Once you see that the only fancy thing is the name of the dish, not the ingredients or the method for this recipe, you’ll be inspired to make it!
What is Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara is a traditional Italian dish made with cheese, eggs, and bacon (or pancetta). You add pasta water to thin it out and you get a delicious velvety sauce to serve with spaghetti.
I had the best spaghetti carbonara in Rome when I was pregnant with my first child. I still remember the Italian waiter bringing the fragrant bowl of pasta to the table. I didn’t make this dish for years because I thought making it was complicated. It sounded fancy until I made it! Now, it’s one I regularly make for my family.
While there are not a lot of spices in the dish, the toasted bacon flavor is one I love smelling every time I am cooking it. I mean, really, everything is better with bacon, right?
Can You Make Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon?
While traditional Spaghetti Carbonara is made pancetta, this recipe uses bacon: it’s just as delicious and easier to find at the grocery store! You probably already have bacon in your fridge, don’t you?
It sounds fancy. It sounds complicated. Guess what? It’s none of those things! You’ll find the measurements in the recipe card below, but first, let’s check how simple the ingredient list is:
- Spaghetti: regular, whole-wheat, or gluten-free spaghetti.
- Bacon: regular bacon, turkey bacon, or pancetta. Just make sure you cook it crunchy!
- Onion: cooked with bacon, makes a drool-worthy base for this dish.
- Garlic: add fresh garlic cloves minced for more deliciousness.
- Parmesan cheese: a traditional carbonara sauce ingredient.
- Eggs: adds a rich flavor and velvety texture.
- Ground black pepper: for seasoning.
- Reserved pasta water: you’ll need it to thin out the sauce. Don’t omit it!
- Parsley: for garnish.
How to Make Bacon Carbonara Spaghetti
A dinner recipe that comes together in one skillet in less than 20 minutes is always a winner! And if it tastes as incredible as this Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon, we have a new family favorite! Bonus: leftovers make a terrific thermos lunch. Win-win! Check out how easily you can prep this meal:
- Cook the pasta
You want to cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Reserve pasta water
Before you drain the pasta, reserve ½ cup of pasta water. I personally like to reserve a little extra in case I need it.
- Cook the bacon
You start cooking the chopped bacon until it’s almost crispy.
- Sauté the veggies
To the mostly cooked bacon, add the onion and garlic. You don’t need any oil because the bacon grease adds flavor!
- Make the egg mixture
This will be added at the end but it’s great to have the egg and Parmesan mixture ready on hand.
- Add the pasta
Once the onions and bacon are ready we add the cooked pasta to the pan and combine.
- Make the carbonara sauce
Pour the egg mixture on top of the pasta, stir, and immediately begin to add the pasta water to thin it out into a sauce.
I love topping this pasta with additional parmesan cheese.
If you’ve never made spaghetti carbonara with bacon before, you’ll love this quick video:
You know what else is great inside a skillet? My skillet lasagna recipe. That’s another mid-week meal that comes to the rescue inside my handy skillet.
Are the Eggs Fully Cooked?
Yes! The egg and parmesan mixture is cooked with the heat of the pasta in the pan, and by adding the reserved pasta water, it’s turning into the carbonara sauce.
Can You Make Spaghetti Carbonara Ahead?
The only step you can make ahead is to boil the pasta and store it in the fridge along with the pasta water inside a jar. This will cut the time of your dish to about 7 minutes total. Then, the entire recipe comes together inside a large skillet.
If you don’t make the pasta ahead, spaghetti carbonara with bacon is still a super quick recipe that takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish!
What to Serve with Spaghetti Carbonara
This Spaghetti Carbonara with Bacon is one of those dinner ideas my family can’t live without! How can we make it even better? Add a delicious protein, like this simple Baked Salmon or these tasty Pesto Chicken Thighs, or indulge yourself with popovers!
Easy Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe
- ½ pound dried spaghetti
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- ¾ cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- Parsley, chopped, for garnish
Cook the pasta:
- In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook pasta, until al dente. When pasta is ready; reserve ½ cup of pasta water, drain pasta, and set aside. I personally like to reserve a little extra in case I need it.
Make the sauce:
- In a large skillet, saute bacon over medium-heat high.
- When bacon is browned and just beginning to crisp, add garlic and onion. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is brown and crisp and onions are translucent.
- In a separate dish, whisk together eggs, parmesan, pepper and set aside.
- Turn heat to low and add the drained pasta to the onion, garlic, and bacon in the skillet. Mix pasta and cooked bacon and pour egg mixture over pasta.
- Working quickly, use tongs to toss and combine pasta with egg, bacon, and onions. If pasta is too dry, add a tablespoon of reserved pasta water at a time, until a creamy consistency is reached. This will create the carbonara sauce.
- Garnish with parsley, black pepper, and additional parmesan cheese.