Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce

Tagliatelle with garlic and chili prawns

The Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce recipe is a deceptively simple but fragrant pasta dish. Garlic prawns are are bathed in the citrussy flavors of ripe lemon peel and tart juice enriched with butter, and is perfect for a quick meal.

This creamy garlic prawn pasta recipe has a light sauce is thickened only by the pasta water, butter and lemon juice.

The prawns with pasta recipe first appeared in the January 2018 issue of Swirl Mag and was the second course of a three course meal with the theme ‘Covered but Naked’.

Tagliatelle with garlic and chili prawns

The simplicity of the cooking methods as well as the ingredients come together to create a quietly spectacular creamy garlic prawn pasta that you will wish you didn’t have to share.

The equally simple but very moreish Macerated Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream with Balsamic vinegar is a dessert in the same ‘Covered but Naked’ Italian theme.

Tagliatelle with garlic and chili prawns

How to make Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce

  • The creamy prawn pasta sauce has a creamy quality from the pasta water, lemon and butter emulsification, without using a drop of cream. It coats the prawns and pasta without making it heavy and gluey.
  • I have made this Chili Garlic Prawn pasta using home made prawn stock as well as store bought fish stock. The difference is negligible if you use a good quality fresh or concentrated store bought version.
  • You can use any type of long thin pasta and make a chili shrimp linguine recipe, spaghetti, fettuccine or tagliatelle. I was lucky to get fresh tagliatelle and used that but you could use dry pasta instead.

For more delicious recipes why not try the links below:

Tagliatelle with garlic and chili prawns

Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce

Razena Schroeder
The Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce recipe is a deceptively simple but fragrant pasta dish with the citrussy flavors of ripe lemon peel and tart juice enriched with butter that is perfect for a quick meal.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
Calories 1123 kcal


Prawn stock - You may skip this step and use ready made stock

  • Prawn shells
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 small carrot chopped
  • 1 small stalk celery chopped
  • 1 bay leaf dried
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • 2.5 ml salt
  • 750 ml water

Chili Garlic Prawns

  • 750 grams tiger prawns cleaned and deveined, and shells used for the stock
  • 2.5 ml dried chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 15 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 grams butter
  • 2.5 ml salt adjust to taste


  • 250 grams fresh tagliatelle
  • 500 ml hot water
  • 500 ml prawn stock made above or substitute with ready made stock
  • 2.5 ml salt adjust to taste
  • 1.25 ml black pepper, freshly ground adjust to taste
  • 1 lemon juice and grated rind


  • 5 ml parsley finely chopped
  • Edible flowers and herbs


Making the stock - You may skip this step and use ready made stock

  • Remove the head and all the shell aside from the tip of the tail from all the prawns.
  • Add the fresh prawn shells to a medium sized stock pot with the chopped vegetables and aromatics. 
  • Bring the pot to the boil and then reduce to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. 
  • When the stock is done, strain out all the vegetables and aromatics. Reserve 500 ml of the stock for use in making the pasta and freeze the remainder for later use.

Cooking the Pasta

  • In a large pot bring the water and stock to the boil and add salt if it tastes under seasoned.
  • Add the fresh pasta and boil for 4 minutes. If using dried pasta, cook according to the package instructions, until al dente.
  • Strain the pasta over a bowl and reserve at least 125 ml of the pasta cooking liquid.

Cooking the Prawns

  • Massage the garlic, chili flakes and lemon juice into the prawn flesh. Season with salt.
  • Heat the olive oil in a high rimmed pan and add half the butter, then mix together.
  • Add the prawns to the pan and cook on each side for one minute only.
  • As soon as the prawns are cooked add the pasta and 60 ml of the pasta liquid then swirl around to coat all the pasta in the buttery spicy broth.
  • Add the remaining butter, the grated lemon rind and lemon juice to the pasta and allow to cook through. Add the remaining pasta liquid if required.
  • Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.


  • Plate the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and edible flowers and herbs.


  • You need at least 500 grams prawn flesh so with the shells it will weigh around 750 grams whole fresh prawns. 
  • Ask your fishmonger to devein and shell the prawns for you. Use the shells for the homemade prawn stock.
  • If your fishmonger does not clean and devein the prawns, do this before making the stock.
  • The pasta cooking and prawn sautéing will happen almost simultaneously so it is important to be organized and have everything ready and at hand. 
  • You may substitute 500 ml ready made fish or seafood stock for the homemade prawn stock. 
  • You may substitute 150 grams dry tagliatelle, linguine or fettuccine for the fresh pasta.


Calories: 1123kcalCarbohydrates: 107gProtein: 75gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 642mgSodium: 4704mgPotassium: 1232mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 7270IUVitamin C: 39.8mgCalcium: 391mgIron: 4.5mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword easy, spicy, summer
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Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce pin

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  • Reply
    Olga Kulakova
    January 30, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    August 4, 2018 at 4:23 am

    I love reading food blog, take it from a cook like me. Another great recipe. Sorry but I’m going to steal recipe for a significant one.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 9:18 am

    yummm… I love fat juicy prawns. This looks so good!

  • Reply
    Becca Wilson
    August 2, 2018 at 3:23 am

    This pasta looks like it would be downright amazing. I am definitely going to have to give this a try!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      August 2, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Simple but flavorful is always my first option and this one definitely ticks those boxes 🙂

  • Reply
    Becca Talbot
    August 1, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing! I love prawns, but have never tried them with pasta before – I’ll have to give this a whirl! x

  • Reply
    Lisa Rios
    July 31, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Yum! This looks awesome. For me, I’d probably make a version without the seafood since I am vegan. This is so creative.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      July 31, 2018 at 10:48 pm

      You could use vegetable stock instead of fish stock and add mushrooms and blanched asparagus to the butter instead of shrimps 🙂

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    July 31, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    This looks like a delightful recipe. It would make a lovely addition in a garden party during these summer months!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      July 31, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      It’s perfect for summer when you don’t want to spend hours in front of the cooker.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Love this recipe as it uses my favorite ingredient garlic. I am going to try this out for my Sunday family gathering. Hope everyone will like it.

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      July 31, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      I love garlic too, especially the aroma when it cooks gently in butter.

      • Reply
        April 7, 2023 at 5:42 am

        Yummy 😋 looks delicious i will try it and let you know my results hopefully i can make it as it should be ☺️

  • Reply
    July 31, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Yummm! It looks very delicious.. Recipes like this makes me want to improve my cooking skills..

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      July 31, 2018 at 10:45 pm

      This is a good recipe to start with since it’s quite straightforward and easy to follow the recipe.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Oh my goodness this recipe sounds absolutely delicious and is making me so hungry! I can’t wait to make this recipe for my family to enjoy!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Pinned this to my Pinterest board so I can make it in the future as it looks yummy!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      July 30, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you. It was so yummy that I finished both portions when I tested it 🙂

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! I will definitely try and prepare this at home, I think my husband will love it!

    • Reply
      Razena Schroeder
      July 30, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      It is so easy to make and very good for a quick summer recipe.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    OMG! I am badly craving into this. This is my kinds of a weekend treat. My kids would probably dig this.

  • Reply
    Dominique Brooks
    July 30, 2018 at 6:37 am

    It seems like it would be lovely but I am allergic to seafood so I can’t look at it objectively. I hope everyone else enjoys!

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