You should always have some quick pasta recipes in your back pocket for when you need fast dinners. But, if you’re like me, you get a bit bored with the standard spaghetti marinara situation. This WHOLE Lemon Linguine is a nice change-up and SO fast to make.

While this recipe is so fast to make, it actually feels kind of fancy and the whole lemons look beautiful once they are butter-fried and served with the linguine.

This recipe will be in your rotation and is a perfect fast spring pasta option!

How to pick good lemons for this recipe

In theory you can use any lemon for this recipe, but it will be better if you can find the slightly smaller or medium-sized lemons that have softer skin and also less white pith.

Soft lemon and ingredients.

The larger lemons have a more rugged exterior skin that is really chewy and won’t be as good when you fry it.

The smaller lemons are completely edible, skin and all, and give SO much flavor to the pasta.

How to fry lemons for this pasta

To trick to this recipe is to cook the lemons while your pasta is cooking and then toss everything together to finish it off.

Slice your lemons into thin disks, almost see-through thin and add them to a skillet with butter. As they cook over medium heat, the butter will brown slightly the lemons will soften and brown a bit.

Starting lemons in the skillet.

Since it’ll take 9-10 minutes to cook the pasta anyway, this step doesn’t add on any time to your cook time for the recipe.

After the lemons have browned a bit, and when the pasta is almost done, you can also add the sliced garlic to the skillet. Just be careful not to burn the garlic.

Cooking lemon and garlic.

Crunch Time Tips

If you are making this dish (or any pasta recipe) and the ingredients like lemons or garlic start to burn, immediately add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the skillet to stop the cooking and start the sauce.

How to finish this pasta dish

This is a very easy dish to finish. Use tongs to transfer the pasta straight from the cooking water to the skillet with the lemons and garlic. Also scoop out 1/2 cup of pasta water and add that to the skillet. This will start to form a sauce as the butter emulsifies with the pasta water.

Toss together for a minute or two and the sauce should just coat the pasta.

Lemon sauce for the linguine.

Also, add the parmesan cheese and stir it into the lemon linguine. If the pasta seems too dry, stir in some extra pasta water by the 1/4 cup. If it seems too watery, continue to cook and toss with tongs in the skillet over low heat and it will naturally thicken.

Serve the pasta right away garnished with fresh parsley!

And yes! You can eat the whole lemon slices! They will be tender and delicious.


There’s not too many ingredients to this whole lemon linguine recipe so I wouldn’t recommend a ton of substitutions, but here are some ideas.

  • Change up the pasta! Linguine is great for this, but any long pasta will work.
  • Add red pepper flakes to the sauce to make it spicy.
  • Add a crispy topping like this chili crispy topping!


If you have leftover lemon linguine, this dish keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days and reheat fine in the microwave with a splash of water to bring it back to life.

Whole Lemon Linguine

5 from 1 vote
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
A classic and easy weeknight Italian pasta recipe that uses whole lemons, sliced thin and fried in butter for a flavorful linguine recipe! Serve it with a salad and dinner is done!


  • 12 ounces linguine, al dente
  • 1 whole lemon, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • Pasta water
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley, garnish


  • In a large skillet, add butter over medium heat and melt. Once melted, add sliced lemons and cook for 4-5 minutes until browned on one side.
  • Meanwhile, cook linguine in salted water until al dente, about 9-10 minutes.
  • With about one minute left to pasta cooking, add garlic to the skillet with butter and lemons and toss to combine.
  • When pasta is done, transfer it straight to the skillet using tongs. Also stir in about 1/2 cup of pasta water to thicken the sauce on the pasta. Toss together and taste. Add Parmesan cheese. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens on pasta. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve pasta immediately garnished with fresh parsley.


Serving: 1plate | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 199mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 263IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian

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Here are a few other great recipes to try!