Easy White Wine Sauce for Pasta – A Perfect Pairing for Seafood and Chicken

Bursting with fresh flavor, this incredibly easy white wine sauce recipe is perfect for pasta, seafood, and chicken dishes. It’s light and refreshing, making it an ideal choice for spring, summer, and fall. With a start-to-finish time of less than 15 minutes, you can enjoy this delightful sauce tonight!

white wine sauce next to plate of pasta and bowl of parmesan cheese

Wondering what to cook for dinner tonight? Look no further than this white wine pasta sauce. As the weather warms up, I can’t help but crave lighter meals. While pasta is a staple in our household year-round, my simple sauce recipes change with the seasons.

This delicate and mild white wine sauce is a favorite base for shrimp, scallops, classic baked chicken, mussels, mushrooms, roasted Italian veggies, and other summertime favorites. It also serves as the foundation for my chicken in white wine sauce recipe. Trust me, it’s equally delicious and light, providing a delightful meal option.

The best part? This easy pasta dish is super quick to prepare, making it a perfect choice for busy weeknights.

white wine sauce in saucepan next to blue napkin

For the little ones, this white wine sauce is an upgrade from their beloved buttered noodles. If you haven’t tried my version of the classic kid favorite, Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter, you’re in for a treat.

You’ll also love my lemon basil pasta, another light and easy dish that’s as pretty as it is delicious. It’s so simple to make that you’ll want to add it to your dinner rotation.

This white wine sauce has been a staple in our home for over 10 years. One bite, and you’ll understand why.

Major bonus? This white wine sauce recipe is full of flavor but light on calories, allowing me to indulge in my pasta fix without the guilt.

Easy white wine sauce for pasta - perfect for adding chicken or seafood

Check out the video in this post to see just how quick and easy it is to make my white wine sauce.

As much as I enjoy cooking, my preference is to spend time soaking up sunshine and fresh air while watching the girls play, rather than slaving over the stove to prepare dinner.

I like to provide detailed instructions in my recipe posts to guide readers through any questions. If you’re just looking for the printable recipe, feel free to click “jump to recipe” under the post’s title, and you’ll be directed straight there.

white wine sauce ingredients with text overlay

White Wine Sauce Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – High-quality extra virgin olive oil adds a hint of flavor.
  • Minced Garlic – Use freshly minced garlic or store-bought minced garlic from the produce aisle. You won’t notice the difference, and it’s a great time-saving shortcut.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – Add a little heat to this simple sauce.
  • Salt – I prefer thick flakes from a grinder, but table salt works well too.
  • Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper adds beautiful thick flakes and a subtle spicy flavor.
  • Butter – The base for this delicious sauce. You can use salted or unsalted butter according to your preference.
  • White Wine – Choose your favorite crisp white wine or white cooking wine.

How to Make White Wine Sauce

  1. Sauté – In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper and sauté until golden (about a minute).
    wine sauce on stove top

  2. Make Sauce – Add salt, pepper, wine, and butter.

  3. Simmer – Stir for two minutes, then remove from heat and toss with pasta, chicken breasts, shrimp, or scallops.
    wine sauce in pan by blue napkin

pasta on plate next to sauce in saucepan

Easy white wine pasta sauce for pasta - perfect for adding chicken or seafood

Tips and Variations

  • Reserve a little of your pasta water after cooking. This is always a good idea to help thin sauces if they thicken too much while cooking. Just add a little warm, starchy water (up to 1/2 cup) to achieve the perfect consistency if needed.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice over your pasta! The vibrant, bright flavor of lemon beautifully complements this dish.
  • Instead of using pre-packaged dry pasta, consider making fresh pasta. It’s easier than you think, especially with a pasta attachment for your KitchenAid mixer. Try my easy three-ingredient egg noodles or learn from my best homemade pasta tips.
  • Want even more vibrant flavor? Add a handful of shallots! Soften the shallots in olive oil before adding the other listed ingredients. It will add a burst of yumminess to the dish.

pasta with shrimp next to wine sauce in saucepan

White Wine Pasta Sauce

When making this white wine sauce for pasta, feel free to use your favorite noodle. While I typically use fettuccine, any noodle pairs well with this sauce because it clings to the pasta perfectly.

Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for a pop of color and add fresh grated Parmesan cheese for a simple and delicious flavor combination.

shrimp on a bed of pasta with white wine sauce

Mussels in White Wine Sauce

This classic French-inspired version of a white wine sauce is a perfect match for mussels. Add the mussels after beginning the sauce process. For a more detailed step-by-step guide, including cleaning mussel shells and cooking times, refer to Ina’s delicious recipe.

Enjoy the incredibly fragrant seafood pasta dish that you’ll love.

chicken on a bed of pasta

What’s the Best White Wine to Cook With?

Choose a crisp, dry white wine that won’t overpower the delicate flavors of your dish. Options like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio work perfectly. Avoid sweet wines like Riesling, as they won’t provide the desired balance.

If you don’t drink white wine or don’t want to purchase a bottle for this recipe, white cooking wine found in the salad dressing/vinegar area of your grocery store works just as well. However, I always enjoy having a glass or two and typically use Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

pasta in a light sauce on a white plate
white wine sauce in a saucepan

To Store

Refrigerate – This white wine sauce keeps incredibly well in a jar, refrigerated for up to a week. When ready to use, warm it up and toss it with your favorite pasta, chicken, or seafood.

This post was originally published in April of 2013 and updated with fresh details in February 2020.

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white wine sauce in a saucepan by a bed of pasta

More Easy Pasta Recipes

If you loved this recipe, you’ll adore these pasta ideas from our household favorites:

  • Lemon Spaghetti
  • Easy Pasta Bolognese
  • Pasta con Broccoli
  • Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
  • Pasta Aglio e Olio
  • Broccoli Pasta

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