. Add a splash of cream to help loosen everything up.


  • Serving Size: 1/6
  • Calories: 488
  • Sugar: 2.9 g
  • Sodium: 284.1 mg
  • Fat: 23.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44.8 g
  • Protein: 25.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 180.2 mg