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This lemon butter sauce adds a pop of garlicky citrus flavor that’s ideal for drizzling on anything! Even better: it takes just 5 minutes.

Lemon Butter Sauce

Looking for a sauce that’s packed with flavor? Try this Lemon Butter Sauce! It’s garlicky, rich, acidic, and bright: ideal for drizzling over a piece of salmon or roast chicken. It’s so simple to whip up: in just 5 minutes, you’ve got a sauce that tastes like pure gold. All you need is a small drizzle to take a piece of fish from tasty to magnificent: like this Lemon Garlic Salmon. Here’s what to do!

Looking for a pasta sauce? Go to Lemon Pasta.

Ingredients in lemon butter sauce

This lemon butter sauce takes requires just 5 ingredients and takes 5 minutes: what’s better than that? It’s an intensely flavored butter sauce that’s intended to using in small quantities, like drizzling over seafood, chicken, or even roast vegetables. Don’t use it like a traditional sauce: a little goes a long way! Here are the 5 ingredients you’ll need:

  • Salted butter
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Salt
  • Parsley
Lemon Butter Sauce

How to make lemon butter sauce: a few tips!

This lemon butter sauce is so quick, you can probably make it in the time you read this article! You can skip to the recipe below to get started, or read these pointers for making this sauce:

  • The best way to zest a lemon? Our top pick is a microplane, or use the small holes on a box grater. Hold the microplane in one hand, place one end on a flat surface and hold it at an angle. Hold the lemon in the other hand and drag it down over the microplane holes. The most important part for either method: grate away the yellow part of the peel only, not the white pith! The pith has a bitter flavor.
  • Use low heat, and heat the garlic for only 1 minute. You don’t want to saute the garlic, you’ll just infuse the flavor into the butter. When it just smells fragrant, it’s done! Remove from the heat and you’re ready to go.

Ways to serve it

What are the best ways to serve lemon butter sauce? This sauce is ideal for adding a pop of flavor to a protein, be it seafood or chicken. It’s also great on roasted vegetables or vegetarian mains. The key? A little goes a long way. Just a spoonful adds massive flavor. Here are some ideas:

As a note, we wouldn’t recommend this as a lemon butter sauce for pasta. If you’re looking for pasta sauce, try this Lemon Pasta. How are you planning to serve it? Let us know in the comments below!

Lemon garlic salmon

Storage and make ahead instructions

You can store this lemon butter sauce in the refrigerator if you have leftovers. Place it in a sealed container for up to 1 week. But keep in mind: the parsley looses its color during storage! You can add more fresh chopped parsley when you serve it. To serve, reheat it on the stovetop until it re-melts into a liquid sauce.

This lemon butter sauce recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Lemon Butter Sauce

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This lemon butter sauce adds a pop of garlicky citrus flavor that’s ideal for drizzling on anything! Even better: it takes just 5 minutes.


  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 pinches kosher salt


  1. Mince the garlic and finely chop the parsley. Zest the lemon, then juice it.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan or skillet over low heat.
  3. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute (keep the heat low and don’t let it brown!). Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, chopped parsley, and kosher salt. Serve immediately as a drizzle for salmon, white fish, shrimp or chicken: a little goes a long way. (Store leftovers refrigerated in a sealed container and re-heat on the stovetop before serving. Note that the parsley loses its bright green color; you can add more fresh chopped parsley when you serve it.)
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Lemon butter sauce

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. I’m confused about when you add the parsley. Do you add it to the sauce or just as a garnish after drizzling the sauce?

    1. It should go in with the lemon juice — good catch! We’ve updated the recipe to be more clear. Thank you!