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Ready in just 15 minutes, Homemade Spaghetti Carbonara is so easy and so scrumptious, you’ll never order it at your favorite trattoria again. This creamy pasta is quick enough for weeknight menus but showy enough for dinner parties.

Spaghetti carbonara on white plates.

No need to be intimidated by making carbonara sauce from scratch. This genius technique for Spaghetti Carbonara makes fail-proof pasta without scrambling the eggs. Every bacon-studded bite unforgettably good.

Here’s the secret: And it’s one I picked up from Mark Bittman’s book, Dinner for Everyone. While most Carbonara recipes use a skillet to heat the egg mixture (which can be touchy and lead to scrambled eggs), the best way to make carbonara sauce is to pre-heat a bowl to use to toss the pasta with the egg and cheese. That keeps the eggs from scrambling and the resulting sauce has a delightful, silky texture that’s as good as any Italian restaurant.

This fast Spaghetti Carbonara recipe takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process. The warm bowl keeps everything heated just enough so that the eggs can do their thing. Nothing overcooks, and you’re left with creamy, delectable pasta every time.

And there’s no cream required! Some modern carbonara sauce recipes call for a generous amount of heavy cream to the recipe to ensure creaminess and to make it easier to bring the sauce together. Of course, it tastes good, as anything with heavy cream does, but you don’t really need it with this technique. You’ll still get the great texture with just eggs, bacon fat, and cheese. You’ll make any Italian nonna proud with this Spaghetti Carbonara recipe.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for spaghetti carbonara.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Spaghetti: Or any long cut of pasta, such as bucatini, linguine, or fettuccine.
  • Bacon: Traditional carbonara uses some type of cured pork jowl, like guanciale or pancetta diced into small cubes. If you have it, by all means, use it. But bacon works, too.
  • Eggs: The raw eggs become cooked and silky when tossed in the hot pasta. Before you begin this quick dinner recipe, bring the eggs to room temperature. If you forgot to bring the eggs to room temperature early enough, place the uncracked cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for several minutes until they no longer feel chilled.
  • Parmesan cheese: Carbonara sauce usually uses an aged Pecorino, a sheep milk cheese that tastes a tiny bit sharper than Parmesan. Use it if you got it, but again, Parmesan can totally pinch hit. Just make sure that you use fresh Parmesan, shredded from a block, not the Parmesan that comes in the green can. (Although that has its place, too!)

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a large serving bowl on middle rack (large enough to accommodate a pound of cooked pasta). Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain well.
A colander full of cooked spaghetti.
  1. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
Bacon and garlic cooking in a black skillet.
  1. Carefully remove bowl from oven and add eggs, cheese, and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon).
Eggs and cheese in a bowl for carbonara.
  1. Beat with a fork to combine. Immediately add pasta, bacon with garlic, and rendered fat and toss to combine.
Spaghetti carbonara ingredients in a glass bowl.
  1. Add a splash of pasta water until desired consistency is reached (it should be creamy), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more cheese and freshly parsley, if desired.
Spaghetti carbonara on white plates.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes six generous servings of a little more than 3 ounces of pasta. I find this rich enough that this Spaghetti Carbonara portion satisfies as a main dish, but multiply as desired. I wouldn’t blame you for dishing up seconds!
  • Storage: This dish is best enjoyed the day it is made, but leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Enjoy immediately. This is a humble pasta dish that’s made on the fly and meant to be eaten right away. No make ahead tips, here.
  • Mix-in ideas: Shelled peas are common in carbonara dishes, so feel free to toss them in if you have them handy. Blanch raw peas for one minute in the pasta water (or use frozen straight from the bag). Add the peas to the eggs when you incorporate the pasta. While not traditional, you can also amp up the flavor with onion. Cook them in the skillet until browned at the same time you sizzle up the bacon.

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This classic Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is a hearty and comforting family dinner idea. One bite of this Italian-American dinner recipe will transport you to a Midwestern red sauce restaurant.

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Spaghetti carbonara on white plates.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ready in just 15 minutes, Homemade Spaghetti Carbonara is so easy and so scrumptious, you’ll never order it at your favorite trattoria again. This creamy pasta is quick enough for weeknight menus but showy enough for dinner parties.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 429

Ingredients 

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti (see note 1)
  • 6 slices bacon chopped (see note 2)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 large eggs (see note 3)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated, plus more for serving (see note 4)
  • fresh parsley minced, for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a large serving bowl on middle rack (large enough to accommodate a pound of cooked pasta).
  • Bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain well.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  • Carefully remove bowl from oven and add eggs, cheese, and pepper to taste (I like ½ teaspoon). Beat with a fork to combine. Immediately add pasta, bacon with garlic, and rendered fat and toss to combine.
  • Add a splash of pasta water until desired consistency is reached (it should be creamy), then season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more cheese and freshly parsley, if desired.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Spaghetti: Or any long cut of pasta, such as bucatini, linguine, or fettuccine.
  2. Bacon: Traditional carbonara uses some type of cured pork jowl, like guanciale or pancetta diced into small cubes. If you have it, by all means, use it. But bacon works, too.
  3. Eggs: The raw eggs become cooked and silky when tossed in the hot pasta. Before you begin this quick dinner recipe, bring the eggs to room temperature. If you forgot to bring the eggs to room temperature early enough, place the uncracked cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for several minutes until they no longer feel chilled.
  4. Parmesan cheese: Carbonara sauce usually uses an aged Pecorino, a sheep milk cheese that tastes a tiny bit sharper than Parmesan. Use it if you got it, but again, Parmesan can totally pinch hit. Just make sure that you use fresh Parmesan, shredded from a block, not the Parmesan that comes in the green can. (Although that has its place, too!)
  5. Yield: This recipe makes six generous servings of a little more than 3 ounces of pasta. I find this rich enough that this Spaghetti Carbonara portion satisfies as a main dish, but multiply as desired. I wouldn’t blame you for dishing up seconds!
  6. Storage: This dish is best enjoyed the day it is made, but leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 22gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 433mgPotassium: 272mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 279IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 218mgIron: 2mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Made this last night for dinner and it was such a huge hit! My kids have already asked that I make it again. Super quick and easy to make. I used an entire package of bacon and most of the rendered fat. The only salt I added was to the pot of water for the noodles, as instructed. This dish needed no additional salt! The pasta water, bacon, and fat do enough on their own! Fresh chopped parsley was the perfect final touch! 5 stars for sure!5 stars