This fettuccine carbonara requires just 4 ingredients, 25 minutes, and zero cream! Filled with eggs, bacon, pasta and parmesan cheese, this delicious carbonara recipe makes for a perfect, easy, family-friendly weeknight dinner.
30-Minute Pasta Without The Cream
Needless to say, I'm a bit of a pasta nut. What can I say? I just love it! And really, what's not to love about a nice, big bowl full of delicious carbs and cheeses? Add bacon, and you have a mouthwatering pasta recipe that even the kids will love!
This quick, 4-ingredient fettuccine carbonara recipe was actually created after I realized that I had been making carbonara WRONG for years! At the time, I thought my pasta recipe was amazing -- but now, when I look back, I realize it wasn't all that great.
So what was I doing wrong? Cream. So much cream.
My travels in Italy years ago showed me the error of my ways. I quickly learned that traditional carbonara recipes do not actually include any cream -- the eggs, parmesan and cheese make the fettuccine carbonara creamy enough all on their own. Now, I guarantee as soon as you try this updated, easy fettuccine carbonara, you will never go back to the cream-laden versions. If there's one thing I learned in Italy, after all, it's that simple pastas are the best pastas.
Why You're Going To Love Fettuccine Carbonara
- No fuss dinner – Sometimes you just want a delicious family dinner that everyone will love and that doesn't require a special trip to the supermarket or tons of clean-up. This fettuccine carbonara recipe is a favourite in my home and something we have regularly.
- So much bacon – Bacon just makes everything better, and this easy pasta recipe is no exception. A key to this recipe is cooking your bacon or pancetta until it's nice and crispy.
- Elegant (Yet Easy) – Pasta is one of those dishes that you can dress up or down! It's easy enough for a quick weeknight meal, but it's also delicious enough to serve for a special occasion. Either way, this fettuccine carbonara is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
- Only 25 minutes to make – I know I keep repeating how easy this classic Italian pasta recipe is, but a delicious pasta dinner in less than half an hour is definitely something to celebrate!
What You Need
Note: Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for the ingredients quantities and full detailed method.
- Fettuccine – Technically, you can serve this pasta recipe with any of your favourite types of noodles, including gluten-free or veggie options. That being said, classic fettuccine noodles are perfect for this carbonara recipe.
- Eggs – Four eggs are all you need for this tasty pasta dish! They help create the creamy texture without the need for extra dairy.
- Bacon – I used bacon for this recipe, but you can also substitute pancetta. If you really want to make an authentic fettuccine carbonara, you should use guanciale instead of bacon or pancetta.
- Parmesan – I used finely grated parmesan cheese, which is mixed with the eggs for the pasta sauce, as well as extra grated parmesan for serving. More cheese is always the best answer, right?
Step By Step Instructions
Note: Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for the ingredients quantities and full detailed method!
Step 1 – Prepare Fettuccine Carbonara
First, bring a large saucepan filled with water to a a boil, then add 1-2 teaspoons of salt. After that, cook the fettuccine noodles in the pot of boiling water according to the packet instructions. Cook the pasta just until 'al dente'.
While the pasta cooks, cook the chopped bacon or pancetta in a frying pan over medium heat until crispy, and then set aside.
Step 2 – Beat Eggs
Then, as the pasta continues to cook, beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Next add the grated parmesan cheese and mix well.
Step 3 – Combine Pasta and Meat
When the pasta is cooked, use tongs to remove it form the pot of boiling water and place it straight into the frying pan with the pancetta.
NOTE: Don't throw away the pasta water!
Step 4 – Make Sauce
Now put the frying pan over medium heat and add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Then shake the pan for about 10 seconds, or until most of the water has evaporated. Finally, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the egg and cheese mixture.
Step 5 – Final Touches
At this point, working quickly, stir the pasta until it has a smooth coating for the sauce. Then, if the egg mixture is too thick, add in a little more of the pasta water. Finally, season with sea salt if needed, a little cracked pepper, loads of parmesan to garnish, and serve immediately.
What To Serve With Fettuccine Carbonara
This easy Italian pasta dish makes the perfect quick and easy weeknight meal! Round out your menu with a fresh veggie side, homemade bread rolls and a light side salad, like my Walnut, Parmesan Pear, and Rocket Salad.
Expert Tips and FAQ
You don't want to add your eggs to the pasta until you've removed the pan from the heat. This will stop the egg from overcooking and scrambling. You're going for a beautifully smooth sauce with crispy little bites of bacon!
The difference between carbonara and fettuccine is simply the addition of pancetta, bacon or guanciale. Strictly fettuccine recipes generally include simple Alfredo sauce, parmesan and maybe an added protein.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of simple pastas, but if you're looking to make an addition or two to this fettuccine carbonara recipe, you can also whip up a batch of homemade meatballs to pair with your pasta.
Alternatively, you can add sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, spinach and parsley for a light and fresh combination.
This recipe is best eaten immediately, however, you can save your leftovers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
More Pasta Recipes
Once your try this Fettuccine Carbonara, you'll be wanting to make more and more delicious family dinner recipes!
Here are some of my most popular pasta recipes:
- The Famous TikTok Pasta: Baked Feta And Tomato – If you're looking for another quick and easy pasta recipe that uses minimal ingredients, then look no further! This trendy recipe requires only 6 ingredients and 45 minutes.
- Slow Cooker Italian Beef Ragu Pasta – There's nothing better than popping the slow cooker on in the morning, letting it cook away all day and then sitting down to a delicious dinner after work!
- Tuna Pasta Casserole – My favourite, budget-friendly weeknight meal, this easy casserole recipe is packed full of vegetables and melted cheese! Plus, it's a perfect make-ahead meal that can be frozen and served later.
- One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta – This one-pot dish makes for easy prep, easy clean-up and easy satisfaction! Ready in just half an hour, this is one of my favourite, kid-friendly family dinner recipes.
- Cheesy Macaroni And Vegetable Frittata Bake – Made with capsicum, carrots, corn, peas and ham, this simple frittata bake is a new take on your classic mac and cheese recipe.
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- 350 fettuccine
- 4 eggs
- 150 g bacon or pancetta, chopped
- 100 g parmesan cheese freshly grated (plus extra for serving)
- sea salt and cracked pepper to serve
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1-2 tsp salt.
- Cook the chopped bacon or pancetta in a frying pan over medium heat until crispy. Set aside.
- Cook the fettuccine pasta in the pot of boiling water according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
- Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and mix well.
- When the pasta is cooked, use tongs to remove it from the pot of boiling water and straight into the frying pan with the pancetta (don't throw away the water!).
- Put the frying pan over a medium heat and add ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water.
- Shake the pan for 10 seconds or until most of the water has evaporated.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the egg/cheese mixture.
- Working quickly, stir the pasta until it has a smooth coating from the sauce.
- Add in a little more of the pasta water if the egg mixture is too thick.
- Season with sea salt (if needed), cracked pepper, extra parmesan, and serve immediately.
- Avoid Scrambled Eggs – You don't want to add your eggs to the pasta until you've removed the pan from the heat. This will stop the eggs from overcooking and scrambling. You're going for a beautifully smooth sauce with crispy little bites of bacon!
- Carbonara vs. Fettuccine – The difference between carbonara and fettuccine is simply the addition of pancetta, bacon or guanciale. Strictly fettuccine recipes generally include simple Alfredo sauce, parmesan and maybe an added protein.
- Easy Additions – Personally, I'm a huge fan of simple pastas, but if you're looking to make an addition or two to this fettuccine carbonara recipe, you can also whip up a batch of homemade meatballs to pair with your pasta. Alternatively, you can add sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic, spinach and parsley for a light and fresh combination.
- Storage & Freezing –This recipe is best eaten immediately, however, you can save your leftovers for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This recipe is not suitable for freezing.