This simple lemon garlic sauce is perfect for serving over pasta, with chicken, salmon, and so much more.
It’s creamy with a hint of garlic and comes together in a single pan. Very little work that yields lots of flavor!
Best-Ever Lemon Garlic Sauce
Made with simple ingredients that go big in flavor, this sauce is the perfect base for any meal. You can toss it with plain pasta, chicken, vegetables, or a combination of all!
Lemon, garlic, and herbs add flavor and the milk or half-and-half provides an irresistibly creamy texture. This recipe takes just 20 minutes and is always a winner!
Go ahead and pan-sear some chicken breasts, bake your favorite fish, or boil pasta for the family because this divine lemon garlic sauce awaits!
Make this drool-worthy lemon garlic sauce with a few staple ingredients.
Before you swap or omit, here is why you need the following:
- Butter: a delicious base to start this sauce.
- Shallot: an aromatic, can use yellow or white onion instead.
- Garlic cloves: a classic aromatic to add flavor and aroma! Use garlic powder if you don’t have any as noted in the recipe card.
- Dried thyme: you can use Italian seasoning or poultry seasoning instead. Fresh works too, double up on the amount.
- Chicken broth: store-bought or homemade chicken broth is the liquid for the base of this recipe. Use bouillon paste or cubes and water if needed.
- Lemon: makes this sauce taste incredibly good.
- Milk: use whole milk or half-and-half; both work great for this recipe.
For the ingredient measurements check the recipe card below.
How to Make Lemon Garlic Sauce
This epic sauce comes together quickly in one large pan with no fuss: chop the aromatics, mix, and cook!
Check out the step-by-step:
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, melt the butter. Add the chopped shallot and sauté, for 2 minutes, until it’s translucent and golden. Add the garlic, and stir to cook the garlic for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the liquid
Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Heat up the milk or half and half before adding it to the pan to prevent separation. Add it to the pan, bringing it to a simmer while stirring.
Add the thyme, stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
Once the lemon garlic sauce has thickened, it’s ready to be tossed with pasta or over your favorite protein.
Making It Creamy
What makes this sauce so good is not just the delicious taste but also its soft texture. Adding whole milk or half-and-half gives the sauce a perfect creamy flavor and consistency.
Sauce Cooking Tips and Tricks
For making perfect sauces every time, check these tips and tricks:
How to keep the sauce from sticking
Stirring is key to keeping the sauce from sticking. When you follow the recipe instructions, grab a wooden spoon, and don’t forget to stir!
Heat the milk
Whether you use milk or half and half, heat it up before adding it to the sauce to prevent separation.
Add the milk slowly
Heating up the milk and adding it slowly will help it not curdle.
How to know when the sauce is done
After simmering the sauce according to the recipe instructions, the consistency will be thicker, meaning it’s ready.
How to Use Lemon Garlic Sauce
Lemon and garlic are a combo that pairs great with many ingredients to make the ultimate family meal. Use it in this Lemon Chicken Asparagus Pasta or this epic Creamy Garlic Chicken Pasta recipe that only takes 30 minutes to make. Both are nutritious and super delicious!
You can also serve this sauce over your favorite protein, like roasted chicken, baked salmon, or shrimp. One of my favorite recipes is Pan-seared Chicken Lemon Garlic Chicken and Asparagus. You must try it!
Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce for Pasta or Chicken
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped*
- 4 cloves garlic, minced*
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or Italian seasoning
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 medium lemon, juiced
- 1 cup warm whole milk or half-and-half
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, melt the butter. Add the chopped shallot and sauté, for 2 minutes, until it’s translucent and golden. Add the garlic, and stir to cook the garlic for about 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Heat up the milk or half and half before adding it to the pan to prevent separation. Add it to the pan, bringing it to a simmer while stirring. Add the thyme, stir to combine, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
- Once the sauce has thickened, it’s ready to be tossed with pasta or over your favorite protein.