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Spaghetti carbonara plated up with cutlery.
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5 from 10 votes

Easy Carbonara Sauce

Learn how to make classic carbonara sauce recipe the Italian way & without any cream. Quick, easy, fuss-free dinner your family will love with added peas for kids!
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Carbonara Sauce, Spaghetti Carbonara
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 788kcal
Author Jo Allison


  • 40 g unsalted butter see notes
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and bashed
  • 90 g smoked pancetta or bacon lardons
  • 450 g spaghetti or pasta shape of your choice
  • 4 large eggs lightly whisked
  • 100 g parmesan finely grated
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 g frozen peas optional
  • extra freshly ground black pepper & extra parmesan to serve


  • Put the large pan of salted water to boil and cook spaghetti as per package instructions. 
  • In the meantime, in a large shallow pan melt your butter and add peeled and bashed garlic cloves and pancetta. Fry for few minutes until garlic does its job infusing butter and pancetta is nice and crisp. 
  • While pancetta is cooking, whisk your eggs in a bowl or a jug and add freshly grated parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and set aside.
  • When your pancetta is nice and crisp, discard the garlic and add frozen peas.  Keep the pan on low heat for couple of minutes until the peas have defrosted and warmed through when you take the pan off the heat completely. If not using the peas take the pan off the heat once your pancetta is nice and crisp.
  • Your pasta should be ready by now and instead of draining it, use long kitchen tongs or special spaghetti serving spoon and transfer spaghetti straight from the pot it was cooking in to your pan with bacon and peas (keep that pan off the heat). You could drain your pasta in a colander if you wanted to instead but make sure to keep some of the pasta water to add to your pan with pasta, bacon and peas. It will be a base for your sauce.
  • Once you have transferred all your spaghetti and keeping the pan off the heat add your egg/parmesan mixture to the pasta pan and mix using wooden spatula and/or kitchen tongs making sure that pasta is nicely covered. The residual heat from the pasta will cook your egg mixture but as long as your pan is off the heat and you mix everything promptly and thoroughly, your eggs won't scramble and you will have lovely, cheesy, silky sauce. 
  • Plate up and serve immediately with some more grated parmesan and freshly ground pepper!


  • Nutritional information is approximate, per serving and should be treated as a guideline only. 
  • You can use oil/olive oil instead of butter to crisp up your pancetta/bacon.
  • Make sure you salt the water you cook your pasta in generously. It might be obvious but you would be surprised how many people don’t salt their water enough and end up with bland pasta which when you rely on so few ingredients in your sauce, wouldn’t be a good thing.
  • There is no need to add any salt to eggs and parmesan mixture only freshly ground black pepper. Both smoky bacon/pancetta and parmesan provide enough saltiness and if your pasta water has been salted generously, you’re good to go.
  • Don’t get rid of pasta water as it will come handy to loosen up your carbonara sauce.
  • Make sure your pan is off the heat when adding egg mixture. Residual heat is all that’s needed to cook the eggs without scrambling them.


Calories: 788kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 217mg | Sodium: 623mg | Potassium: 510mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1065IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 361mg | Iron: 3mg