Close up of perfect spaghetti carbonara on a plate ready to eat

Ultimate spaghetti carbonara recipe

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(140 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4

Discover how to make our best spaghetti carbonara recipe. This cheesy pasta dish is an Italian favourite and, with a little help from Gennaro Contaldo, you can make it perfect every time

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal655
  • fat31g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs66g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein32g
  • salt2.02g
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  • 100g pancetta



    Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

  • 50g pecorino cheese
  • 50g parmesan



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 3 large eggs
  • 350g spaghetti (De Cecco is very good)
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • Maldon salt and freshly grated black pepper


  1. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Finely chop the pancetta, having first removed any rind. Finely grate both cheeses and mix them together. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, season with a little freshly grated black pepper and set everything aside.

  2. Add 1 tsp salt to the boiling water, add the spaghetti and when the water comes back to the boil, cook at a constant simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until al dente (just cooked).

  3. Squash the garlic with the blade of a knife, just to bruise it. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the pancetta with the garlic. Drop the butter into a large wide frying pan or wok and, as soon as the butter has melted, tip in the pancetta and garlic. Leave these to cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the pancetta is golden and crisp. The garlic has now imparted its flavour, so take it out with a slotted spoon and discard.

  4. Keep the heat under the pancetta on low.When the pasta is ready lift it from the water with a pasta fork or tongs and put it in the frying pan with the pancetta (see left). Don’t worry if a little water drops in the pan as well (you want this to happen) and don’t throw the rest of the pasta water away yet.

  5. Mix most of the cheese in with the eggs, keeping a small handful back for sprinkling over later. Take the pan of spaghetti and pancetta off the heat. Now quickly pour in the eggs and cheese and, using the tongs or a long fork, lift up the spaghetti so it mixes easily with the egg mixture, which thickens but doesn’t scramble, and everything is coated. Add extra pasta cooking water to keep it saucy (several tablespoons should do it). You don’t want it wet, just moist. Season with a little salt, if needed.

  6. Use a long-pronged fork to twist the pasta on to the serving plate or bowl. Serve immediately with a little sprinkling of the remaining cheese and a grating of black pepper. If the dish does get a little dry before serving, splash in some more hot pasta water and the glossy sauciness will be revived.

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Comments, questions and tips

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10th Aug, 2015
It's recipes like this why I love bbcgoodfood so! Gorgeous, creamy, authentic tasting carbonara on the table in 20mins. I've had far worst in restaurants before! I added mushrooms, spring onion and parsley whilst sautéing the bacon. Can't wait to make it again.
4th Aug, 2015
Delicious, quick and easy! Couldn't ask for more really.
14th Jun, 2015
Stunning! This is so easy to make and the result is absolutely gorgeous. I would be happy to have this is a restaurant!
12th Apr, 2015
Made this for the first time yesterday and it was really good! Usually I find that the egg scrambles but it didn't at all- brilliant recipe!
30th Mar, 2015
I thought this recipe was too compliicated, it was awful, I didn't like it at all !
30th Mar, 2015
I've never made this before and am a pretty novice cook so forgive me if this sounds silly, but it sounds like the egg is pretty much raw (or half raw) when you serve the meal? Wouldn't this make you ill? I'm such a worry wart and have no idea about things like this!
vuvoo's picture
31st Mar, 2015
The egg is cooked delicately so that it doesn't taste raw but isn't scrambled - the heat of the freshly boiled spaghetti warms it gently. Carbonara is always made this way, so unfortunately if the level of cooked-ness doesn't sit with you this dish is not the one for you! It is very unlikely to make you ill.
25th Mar, 2015
Delicious and creamy. Easy recipe to follow. I will make this dish again very soon. I added an onion to the dish and it turned out to be the best Carbonara I have ever made.
25th Mar, 2015
Delicious and creamy. Simple and easy recipe. I loved it and will make this dish again. I added an onion to the recipe and it turned out brilliantly. The best Carbonara I have made.
25th Mar, 2015
Delicious and creamy. Simple and easy recipe to follow. I added one onion to the recipe and loved the result. I will try this again.


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