This Chicken Carbonara is a luxurious pasta dinner that takes just 15 minutes to prep! Perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles are tossed with crispy bacon and tender chicken in a silky smooth cream sauce.
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Easy pasta recipes are always a hit when our days are busy! This Chicken Carbonara is quick to prepare but feels fancy enough for a special occasion.
If Carbonara pasta weren’t good enough already, you add tender, flavorful chicken to it and it takes the meal to a whole new level!
This recipe is super simple and results in the most decadent pasta dinner. It’s made with spaghetti noodles and crispy bacon and tossed in a light, yet rich and flavorful cream sauce.
Chicken Carbonara always makes me feel like I’m eating at a fancy Italian restaurant…but I get to stay in my comfy clothes and eat right at home.
What is Chicken Carbonara?
Carbonara is an Italian pasta dish that consists of spaghetti and bacon tossed in a delicate cream sauce that’s made up of eggs, parmesan, black pepper, and cream.
Chicken carbonara is just that but with added chicken…and it’s so good!
This chicken carbonara is made up of a super simple list of ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your fridge or pantry!
- Spaghetti: or another similarly shaped pasta.
- Bacon: I recommend using thick-cut bacon.
- Onion: be sure to finely chop the onion.
- Chicken Breast: you’ll need two boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into 1″ pieces. If you have leftover shredded chicken, feel free to use that instead!
- Garlic: use freshly minced garlic for the best flavor.
- Eggs: you’ll use 4 full large eggs.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: creates an ultra creamy texture for the sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese: I definitely recommend using freshly shredded parmesan cheese for the best flavor and texture.
- Seasonings: you just need salt and black pepper to give this pasta dinner just the right amount of flavor.
How to make Chicken Carbonara
This delicious pasta dinner takes just 15 minutes to prep!
- Cook the pasta: Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water according to package directions. When it’s cooked, drain, but reserve cup of the pasta water.
- Brown the bacon: In a large skillet, cook the bacon until browned. Drain on a paper towel.
- Cook the onion and chicken: Cook the onion until softened, then add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked through. The onion will turn a lovely golden brown while the chicken cooks.
- Make the sauce: Whisk together eggs, cream, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Add that mixture to the pan along with the bacon and ¼ cup of the pasta water. Stir until the sauce comes together.
- Combine and serve: Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, thin with additional pasta water if needed, then serve with parmesan and parsley!
Carbonara Pasta FAQs
Traditionally, carbonara is made using spaghetti noodles so that’s what I went with for this recipe. However, you can really use any other similarly shaped pasta. Try linguine, bucatini, fettuccine, vermicelli, etc.
Yes! The eggs cook off of the residual heat in the hot pan. The low heat creates a silky smooth texture. Definitely do not cook on high heat or the eggs will scramble!
If you’re still unsure about the eggs in this pasta recipe, be sure to use pasteurized eggs as they are safe to eat even if not cooked fully.
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, warm on the stove with a splash of cream. I don’t recommend freezing this pasta because the texture of the sauce will be affected.
Tips and tricks
- Reserve the pasta water. Don’t forget to set aside 1 cup of the pasta water. The starchy water is mixed into the sauce to create a thicker, creamier texture.
- Cook the eggs carefully. Add the eggs to the pan with the heat off or on medium-low heat. If it’s set too high, the eggs will scramble and the sauce will not be smooth.
- Grate your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheeses contain an anti-caking agent that can result in a grainy texture. I recommend shredded your own cheese for a smoother sauce!
- Add veggies. “Healthify” this recipe by cooking more veggies with the onion. Try mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, peas, broccoli, red pepper, etc.
- Spice it up. Prefer a kick of spice in your creamy pastas? Add in red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper!
Carbonara pasta is best served right away so the texture of the sauce is just right!
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- 375 grams spaghetti (about ¾ pound)
- 3 strips thick cut bacon (chopped)
- ½ onion (finely chopped)
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (300-400 grams) cut into 1" pieces
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti to al dente according to the package instructions.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain.
- In the same skillet, cook the onion until softened. Add the chicken pieces and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes on medium high heat (checking that the internal temperature is 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer is the best way to know if it's done).
- Add the garlic to the chicken and cook 1 minute. Turn off the heat but leave the skillet on the stove.
- Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1 cup pasta water, and add pasta to the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
- Add bacon and egg mixture to pan, stir in ¼ cup pasta water and continue stirring and adding pasta water until the sauce comes together. If desired, you can turn the skillet on to medium-low heat to cook the sauce, though there is enough heat in the pan to cook the eggs.
- Serve with fresh Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley if desired.
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