Spaghetti carbonara recipe

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This spaghetti carbonara recipe is a classic Italian dish. It's quick and easy to make with egg, Parmesan and plenty of pancetta. Our recipe is a favourite

spaghetti carbonara
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)
Preparation Time5 mins
Cooking Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories591 Kcal30%
Sugar3.3 g4%
Fat26.4 g38%
Saturated Fat10.5 g53%
Salt1.2 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein27.1 g54%
Carbohydrates65.5 g25%
Salt1.2 gRow 7 - Cell 2

Spaghetti carbonara comes straight from Lazio, the region around Rome where the dish was first invented. 

As one of the most famous Italian dishes, spaghetti carbonara has a reputation for being tricky to make - but it’s actually very easy and takes just 15 minutes to prep and cook. With just six ingredients, this spaghetti carbonara recipe uses salty pancetta, plenty of Parmesan and a clove of garlic to infuse the spaghetti with as much flavour as possible. Even in Italy, alternatives such as bacon lardons are regularly substituted for the pancetta as they’re easier to get hold of and cheaper. Fettuccine, rigatoni, linguine or bucatini are also regularly used instead of spaghetti for something a little different. 


  • 175g spaghetti or linguine
  • 65g diced pancetta, or smoked streaky bacon, snipped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 egg, plus 2 yolks
  • 25g Parmesan, grated




  1. Boil the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water.
  2. Add oil to a frying pan and fry pancetta for a few minutes until golden and crisp. Add garlic, fry for 1 minute, then turn off the heat.
  3. Lightly whisk egg and yolks with most of the Parmesan and some salt and pepper (reserve a little to garnish).
  4. Drain pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water.
  5. Add eggs and 1 tbsp cooking water to the pasta, then mix until pasta is coated and creamy. Stir in the pancetta and garlic then serve, topped with the remaining Parmesan.

Tips for making spaghetti carbonara:

Don’t be tempted to add other ingredients to your carbonara, such as cream. This won’t prevent the pasta from being dry, as is a common worry. Instead, it will just make the dish heavier and more liquidated. If you find that your pasta is drier than you’d like, add more pasta water while cooking. 

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Jessica Dady
Senior Content Editor

Jessica Dady is Senior Content Editor at and has over 10 years of experience as a digital journalist, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the best food hampers to cookbooks, from the best cake stands to baking sets, Jessica has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to must-have food products. A passionate baker, she spends much of her time creating celebration cakes for friends and family - particularly for her two lucky children.