This lemon butter sauce is deliciously lemony and buttery, but with a rich nuttiness that takes this sauce to the next level! Perfect on fish, chicken, or pasta, the easy brown butter base of this sauce gives it a restaurant-quality flavor with minimal effort.
What Makes This Lemon Butter Sauce So Good
- Bright lemon and rich butter are a match made in heaven. The flavors meld beautifully, creating a tangy, refreshing sauce that elevates any dish.
- It’s thin without being watery and velvety smooth without being heavy. A literal dream!
- It’s so, so easy to make! Just a few minutes and a little whisking are all you really need. Perfect for those busy weeknights when dinner was the last thing on your mind!
- It’s a great make-ahead sauce to keep on hand. Just refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze it in an airtight container up to three months! When you’re ready, reheat the lemon butter sauce on the stovetop over low heat. Let frozen sauce thaw in the refrigerator overnight first, though.
Key Ingredients for Lemon Butter Sauce
Browned Butter – Butter is great, but browned butter is out of this world. It gives the sauce a slightly nutty flavor (it’s completely nut-free, though!) that’s complex and basically incredible. You might look at the recipe and think “oh great, another step” but do. not. skip. this!
Lemon Juice – You can’t have a lemon butter sauce with lemon juice! I recommend using juice from fresh lemons if you can, to really get that crisp lemony flavor. If you like a lighter flavor, though, go with store-bought, prepackaged juice.
- Use a small saucepan with a light base, so you can tell really see when the butter starts to brown.
- The butter needs a lot of attention while it’s browning, so don’t walk off. Whisk it, or swirl the saucepan gently, to keep it from sticking and burning. Be careful not to let it burn – it can happen fast.
- If your heat is too high, the lemon butter sauce will separate. It’ll still taste delicious, but it won’t have the look you’re going for. The key is to use a medium-low heat (except when you boil the lemon juice), and resist the urge to rush things.
More Delicious Sauce Recipes
- Keto Alfredo Sauce
- Microwave Hollandaise Sauce
- Béarnaise Sauce Recipe
- Healthy Soy Sauce Substitute Recipe (Whole30, Paleo)
- Homemade Taco Sauce
- Au Jus Recipe
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Lemon Butter Sauce
- Small saucepan (2, or 1 and paper towels)
- Small bowl
- 6 tablespoons butter cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice approximately 2-3 lemons' worth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook 2 tablespoons butter until it smells nutty and just barely turns brown. Don't let it burn.
- Immediately remove pan from heat and transfer butter to small bowl. Wipe out saucepan with paper towel, or use another clean saucepan.
- Boil lemon juice with salt and pepper until liquid is reduced to approximately 1 tablespoon.
- Remove saucepan from heat and immediately whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter. Set pan over very low heat.
- Whisk in remaining butter, one piece at a time, making a thick, creamy sauce.
- Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in browned butter.
- Immediately before serving, whisk in 1 tablespoon of hot water in ½ teaspoon increments.
- Make it Whole30/Paleo/Lactose-Free: Use ghee in place of the regular butter, and follow our other recipe to make Brown Butter Ghee!
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.