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Easy Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara is made with spaghetti pasta, parmesan and romano cheeses, and pan-fried bacon all in a rich creamy sauce. Ready in just 30 minutes this recipe is perfect for busy weeknights for the whole family!

Spaghetti Carbonara on a plate with a forkful of it being lifted up in mid-air. There are two other plates of spaghetti carbonara in the background, and it is all sitting on a table.

What is Spaghetti Carbonara?

Spaghetti Carbonara is a delicious Italian pasta dish famous for its cheesy creamy sauce and cured meat topping.

We love this creamy Carbonara recipe as it’s made with very few ingredients. It’s always a big hit with adults and children too because come on, it’s pasta, cheese, and BACON.

This dish looks and tastes professional, with very little effort, making it perfect for fancier dinner parties as well as weeknight family dinners!

It’s a budget friendly recipe that’s easy to make, just be sure to read the expert recipe notes before you start cooking so you don’t end up with pasta and scrambled eggs!

Try this Sausage and Pepper Sheet Pan dish for another quick and easy Italian weeknight dinner solution, or my Southern Baked Spaghetti for a great make-ahead spaghetti meal!

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Small white bowls on a marble worktop each containing one of the following ingredients: Spaghetti, Bacon, Eggs, Parmesan cheese, Romano, Salt, and Pepper.

Ingredients Needed

Spaghetti – We have used regular spaghetti but you could also use fettucini pasta or a gluten free option.

Bacon – Pan fried bacon is so delicious, and goes perfectly with creamy sauces. You can use any cured meat instead of bacon though, like guanciale, pancetta, or chorizo.

Eggs – Eggs are basically the not-so-secret ingredient in carbonara, and I like to use large eggs when I cook. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature to make mixing easier.

Parmesan – Parmesan is a hard cheese made from cows milk and aged for at least 12 months.

Romano – Pecorino romano is a hard Italian cheese made with goat’s milk, with a sharp and salty flavor.

Salt and Pepper – The all-important seasonings of salt and pepper really enhance this dish!

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How to make Spaghetti Carbonara

ONE: Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, minus 1 minute. Reserve 1 cup of the hot pasta water when you drained the pasta to use with the carbonara sauce.

Slowly cook the bacon over low or medium heat, remove it from the pan and keep warm, keeping all the bacon fat grease in the pan.

TWO: Whisk the raw eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl.

Keep whisking as you slowly pour in the hot reserved pasta water. DO NOT pour it all in at once, little by little so the eggs don’t scramble.

THREE: Add the spaghetti to the hot grease and toss to coat. Turn the heat down low. Drizzle while adding the egg mixture and toss continuously so the eggs don’t scramble.

FOUR: Stir in the bacon and serve immediately.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

Close up of Spaghetti Carbonara.

Should carbonara have cream?

While carbonara is a creamy sauce, it’s actually the eggs and egg yolks that make it famously creamy. You don’t need any heavy cream to make spaghetti carbonara!

What is the secret ingredient in carbonara?

Creamy carbonara is made with the unexpected ingredients of eggs, and egg yolks, mixed with Paremesan and Romano, of course!

Can I use a different type of meat?

Yes! Traditionally this Italian dish uses cured pork, and we have chosen to use bacon in this recipe, but you can use guanciale, pancetta, or chorizo instead.

Spaghetti Carbonara on a blue plate . There are two other blue plates of spaghetti carbonara in the background, and it is all sitting on a table.

How do I store Spaghetti Carbonara leftovers?

If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container or covered tightly in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

How do I reheat it?

Reheat pasta carbonara in the microwave by putting it in a microwaveable container and adding a dash of water to the dish. Cook it for 30-60 seconds, remove the dish and stir it. Repeat as necessary.

To reheat in the oven, place the pasta in an oven-safe dish with a dash of water, and cover with foil. Preheat the oven to 350° and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

You may need to stir the pasta halfway through baking to avoid it sticking together, and if it seems too dry, add another dash of water.

fork of pasta

What to serve with spaghetti carbonara?

Serve your spaghetti carbonara main dish with a side of Green Beans or a large bowl of healthy Italian Chopped Salad. These Garlic Knots are a big hit with pasta dishes too, especially ones with creamy sauces like carbonara!

Tips for No Leftovers

  • The whole eggs and the egg yolks are what makes this dish extra creamy.
  • Adding the hot cup pasta water helps the eggs get hot enough they can be eaten but not scrambled. Be sure to toss continuously while adding.
  • Use low heat to cook the bacon and slowly render out all the fat.
  • Guanciale is the traditional pork and it has a higher fat content giving a nice salty flavor to the noodles, but thick cut bacon is a great substitute.
  • Add in some greens like garden peas for more veggies in your meal!
  • Make sure to slightly undercook the pasta as it will continue to cook to perfection in the grease.
  • Garnish it with chopped fresh parsley and fresh grated cheese for an extra special finishing touch!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

Spaghetti Carbonara on a plate with a forkful of it being lifted up in mid-air. There are two other plates of spaghetti carbonara in the background, and it is all sitting on a table and a text box at the top saying "How to make spaghetti carbonara."

This deliciously creamy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe is ready to eat in just 30 minutes, making it perfect for a busy weeknight dinner for the whole family! Add some fresh vegetables and bread on the side to make it a hearty meal!

More Easy Dinner Recipes

bowl of pasta with fork

Spaghetti Carbonara

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This is a super easy pasta dish that has a creamy sauce made from eggs and cheese and topped with bacon or guanciale.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti (uncooked)
  • 1 cup hot spaghetti water (from cooking spaghetti noodles)
  • 6 ounces bacon or guanciale or pancetta (cooked, chopped)
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 4 large egg yolks (room temp)
  • 1/3 cup packed shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup packed shredded Romano cheese
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, minus 1 minute. Don't over cook or it will be mushy when it cooks in the pan with the sauce.
  2. Reserve 1 cup of the boiling spaghetti water to use with the sauce. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, slowly cook the bacon over low heat, until the fat is rendered. (This may take up to 10 minutes.) Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm. Do not drain the fat from the pan.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, and salt and pepper together. Keep whisking as you slowly pour in the hot spaghetti water. DO NOT pour it in all at once or the eggs will scramble. You want to drizzle it in little by little.
  5. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and hot bacon grease. Toss with tongs to coat.
  6. Turn the heat down low and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Keep tossing so the eggs don’t scramble.
  7. Stir in the bacon and serve immediately.

Notes

  • The whole eggs and the egg yolks are what makes this dish extra creamy.
  • Adding the hot pasta water helps the eggs get hot enough they can be eaten but not scrambled. Be sure to toss continuously while adding.
  • Use low heat to cook the bacon and slowly render out all the fat.
  • Guanciale is traditionally used and it has a higher fat content giving a nice salty flavor to the noodles, but thick cut bacon is a great substitute.
  • Add in some greens like garden peas for more veggies in your meal!
  • Make sure to slightly undercook the pasta as it will continue to cook to perfection in the grease.
  • Be careful to slowly pour in the hot spaghetti water. If you pour it all in at once the eggs will scramble rather than make a sauce.
  • Be sure to mix the sauce completely to avoid any clumps of ingredients.
  • Garnish it with chopped fresh parsley for an extra special finishing touch!
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 675Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 390mgSodium: 1336mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 38g

    This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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