This Spaghetti Carbonara recipe is so rich and decadent, yet so incredibly easy to make!

Pasta is tossed in a delicious and easy parmesan sauce with savory pancetta. The heat from the pasta cooks the sauce making for a quick and creamy dish in no time at all!

This easy carbonara recipe makes a restaurant worthy dish in just minutes at home.

plated Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients for Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti a la Carbonara is one of the easiest recipes to make!

Meat: This carbonara recipe uses pancetta, which is a cured pork belly, adds a salty flavor to this recipe. If you don’t have pancetta, bacon works as a substitute. In Italy, guanciale, which is cured pork jowl or pork cheek, is typically used for pasta carbonara, but it’s hard to find where i live so I use pancetta in place.

Cheese: While it’s common to use Parmesan cheese in North America, traditionally, Pecorino Romano cheese is used in spaghetti carbonara. Use whichever cheese you prefer or have on hand.

Eggs: Eggs are a key ingredient in carbonara, adding a rich and creamy texture to the sauce. The heat from the pasta cooks the eggs. A traditional carbonara does not contain cream.

Pasta: A long pasta works well in this recipe; we use spaghetti for a classic spaghetti carbonara.

Tips for a Perfect Carbonara

This pasta carbonara recipe has a creamy sauce with an egg base. The heat from the noodles cooks the eggs.

  • Ensure eggs are at room temperature and whisked before cooking the pasta.
  • Have all ingredients prepared, the pasta has to be hot to cook the egg.
  • Reserve some pasta cooking water to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
ingredients to make Spaghetti Carbonara

How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara

  1. Whisk Sauce: Whisk eggs, parmesan cheese, & black pepper in a bowl & set aside.
  2. Boil Pasta: Cook pasta until it is ‘al dente’. Do not rinse the pasta, the starch helps the consistency of the sauce.
  3. Toss Together: Quickly add the egg mixture to the hot cooked pasta & toss to combine. The heat from the pasta will thicken the egg. (Add a bit of pasta water if needed to get the right consistency.)
  4. Top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a little chopped parsley for garnish!

Serve it with a fresh Italian salad and homemade garlic bread for the perfect Italian-inspired meal!

Tip for a Smooth Carbonara Sauce

Remember, the pasta has to be hot to cook/thicken the egg mixture. If it’s too hot, the sauce will not have a smooth consistency. Remove the pan from the heat just before tossing the egg mixture with the hot pasta.

Spaghetti carbonara with bacon and parsley on top

More Italian Inspired Favorites

Wine Pairing: Spaghetti Carbonara is a rich pasta dish so the best wine pairings will always be crisp whites like Pinot Grigios or Gris. Let the full-bodied flavors of the eggs, cheese, and garlic take center stage and pair with a light, pear, or citrus-flavored wine.

Did you enjoy this Spaghetti Carbonara? Be sure to leave a rating or a comment below!

plated Spaghetti Carbonara
4.99 from 477 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghettini carbonara features pasta in a deliciously creamy parmesan sauce with savory pancetta.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 6 slices pancetta or guanciale or bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese or pecarino ramano, shredded
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain well but do not rinse.
  • Add the hot drained pasta to the skillet with the garlic, and toss to coat.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and pour in the egg mixture, mixing well with tongs. If needed, add reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
  • Add the pancetta or bacon, and toss until combined. Season with additional salt to taste.
  • Serve hot, garnished with parsley or additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes

  • Ensure eggs are at room temperature before beginning.
  • This dish comes together fast. Prepare all ingredients before beginning.
  • Cook the pasta until it is ‘al dente’ or firm.
  • Do not rinse the pasta, the starch helps the sauce cling.
  • Add a bit of pasta water if needed to create a creamy consistency.
4.99 from 477 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 437 | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 227mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
close up of plated Spaghetti Carbonara with a title
plated Spaghetti Carbonara with a title
Spaghetti Carbonara with pancetta in a bowl
bowl of Spaghetti Carbonara with writing

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I substituted 8 strips of turkey bacon and added an extra clove of garlic. Used some pasta water to get the desired consistency and it was amazing!!! Thank you.5 stars

  2. Lacks flavor, tried adding salt; underwhelmed. maybe I didn’t have enough panchetta ( difficult to find in grocery store) it was like an ingredient was missing? How many oz would 6 slices of panchetta = in cubed form be?
    Next time, going to try tweaking recipe with another egg & pasta water & maybe try to use guanciale for the meat ( if I can find it) instead.
    It would have helped me IF listing “pasta water” would have been listed in “ingredients “. By the time I read, reserve some pasta water to add, I had drained my spaghetti!4 stars

    1. Hi Patricia, 6 slices of pancetta is approximately 3 ounces. Reserved pasta water is not listed in the ingredients but it does mention it in step 3, ‘Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.’ I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Mandi, for this recipe we use 6 slices of pancetta which would be around 4 ounces so I would add the entire package.

  3. Good but would be better with a New Orleans kick like adding Tony Chachere’s seasoning and maybe sauté some peppers in separate skillet or steam broccoli and add on top also quadruple the garlic so it’s not so bland

  4. This was a good quick tasty recipe for the family! Tastes like you spent a lot not time on it, but it’s a quick fix! The only piece I’m unsure about is that the egg whites aren’t really cooked by adding them to the cheese and hot pasta. I’m not picky about that kind of stuff, but I know some do. Thanks for this one, it’s a keeper!4 stars

  5. The author writes that a traditional carbonara doesn’t use cream, which is true. It also, traditionally, does not include garlic either. She also calls for spaghetti; in Rome you are more likely to be served rigatoni. Adding peas, frequently seen in the USA, is an abomination.

    1. Peas? For real? At least with cream, mushroom, and onion, that can be forgiven – those are more of a boscaiola sauce, which is similar enough as a pasta topping.

      The word association I always have with carbonara is “fettuccine”. In recent years, I have tended more towards penne, but more as a catch-all with pasta recipes.

  6. I made this last night. I made it with bacon. I put 3 cloves of garlic, I should have added 6-8 (we love garlic). I made a mistake and dump all of the pasta water. I added some half and half to get some liquid in it. It was a little dry but otherwise, it was a thumbs up from my family. None was left over. Thank you.5 stars

  7. 1st time making this dish so easy as we don’t eat bacon, I substituted it with turkey style bacon. Simple easy dinner severed with a ceaser salad. So delicious my daughter took some for lunch. It will be made again for sure. Thank you

  8. I don’t have bacon or pancetta right now. Can I make this recipe with chicken? I know it’s not the same great flavor but I have bacon grease in the fridge that I could add. —Linda

    1. I have only tried the recipe as written so I can’t say for sure. It will definitely change the flavor but I am sure will still be delicious. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    2. I made it as instructed aside from extra garlic. If I didn’t have bacon and wanted it. I would use the bacon grease to cook the garlic and go from there. My husband always orders chicken carbonara so it is probably a thing. I meant to thaw some shrimp to go with ours but I spaced it. Good Luck

  9. It was so easy to make. Since Dontceat meat or dairy, I used vegan bacon and Parmesan. I will definitely make it again.

    My one problem was that I wasn’t organized properly. Every thing moves fast, so organization is key.

    Minimal prep and delucious. Thanknyou.5 stars

    1. I also don’t eat meat or dairy! I used smoky tempeh (it’s meant to taste like bacon) and shredded Chao cheese. it was pretty darn good, but I’m sure it was not nearly as complex and flavorful as the original version. To make up for this, I also added some sauteed mushrooms and a little extra garlic. I’d add more garlic next time, maybe 5-6 cloves.5 stars