This luxurious lemon garlic butter sauce is the perfect accompaniment to fish, seafood, chicken and pasta. It’s simple, yet decadent—a little bit of this sauce goes a long way. 

This sauce is:

  • Creamy 
  • Fatty 
  • Zesty
  • Fresh 
  • Versatile 

Based off of the classic French beurre blanc sauce, this lemony version is ideal for fish and seafood. With a few more ingredients than a beurre blanc, my lemon garlic butter sauce still has the dreamy qualities of a beurre blanc; silky, decadent, rich. 

The acidic lemon zest and juice cut through the rich butter while fresh chives add both something fresh and savory. 

side angle image of a metal plate filled with ice, shrimp, and a butter sauce in a white bowl

This lemon garlic butter sauce is great for: 

Get creative with how you serve this sauce! Though simple, it is decadent and flavorful. Toss it with some angel hair pasta, spoon it over roasted cod, or serve it as a dipping sauce with shrimp and crab. The options really are endless, but this sauce does pair incredibly well with seafood. 

If you’re going for a buttery seafood pasta, try swapping out the broth in favor of clam juice. If you haven’t cooked with clam juice before, don’t knock it ‘till you try it. It adds A TON of flavor to sauces and can be found in small glass bottles next to the canned tuna and salmon. 

Be sure to serve this sauce warm. As it cools it will begin to set up. You can reheat the sauce in a saucepan over low. Whisk until smooth; adding additional warm milk as needed. 

Side angle image of a white glass bowl filled with a melted butter sauce

How to make lemon garlic butter sauce 

  1. Add BIG flavor to the broth, wine and milk and reduce them down
  2. Make a roux with butter and flour 
  3. Slowly whisk reduced liquid into roux
  4. “Mount” butter into sauce—aka incrementally whisk butter into sauce until a thick, emulsified sauce is created. 

Ingredient substitutions: 

If you can, use what the recipe calls for—at least the first time you make it. The ingredient modifications below are intended to show the versatility of ingredients AND help you think creatively about this recipe!

  • low-sodium chicken broth or clam juice
  • dry white wine or broth or clam juice 
  • Whole milk or cream thinned with some water 
  • Dried bay leaf or sprig of rosemary or thyme 
  • Chives or fresh dill or tarragon 

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Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Yield 1 ½ cups
Category Side dish/sauce
Cuisine French
Author Lauren


Silky, decadent, and bright with flavor, this butter sauce is perfect for seafood, vegetables and more!


  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter cut into tablespoons and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or more lemon juice
  • Chives chopped


  • Combine broth, wine, whole milk, garlic, shallot, and bay leaf in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by about half, 10–12 minutes.
    milk, bay leaf and shallot in a saucepan
  • Heat one tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Sprinkle flour over butter and whisk to combine.
    whisk whisking flour and butter in saucepan
  • Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is tan, but not brown, 2–4 minutes.
    whisk whisking flour and butter in saucepan
  • Slowly and gradually whisk reduced liquid into roux, whisking vigorously to incorporate.
    milk being added to creamy sauce in saucepan
  • Decrease heat to low and remove bay leaf. Gradually whisk butter into sauce 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each piece to melt before adding another (this is called mounting the sauce).
    butter in a saucepan of creamy sauce
  • Whisk in 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and vinegar; season with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in chives and serve.
    lemon zest, salt and pepper in creamy sauce in a saucepan
  • Optional: thin sauce to desired consistency with warm broth as needed.


Sauce should not be made ahead of time. If you must, reheat sauce in a saucepan over low heat; add additional milk or butter if needed to re-emulsify.
To make this gluten-free: use sorghum flour instead of all-purpose flour.


Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 76kcalFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 108mg
Keywords lemon beurre blanc, lemon butter sauce, Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
Overhead image of a metal plate filled with ice, shrimp, and a butter sauce in a white bowl

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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  1. 5 stars
    Delicious recipe! I substituted veggie stock and white onion (all I had on hand), and had the sauce on store bought spinach tortellini and sautéed kale. Thinned it out with a bit of pasta water. Loved it. Thanks!

    1. Yum, that meal sounds delicious! I’m so glad you enjoyed it Chris, and love hearing about your substitutions!