Carbonara Sauce

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This Carbonara recipe is so easy to make and it’s the classic Italian way! The simple Carbonara Sauce uses only eggs, parmesan, and parsley. There’s no cream!

Close up of carbonara sauce over spaghetti noodles.

Spaghetti carbonara is one of those recipes that requires minimal cooking but results in a beautifully creamy sauce. If made right, you don’t need cream to achieve those results.

Our recipe is made the authentic way, with no cream, just egg, cheese, and a splash of starchy pasta water. It’s truly a delight.

The crispy pancetta or bacon adds so much flavor to the pasta. You’ll swear it tastes like it took hours to make.

If you like this recipe, you’ll love our authentic Italian gravy. It’s so rich and flavorful!


You only need a handful of ingredients to make this luxurious carbonara.

Ingredients for carbonara.
  • Pasta: We kept it traditional and used spaghetti, but you can use any pasta you prefer.
  • Pancetta: Key to the ultimate flavor. Feel free to use bacon instead.
  • Eggs: We like to use 2 whole eggs and 6 yolks. This gives the best creamy texture.
  • Cheese: Use a high-quality cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano and grate it yourself. Don’t use pre-grated cheese, it doesn’t melt the same.
  • Parsley: Fresh and roughly chopped for added flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Freshly ground pepper will taste best!

How to Make Carbonara Sauce

It’s fairly simple to make this creamy pasta but the quality of ingredients matters.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

  1. Cook the pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
  2. Cook pancetta: While the pasta cooks, cook the pancetta over medium heat until slightly crispy. Set it aside with all the dripping.
  3. Prepare sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper together.
  4. Combine everything: Drain the pasta reserving one cup of the water. Place the pasta back in the pot and add the pancetta with drippings followed by the egg mixture. Stir until noodles are well coated in sauce. Mix in a splash of pasta water as needed until desired creaminess is achieved.
Cooked bacon pieces in a pan.
Egg and cheese for spaghetti carbonara.
Carbonara in a saucepan.


While adding variations will steer this carbonara sauce away from its true authentic self, you can try these alternatives.

  1. Make it spicy – Add chili pepper flakes to the sauce base.
  2. Garlic – Once the pancetta is nearly done cooking, add some freshly minced garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Cream – Adding cream can enhance the creaminess of the sauce but then you no longer have a true carbonara.
  4. Guanciale -This is a cured Italian pork that is made from pig jowls or cheek that looks like a block of bacon. Traditionally, this is used but can be hard to find. If you see it, I highly recommend that over pancetta or bacon.
Overhead of pasta carbonara in a bowl.


Unfortunately, this is not a recipe that works well as leftovers. But if you do have leftovers, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a microwave. I don’t recommend freezing.


  • Pancetta will taste the best but can be hard to find. If using bacon, choose a thick cut.
  • Once the pasta is drained, don’t return the pan to the heat otherwise the eggs could scramble. The heat of the freshly cooked pasta is all you need to heat the eggs.
  • Use freshly grated cheese rather than store-bought grated cheese. Freshly grated cheese will melt easier yielding a creamier sauce.

Carbonara Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Close up of carbonara sauce over spaghetti noodles.
This Carbonara recipe is so easy to make and it’s the classic Italian way! The simple Carbonara Sauce uses only eggs, parmesan, and parsley. There’s no cream!
Sauce Fanatic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serving Size 6


  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • ½ cup diced pancetta or bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook pancetta or bacon over medium heat until slightly crispy; set aside with all the drippings.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks with Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  • After draining the pasta, return it to the pot and add the pancetta or bacon plus the drippings.
  • Working quickly, add the egg and cheese mixture stirring everything together until the noodles are coated and creamy.
  • Add the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the noodles slightly if the sauce becomes too thick.
  • Transfer to serving bowls and top with additional cheese and ground pepper.


  • Salt: Be careful not to oversalt the pasta water. The sauce contains already salty ingredients and you’ll be using some of the water in the sauce as well.
  • Pasta: You can use any pasta you prefer, this is not limited to spaghetti.
Make ahead: Carbonara will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge but pasta is always best eaten when freshly made.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 268mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 624IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.


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