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Bacon Carbonara

This Bacon Carbonara recipe is a simple, delicious twist on the classic original. Creamy seasoned pasta combined with crispy bacon!

AN EASY WEEKNIGHT PASTA RECIPE

This Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my favorite meals. I usually have all the ingredients on hand and it doesn’t take long to put together. Once you make this recipe, you’ll soon know it by heart and it will quickly become one of your “go-to” recipes. It’s a perfect weeknight meal, lunch or brunch. Leftovers taste amazing too! So if you want a quick, easy and effortless pasta dish then you need to make this Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara recipe!

Fork holding up some Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara over a plate.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Do I have to use bacon?

Traditional Italian carbonara recipes use pancetta. Any form of pork usually works. I just happen to prefer bacon and its something I always have on hand. (American) Bacon also adds a light smoked flavor that I think really adds something special in this recipe. However, if you want, you can substitute pancetta to make this more traditional.

Can I use pre-shredded parmesan cheese?

Yes. Although, since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, you really want to get the best out of each ingredient so freshly grated cheese really is the way to go.

Are the eggs still raw in this dish?

Actually, the eggs cook using the residual heat of the noodles. Just be sure to stir them in really well. If you’re still concerned, just use pasteurized eggs in this.

Can I substitute the cheese for another kind?

The best substitution for the Parmesan cheese would be Romano cheese. Any other type of cheese might end up being too “stringy.” Parmesan and Romano cheeses are good, hard cheeses that hold up well to heat.

Can I add any vegetables to this?

Peas are a common addition to this dish. You could add 1 cup of cooked peas to this for the extra flavor and color! Add them after making sure the egg and cheese mixture is thoroughly incorporated.  

Should I add oil to the water before cooking pasta?

No. Do not add oil. It sounds like it would make sense to keep the pasta from sticking together, right? But it actually ends up giving you slippery pasta that doesn’t want to hold on to any sauces. As long as you stir the pasta regularly as it cooks, it won’t stick together.

Why do you add salt to boiling water before adding the pasta?

The only time you will ever be able to properly season the pasta itself is while it cooks in the water. Once water comes to a gentle boil, add a generous amount of sea salt or kosher salt to the water (about 2 tablespoons.) Then add the pasta – stirring frequently.

Why do you reserve one cup of the pasta water after the pasta is done cooking?

Pasta releases starch as it cooks. It then leaves behind a slightly salty and starchy water. This water is great for thickening sauces.

How do I store?

Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara can be kept in an airtight container or ziptop bag in the refrigerator for up to four days. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers.

What is the best way to reheat?

The best way to reheat this is actually on the stove. Add about 2 teaspoons olive oil to a skillet or dutch oven over low-medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the pasta stirring it well to heat through.

Close up of fork twirling some of the Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • spaghetti
  • eggs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • bacon
  • garlic
  • salt
Ingredients needed: spaghetti, eggs, parmesan cheese, pepper, bacon, garlic, salt and parsley.

HOW TO MAKE BACON CARBONARA:

Cook the pasta in generously salted water according to package directions (al dente). Drain the pasta. Don’t rinse the cooked pasta.

cooked spaghetti noodles draining in a strainer.

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, and set aside.

Reserved cooking water shown in a measuring cup.

Add the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper together in a small bowl.

Eggs, parmesan cheese, and pepper shown in a white bowl.

Whisk until combined. Set this aside.

eggs, parmesan cheese, and black pepper being whisked together in a white bowl.

Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. You want it to be brown and crispy, it will take 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain the excess fat from the skillet (all but about 1 tablespoon). Crumble and set aside.

fully cooked bacon in a large white skillet.

Add the garlic to the skillet and let it cook in the bacon grease for about 2 minutes. Don’t let it burn. Reduce to low heat.

minced garlic cooking in bacon grease in a large white skillet.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet. 

cooked spaghetti added to a large skillet.

Add ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the skillet. 

Reserved pasta water being poured into a skillet with cooked spaghetti.

Toss this all together with tongs. 

Spaghetti being tossed in skillet with water and garlic using metal tongs.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the parmesan, egg, and pepper mixture.

Egg mixture being poured over cooked spaghetti noodles.

Immediately use tongs to gently combine allowing the spaghetti to be coated. (If you allow the egg to sit, it may cook into a clump.)  The eggs will cook from the residual heat on the spaghetti.

Metal tongs tossing spaghetti carbonara mixture together in skillet.

Add crumbled bacon.

cooked and crumbled Bacon added on top of cooked spaghetti in skillet.

Then toss everything together.

Tongs combining bacon into spaghetti mixture in skillet.

If the dish is too dry for your taste, you may gradually add the desired amount of the reserved pasta water. Add salt to taste. (Try it first, the bacon and Parmesan cheese does add its own saltiness.)

Overhead photo of Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara in a large white skillet.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Square image of Bacon Spaghetti Carbonara overhead

Bacon Carbonara

This Bacon Carbonara recipe is a simple, delicious twist on the classic original. Creamy seasoned pasta combined with crispy bacon!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 cloves freshly minced garlic
  • sea or kosher salt, to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley and more Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in generously salted water according to package directions (al dente). Drain the pasta. Do not rinse the cooked pasta.
  • Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and set aside.
  • Add the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper together in a small bowl.
  • Whisk until combined. Set this aside.
  • Fry the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. You want it to be brown and lightly crispy. it will take 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan and drain the excess fat from the skillet (all but about 1 tablespoon). Crumble the bacon and set aside.
  • Add the minced garlic to the bacon grease in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Don't let the garlic burn. Reduce to low heat.
  • Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet.
  • Add ½ cup of the reserved cooking water to the skillet.
  • Toss this all together with tongs.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the Parmesan, egg, and pepper mixture.
  • Immediately use tongs to gently combine allowing the spaghetti to be coated. (If you allow the eggs to sit, it may cook into a clump.) The eggs will cook from the residual heat on the spaghetti.
  • Add crumbled bacon then continue to toss everything together again.
  • If the dish is too dry for your taste, you may gradually add the desired amount of the reserved pasta water (stirring as you add.)
  • Add salt to taste. Taste it first, the bacon and Parmesan cheese adds its own saltiness.

Notes

  • You can substitute the Parmesan for Romano cheese.
  • Pancetta can be used instead of bacon.
  • Peas can be added for more color and flavor.
  • You want to use a large enough skillet that will be able to hold all of the cooked spaghetti without running over.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 717kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 655mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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