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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 31 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. Is it OK to broccoli I am so excited to try this

    1. Hi Rose! You can add cooked broccoli, previously steamed or boiled.
      Have a nice weekend x

    2. 5 stars
      I added some canned salmon to mine

    3. I’m so glad you liked it, Eric! Thanks for your rating and feedback.
      Cheers x

  2. I’ve not made this yet but it sounds wonderful. I was wondering if you could use minced garlic and if so what amount would you use?

    1. Hi Robin! Minced garlic is fine, you can use the same amount stated in the recipe card ( approx 4-5 garlic cloves). Cheers x

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Sometimes we will add roasted cherry tomatoes at the end, Yummy.

    1. The addition of roasted cherry tomatoes sounds great! Thanks for taking the time to share your lovely feedback. Cheers x

  4. love this recipe— its my go to when the pantry is getting low and we are hungry for some good comfort food!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you for sharing your feedback. Cheers x

  5. 5 stars
    I grew up with this similar dish but instead of chili flakes we used a can of pitted black olives and sliced them. We never used it in our dish but my Dad’s dad uses a little anchovies paste in his dish. I grew up calling this dish ‘ pasta with no sauce “

    1. Oh I love this “pasta with no sauce” with garlic and chili flakes, with olives and with anchovies too! : ) Thanks so much for sharing your lovely feedback, Angela! x

  6. Doral Allen says:

    5 stars
    This turned oil totally wonderful. It was our choice to swap out your EVOO for 6 strips of bacon, cooked, then cooled and chopped for tossing later, leaving the bacon grease for the garlic, etc. Yummers. A real keeper recipe!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your lovely feedback, Dora! I’m so glad it turned out wonderful. Cheers! x

  7. Jeanne Pizzoferrato says:

    How much extra virgin olive oil do I need to use?

    1. Hi Jeanne, it’s listed in the recipe x

  8. Anonymous says:

    5 stars
    Great meal! It’s a family favorite!

    1. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing your feedback x

  9. 5 stars
    It was great. And next time I;ll try it with added anchovies.

    1. I’m so glad you you loved it, Richard! Thanks for sharing your feedback 😊 x

  10. Thank you , it was delicious 😊

    1. I’m glad you liked it 😊

  11. 5 stars
    I love making aglio e olio since it super easy and quick to make. But I haven’t tried it with cheese before. I usually just make it with olive oil and garlic. But will definitely try it soon with cheese just like what you did on your recipe. Thank you for this! 🙂

  12. How spicy is this spaghetti? I’m not a huge spice fan but can appreciate it as an ingredient for flavor. I want to make this – it looks divine! Perhaps I’ll just use a small amount of chili flakes, but curious to hear your thoughts.

    1. Hi Kate! Feel free to reduce the amount of chili flakes according to your taste, absolutely. Good olive oil, fresh Italian parsley, and also parmesan cheese will add plenty of flavor to the dish. Regarding the chili flavor, we love it and we want it to be more than a garnish in this recipe, but it’s so personal (and it’s easy to adjust, I’ll add an extra note to the recipe 😉).
      Thanks for your comment x

  13. barbara sefcik says:

    I want to put anchovies in with the garlic and oil.

    1. I do it sometimes, it’s good 🙂

  14. Since I follow a Keto lifestyle, would it be acceptable to substitute spaghetti squash for the noodles? This sounds fabulous.

    1. Hi Bobbie, I would give it a go! I’ve used zucchini noodles in this recipe many times, and I enjoyed it! I think the garlic, the olive oil, chili flakes, and parmesan cheese (if you use it) add plenty of flavors and make your “spaghetti” taste only better 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      Quick, easy, and delicious. Huge hit with my family.

    3. I’m so happy you all loved it 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, Sharma! x

  15. Kim Batham says:

    5 stars
    Loved this! I’ve ordered it in restaurants but could never quite figure out how to make it at home. The recipe was perfect and it tasted great! My new comfort food! I didn’t have fresh parsley so threw in some dried to the oil when sautéing the garlic. Not as good as fresh but it worked in a pinch!

    1. I’m so happy you loved it, Kim, it’s so simple and so good… thanks so much for sharing your feedback! 🙂

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