Bowl of spaghetti carbonara with grated parmesan

Learn to make spaghetti carbonara

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(47 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 4

Master this hearty pasta dish and you’ll never be stuck for a quick supper

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal734
  • fat36g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs75g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre3g
  • protein33g
  • salt2.95g
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  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 200g smoked pancetta cubes or streaky bacon, chopped



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

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed



    Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most…

  • 3 eggs



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 75ml double cream
  • 50g Grana padano or parmesan, finely grated, plus extra to serve



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


  1. Cook the spaghetti. Bring a large, deep pan of salted water to the boil. Plunge 400g spaghetti into the water, stir well and cook, following pack instructions. Aim for 'al dente': cooked, but retaining some bite in the middle. Take a few strands out of the water with a spaghetti spoon or tongs 1-2 mins before the end of the cooking time and bite into it. Repeat until you think it is properly cooked.

  2. Fry the pancetta. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. When hot, tip in 200g smoked pancetta cubes or chopped streaky bacon. Fry over a medium heat until the fat in the meat has melted down into the pan and the meat has turned lightly golden. Be careful not to crisp the pancetta too much; it will be cooked a little bit more later on in the recipe. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Prepare the sauce. Crack 2 of the eggs into a mixing bowl. Separate the yolk from the third egg: gently crack the side of the shell and, using both hands, slowly open it into two halves over a separate bowl - you want to keep the yolk in one of the halves. Tip the yolk from one shell half to the other and repeat until all the egg white has fallen into the bowl below, taking care not to crack the yolk on any rough shell edges. Tip the yolk in with the other eggs and beat together, along with 75ml double cream, 50g finely grated Grana Padano or parmesan cheese and some seasoning.  

  4. Combine the dish. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves to the pancetta and return frying pan to hob. Fry over high heat for 1 min or until garlic is cooked and pancetta warmed through. Meanwhile, drain spaghetti. Tip back into the hot saucepan off the heat. Pour egg mixture over pasta, followed by hot pancetta, garlic, any fat and oils. Toss quickly and thoroughly with spaghetti spoon or tongs. Mix until it has thickened to a smooth, creamy sauce. Serve with extra cheese and freshly ground pepper. 

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Comments, questions and tips

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8th Sep, 2019
Food snobs!
Kirsty Otto Buckley's picture
Kirsty Otto Buckley
26th Aug, 2019
I have the ingredients, what I can't see on here, quickly, is how to cook them in to an approximation of carbonara!
27th Jun, 2019
This is pasta with creamy cheesy bacon sauce, it IS NOT a carbonara
T's picture
28th Jul, 2019
Bore off please, nobody said anything about it being an "authentic Italian" recipe. Same to all you other absolute melts on here moaning about it, it's a recipe, don't like it, don't make it. I made this CARBONARA recipe and it was absolutely lovely! Tasted like carbonara to me! 5 stars from me!
26th Feb, 2019
Being an Italian/American living in Italy for the past 40 years, I have to agree with most of the negative comments regarding this recipe. It is definitely NOT the real thing! It definitely IS a concoction for British/US tastes and should therefore be called something else. In Italy, for this recipe, we do NOT use: 1: olive oil 2: garlic 3: cream 4: Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano (only Pecorino Romano) I realize that tastes and alimentary ingredients change from one country to another, but this is too much. How many Brits would agree with a "Roastbeef and Yorkshire Pudding" recipe made with pork and muffins??
27th Jun, 2019
I actually think you will find Most British people agree with you
24th Nov, 2018
Carbonara doesn't need no stinkin' double cream, no garlic, and the cheese should be pecorino! Stop lying to the people!
26th Feb, 2019
I agree 100%!!
20th Sep, 2018
Very easy to make and delicious. Didn't have an issue with "scrambling" - I ensured the pan was cool when pouring the egg mix over the pasta. Used 2.5 eggs as recommended.
Garry Braithwaite's picture
Garry Braithwaite
30th Jul, 2018
You don't need the whole egg just the egg yolk otherwise it will scramble. Add the bacon till it's as crispy as you like and add what ever other ingredients you like (mushrooms, chicken ECT.) Cook the ingredients off then add the garlic with butter. Add cream on a gentle heat till warm, then add 1 egg yolk at a time till desired thickness, take off heat and add cheese. Alternately replace the cream with creme fraiche and don't add any egg at all.. that's an easier and healthier option if you desire but still as tasty.


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