Spaghetti with Bacon Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
This bacon pasta recipe is a simple, crowd-pleasing dish perfect for weeknight meals. Combining crispy bacon with a slow-simmered tomato sauce and al dente spaghetti, it’s a comfort food classic.

Updated: Jul. 02, 2024

Bring comfort to your dinner table with our irresistible bacon pasta, a dish that combines the savory flavors of crispy bacon and rich tomato sauce, all perfectly paired with tender spaghetti. It’s quick and easy to prepare, making it a great meal for busy weeknights.

If you love traditional Italian carbonara, this bacon pasta recipe will be a great addition to your weeknight meals. While spaghetti carbonara is a creamy sauce made from guanciale, an egg mixture (or heavy cream), we’ve swapped out the egg for a rich tomato sauce that allows the bacon to shine. Enjoy a taste of home with every satisfying bite!

Bacon Pasta Ingredients

  • Spaghetti: Spaghetti provides a firm base that absorbs the rich flavors of the sauce and bacon, creating a satisfying bite with each forkful. Bucatini is another pasta shape that works well here. For a gluten-free option, use rice or quinoa pasta.
  • Bacon strips: Chopped bacon adds a crispy, smoky element to the dish, enhancing the overall flavor profile with its savory richness. In a pinch, diced ham or prosciutto will work nicely.
  • Onion: One chopped medium onion add a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor, balancing the bacon’s smokiness and the tomatoes’ acidity. Shallots can be used for a milder taste, or leeks for a slightly sweeter and more delicate flavor.
  • Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes provide a juicy, tangy base for the sauce, adding freshness and a bit of acidity that complements the bacon and onions. Fresh cherry tomatoes can also be used, and fire-roasted tomatoes can be used for a smokier flavor.
  • Tomato sauce: This creates a cohesive, rich sauce that binds all the ingredients together, ensuring every bite is flavorful and moist. Crushed tomatoes can be used for a chunkier texture, or a tomato-based marinara sauce for added herbs and spices.
  • Parsley (optional): Minced parsley adds a bright, fresh finish to the dish, providing a mild herbal note. Fresh basil or oregano can be used instead, or the garnish can be omitted entirely if preferred.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the spaghetti

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large pot, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until it reaches an al dente texture. Drain and set aside.

Editor’s Tip: Cooking the pasta al dente ensures it has the perfect texture to absorb the sauce flavors without becoming mushy.

Step 2: Cook the bacon and onions

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon and onions until the bacon is crispy, stirring occasionally. Drain any excess grease from the skillet.

Editor’s Tip: To reduce fat and facilitate cleanup, place the cooked bacon and onion mixture on a paper towel-lined plate before returning it to the skillet.  

Step 3: Make the sauce

Add the undrained tomatoes and tomato sauce to the skillet with the bacon and onion. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Editor’s Tip: Simmering helps meld the flavors together, creating a rich, cohesive sauce.

Step 4: Combine and bake

Transfer the pasta to a greased an 11×7-inch baking dish, then pour the sauce evenly over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, 40 to 45 minutes. Top the dish with fresh parsley before serving, if desired. 

Editor’s Tip: Serve with garlic bread or hearty Tuscan Italian bread to soak up any leftover sauce. 

Bacon Pasta Variations

  • Make a spicy sauce: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes while the sauce simmers.
  • Add a cheesy twist: Sprinkle shredded mozzarella or Parmesan cheese over the top during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  • Lighten the dish: Easy swaps such as turkey bacon, low-sodium tomato sauce and whole wheat spaghetti add additional fiber, making a heart-healthy version. 

How to Store Bacon Pasta 

Once the dish is completely cool, the pasta will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How long does bacon pasta last? 

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

Can you make bacon tomato pasta ahead of time? 

Yes, you can prepare components in advance, like cooking the pasta and bacon ahead of time, though the bacon may not retain its crispy texture. Once you’re ready to make your dish, reheat the pasta and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Bacon Pasta Tips

Does bacon cook in sauce?

While the bacon may slowly cook in the sauce, it is not enough to ensure that it’s fully cooked before serving. Therefore, it’s best to cook it beforehand to achieve the desired crispiness and safety.

What is the best way to cook bacon?

If you’re looking for a stress-free and splatter-free way to cook bacon, try cooking it in the oven on a baking sheet. This method ensures that crispy bacon is evenly cooked without mess.

What can I do with leftover bacon grease?

Leftover bacon grease can be a flavorful addition to many dishes. Use it to saute vegetables, fry eggs or add a rich, smoky flavor to soups and stews. Be sure to strain it thoroughly before storing it in the refrigerator for future use.

Can you cook bacon without oil?

Yes, in fact, oil is not needed to cook bacon. Bacon releases its own fat as it cooks, providing enough grease to cook it evenly and achieve a crispy texture.

Spaghetti with Bacon

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 40 min
Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook spaghetti according to package directions for al dente.
  2. In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until bacon is crisp, stirring occasionally; drain. Stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce; bring to a boil.
  3. Drain spaghetti; transfer to a greased 11x7-in. baking dish. Spread sauce over top. Bake, covered, until bubbly, 40-45 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 159 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 498mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.

As children, we always requested this dish for our birthday dinners. Our mother got the recipe from her grandmother. Now I pass on our tasty tradition. —Ruth Keogh, North St. Paul, Minnesota
Recipe Creator