This lemon butter sauce recipe is tangy, buttery, and oh-so-satisfying. Whether you’re planning a fancy dinner party or just want to add some flavor to your weeknight meal, this sauce is sure to impress.
Lemon butter sauce is a great sauce to have in your repertoire as it perfectly complements a wide range of dishes. These include seafood, meat, veggies, and pasta. So it’s great to whip up any time you need to elevate a dish.
The good news is, my lemon butter sauce for fish can be made with just 4 pantry-staple ingredients so it is incredibly budget-friendly.
This recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves bright, zesty flavors and creamy, buttery goodness. With just a few simple ingredients and minimal prep time, this sauce is a versatile and delicious addition to any meal. So why not give it a try tonight and see what all the fuss is about? Enjoy!
Lemon Butter Sauce Ingredients
Let’s dive right in and explore the ingredients you’ll need for this mouthwatering sauce.
- Lemon: The star of the show is fresh lemon juice, which adds a bright and zesty flavor.
- Butter: You’ll also need unsalted butter, which brings a creamy richness to the dish.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
How to Make Lemon Butter Sauce
Let’s get started on making this delicious lemon butter sauce. Grab a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Once it’s heated up, add and melt butter. Whisk it often until it starts to turn a light brown color and gives off a lovely nutty aroma – usually around 3-4 minutes.
Once it’s ready, simply turn off the heat and pour the butter into a bowl – it is ready to be transformed into a sauce.
While the butter is melting away, it’s time to prepare the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and use a juicer to squeeze the juice from the lemon. If you don’t have a juicer, squeezing the lemon by hand will be just as good, just remember to remove any seeds from your lemon juice. For more tips, check my detailed tutorial here.
Once the butter is ready, add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Mix everything until it’s well combined and that’s all there is to it! Your lemon butter sauce is now ready.
How to Use Lemon Butter Sauce
But how should you use this delicious sauce, you ask? There are so many possibilities! Some of my favorite dishes to serve with this sauce include:
- Spoon it over pan-seared Chilean sea bass for a decadent seafood dish. It’s also a great pairing with other light and flaky fish like salmon, tilapia, mahi mahi, cod, trout, flounder, halibut, snapper, etc.
- It’s great to add to other seafood too, including shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, mussels, clams, squid, calamari, etc.
- Drizzle it over roasted vegetables for a healthy and flavorful side. Whether you like to steam, roast, or sauté asparagus, broccolini, artichokes, or green beans, this sauce is perfect for drizzling and tossing over the veggies.
- Double up on the tangy bright lemon flavor as a lemon sauce for pasta. Or serve it with fresh pasta as the sauce isn’t overbearing and will complement the freshness of your dish.
- Roast chicken: Looking for an alternative to the heavy gravy when serving roast chicken in the summer? Try roast chicken with lemon butter sauce!
How to Thicken Lemon Butter Sauce?
If you find that your lemon butter sauce is too thin, don’t worry – there are ways to thicken it up. One option is to simmer the sauce over low heat for a longer time, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken.
Alternatively, you can add cornstarch to the sauce. Simply mix 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch with equal parts of water, whisk together, and then add to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
More Delicious Condiments
If you try this lemon butter sauce for pasta, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Lemon Butter Sauce Recipe
- Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan, whisking often, until the butter starts to lightly brown and takes on a nutty aroma (about 3-4 minutes), then turn off the heat.
- Pour the butter into a bowl and add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well – and that's it, the sauce is ready!
How to Store?
- Store: store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Freeze: I like to freeze it in a large ice cube tray for "portioned" amounts. Freeze until solid, then transfer to an airtight freezer bag/container for up to 3 months. Reheat: you can gently reheat the sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Can I use salted butter? Yes, technically, you could. I prefer not to, though, as I’m then able to season it to taste.
- Do I need to brown the butter? Not at all. I love the added depth of flavor to the sauce. However, simply melting the butter will still taste delicious.
- Use a light-colored saucepan: that way, you can easily notice the color change in the butter and avoid burning it.
- Adjust to taste: This recipe’s simplicity makes it easy to adapt elements to your taste. Here are some optional add-ins and variations:
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic clove for a more robust lemon garlic butter sauce, though mashed roasted garlic should also work. Adjust the amount to taste.
- Lemon caper butter sauce: Add 2-3 teaspoons of capers to the sauce for a tangy and briny twist.
- White wine: To give your sauce a little extra kick, add a generous splash (2-3 Tbsp) of white wine and let it cook off for a few minutes.
- Herbs: For a popular option with salmon and other fish, add parsley or dill to the recipe. Add the herbs with the lemon and adjust the amount to your taste.
- Parmesan: For a delicious addition to pasta, ravioli, or gnocchi, stir in a few tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese once the heat is turned off.
- Spice: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and chili powder for a little bit of heat and some extra flavor.