Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic loved for its simplicity. Creamy, cheesy and perfectly seasoned, it’s a fantastic easy dinner recipe.
Full recipe + amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Guanciale / Pancetta / Bacon. Traditionally Guanciale (cured pork cheek) is used but as it’s not easy to find, Pancetta or bacon can be substituted.
- Eggs. The secret to creamy Carbonara is using mostly egg yolks. Use the best quality, free-range eggs you can find.
- Cheese. I like using a combination of Parmesan and Pecorino or Grana Padano. The combination of cheeses adds depth of flavor to the finished sauce and seasons it perfectly.
- Olive oil.
- Salt and pepper.
- Spaghetti. You can use any pasta but Spaghetti is my first choice. Remember to reserve 2 cups of the pasta’s cooking water as it’s an important part of the sauce.
How to make Spaghetti Carbonara
- Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta to the water once boiling and cook until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water and drain the pasta.
- Cook the pork: While the pasta cooks, set a large pan over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the guanciale/pancetta/bacon and allow to cook until golden brown.
- Make the sauce: Whisk together a whole egg, egg yolks and finely grated cheeses with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Combine: Once the pasta is cooked and the pancetta is golden brown, add the pasta to the pan with the pancetta and reduce the heat. Pour the egg sauce over the pasta with 1 cup of pasta cooking water and toss continuously until the sauce starts to thicken and coat the pasta. Add more pasta water if necessary. It’s important to do this over low heat to prevent the egg from curdling. Once the sauce is thick and creamy and the pasta is coated, serve the pasta in bowls topped with grated Parmesan.
Can I make this ahead?
I wouldn’t suggest making the recipe fully, ahead. Because it comes together so quickly, it’s also not really necessary since all the elements can be prepared while the pasta water boils and the pasta cooks.
What to serve with Carbonara
Although Spaghetti Carbonara is delicious on its own, it can be served with any of the following:
- Cheesy pull apart garlic bread
- Easy side salad with lemon dressing
- A simple salad with leaves of your choice, shaved mushrooms and lemony dressing.
Easy pasta recipes
Spaghetti Carbonara is a classic loved for its simplicity. Creamy, cheesy and perfectly seasoned, it's a fantastic easy dinner recipe.Print Pin Rate Add to Shopping ListGo to Shopping List
Servings: 4 - 6
- 500 g (1lb) spaghetti cooked, reserve 2 cups of cooking water
- 100 g (3.5oz) pancetta / guanciale / bacon cubed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano / Grana padano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.
- Add the pasta to the water once boiling and cook until al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water and drain the pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, set a large pan over medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the guanciale/pancetta/bacon and allow to cook until golden brown.
- Whisk together a whole egg, egg yolks and finely grated cheeses with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Once the pasta is cooked and the pancetta is golden brown, add the pasta to the pan with the pancetta and reduce the heat.
- Pour the egg sauce over the pasta with 1 cup of pasta cooking water and toss continuously until the sauce starts to thicken and coat the pasta.
- Add more pasta water if necessary. It's important to do this over low heat to prevent the egg from curdling. Once the sauce is thick and creamy and the pasta is coated, serve the pasta in bowls topped with grated Parmesan.
Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 368mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 260IU | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 2mg
Was delicious I added some single cream as I like my carbonara extra creamy will definitely make again x
Back in 1968 my sister became friends with a foreign exchange student from Sicily and he came to our home for supper one night to make us one of his favorite snacks. Yes, a snack. It was spaghetti carbonara. My Dad had brought out all the stewed tomatoes and canned tomato sauces along with tabasco sauce and, well, you know what Americans do to spaghetti.
He pushed it all aside and asked for bacon and a few raw eggs along with parmesan cheese. While the noodles cooked he diced the bacon and cooked it in a skillet. When the noodles were done he added the raw eggs after draining off the water and then poured in the bacon and its drippings, then added a generous portion of the cheese.
Fabulous! Over 50yrs ago and I still remember how good, filling, and wonderful that meal was!
How much bacon is 250gm?
In South Africa it’s one packet of bacon (around 10-12 strips). I think if you converted the weight it would be around half a pound?
Natalia, you can use Heavy cream or whipping cream for the sauce.
What kind of cream is that?
Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
Love this! I’m not sure if I can get my hands on some good-quality bacon but I will definitely be able to get some amazing pancetta at my local deli!
I’d like to try this, but do the eggs remain raw or do they cook at any point?
They get cooked by the hot spaghetti and the warm pan you pour the egg mixture into. As you toss the spaghetti in the sauce, the egg will start to thicken and make a creamy sauce.
Awesome recipe 🙂
I love a good carbonara… Here’s another one you might like to try
Fettucinne Carbonara Recipe
Thanks for sharing.
Tried and tested. This recipe was absolutely AWESOME!!!! Well done 🙂
So glad you liked it Sal!
It’s the 1st time i’ve tried to make this and it was delicious!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Ally, Carbonara is also one of my favorites. So easy yet sooo much comfort! Beautiful pics!
So easy! This I must try
Let me know what you think once you have Nos! x
Made it tonight and loved it! Thanks Alida 🙂
I also love Carbonara for its simplicity and the speed in which it is all achieved. On various occations I follow a Jamie Olover recipe which calls for the addition of frozen peas to the pasta a minute before the pasta is completely cooked. The peas add a deliciously sweet note to the otherwise saltyyness of the bacon and cheese flavours. I simply love the combo and at least a veggie has sneaked into the dish.
Delia, I can imagine how delicious the peas must be. I also know of a lot of people who add mushrooms or spinach as well.