This authentic Pasta Carbonara recipe is simple, creamy, and one of Italy’s best-known dishes. Follow my step-by-step instructions for the best pasta carbonara that everyone will enjoy!

Would you like more Italian dishes? Try this Authentic Bolognese Ragu, Ossu Buco, Meatballs Arrabbiata, or Panzanella!

Why Steph and Alex love this recipe:

  • Easy and Quick: A straightforward dish that doesn’t require any special skills and will be ready in just 20 minutes!
  • Creamy: Just follow my step-by-step instructions and you will master this easy Pasta Carbonara.
  • Crowd Pleaser: This traditional pasta carbonara is a classic Italian dish that will be a family favorite!

How to make Pasta Carbonara:

Cook Pasta: Add 10g of coarse salt for every liter of water and bring to a boil. Drop the pasta in the water and cook according to package instructions.

Two images showing salt and pasta being added to a pot of boiling water.

Cook Pancetta: Cut pancetta into strips about the same size (1-inch pieces). Cook it in a skillet until crispy. Remove crispy pancetta from pan then place on a plate with paper towels  to absorb excess fat.

Two images showing the process of cooking little strips of pancetta and then the pancetta on a paper towel.

Prepare Sauce: Grate parmesan cheese into a bowl then add the eggs. Use a whisk and mix the ingredients until your cream is smooth and lump-free.

Two images showing eggs being added to a bowl of parmesan cheese, and then stirring it smooth for a homemade carbonara sauce.

Add Pasta: Drain it when it is cooked ‘al dente’ and keep some pasta water aside. Add the pasta to the bowl with the cream and mix well. If the cream is too dry, add a small quantity of hot water to the cream.

A creamy carbonara sauce coating a bowl of cooked rigatoni pasta to show how to make Pasta Carbonara.

Serve: Put pasta on the plate then add the pancetta. Finally, add a final, generous amount of grated parmesan cheese and a little pepper. Leftovers don’t reheat well, so enjoy this creamy carbonara immediately!

A plate of the best Pasta Carbonara topped with crispy pancetta, parmesan cheese, and black pepper.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Choose Pasta: Choose a long or short pasta, depending on your taste. We like the brands Barilla, De Cecco, and Mezze Maniche. I recommend rigatoni, spaghetti or linguine since the pasta is rough, so the sauce sticks nicely to it. 
  • Pecorino or Parmesan? Freshly grated pecorino cheese is best. You can also use parmesan cheese. Only use freshly grated cheese.
  • Careful with the Eggs: Does your carbonara sauce look like scrambled eggs? If so, something has gone wrong. You may have poured the beaten eggs into the warm pan. To keep the temperature under control and stop the cooking process, it’s best to put the hot pasta into a bowl then toss it.

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Recipe

A plate of authentic Pasta Carbonara topped with crispy pancetta, pecorino cheese, and cracked black pepper.
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 20 minutes
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Ingredients
 
 

  • ½ lb rigatoni or spaghetti noodles , I recommend Barilla or De Cecco brands.
  • ¼ cup pancetta- , or thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • cup Pecorino Romano , or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Slice pancetta into thin (1-inch) strips and quickly brown them. Do not overcook them. Remove the pan from the heat and put the pancetta on paper towels to absorb the excess fat.
  • Grate the pecorino and add the eggs. Beat with a whisk until smooth.
  • Bring water to a boil, adding 10g of salt for each liter of water. Add the pasta and cook until it’s ‘al dente'. Reserve pasta water.
  • Drain pasta and put it into the bowl with the egg mixture. Add a splash of pasta water that you put aside, and toss well. Be careful not to add too much water; otherwise, the carbonara will get too runny.
  • Add remaining pecorino and more water, if needed, to the creamy, smooth sauce.
  • Place pasta on the plate then add the bacon or pancetta. Top with grated pecorino cheese and a sprinkle of black pepper.
  • Serve immediately while still hot.

Notes

Pasta: Choose a long or short pasta, depending on your taste. We like the brands Barilla, De Cecco, and Mezze Maniche. I recommend rigatoni, spaghetti or linguine since the pasta is rough, so the sauce sticks nicely to it. 
Pecorino or Parmesan? Freshly grated pecorino cheese is best. You can also use parmesan cheese. Only use freshly grated cheese.
Careful with the Eggs: Does your carbonara look like scrambled eggs? If so, something has gone wrong. You may have poured the beaten eggs into the warm pan. To keep the temperature under control and stop the cooking process, it’s best to put the hot pasta into a bowl then toss it.

Nutrition

Calories: 762kcalCarbohydrates: 87gProtein: 35gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 330mgSodium: 642mgPotassium: 390mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 528IUCalcium: 416mgIron: 3mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. 5 stars
    This is such an underrated meal in my opinion that a lot of people shy away from, and what people don’t realize is how easy and CHEAP this is with few ingredients, and if you don’t like pancetta you can always replace it with bacon.