Creamy Lemon Cacio e Pepe

Jump to Recipe

Let me introduce you to your new best friend Creamy Lemon Cacio e Pepe. It’s Pasta a Limone meets Cacio e Pepe and OMG IT IS TRULY EVERYTHING.

Creamy Lemon Cacio e Pepe from (@whatsgabycookin)

I don’t know the next time we’ll be in Italy so obviously I’m just re-imagining all my favorite dishes so I can eat them at home! We all know I’m obsessed with Cacio e Pepe – but this creamy lemon version is truly next level. Imagine the creamy Pasta a Limone that you’ve maybe had at an Italian restaurant before… but with ALL THE PEPPER AND CHEESE. Omg it’s truly a marriage of recipes that I can get behind. This recipe needs to happen in your kitchen STAT.

One thing to note: if you’re making this with store-bought pre-shredded cheese, there’s a chance it wont incorporate as nicely than if you shred/grate it yourself. So go ahead and take the extra 2 minutes to grate yourself. I promise it’s worth it!

And if you’re on the hunt for some more Italian inspired recipes to recreate at home… we’ve got you covered!

Creamy Lemon Cacio e Pepe from (@whatsgabycookin)

Creamy Lemon Cacio e Pepe

5 from 9 votes
Pasta a Limone meets Cacio e Pepe – get into it!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 2 lemons
  • 1 pound spaghetti  
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated black pepper


  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove two 2"-long strips of lemon zest. Thinly slice each strip lengthwise into thin strands; set aside for serving. Finely grate remaining zest into a large pot (like a Dutch oven). Cut the lemons in half and juice (you need about 2-3 tablespoons) into a small bowl and set aside.
  • Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until very al dente (pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
  • Meanwhile, add cream to large skillet with lemon zest and cook over medium heat until simmering, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in butter while stirring until the.sauce is creamy and emulsified. Turn off heat if you're not ready for the next step.
  • Just before pasta is al dente, scoop out 3/4 cup pasta cooking liquid and add the pasta cooking liquid to cream sauce and return to medium heat. Drain the pasta and transfer to the skillet with the sauce sauce. Cook, tossing often and adding grated cheese little by little, until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy. Stir in the reserved lemon juice and season with salt as needed and the freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Divide pasta among bowls and top with reserved lemon zest strips and extra pepper and grated parmesan if desired.


  1. I am obsessed with lemon and pepper pasta but and dairy free. Is there a substitute for the heavy cream?

  2. Made this….had all the ingredients in the house…sooo good! the lemon gave it a freshness! Loved it!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow, incredible. Such a simple dish that feels so fancy! The addition of lemon really enhanced everything.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for dinner tonight. My husband is Italian and he doesn’t usually deviate from traditional tomato sauce for his pasta so I wasn’t sure how it would go over. He took one bite and said, “wow. this is really delicious”. We both loved it. It’s a perfect recipe for a summer pasta dish when you don’t want something as heavy as tomato sauce.

  5. 5 stars
    This is SO good, such great flavors for a summer pasta. I added some crispy prosciutto, and some more reserve pasta water right before dishing up and it was perfect. Toddler approved as well!

  6. 5 stars
    This is soooo delicious! Made it yesterday for a dinner party. This may just be my new go to pasta dish!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating