A sibling to spaghetti with garlic and olive oil (aglio e olio), this five minute pasta falls into the easy sauce recipes category and makes a great weeknight dinner. Following is everything you need to know for how to make this simple garlic butter sauce.
You might have heard me talk about Marie Callender's and my childhood obsession with their alfredo sauce. And one of the my other favorite recipes was the spaghetti with garlic butter at The Old Spaghetti Factory. This is for all you garlic lovers!
If pasta is your first go-to when you go out to eat, you're going to ♥️ this super simple sauce!
Why This Is the Best Homemade Garlic Butter Sauce
Other than the fact that you'll be able to make this butter garlic sauce from memory after making it one time, here's more reasons to love it:
- 5 minute recipe. Garlic butter sauce literally takes 5 minutes to make (excluding the time to cook the pasta)!
- Crusty bread's best friend. This buttery garlic sauce is begging to be dipped into!
- Versatile. Any pasta sauce recipe that can be paired with chicken, fish, shellfish or vegetables is worth bookmarking, right?
Here's what you need to make this delicious sauce.
Two Ingredient Sauce
Yes, a 2 ingredient pasta sauce along with two simple ingredients you have likely have on hand right now.
- 🧈 Unsalted butter. A whole stick of butter (good quality butter, please!). Unsalted butter is also recommended so that you can control the salt (see the FAQ's below).
- 🧄 Garlic cloves. 8 cloves sounds like a lot but all that fresh minced garlic add so much flavor!
- 🧂 Kosher salt and black pepper. Start with less and add more to taste. The right amount of salt is important with pasta!
See recipe card below for quantities.
Best kind of pasta
While technically you can pair your favorite pasta with any sauce, some pastas are definitely better suited to certain sauces more than others.
Here are the pastas that work well with this garlic butter sauce recipe:
- Long strand noodles:
- Spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine
- Filled pastas (meat, cheese, mushrooms or spinach would be great choices)
- Ravioli, tortellini, and agnolotti
How to Make Pasta with Garlic Butter Sauce
This is going to move quickly so grab a large skillet, some butter and garlic and let's get cooking!
Melt the butter (yes...a whole stick!) over low heat until it foams a bit. This should take a couple of minutes. (I told you...it's a quick meal!)
- While the butter simmers down, finely mince the garlic and then add the garlic to the pan along with some salt and pepper.
- Read on for how to identify a good head of garlic.
- Simmer the garlic on low for 5 minutes.
- That's it! So easy!
Check out my post on how to roast garlic for choosing the perfect head of garlic-Josie + Nina
- Lemon butter garlic pasta sauce. Topped with sauteed scallops or shrimp...so good!
- Garlic butter sauce for lobster ravioli. Use your favorite store-bought lobster ravioli for a decadent dinner!
- Pasta with garlic butter and mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms first and then add to the butter and garlic.
- Chicken and pasta with garlic butter sauce. Add some of my Foolproof Chicken and make it a whole meal!
- Vegetarian version with spinach, mushrooms, pepper and a little shaved truffle or truffle butter. YUMMO!
Since there are literally only two ingredients, the only substitutions you could make is for the butter. While I haven't tried vegan butter (my favorite is the Mykonos Cashew Butter), I'm sure it would be delicious!
Delicious ways to use homemade garlic butter
- Start by pouring this simple garlic butter into an airtight container and refrigerate it. It'll become a compound butter.
- Once it hardens, you can use plastic wrap to roll it into a cylinder shape. Slice pieces off as needed to use for:
- garlic butter with sauteed vegetables
- drizzled over baked potatoes or mixed into mashed potatoes
- as a garlic spread or dip for some amazing garlic bread!
How long can this delicious sauce last in the fridge?
Use garlic butter pasta sauce within 3 days whether tossed with pasta or stored in an airtight container.
I don't have any fresh garlic. Can I use garlic powder instead?
I don't recommend you substituting garlic powder for fresh garlic. It's such a simple recipe with basic ingredients.
How can I make this great sauce ahead?
Garlic butter sauce can be made ahead and melted in a skillet or saucepan before tossing with hot pasta.
Can I reheat the pasta and butter sauce?
Heat covered in the microwave in 30 second increments.
Can you freeze garlic butter sauce?
Garlic butter sauce can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months.
Before you go....
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How to Make Garlic Butter Sauce (for Pasta)
- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
- ½ lb spaghetti or linguine, cooked in salted water
- fresh parmesan cheese, grated; for serving
- fresh parsley, chopped; for serving
- crushed red pepper, optional
- Mince the garlic very finely.
- In a large skillet over low heat, melt the butter until it foams.
- Add the garlic to the butter along with the salt and pepper and cook on a simmer or low for about 5 minutes. You don't want to brown the garlic.
- Toss the cooked pasta in with the butter and garlic sauce until all the pasta strands are coated with the sauce.
- Sprinkle over fresh parmesan, chopped parsley and crushed red pepper if using. Eat immediately and enjoy!