Lemon Butter Sauce

This Butter Lemon Sauce combines the rich, creamy taste of butter with the bright, zesty flavors of lemon and the aromatic essence of garlic.

It’s rich, creamy, and velvety smooth, making it ideal for drizzling over dishes or as a dipping sauce.

Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

This butter sauce is easy to make, and while it does require stovetop cooking, there’s nothing complicated about it.

My family loves cookouts or bbq’s with lemon garlic butter served on top of, or next to, almost everything on their plates!

Grilled meat, bbq chicken, skewered shrimp, crusty toasted bread, you name it, and it’ll be paired with this garlic lemon butter sauce.

More Sauces To Try

Avocado Crema
Cowboy Butter
Honey Sriracha Sauce
Garlic Sauce
Chinese Garlic Sauce
Brown Butter Sage Sauce
Peri Peri Hot Sauce

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Lemon: Use fresh lemon juice and zest for the best flavor. Substitutes include bottled lemon juice or dried lemon peel zest.

Butter: Plant-based butter is a dairy-free alternative.

Minced garlic: I find that freshly minced garlic is best in this sauce. You can use pre-minced garlic or garlic powder (1/2 to 1 tsp per clove).

Chicken broth: I usually use low-sodium chicken broth in this recipe. Vegetable broth or water are suitable substitutes.

Heavy cream or half & half: Heavy cream for a richer sauce, half & half for a lighter one. Whole milk or non-dairy milk works well in this sauce too.

How to make Lemon Butter Sauce

Step 1: Prepare Lemon & Garlic
Zest and juice the lemon, and set aside.

Step 2: Melt Butter & Saute Garlic
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the minced garlic to the melted butter and sauté for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Step 3: Add Lemon Juice & Chicken Broth
Add the lemon juice to the sauce and stir well.
Pour in the chicken broth and simmer for 5-7 minutes to reduce the liquid by about half.

Step 4: Incorporate Cream
Slowly stir in the heavy cream (or half & half) and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly.

Step 5: Whisk in Remaining Butter & Season
Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. 
Remove the saucepan from heat, and it’s ready to serve.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Prep ingredients ahead: Before starting, have all your ingredients measured and ready. This sauce cooks quickly, so there’s not much time for last-minute scrambling.

Control the heat: When sautéing the garlic in butter, keep the heat medium-low to prevent the garlic from burning, to avoid it going bitter.

Whisk continuously: While adding the cream and lemon juice, whisk slowly but continuously to ensure a smooth, lump-free sauce.

Simmer to reduce: Let the chicken broth simmer for a few minutes to reduce and concentrate its flavors. This step intensifies the sauce’s taste.

Variations

Lemon herb: Add a tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs like parsley, dill, tarragon, or chives for a fragrant and herbaceous twist to the sauce.

Garlic Parmesan: Stir in 1/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a creamy, cheesy version of the sauce. Adjust the seasoning as needed due to the added saltiness of Parmesan.

Capers: Include 2 tablespoons of capers for a briny, tangy kick to your sauce. This version pairs exceptionally well with fish and chicken.

Dill: Combine the lemon and butter with a generous amount of fresh dill for a sauce that complements salmon and other seafood beautifully.

Spicy: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick. This version goes well with shrimp and pasta.

Dijon mustard: Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard for a tangy, slightly spicy flavor. This pairs wonderfully with grilled meats and roasted vegetables.

Honey: Mix in a tablespoon of honey for a sweet and tangy sauce. It’s great for glazing roasted chicken or drizzling over pancakes and waffles.

Storage

Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for a few days. Simply do a taste or smell test for freshness before using.

Reheat gently over low heat, and if it thickens, add a splash of cream or broth to restore the consistency.

What to serve with Lemon Garlic Butter

Grilled chicken: Drizzle over grilled chicken breasts or thighs for a bright and flavorful main course.

Pan-seared fish & shrimp: By far my favorite way to enjoy this lemon butter sauce! Serve it alongside pan-fried fish like salmon, tilapia, or cod to complement the seafood’s natural flavors.

Grilled steak: Pair Lemon Butter Sauce with a juicy grilled steak for a refreshing contrast to the richness of the meat.

Pasta: Toss the sauce with cooked pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine, for a simple yet delicious pasta dish.

Steamed vegetables: Steam a medley of vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, or green beans, and then pour the sauce over them as a tasty side.

Bread: Use it as a dip for fresh bread or as a spread on sandwiches for an extra burst of flavor.

Lemon Butter FAQs

Lemon Butter Sauce

This Lemon Butter Sauce combines the rich, creamy taste of butter with the bright, zesty flavors of lemon and the aromatic essence of garlic.
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter lemon sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half & half
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Zest and juice the lemon, and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, melt half of the butter over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic to the melted butter and sauté for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Pour in the chicken broth and simmer for 5-7 minutes to reduce the liquid by about half.
  • Stir in the heavy cream (or half & half) and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the sauce to thicken slightly.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice to the sauce and stir well.
  • Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

This citrusy garlic butter is so easy to prepare, tastes great, and complements most dishes, that you’ll be making it more often than you think!

Let me know your favorite ways to pair up this garlic butter in the comments below.



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