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This humble and fragrant spaghetti with garlic and olive oil brings me back to my childhood. It’s a classic Italian pasta dish that requires a few cheap ingredients, little effort, and it’s ready in 10 minutes.

It’s a super quick spaghetti recipe, delicious and packed with flavor, which comes in handy any time. Absolutely perfect for sharing with friends or after a long day, when you decide pasta is for dinner tonight.

Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil on a grey plate.

Spaghetti Aglio e olio (garlic and olive oil) is simple, cheap, good, satisfying, and fun. 

I promise, the lovely smell of garlic and chili flakes, gently fried in olive oil, will cheer you up!


Two wooden spoons are lifting some pasta with garlic and olive oil.


    • Regular or whole wheat spaghetti
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Garlic
    • Fresh or dried chili flakes
    • Salt
    • Parmesan cheese (optional)
    • Parsley (optional)

The ingredients for this pasta with garlic and olive oil are arranged on a white marble surface.HOW TO MAKE PASTA WITH AGLIO E OLIO?
(Note: ingredient quantities and method are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

  • Cook your spaghetti until al dente
  • Meantime, fry gently garlic and chili in olive oil
  • Drain spaghetti, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water
  • Add spaghetti and parley to the skillet

The first image shows olive oil, garlic and chili in a skillet. The second image shows the spaghetti in the same skillet.

  • Add as much cooking water as needed to make the pasta moist
  • Stir well to coat
  • If you don’t keep it vegan, serve with parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle extra chili flakes and parsley, if you like. Enjoy!

A wooden spoon is stirring spaghetti aglio e olio in a cast iron skillet.


First things first, a skillet of this fragrant and spicy spaghetti comes together in 10 MINUTES and costs less than 90 cents per serving!

Also, this simple homemade spaghetti dish is likely healthier than an expensive last-minute takeaway, and if you go for whole grain pasta you’ll get more natural fiber and micronutrients than white pasta. Plus, extra virgin olive oil features a long list of health benefits and coats your pasta beautifully.

This is simple, real, food.


Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil served in two white bowls.Recipe updated: originally posted in November 2018, I’ve tweaked the post adding more notes and new pictures.


Only a few basic ingredients, but their quality will make the difference! Pasta, garlic and olive oil are the key ingredients in this recipe.


What’s better than spaghetti? Long pasta is simply perfect with garlic and olive oil, you will love wrapping spaghetti or linguine around your fork!

And when you chose pasta, have a proper look at the label and go for durum wheat semolina pasta. Pasta brand matters, and although premium quality pasta is a bit more expensive than basic pasta, it’s resilient, it has a more robust texture.


Extra virgin olive oil is the flavor you want here.

A good extra virgin olive oil smells and tastes good, clean and fresh. The flavor can be fruity, floral, herbal or even subtle, but never overpowering in a way that indicates rancidity.
Tasteless olive oil or other regular vegetable oil won’t work.


To make it more special, for people who think this spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is too simple, add a further burst of flavor by including a couple of anchovy fillets and fry them along with the garlic and chili flakes.

Also, marinated artichokes, olives or sun-dried tomatoes will take this simple dish to the next level with a Mediterranean twist.

This is a tasty, inexpensive and one of the most crowd-friendly dishes for your last-minute parties, or just the thing when you get home late or don’t feel like cooking.

Simple food is the best.

And if you make this spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram. I would love to hear from you!

Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil ready in 10 minutes!
Print Recipe
4.97 from 32 votes


Simple, fragrant and inexpensive, this spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is so good, cheap, satisfying and ready in a flash!
Recipe updated: originally posted in November 2018, I've tweaked the post adding more notes and new pictures.
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: pasta
Cuisine: Italian, vegan, vegetarian
Keyword: Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil
Servings: 4
Calories: 693kcal
Author: Katia


  • 1 lb (450 grams) spaghetti, or other long pasta
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes, or to taste (or 3 fresh chillies)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve (optional, if you don't keep it vegan)
  • salt, to taste


  • Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add spaghetti. Cook until al dente: the spaghetti is soft but still has a little bite.
  • While the spaghetti is cooking make the sauce: If you don't use dried chili flakes, remove the seeds from the chilies and finely chop. Peel and finely slice the garlic cloves.
  • Heat the olive oil gently in a frying pan. Add the garlic and chili and cook gently for a few minutes, or until the garlic is pale gold, which will be enough time for the flavorings to infuse the oil (take care not to burn it!). Stir in chopped parsley.
  • Drain the spaghetti still "al dente", reserve 1/2 cup cooking water.
  • Add spaghetti to the frying pan, stir well to coat with the oil, add some starchy cooking water, as much as needed to ensure the pasta is moist and juicy*.
    Cook on medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring a couple of times.
  • Sprinkle the spaghetti with extra chopped parsley, and grated parmesan cheese if you don't keep it vegan. Enjoy!



Tips: Heating the garlic and chilli too much will send it bitter. Make sure the garlic doesn't get any darker than pale gold.
Cooking water: add pasta water gradually, you might not need all of it. You don't want to water down the flavor, but only make spaghetti nice and moist.
NOTE: Nutritional values are estimates only (the amount of calories doesn't include parmesan cheese).


Calories: 693kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 41mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 593IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg
This humble and fragrant spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is a classic Italian pasta dish that requires a few cheap ingredients, little effort, and it’s ready in 10 minutes. #pastarecipes #easydinerrecipes #cheapdinners


  1. 5 stars
    worked on Italian vessels years ago. this was my favorite meal. could never pull off cooking it right. all about that gentle garlic frying.
    thank you. i added scallion and seeded red peppers. fantastic

    1. That’s great to hear, Lloyd! I’m so pleased you love this simple pasta recipe.
      Thank you for sharing. x

  2. 5 stars
    This was so easy and delicious!! I added crumbled sausage for a little extra flavor! Will definitely be making again!!

    1. Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing, Melissa. x

  3. 5 stars
    This was super yummy! Very quick and easy, which I love after a day of work! This will be in our regular rotation!

    1. Fantastic, I’m so glad it turned out so yummy! Thanks so much for sharing, Shana. x

  4. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious; but I live alone and only make for myself. I need this recipe ingredients adjusted for 1 serving. Thanks.

    Will recommend for other Seniors.

    1. Brilliant! I’m so pleased it was delicious, thanks for your feedback, Marg. x

  5. 5 stars
    We absolutely loved this – shared it with my 79-yr old Mom too! She’s excited to try it! Thank you! I’ve added this to our meal rotation!!

    1. Brilliant, thanks so much for sharing, I’m so pleased your mum loves it too. : )

  6. 4 stars
    My grandmother and Aunts showed me this years ago. My grandparents came from Italy. We roast garlic all the time in the oven and store it in olive oil. When we need it just take it out. We also use hot red pepper flakes, homemade linguini and olive oil from Italy. Expensive but worth the taste. Ciao.

    1. Ciao Audrey! Thanks for sharing, that’s sounds delicious. x

  7. 5 stars
    I made this today for lunch. I added some butter to the oil and garlic. Also, I used crushed red pepper.
    I had some colard green/white beans/peppers salad left over.
    My husband decided to mix everything together and came out really good.
    Only the garlic oil pasta tasted really good as well.
    This is a keeper. Thank you for your recipe.

    1. You’re very welcome, Marcia.
      So glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks for sharing your feedback and happy weekend. xx

  8. 5 stars
    I made this with chicken pieces from chicken breast meat. Also after pasta finished cooking I saved a cup of pasta water then drained the pasta put it back in the cooking pan and coated it with butter before putting it in the olive oil garlic crushed pepper. Totally awesome. Tyvm for the recipe!

    1. You’re very welcome, Shari! I’m so happy it was awesome and thanks a lot for sharing! x

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