5-Ingredient Spaghetti Carbonara

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You’re in luck! If you’re craving a delicious and fuss-free meal, then this 5-Ingredient Spaghetti Carbonara recipe is just what you need. With only five simple ingredients, you can whip up a mouthwatering plate of this classic Italian dish in no time. Perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles coated in a creamy sauce made from eggs, bacon, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper; each bite is a pure delight. Get ready to satisfy your taste buds with this quick and easy recipe that’s sure to become a family favorite.


To make a delicious spaghetti carbonara, you will need the following ingredients:


Spaghetti is the star of the dish. It is a long, thin pasta that cooks up to a perfect al dente texture, providing a hearty base for the carbonara sauce.


Eggs are an essential component of carbonara, as they create a rich and creamy sauce when combined with the other ingredients. Make sure to use fresh eggs for the best results.

Pancetta or Bacon

Pancetta or bacon adds a savory and slightly salty flavor to the carbonara. Pancetta, an Italian cured meat, is traditionally used in carbonara, but bacon can be a delicious substitute.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese lends a nutty and salty taste to the carbonara. Using freshly grated Parmesan will provide a bolder flavor.

Black Pepper

Black pepper adds a subtle hint of spiciness and depth of flavor to the carbonara. Freshly ground black pepper is recommended for the best taste.


Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to prepare your spaghetti carbonara. Follow these steps to create a mouthwatering dish:

Cook the Pasta

Start by cooking the spaghetti according to the instructions on the package. It is important to cook the pasta al dente, which means it should be cooked until it is firm to the bite. This ensures that the pasta maintains its texture when combined with the sauce.

Prepare the Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the carbonara sauce. In a mixing bowl, crack the eggs and beat them until well combined. Grate the Parmesan cheese and set it aside. In a skillet, cook the pancetta or bacon until crispy. Remove the cooked pancetta or bacon from the skillet and set it aside, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet.

Combine Pasta and Sauce

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the skillet with the rendered fat from the pancetta or bacon. Toss the pasta in the fat, allowing it to get coated evenly. Next, pour the beaten eggs over the pasta and quickly toss it to coat all the strands. The residual heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, creating a creamy and silky sauce. Add the cooked pancetta or bacon back to the skillet and mix it with the pasta.

Serve and Garnish

Transfer the carbonara pasta to individual serving plates or a large platter. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top, giving it an extra layer of richness. Finish it off with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper to enhance the flavor. Serve the spaghetti carbonara immediately while it is still warm.

Additional Tips

To make your spaghetti carbonara truly exceptional, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Choosing the Right Pasta

When selecting spaghetti for carbonara, opt for a high-quality brand. The texture and flavor of the pasta will significantly affect the overall dish. Look for spaghetti made from durum wheat, as it has a firm texture that will hold up well with the sauce.

Cooking the Pasta al Dente

To achieve the perfect al dente texture, follow the cooking time suggested on the pasta package, but check the pasta a minute or two earlier. The pasta should still have a slight bite to it when you bite into it. Remember, the pasta will continue to cook slightly when combined with the sauce.

Using Pancetta or Bacon

While pancetta is the traditional choice for carbonara, bacon can be a delicious alternative. If using bacon, opt for thick-cut, high-quality bacon for the best flavor. Remove any excessive fat from the bacon before cooking it.

Grating Fresh Parmesan Cheese

For the best taste, always grate your Parmesan cheese from a block. Pre-packaged grated Parmesan tends to have a drier texture and a milder flavor. Grating the cheese fresh ensures that it will melt into the sauce, providing a rich and nutty taste.

Adjusting the Sauce Consistency

If you find that the sauce is too thick, you can add a little pasta cooking water to loosen it up. Reserve a cup of the starchy cooking water before draining the pasta. Add a splash at a time to the pasta and sauce mixture until you achieve the desired consistency.


While the classic spaghetti carbonara is divine on its own, you can also experiment with different variations to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

Vegetarian Carbonara

For a meat-free version, substitute the pancetta or bacon with sautéed mushrooms. The earthy flavors of the mushrooms will add depth to the dish.

Adding Vegetables

To incorporate more veggies into your carbonara, you can sauté some greens like spinach or kale and add them to the pasta. This will give your dish a vibrant and nutritious boost.

Creamy Carbonara

For an extra creamy carbonara, add a splash of heavy cream to the beaten eggs before combining them with the pasta. This variation will create a luscious and velvety sauce.

Spicy Carbonara

If you enjoy a bit of heat, you can add crushed red pepper flakes or diced jalapeños to the pancetta or bacon while it cooks. This will infuse the dish with a spicy kick.

Light Carbonara

For a lighter version of carbonara, use turkey bacon instead of traditional bacon or pancetta. You can also reduce the amount of cheese or use a lighter cheese alternative.

Common Mistakes

While making spaghetti carbonara is relatively simple, there are a few common mistakes to avoid to ensure your dish turns out perfectly:

Overcooking the Eggs

To prevent the eggs from curdling or turning into a scrambled mess, make sure to quickly toss the pasta with the beaten eggs. The residual heat from the pasta should be sufficient to cook the eggs without overcooking them.

Using Too Much Cheese

While Parmesan cheese is crucial in carbonara, using too much can overpower the dish. Be mindful of the amount of cheese you use and grate it finely to distribute it evenly throughout the pasta.

Skipping the Pancetta/Bacon

The pancetta or bacon adds a depth of flavor to carbonara. Skipping this ingredient will result in a less savory dish. If you prefer a vegetarian version, make sure to substitute it with other flavorful ingredients like sautéed mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes.

Not Seasoning Properly

Carbonara relies on the pancetta or bacon and Parmesan cheese for seasoning. However, it is essential to taste the dish before serving and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed to enhance the flavors.

Using the Wrong Pasta

Spaghetti is the traditional choice for carbonara due to its ability to hold the sauce well. Using a different type of pasta, such as penne or bowtie, may not provide the same balance between the pasta and the sauce. Stick with spaghetti for the best results.

Now that you have all the necessary information and tips, you are ready to whip up a fantastic spaghetti carbonara. Enjoy the rich and creamy flavors of this classic Italian dish, and don’t be afraid to add your own twist to it!