Ultimate Spaghetti Carbonara: A Creamy Roman Classic

Authentic Italian Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Dive into the rich flavors of Rome with this foolproof spaghetti carbonara recipe. Silky eggs, crispy guanciale, and a shower of cheese create pasta perfection in every bite.

Carbonara’s origins are steeped in mystery, but one thing’s certain – this iconic dish has been delighting taste buds for generations. With simple ingredients that pack a flavor punch, it’s no wonder carbonara has become a beloved staple of Italian cuisine.

Our recipe brings together the best of both worlds: authentic techniques and easy-to-follow instructions. Whether you’re a carbonara connoisseur or a first-time pasta maker, you’ll achieve restaurant-quality results right in your own kitchen.

The Secret to Silky Carbonara Success

The key to perfect carbonara lies in mastering the egg sauce. We’ll show you how to create a lusciously creamy coating without scrambling the eggs. Our foolproof method ensures your pasta will be enrobed in velvety perfection every time.

Choosing Your Carbonara Champions

While traditionalists swear by guanciale, we’ll explore tasty alternatives like pancetta and bacon. Each brings its own unique flavor profile to the dish. We’ll also dive into the great egg debate: whole eggs vs. yolks only. Spoiler alert: our recipe strikes the perfect balance for ultimate richness.

Cheese, Please!

No carbonara is complete without a generous shower of cheese. We’ll guide you through selecting the perfect blend of salty Pecorino Romano and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano for that authentic Roman taste.

Let’s Get Cooking: Carbonara Step-by-Step

Ready to bring a taste of Rome to your dinner table? Follow our detailed instructions for carbonara success:


  • Kosher salt (see notes)
  • 1 pound (450g) dried spaghetti (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup diced guanciale, pancetta, or bacon (about 3 ounces; 85g) (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 whole large eggs plus 6 yolks
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (about 1 ounce; 25g), plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 ounce; 25g), plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (ground medium-coarse), plus more for serving


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the perfect al dente texture – tender but with a slight bite.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the flavor base. In a large skillet, combine your chosen pork (guanciale, pancetta, or bacon) with 2 tablespoons (30ml) of olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fat renders and the meat turns crispy and golden – about 7 minutes.
  3. In a large, metal heatproof mixing bowl, create your carbonara sauce. Whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a generous grind of black pepper until well combined.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, use tongs or a strainer to transfer it directly to the skillet with the crisped pork. Don’t discard the pasta water! Add the remaining tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil to the pasta and toss everything together, allowing it to cool slightly. Now, transfer the pasta, pork, and all the flavorful fat into your egg mixture. Measure out 1/2 cup (120ml) of the starchy pasta cooking water and add it to the bowl. Stir well to combine all the elements.
  5. Here’s where the magic happens! Place your mixing bowl over the pot of boiling pasta water, creating a double boiler (ensure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Cook the sauce, stirring rapidly with tongs, until it transforms into a creamy, silky consistency that leaves ribbony trails as you stir. Remove from the heat and taste, adding a pinch of salt if needed. Divide the carbonara among warm bowls and serve immediately. Top with an extra sprinkle of grated cheese and freshly ground pepper for the ultimate Roman experience.

Pro Tips for Carbonara Success

Go easy on the salt when cooking your pasta – remember, you’ll be adding some of that starchy water to your sauce, which already contains salty ingredients. Feel free to swap out spaghetti for another pasta shape like penne if you prefer. Guanciale (cured pork jowl) is the most traditional choice and brings extra richness and spice to the dish. Pancetta offers clean pork flavor, while American bacon adds a subtle smokiness. Choose based on your taste preferences and what’s available.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
799 Calories
35g Fat
87g Carbs
32g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 799
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 44%
Saturated Fat 10g 52%
Cholesterol 397mg 132%
Sodium 1175mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 87g 32%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 205mg 16%
Iron 6mg 32%
Potassium 439mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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