Creamy Pasta Carbonara Recipe
This easy pasta carbonara recipe is made with eggs and without cheese for a creamy sauce that’s flavorful and dairy free. It’s as close to authentic as you can get without dairy. Make it with spaghetti or your favorite pasta, and garnish with fresh chives before serving.
Why I love this pasta carbonara recipe
A few months ago, Marc decided to give up dairy. He had been debating the idea for a while, but around October, he decided to really commit. Of course, my mind started working in overdrive.
How could we possibly give up cheese, especially when we’re living in the land of cheese? I mean between France and Wisconsin we are pretty much always living in a land of cheese.
But, there is a restaurant here in Amiens that serves traditional carbonara, which is surprising because most of the carbonara here in France is cream. They serve it with a heaping garnish of chives, and it’s absolutely amazing.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it
Now let’s talk carbonara ingredients
- Bacon – traditionally, carbonara uses pancetta, but I’ve found it’s equally good with bacon so that’s usually what I use.
- Eggs – this is where we get our creamy sauce. The eggs get tempered with hot pasta water, which heats them to a safe temperature while preventing them from “cooking”.
- Pasta – you don’t need to use spaghetti, just make sure you cook your pasta to al dente in salted water for optimal flavor
- Lemon – normally, carbonara pasta has cheese added, but I’ve found that a little zing of lemon juice really kicks up the flavor a bit without using cheese.
How to make pasta carbonara
Cook your pasta. Boil a large pot of salted water and add the pasta. Let the pasta cook for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. I like to use a liquid measuring cup or mug to pull the water out. You could also use a ladle.
When the pasta is cooked, drain the extra water. If your other ingredients aren’t ready, drizzle with olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
Crisp up the bacon. While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add the chopped bacon and let it cook until crispy, stirring as needed. Next, add the garlic and allow it to cook in the bacon grease until fragrant.
If you need more time, turn off the heat to prevent burning while you’re preparing the other ingredients. Turn the heat back on just before tossing your pasta and egg mixture.
Temper the eggs. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the lemon juice and salt. Then slowly whisk in most of the hot pasta water. This will “cook” the eggs and prevent them from scrambling with being added to the pan.
Toss everything together. Add the pasta and egg mixture to the pan with the bacon. Stir everything together and allow the eggs to coat the pasta. As it starts to heat, the sauce should start to thicken.
Garnish and serve. If needed, adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Then, garnish each serving with a generous portion of fresh chives.
FAQs and tips for making the best pasta carbonara
Pasta carbonara is most commonly made with spaghetti, but any pasta will work in this recipe. I prefer to use a long pasta shape because it’s more like spaghetti, and I love using bucatini as an alternative to spaghetti. But, you can use whatever pasta you have on hand, even if it’s not long. Just be sure to follow the package directions for al dente when cooking.
Absolutely not. Carbonara sauce is creamy because of the tempered eggs used to make the sauce. There should be no cream or butter in the recipe. Traditionally, carbonara has parmesan or pecorino cheese in the sauce, but this recipe does not include it.
Yes. Pasta carbonara is made with raw eggs which are tempered with hot pasta sauce. This cooks the egg and brings it to a safe temperature while preventing the egg from scrambling or clumping in the sauce.
This is a common problem with carbonara, and you can fix it by maintaining the right temperature during the cooking process. You want to keep the pasta and bacon warm while you’re tempering the eggs with hot pasta water. Once the eggs are tempered, they still need to be heated when they’re added to the pasta. Cook the tossed pasta over medium-heat, and stir frequently until the sauce thickens.
More dairy free pasta recipes:
- Sausage and peppers pasta
- Pesto pasta salad
- Dairy free alfredo sauce
- Butternut squash pasta sauce
- BLT pasta salad
- Penne bolognese
More easy dinner recipes:Print
Creamy Pasta Carbonara
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- 1 16-ounce package pasta
- 8 slices thick cut bacon, sliced into thin strips
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions for al dente. Before straining, reserve 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the cooking water for the sauce.
- Heat a large skillet or frying pan to medium-high, and bacon and sauté, until slightly crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and turn off the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, lemon juice and zest. Temper the eggs by whisking the reserved pasta water into them while still hot.
- Add the pasta and egg mixture to the pan with the bacon. Stir everything together and allow the eggs to coat the pasta. As it starts to heat, the sauce should start to thicken.
- Add additional pasta water, if needed. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper, to taste.
- Garnish with chives and serve immediately.
- Category: Mains
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 309
- Sugar: 2.4 g
- Sodium: 378.5 mg
- Fat: 7.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 45.4 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 14.7 g
- Cholesterol: 104.4 mg
Keywords: dairy free, egg, bacon, creamy carbonara recipe, creamy carbonara, carbonara sauce, spaghetti carbonara recipe, how to make carbonara sauce, easy carbonara recipe, carbonara recipe no cream, spaghetti carbonara recipe
Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Melissa Belanger
This post contains affiliate links. I may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. I will never recommend a product I don’t use or trust.