20 minutes is all you need for this one pot lemon basil pasta! No draining, and no fuss. It tastes light and elegant with a sauce made in the same pot, too!

One Pot Lemon Basil Pasta in a white cast iron pan with a charred lemon and basil leaves on top

I usually have very mixed feelings about “one pot” recipes, because they usually don’t create a balance of flavors, or actually do require more than one pan to make them. In this one, the pasta is cooked in the pan, no draining is required, and the sauce comes together all in the same dish. No joke.

Best part of all, my husband AND toddler both wolfed it down. So this is truly a recipe that everyone will love.

One Pot Lemon Basil Pasta with a wooden spoon nestled in and a charred lemon and basil leaves on top

Being at home all the time now means that our dish usage has gone up exponentially, and as chief dishwasher, I am really okay with limiting the count as much as possible. I stumbled on to this recipe from Pure, Wow a few weeks ago and kept the window open on my computer so I could gaze at the recipe, debating if this one pot lemon basil pasta was going to be all it was cracked up to be. The ingredients are super simple, and usually widely available. You may have to go out of your way to have leeks on hand, but it is worth it. And if that is the craziest of ingredients in the whole recipe, I feel pretty confident that this is going to be a cracking dish.

Ingredients for One Pot Lemon Basil Pasta

  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Water
  • Leeks
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Lemon
  • Basil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
One Pot Lemon Basil Pasta in a white cast iron pan with parmesan and basil sprinkled on top

If you like cacio de pepe, this has a few similarities, like the parmesan sauce, with a lightness in the lemon and basil that makes this nice and bright for a summer pasta dish. And, not gonna lie, it tastes equally delicious cold right out of the fridge…. not that a pregnant lady would know anything about that. ha!

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One Pot Lemon Basil Pasta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 3 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Megan Keno
  • Prep Time: 8 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


Units Scale
  • 12 ounces Spaghetti noodles
  • 4 1/2 cups Water
  • 2 Leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed (whites and light green only)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced (fresh garlic is best here)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 sprigs of Basil, 3 for cooking and reserve 1 for serving, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Combine the pasta, 4½ cups water, leeks, garlic, lemon zest (save juice for sauce), 3 sprigs of basil, salt and pepper in a large skillet with 2-inch sides. I use my 3 quart dutch oven for this, so the pasta can lay flat in the water.
  2. Cover and bring the water to a boil (remove the lid after the water begins to boil) and cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until the water is nearly gone and the pasta is fully cooked, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan, and stir vigorously to combine and melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves and lemon zest and additional pepper if desired. Serve immediately.


Adapted from Pure Wow’s Pasta Limone