Spaghetti Carbonara

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


8 servings

Updated: Jan. 09, 2024
Spaghetti carbonara is a classic Italian recipe. The key is to use the hot pasta water to make the dish creamy. If made properly, there is no need to add cream or milk. The dish is luxurious, satisfying, comforting, and easy to make. If you like, you can add peas after you have cooked the pancetta and garlic. Use any pasta you like, but the consistency is usually best with a thicker spaghetti. —Luisa Webb, Fort Collins, Colorado


  • 1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces chopped pancetta
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk eggs and Parmesan; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook and stir until crispy, 5-6 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  3. Drain spaghetti, reserving 3/4 cup pasta water. Add spaghetti to skillet; toss to coat. Slowly add egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and enough pasta water for sauce to reach desired consistency. Sprinkle with parsley, and additional Parmesan if desired.
Spaghetti Carbonara Tips

How can you avoid scrambling the eggs when making spaghetti carbonara?

Classic carbonara recipes include eggs that create a silky, rich sauce for the pasta, although it can be tricky to do perfectly. There are a few tricks for making the signature sauce instead of scrambled eggs. First, start with room temperature eggs, combining them with the Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl. In this particular recipe for spaghetti carbonara, the cooked spaghetti is first added to the hot skillet, which mellows the heat before slowly adding the egg mixture. The residual heat from the skillet and pasta cook the eggs without scrambling them.

How can you make spaghetti carbonara your own?

While this is a fairly standard recipe for spaghetti carbonara, there are plenty of ways to put your own twist on the dish. A simple swap would be trading Parmesan for another aged, hard cheese like Romano or Grana Padano. You could also use guanciale instead of pancetta. (Guanciale is also a cured meat, but it's from the cheeks or jowls instead of the pork belly.)

What do you serve with spaghetti carbonara?

When you think about side dishes to serve with spaghetti, spanning all the different ways to make spaghetti—lightly dressed green vegetables are always a match, and that's true for this carbonara, too. Consider a leafy green salad with a lemon vinaigrette or roasted asparagus with tomatoes to offset the filling, rich main dish. Simple green bean recipes or shaved Brussels sprouts would be great, too.

Peggy Woodward, Taste of Home Senior Food Editor

Nutrition Facts

1 cup : 337 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 539mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 14g protein.