Spaghetti Carbonara

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
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Tossed in a simple homemade sauce, this 30-minute spaghetti carbonara gets a gold star for easy weeknight dinners. Packed with crispy bacon and two Italian cheeses, it’s perfectly rich and cheesy.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Comforting and creamy. The simple, golden pasta sauce is loaded with egg yolks for richness and natural creaminess. Stirred until smooth and velvety, all you need is a splash of pasta water for it to finish coming together.
  • Bursting with flavor. Topped with crispy bacon for smokiness, red pepper flakes for a little bit of heat, and extra parmesan for cheesy goodness, every bite of this pasta is as authentic as it gets.
  • Simple yet impressive. Spaghetti alla carbonara is impressive enough for a dinner party, but can still be made in 30 minutes, making it perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.

What Is Carbonara?

Carbonara is a traditional pasta dish that many people consider one of the highlights of Italian cuisine. The sauce is made with eggs, egg yolks, and parmesan cheese. It’s seasoned with salt, pepper, and the smokiness from bacon or guanciale.

Ingredients for spaghetti carbonara.

Recipe Ingredients

It’s time to get your spaghetti, eggs, and parmesan cheese out! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

  • Spaghetti – Bucatini, angel hair, and fettuccine are all great substitutes.
  • Bacon – You can also use guanciale or pancetta, if you like.
  • Eggs and egg yolks 
  • Parmesan and Romano cheese – Use freshly grated cheese for best results.
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Spaghetti Carbonara

The key to this dish is scrambling non-stop. If you can do that, you’ll have no problem setting this dish on the table in 30 minutes. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full and precise instructions.

  • Boil the pasta. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, minus 1 minute. You want it slightly undercooked because it’ll finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and discard the rest when you drain the pasta.
  • Cook the bacon. Place the bacon in a large pan over low heat and let it cook for 10-12 minutes, or until it releases all of its fat.
  • Whisk the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking vigorously as you slowly pour in the reserved pasta water. Don’t pour it all in at once, or the eggs will scramble.
  • Mix everything. Add the spaghetti to the bacon fat and stir gently to combine. Reduce the heat to low, then slowly pour in the egg mixture. Keep stirring the pasta so the eggs don’t scramble.
  • Serve. Return the bacon to the pan and stir well. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Two bowls of spaghetti carbonara.

Tips & Variations

  • Make it spicy. Top your pasta with red pepper flakes to taste for a bit of heat.
  • Add chicken. Slice some grilled chicken and add it to your pasta for a heartier dinner.
  • Add mushrooms. Cook 1/2-1 cup of sliced mushrooms with the bacon for 6-7 minutes or until they soften. They’ll add umami to your dish.
  • Use one cheese. Don’t worry if you don’t have both cheeses on hand. You can use all-parmesan or all-Romano.
  • Don’t overcook it. Make sure to remove the pasta from the water while it’s a little bit undercooked. If you overcook it, the spaghetti will soften too much and break as you toss it in the pan.
Bowl of spaghetti carbonara.

FAQs

Here you’ll find answers to common questions about spaghetti carbonara, like whether it tastes eggy or if the eggs are raw.

Is the egg yolk raw in carbonara?

The sauce initially contains raw egg yolks. However, they’re later cooked when the hot pasta water is whisked in, reducing the chance of food poisoning. Technically, by the time the pasta is served, the egg yolks are no longer raw.

Is carbonara supposed to taste eggy?

No. While it does have a large amount of eggs, the dish isn’t supposed to taste eggy. If it’s too “eggy” for you, add 2-4 extra tablespoons of cheese and adjust the sauce’s consistency with more pasta water.

How do you stop eggs scrambling in carbonara?

You need to add in the pasta water slowly and in small amounts while whisking vigorously to let the sauce temper without overcooking the eggs.

Does garlic go in carbonara?

No. It’s not the end of the world if you add some because the dish will have extra flavor, but authentic carbonara doesn’t have any garlic in it.

Spaghetti carbonara on a fork.

What Goes With Spaghetti Alla Carbonara?

This pasta is great with light salads, veggie sides, and steak, chicken, or salmon mains. Of course it would also be delicious with a side of Goat Cheese Garlic Bread. Try to keep the rest of the meal from being too creamy, but it’s up to you.

For salad options, I love my Caprese Stuffed Avocado and Greek Salad. For sides, try my Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze or Easy Roasted Mushrooms. Finally, pair it with my Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Crusted Salmon or Juicy Flank Steak as extra protein if you would like!

Close-up of spaghetti carbonara.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • To store. Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Keep the container away from heat and sunlight when it’s on the counter for serving or reheating.
  • To reheat. Sprinkle your pasta with 1-2 teaspoons of milk and microwave it for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat it in a pan (covered) over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

More Easy Pasta Recipes

Landscape photo of spaghetti carbonara.
5 from 5 votes
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Yield: 4

Spaghetti Carbonara

This 30-minute spaghetti carbonara with bacon is golden, cheesy, and rich. It's so much better than at restaurants and super easy to make!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti pasta
  • 6 ounces diced bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • cup packed shredded Parmesan cheese
  • cup packed shredded Romano
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, minus 1 minute.  You want it less than al dente because it will continue to cook in the rest of the recipe. Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of the boiling spaghetti water to use with the sauce.
  • While the pasta is cooking, slowly cook the bacon over low heat in a large skillet, to render out all the fat, this may take 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and keep warm. Keep all the grease in the pan.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk to combine the eggs, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Continue whisking as you slowly pour in the hot spaghetti water. DO NOT pour it all in at once, little by little so the eggs don’t scramble.
  • Add the spaghetti to the hot grease and toss to coat. Turn the heat down low, then slowly pour in the egg mixture and keep tossing the pasta so the eggs don’t scramble.
  • Stir in the bacon and serve immediately!

Notes

  • To store. Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Keep the container away from heat and sunlight when it’s on the counter for serving or reheating.
  • To reheat. Sprinkle your pasta with 1-2 teaspoons of milk and microwave it for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat it in a pan (covered) over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 513kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 331mg, Sodium: 1005mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g

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5 stars
Quick and easy. The whole family loved it.

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.