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The simplest 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs…for laid back summer nights. This pasta is buttery, garlicky, and tossed with caramelized lemon and fresh basil. Serve over creamy whipped ricotta and finish off with spicy breadcrumbs for a delicious crunch. Perfect easy summer dinner, any night of the week. Everyone in the house will enjoy this dish, veggies and all! Added bonus? This pasta uses just one skillet and is a great way to use up that summertime garden basil and zucchini.

overhead photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

I love a good Monday night salad in the summer (assuming it looks something like this chopped salad or my summery Ceasar). But I also love a bowl of Monday night pasta more than you’ll know. Starting the week with a dinner that’s easy and something you can really look forward to is key. Especially in the summer.

When the weather finally turns nice here I want to spend a little less time in the kitchen (to a point…it’s my job, so I’m in the kitchen more than most). And a bit more time outside enjoying the summer season. Summer happens so very quickly here. By late August our trees have already begun to change colors and at night the temperatures are below 32.

It’s a quick season, so I really try to enjoy it while it’s here. Walks around the neighborhood when the sun is slowly setting over the mountains are my favorite this time of year. So I try to do as many of them as possible.

Which brings me to this pasta and the inspiration.

overhead prep photo of herbs and lemons

The Inspiration…

Two things inspired this easy, but delicious lemon butter pasta.

The idea came after a Saturday night walk. I really just wanted to make something for dinner that would be quick and create as little mess as possible, since for once the kitchen was actually clean.

For some inspiration, I took walk over to the garden (aka greenhouse, but I love using the word garden so much more…so sticking with garden). I pulled a whole bunch of fresh basil and thyme…love their fragrances.

Growing up, my mom and I loved a simple pasta tossed with basil and butter on summer nights, so I drew all my inspiration from there. But I added caramelized lemon…and a few other things to make it that much more delicious.

Of course. Because that’s just me, and that’s what I do.

overhead prep photo of Spicy Breadcrumbs

Here are the details…

As you can imagine, this comes together quick. Just fifteen to twenty minutes is all you need.

Start with the breadcrumbs. Toast them in a skillet with salty capers and crushed red peppers flakes for a little spiciness. Then finish with sea salt. So simple…I love the added crunch and flavor from the capers.

Tip? Make your own fresh breadcrumbs with a loaf of day-old ciabatta bread. Bonus points to you if it’s a loaf of garlic ciabatta. Pulse the torn pieces of bread in a food processor or simply tear the bread into smaller pieces. It’s so easy to do and really adds a lot of flavor to any recipe calling for bread crumbs.

Once the crumbs are out of the skillet, start boiling the pasta. Using angel hair pasta is kind of key to this recipe. It’s one of the quicker cooking types of pasta. It’s also what my mom and I would always request when my dad would make us our “basil butter pasta”.

overhead close up photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

While the pasta cooks, caramelize slices of lemon in butter. Then chop the lemon slices and toss with lots and lots of fresh basil.

Next, cook the zucchini in the remaining butter with garlic and thyme. Remove from the heat, add the angel hair pasta and the lemon basil mix and toss.

Spread some ricotta cheese into your bowl, add the butter pasta and finish with those breadcrumbs.

Done. Dinner in fifteen that’s colorful and oh so GOOD.

overhead photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

Oh…that ricotta

Yes, I whipped it in my food processor, which took me an extra five minutes. If you have the time, I’d recommend going the extra mile. While regular ricotta is good, whipped ricotta takes the pasta to new levels.

When you twirl the warm buttery lemon pasta into the creamy whipped cheese, it instantly creates a creamy sauce that melts in your mouth.

Roll your eyes back good, as I like to say. It makes the pasta just a touch more special, which is always ideal.

overhead photo of 20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs and fork twirled into pasta

Looking for other summer pasta? Try these weeknight favorites. 

Jammy Cherry Tomato Pasta with Crisp Lemon Rosemary Chickpeas

Antipasto Pasta Salad with Herby Parmesan Vinaigrette

One Pot Lemon Basil, Asparagus, and Sausage Pasta

Lastly, if you make this 20 minute lemon butter pasta with ricotta and spicy breadcrumbs, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the How to video:

20 Minute Lemon Butter Pasta with Ricotta and Spicy Breadcrumbs

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 487 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the breadcrumbs, capers, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until the breadcrumbs are toasted all over and the capers fried, about 4 minutes. Remove the breadcrumbs from the skillet. Season with salt.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
    3. Meanwhile, set your skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons butter and lemon slices. Sear until the lemon is caramelized, about 1 minute per side. Remove the lemon from the skillet. Finely chop the lemon slices and mix with the basil.
    4. To the skillet, add the remaining butter, zucchini, garlic, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the zucchini is golden, 5 minutes. Watch the garlic closely. Remove from the heat, stir in the pasta and 1/2 of the lemon/basil.
    5. Spread the ricotta into bowls. Add the pasta. Top with breadcrumbs and additional lemon/basil. Twirl the pasta up with the cheese. EAT and ENJOY.


To Make Fresh Breadcrumbs: Pulse torn bread in a food processor until roughly the size of peppercorns. I like to use ciabatta or crusty sourdough bread. If using fresh crumbs, toast them 3-4 minutes in the skillet first.
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  1. 1 star
    Hey squad, not my favorite recipe. Made it perfectly, but all I tasted was chilis and lemon rind. Perhaps I didn’t do something right. But, couldn’t even eat it!

    1. Hi Tarah,
      So sorry to hear this recipe was not enjoyed! Was there anything you possibly adjusted in the recipe? Let me know how I can help! xT

  2. 5 stars
    This has turned out to be my family’s favorite dinner recipe. Our daughter has been touring Europe for the past few weeks, eating fantastic foods everywhere. Guess what she’s asked her first dinner back home again to be, that’s she’s been craving? This wonderful, delicious dish! Of, course, I’m more than happy to comply. ;~)

    1. Hey Lynn,
      Love it!!🍪🍦 I am thrilled to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks for making it and sharing your review!! Awe, love to hear this!! xx

  3. 5 stars
    This pasta dish was so good! It had so many different flavors! I will be definitely making it again!
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Jan,
      I am delighted to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and appreciate you giving it a try! Have a great weekend:)

  4. 5 stars
    This was excellent and fast! I didn’t have squash so I used a handful of fresh spinach and it was great! I almost skipped the crunchy breadcrumbs, and they ended up being our favorite part!!
    Thank you, you never disappoint 💖

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is a winner! I’ve substituted asparagus and sometimes add chicken as well. I’ve doubled it up and put in in a platter for a crowd! Lemon and basil is amazing and the panko with capers make this dish restaurant quality. Dinner for 2 or a crowd pleaser, it’s a hit at my house! Thank you

    1. Hey Kim,
      Happy Monday!! I really appreciate you trying this recipe out, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have a great week:)

  6. 5 stars
    My guests and I liked this recipe a lot. I was worried that the lemon might be bitter because of the comments here. So I cut the lemon slices very thin and cooked them more time than the recipe called for – around 8 minutes. There was no bitterness. I also used the whole 1
    pound package of pasta. The sauce was enough to cover this, but next time I will use the 3/4 pounds called for. There was too much pasta.

    1. Hey Terisia,
      Thanks so much for your feedback and trying this recipe out! I love to hear that it was a hit:) Have the best weekend?

  7. I’m looking forward to making this recipe tonight. Given the different reviews about the bitterness of the lemon, does it make a difference if the lemon has a thick skin or a thin skin? Thank you.

    1. Hi Terisia,
      You just want to make sure when you are working with lemon to avoid the white part of the skin, that’s the bitter part. I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

    1. Hey Lorraine,
      Yes, that is correct:) Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious!! I think I messed up the lemon and ended up with it being far too strong, but otherwise it was amazing. I added 2 poached eggs on top which was scrumptious too.

    1. Hey Jessica,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!!? xTieghan

  9. Can I just whip the ricotta with a electric beater? I saw you mention that you use a food processor in other recipes, but I don’t have one.


    1. Hi Sophia,
      Sure, that should work well for you! I hope this recipe turns out amazing, let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  10. 4 stars
    Super great recipe and not difficult! Love the bread crumbs. Personally thought the chopped lemon in it was too much and would probably not include the chopped lemon next time and just make the lemon butter. Otherwise super tasty!

    1. Hey Claire,
      Wonderful!! Thank you so much for trying this recipe out, I am so glad to hear that it was a winner! xxT

  11. 5 stars
    The flavours were so good in this! Would estimate more like an hour of prep and cook time but it was definitely worth it. The bread crumb topping was delicious.

    1. Hey Lena,
      I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for trying it out! Have the best day:) xT

      1. 4 stars
        Definitely not a “20 minute” recipe, with the prep time included. Maybe it was just my ricotta, but I would have liked a bit more creamy sauce, as it seemed a little bit on the dry side. The bread crumb topping was DELICIOUS, and the overall flavor was very good! The lemon slices add a slightly bitter twist that I personally really appreciate, and the whole thing feels sort of reminiscent of chicken piccata, a beloved pasta dish in my household. So with maybe a couple of minor tweaks in my future, this recipe is a HIT!

        1. Hey Dylan,
          Happy Sunday!! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback!! I love to hear that it was enjoyed:) Sorry this took you longer than expected! xxT