Baked Lemon Spaghetti

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Looking for an easy dinner idea? Grab a rotisserie chicken, throw together a green salad, and bake up this simple and delicious pasta dish for dinner tonight. This one is family-friendly, and it doesn’t have any funky ingredients in it either.

Here’s the how-to:

Melt butter in a medium skillet.

Add minced garlic and let it sizzle away in the bubbling butter.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in 2 cups of sour cream (I used light and all turned out just fine).

Add the zest of a lemon- about a Tablespoon.

Pour in juice from 1 1/2 lemons- about 1/3 cup.

Place cooked spaghetti in a large bowl- I like to use Barilla Plus Multigrain. My family doesn’t notice the difference, and it’s (hopefully) a bit healthier than plain white pasta.

Pour in your lemony sour cream sauce.

Stir it up.

Add a handful of finely chopped Italian parsley….

…and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese.

Stir it up again.

Pour the lemony spaghetti mixture into a greased casserole dish.

At this point you’re going to cover the dish with foil and bake it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

After baking- take it out of the oven, take off the foil and sprinkle another 1/2 cup or so of Parmesan cheese on top.

Squeeze the juice from half a lemon all over the top of the pasta.

Sprinkle on some freshly ground black pepper…

…and add a good dose of kosher salt too.

Place the dish back into the oven for 7 or 8 more minutes, just until the cheese gets melty and toasted on top.

Serve this baked lemon spaghetti it up on its own with a crisp little side salad, or grab a rotisserie chicken and add that to your dinner table too. My market sells a “lemon-garlic” roasted chicken, so that one is just perfect to go with the spaghetti. The pasta comes out of the oven with a light Parmesan crust baked on top. The lemony flavor in this spaghetti is wonderful on its own, but lemon-lovers may wish to squeeze an extra wedge or two on individual servings, as desired. The sauce is not overwhelmingly creamy- just a light coating to give the pasta a bit of flavor and zest. I envision adding mushrooms or BACON too. Enjoy 🙂

Baked Lemon Spaghetti

Great to serve with roasted chicken and a vegetable for an easy & delicious dinner idea.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time:25 min

Cook Time:45 min


1 (14.5 ounce) package spaghetti
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) carton sour cream (light is fine)
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (1 lemon, zested)
1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed (about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
juice from 1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cook spaghetti + olive oil according to package directions (minus a couple of minutes)- you want it to be al dente. Drain spaghetti and place in a large bowl.

3. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add garlic and cook until sizzling and lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream, lemon zest and 1/3 cup lemon juice. Pour lemon sauce over the spaghetti and stir. Add Italian parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan and stir some more. Pour lemony spaghetti in a greased 1.5 quart casserole dish.

4. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take dish out of the oven and remove foil. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Parmesan on top. Drizzle juice from 1/2 lemon over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle pepper and salt on top. Place dish back into the oven for 7 or 8 minutes, just until cheese is melted and noodles have begun to turn golden in a few places. Serve immediately.


*Serve pasta with lemon wedges, for those who like some extra tang in their pasta.
*Try adding sliced mushrooms into the dish... saute them with the butter and garlic.
*Try adding cooked bacon. Everything is better with bacon!
*This spaghetti is also great when served as a side dish to roasted chicken.
*If you'd like the finished dish to turn out a little bit creamier- just use less pasta.

Source: (Adapted from many versions floating around on the internet)

Other baked spaghetti recipes on the blogs that you may enjoy:
Tomato Basil and Romano Ricotta Spaghetti Pies by Picky Palate
Not Your Average Baked Spaghetti by The Cooking Photographer
Baked Chicken Spaghetti by 5 Dollar Dinners
Baked Spaghetti Squash w/ Garlic & Butter by Steamy Kitchen

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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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  • Glenn Callahan wrote:

    Patrick beat me to it but for this recipe, add capers and chicken to the original mix and eliminate the salt at the end. Now, it’s basically a Chicken Piccata Pasta.

  • Yvette Carpenter wrote:

    Sounds wonderful. Have been looking for chicken spaghetti but this will do. I am going to put cooked chicken and serve it with a simple salad with lemon balsamic vinaigrette. Thanks. Yvette

  • Patrick Waszkiewicz wrote:

    Try this,it is faster, easier and lower cal. than this recipe

    1/3 cup Olive Oil heated
    4-5 pieces of chopped Garlic,saute
    add Juice of 1/2 Lemon and some zest
    add a good squirt of Anchovy Paste and cook all ingredients

    cook a box of Angel Hair Pasta
    when Pasta is done, add Pasta , add a squeeze of Lemon Juice to the Pasta., and a scoop of pasta water to the pan, toss the Pasta add a little Olive Oil
    and Capers. & Cheese & Parsley. You should be done in 20 mins from the start to finish, and you will impress and not plug any arteries in the process.

  • Kathy wrote:

    What a great recipe!
    Our Publix deli sells lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken… Pull it apart, dice up the meat and add some to the pasta. I think it would be a delicious add-in…along with mushrooms & perhaps some crisp bacon crumbled too!

  • Mindy wrote:

    What about subbing greek yogurt for the sour cream – I’ve done this in dips and baking, but I’m wondering about heated sauces. Anyone tried something like this before? Great recipe, I’m going to try tonight!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not sure- I haven’t tried it!

  • Drew wrote:

    Just want to say that keeper! Its good for left over and still taste great. Glad to find this recipe and somewhat its made easier!

  • Ashley D wrote:

    I have made this twice now, a great and easy dish especially with a garlic baguette on the side. The second time I didn’t use as much cheddar just because it was a little too rich, and I also put some breadcrumbs on top for a nice crunch. Amazing!!!

  • Mommy’s Minions wrote:

    Made this tonight and we all *loved* it, except for Picky Girl (which is typical and in no way a reflection of this recipe!). We are 2 for 2 with you, Recipe Girl! Thank you!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Glad to hear!

  • Jen wrote:

    Thanks for the great recipe! When I tried it the sour cream curdled. Do you have a tip for how to avoid that?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Hmmm. It tends to curdle slightly, but it shouldn’t curdle all that much.

  • Strawberry CAKE wrote:

    Lori, do you think you could use ricotta cheese in this recipe instead of the sour cream, or would it be to thick? This sounds fabulous and I have ricotta in fridge. Maybe I will give it a whirl and let you know ; D Have a great wkend.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Hmmm- not quite sure. Might be a little too… dry? Let me know what you come up with!

  • Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd wrote:

    lemon, parmesan, sounds wonderful and springy!

  • Kelly wrote:

    This looks SOO delicious! I can’t wait to try this soon for dinner, I know it’ll be a hit! 🙂

  • Sarah Fortini wrote:

    This looks delicious! I am on Weight Watchers. Do you have any suggestions for lowering the fat? Thanks so much!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Just using light SC. When I follow WW, I like to prepare regular meals for my family, have a small portion of the regularly prepared dish and then eat a large salad to go with it!