This Lemon Butter Sauce is so rich and creamy, decadent, but with a mild tang from the fresh lemon juice, it is insanely delicious and effortless to make.

I am completely in love with Lemon Butter Sauce (Copycat Carrabba’s recipe), and seriously, our entire family could drink this by the gallons. We always make this to serve with chicken and noodles, but this lemon butter sauce works well with fish, especially an excellent sauce for salmon.

photo of lemon butter sauce being poured onto pasta with chicken

This recipe for lemon butter sauce put Carrabba’s Italian Grill on the map for us.  My husband is obsessed with this sauce. The first time we had it was the night we thought I was going into labor with our daughter Jordan. We were sitting in Carrabba’s with Jake’s cousin, and she ordered this dish; when it came out, she told us we had to try it because it was the best sauce ever; oh, was she right?

overhead photo of lemon butter sauce being poured onto pasta

I can only think of one sauce that gives it some competition: their Marsala sauce. Seriously, both of them are delicious, the main ingredient being butter.

This Lemon Butter Sauce is on Carrabba’s most famous dish, Chicken Bryan. I have the (Copycat Carrabba’s) Chicken Bryan recipe here. It is our special occasion meal.

chicken bryan recipe on plate with lemon butter sauce

My husband is a picky pasta eater, always searching for the most incredible pasta dish. He tends to lean towards sauces with big, robust flavors, so this combination of garlic and lemon is perfect. At first, Jake wasn’t willing to try this lemon butter sauce until he learned it was all over their shrimp scampi. He devoured their scampi, so he was ready to give their sauce a try.

We love almost everything at Carrabba’s, but this Lemon Butter Sauce recipe has become a staple in our kitchen. Making it to grace pasta, chicken, shrimp, salmon or even a bunch of veggies, either way, this sauce of awesomeness will soon become a favorite of yours as well.

What is butter sauce?

A butter sauce contains butter, broth, wine, and seasonings. Sometimes, flour is added to thicken the sauce. It is a versatile sauce that can be used in many dishes. It can also be used as a base for other sauces by adding ingredients, such as lemon juice, in this Lemon Butter Sauce.

How to make Lemon Butter Sauce?

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter and let it melt. Stir in onion and garlic, cooking until onion is translucent (about 3 minutes). Add wine and lemon juice, bringing it to a boil over high heat. Cook until liquid reduces to about 1/4 cup (3-5 minutes).

Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter until completely melted. The goal is to create a slowly emulsified sauce, not rapid melting. Repeat this process with the remaining butter, adding 3 tablespoons at a time, except for the last addition which will be just 2 tablespoons. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.

Serve the sauce immediately or store it at room temperature for 2 hours. When reheating, use a low setting to prevent separation.

lemon butter sauce pouring over grilled chicken

Lemon Butter Sauce Recipe Tips

  • Cook the sauce over low heat to avoid separation. Even if it does separate, it will still taste the same but have a melted butter-like appearance. With practice, you’ll master the sauce-making process.
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices to customize the flavor of your sauce. Some popular options include thyme, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.
  • Serve lemon butter sauce with cooked vegetables, fish, or poultry for a delicious and creamy addition. It also works well as a dipping sauce for bread or seafood.
  • Want to make a larger batch? Increase the ingredient measurements proportionally. Remember that the sauce may take longer to reduce and emulsify with more ingredients.
  • Use high-quality, unsalted butter for the best results. Unsalted butter allows you to control the salt level in your sauce and prevents it from becoming too salty.

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Lemon Butter Sauce

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Lemon Butter Sauce has two key ingredients lemon and butter; need I say more? A creamy, buttery sauce with a mild tang from the fresh lemon juice.
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE has two key ingredients lemon and butter; need I say more? A creamy, buttery sauce with a mild tang from the fresh lemon juice.


  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground white pepper


  • Place a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Allow the butter to melt, add onion and garlic and cook stirring frequently. Cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add 3 tablespoons of butter at a time and whisk the butter in until it is completely melted. You want the butter to slowly soften into an emulsified sauce, not quickly melting; it is a process. Add the remaining butter 3 tablespoons at a time until all the butter has been added into the sauce. The last addition will be just 2 tbsp. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
  • Serve immediately or store sauce up to 2 hours at room temperature. If you are to reheat the sauce, do it over a low setting otherwise the sauce will separate.
  • If it does separate remember the sauce will still taste the same, just not have the same look, it will look more like melted butter. After a few times of making the sauce, you will get the hang of it.
  • Cooking this sauce on low heat is key.


Recipe from Carrabba’s Italian Grill Recipes from Around Our Family Table cookbook
LEMON BUTTER SAUCE has two key ingredients lemon and butter; need I say more? A creamy, buttery sauce with a mild tang from the fresh lemon juice.
Tried this recipe?Let us know what you think!


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  1. I did this and it was awesome!! My hubby said why go out to eat when I’ve got you? He and I really enjoyed it,

  2. Outstanding! I was a manager at Carrabba’s and had to make this sauce in large batches. The ease and the ingredients proportion is right on the money. Great job! It’s not only good on shrimp, works great on chicken, fish and steaks not to mention bread. Thanks!

      1. Hi Mariah, you can use any dry white wine such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. We generally use just white cooking wine from the grocery store so that will work as well. I hope you enjoy!

    1. 4 stars
      The recipe is pretty accurate. The only thing you areissung is the heavy cream. The lemon butter base is made with the onions, garlic, salt, white pepper, lemon juice and white cooking wine not drinking withe once the mixture is reduced at a boil to the consistency of oatmeal you ad some heavy whipping cream and stir in. You the let the base cool in the fridge until you need it or you then add the unsalted butter and slowly melt the butter until you have the correct taste. I also was an assistant kitchen manager at Carrabba’s in AZ

  3. Just had this delicious sauce on my dinner last night at Carrabbas ( fettuccine weenie ). So so good.
    Had to make it myself today on my leftovers . This sauce is easy to make and I will make it often. Thank you.

  4. This sauce is really good. It might be better than the original. I served it over grilled tilapia and asparagus , orzo with Gouda.

  5. And it is true that all brilliant – easy! And I consider your sauce to be a real masterpiece. Simple ingredients there are in the house of each family. I already imagine the reaction of my family when I give this sauce to dinner. Thank you very much, for sharing your recipe!

  6. Lol. Grmr nazi on a recipe WS! Maybe enjoy the content and purpose and get over the delivery. This could have been posted in Russian and I would have been fine with Google translate version if it means having this sauce at home. Clearly you do not use the interwebs much. Great post OP suace turned out amaze balls!

        1. We usually use white cooking wine that you can find at the grocery store, but you can also use any dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio. I’ve used both interchangeably in recipes and always had good results either way.

          1. You can use chicken broth or cooking wine in place of the wine. Enjoy!

  7. Quick question: in the directions it has you adding 1 Tbsp. butter for the onions to cook in – that would leave you with 11 Tbsp. of butter. Later on, butter is added in increments of 3 Tbsp. Should it be 12 total tbsp. and the last addition is just 2 Tbsp or should it be 13 Tbsp. of butter total with 1 going with the onions and 12 going with the end? I hope that isn’t too confusing. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Sarah! It should be 12 tablespoons total so the last addition will be just 2 tbsp. Sorry about the confusion, I updated it to make this clear! I hope you enjoy the recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness this SAUCE!! It is incredibly delicious and I find myself wanting to put it on everything. I’m pregnant right now, which led me to cut the garlic in half because it hasn’t been my friend lately, but otherwise I followed the recipe as directed. It’s perfect! I’ve never even been to Carrabba’s because they don’t have them where I’m from, but now I don’t need to. Thank you!

    1. This makes my day! I love it as well and the first time I had it I was pregnant so this totally touches me. xo

  9. 5 stars
    We loved this! It was creamy, rich, and just the right amount of tang! Can’t wait to enjoy this again over my next salad.

  10. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how easy this is to whip together! I can’t wait to enjoy this tangy taste this summer.

  11. 5 stars
    I made this meal tonight for our 25th Anniversary. It was easy and absolutely delicious. Your lemon beurre blanc was spot on. Husband said this is one of the best meals I ever made. Thanks for posting.

    1. Hi! We usually use dry white cooking wine for these recipes, but you can use any kind of dry white wine you have on hand! In the past, I’ve used a Pinot Grigio. Hope this helps!

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I love all of the recipes that i’ve try and will continue to try some other ones you have posted. Keep up the good work.

  13. Funny thing about this sauces…tasted lemony in the sauce pan but lost its lemon flavor over a piece of salmon. Any ideas? The sauce was freshly made. I am puzzled

  14. 5 stars
    First time ever leaving a comment on a recipe . This is my favorite new way to make fish, my mom loved it. Used it with flounder and melted the butter by color. Yum making some more today.

  15. 5 stars
    Easy recipe is great! I made it according to your recipe and the taste is great! Everyone in the family likes it, it makes me happy. thank you

  16. 5 stars
    This was so easy and really tasted like restaurant quality sauce! Thanks for helping to make me look like a rockstar in front of my family for dinner.

  17. 5 stars
    Great recipe and super easy. I made whiting in the oven, seasoned lightly with cajun seasoning. Added a little coriander and black pepper in the sauce which was good, but was also good without.

  18. 5 stars
    My daughter and I love this lemon butter with our shrimp and fish! So tasty and very delicious! Definitely making this again!

  19. Great recipe and super easy. I made whiting in the oven, seasoned lightly with cajun seasoning. Added a little coriander and black pepper in the sauce which was good, but was also good without!

  20. 5 stars
    Like you, this sauce put Carrabbas on my map! Omg I ALWAYS get extra on the side 🙂 Made your recipe tonight, yum yum yum!! Didn’t have onion on hand but got the sweetness from Barefoot Fruitscato Pineapple wine. Used this over breaded chicken breasts that I topped with chopped tomatoes
    and served with a side of lemon pine nut orzo (both from The Fresh Market).

  21. Tried plenty of times, Pollo Rosa Maria is my favorite, the heavy cream is a great addition.
    Turned out very well, thanks

  22. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. I would double the ingredients. I did add capers to this in the final minute or so of cooking. I prepared this before the chicken dish I was making. I kept it covered in a sauce pan on the warm pad of the stove. 45 min later it was awesome. Adjust lemon juice and salt and pepper to your taste. Was delish!

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