Spaghetti alla Carbonara


Carbonara is made with guanciale (cured pork), eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, spaghetti pasta, and lots of black pepper. Italians don't add extra ingredients like cream, milk, garlic, or onions. Try this recipe if you want to make an authentic, creamy carbonara that comes straight from Italy, where I live. Buon appetito!

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

This classic spaghetti alla carbonara recipe is smooth, creamy, and full of rich Italian flavor. 

What Is Spaghetti alla Carbonara?

Carbonara is a Roman dish made with eggs, hard cheese, and cured pork. Its signature rich and silky sauce comes from beaten eggs tossed with hot pasta. The trick to making carbonara is making sure the pasta is hot enough to cook the eggs, but not so hot that they curdle. 

Spaghetti alla Carbonara Ingredients

These are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make homemade spaghetti alla carbonara recipe: 

  • Oil: This traditional Italian recipe starts with olive oil.  
  • Guanciale: Buy guanciale (or cured pork cheek) at your local butcher. If you can’t find it, you can substitute unsmoked bacon or pancetta.
  • Spaghetti: Use store-bought or homemade spaghetti noodles. If you like, you can substitute bucatini for the spaghetti. 
  • Eggs: Three large eggs add richness and flavor. 
  • Cheese: Opt for hand-shredded Pecorino Romano cheese. You can substitute Parmesan, if preferred.
  • Seasonings: This flavorful spaghetti alla carbonara is simply seasoned with salt and pepper. 

How to Make Spaghetti alla Carbonara

You’ll find the full, step-by-step recipe below (with photos) — but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect when you make traditional spaghetti alla carbonara: 

  1. Cook the pork in olive oil until browned and crispy, then drain on paper towels.
  2. Boil the spaghetti in salted water. Drain and return to the pot. Let cool.
  3. Whisk the eggs, 1/2 of the cheese, and some pepper in a bowl until smooth.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, stirring quickly, until creamy.
  5. Stir in the pork, then top with the remaining cheese and more black pepper.

Notes and tips from the chef

  • Ask somebody to hold the pot so you can stir pasta quickly while pouring the egg mixture over it.
  • Please note the addition of reserved pasta water when using the magazine version of this recipe.

What to Serve With Spaghetti alla Carbonara

In need of serving inspiration for spaghetti alla carbonara? Explore our collection of 16 of the Best Side Dishes to Pair With Your Spaghetti Dinner. Here are few of the mouthwatering recipes you’ll find: 

How to Store Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Store your leftover spaghetti alla carbonara in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stove. 

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

“One of our family favorites,” says one Allrecipes community member. “Great and simple recipe! I use pancetta from Trader Joe's instead of guanciale.”

“So easy and so yummy,” raves Vicki. “Be sure to save the pasta water.”

“Added sun-dried tomatoes and chili flakes for a kick,” according to Timothy Blake Schritter. “My wife and four kids all agree, this is our favorite pasta.”

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 1 pound guanciale (cured pork cheek), diced

  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti

  • 3 large eggs

  • 10 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add guanciale (see Cook's Note). Cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and crispy, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

    overhead of frying guanciale in pan with wooden spoon

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until tender yet firm to the bite, about 9 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Let cool, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

    overhead of boiled pasta and guanciale

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  3. Whisk eggs, 1/2 of the Pecorino Romano cheese, and some black pepper in a bowl until smooth and creamy.

    overhead of carbonara pasta sauce mixture

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Pour egg mixture over pasta, stirring quickly, until creamy and slightly cooled. Stir in guanciale. Top with remaining Pecorino Romano cheese and more black pepper.

    overhead of carbonara pasta in bowl with tongs

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Cook's Note:

Guanciale, dry-cured pork jowl, is available from specialty markets. Substitute unsmoked bacon or pancetta for the guanciale if desired.

Use Italian pasta for best results. Substitute bucatini for the spaghetti if preferred.

Substitute Parmesan cheese for the Pecorino Romano if desired.

Ask somebody to hold the pot so you can stir pasta quickly while pouring the egg mixture over it.

Please note the addition of reserved pasta water when using the magazine version of this recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

764 Calories
28g Fat
85g Carbs
39g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 764
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 10g 51%
Cholesterol 200mg 67%
Sodium 1182mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 85g 31%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 39g
Calcium 245mg 19%
Iron 5mg 28%
Potassium 527mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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