Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

  • This Spaghetti Aglio e Olio uses simple everyday ingredients to make a super flavorful dish! This classic dish can be on your table in 20 minutes or less!

    I am always looking for really quick and easy dishes to feed my family. And preferably ones that don’t use a ton of ingredients.

    Some other family favorites are Homemade Hamburger Helper, One Pot Hamburger Stroganoff, and this ultra delicious Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup.

    Top down view of spaghetti in a dark bowl and garnished with parmesan and parsley.

    So what is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio??? Well, is means spaghetti with garlic and oil. It is a classic dish that came from Naples. It’s so delicious and super easy to make.

    The traditional way to make it is with spaghetti, good quality olive oil, and thinly sliced garlic. And sometimes the addition of red pepper flakes. I have added Parmesan, parsley, and a little squeeze of lemon.

    If you are wanting a truly traditional recipe leave those extras out. But trust me…..they are super tasty additions!

    Reasons why I love this classic dish:

    • It is on the table in 20 minutes or less
    • Even though it’s a short ingredient list it packs a lot of flavor
    • Pairs well with any protein
    • My whole family loves it


    • Spaghetti: I used traditional spaghetti but it also works with angel hair, fettuccine, and linguine.
    • Garlic: I know it seems like a lot but it’s what flavors the dish so don’t skimp on it! And if you are a garlic lover don’t be afraid to add even more.
    • Olive oil: Use a good quality olive oil, it really does make a difference.
    • Red pepper flakes: Optional but adds just a touch of heat.
    • Parmesan: Optional but so tasty!
    • Parsley: Optional
    • Lemon: Optional, but brightens up the flavors.
    Garlic cooked in a cast iron pan and then pasta, parmesan, and parsley added.
    Spaghetti Aglio e Olio in a cast iron pan.

    How to make Spaghetti Aglio e Olio:

    1. Boil your pasta: The most important thing to do when boiling your pasta is to SALT YOUR WATER. The pasta water is also used in this dish and it must be salted or it will be very bland. Add at least a tablespoon or two to a large pot of water. Also, try not to overcook your pasta. Cook just until al dente.
    2. Saute the garlic: While the pasta is cooking saute the garlic. Watch the garlic very carefully because it can burn very easily and burnt garlic is bitter which is No Bueno. Add the red pepper flakes here too if you are using them.
    3. Add pasta: Once the garlic and pasta are ready add the pasta to the pan with the garlic. Toss well to combine.
    4. Add extras: If you are using the optional ingredients toss them with the pasta as well.
    5. Loosen if needed: Use the pasta water to “loosen” the pasta if needed. I always need to do this.
    Pasta in a dish garnished with extra cheese and parsley.

    Top Tips:

    • This is a fast moving recipe so I strongly recommend having all your ingredients measured BEFORE you begin.
    • Don’t burn the garlic. Once it turns lightly golden add the pasta. If your pasta isn’t quite ready when the garlic is; remove the pan of garlic from the heat.
    Twirling pasta onto a fork.

    Serving Suggestions:

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    5 from 4 votes
    Top down view of spaghetti in a dark bowl and garnished with parmesan and parsley.
    Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    20 mins

    This Spaghetti Aglio e Olio uses simple everyday ingredients to make a super flavorful dish! This classic dish can be on your table in 20 minutes or less!

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: 30 minutes or less
    Servings: 6
    Calories: 630 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    • 1 pound (455g) spaghetti
    • 6-8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • ½ cup (120ml) good quality olive oil
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • ¼ cup chopped parsley, optional
    • 1 cup (120g) grated Parmesan cheese, optional
    • squeeze of lemon, optional
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt and add pasta. Boil pasta until al dente.

    2. While the pasta is cooking heat a large skillet with the olive oil over medium to medium low heat. Add garlic and stir constantly to prevent burning. Cook the garlic just until golden. Stir in the red pepper flakes and remove from heat.

    3. Once the pasta is done cooking transfer to the skillet along with at least ½ cup of the pasta water. Toss to combine. If desired add the parsley, cheese, and squeeze of fresh lemon and toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately.

    Recipe Notes
    1. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Leftovers taste great reheated or cold. 
    2. Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. Nutrition calculated with the optional ingredients.
    Nutrition Facts
    Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 630 Calories from Fat 288
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 32g49%
    Saturated Fat 10g63%
    Cholesterol 35mg12%
    Sodium 611mg27%
    Potassium 244mg7%
    Carbohydrates 59g20%
    Fiber 3g13%
    Sugar 2g2%
    Protein 25g50%
    Vitamin A 576IU12%
    Vitamin C 4mg5%
    Calcium 462mg46%
    Iron 2mg11%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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