Chicken Carbonara

  • Author: Jill Hough
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


How to make pasta carbonara even better? Add chicken! It’s still easy and delicious, but even more hearty and satisfying!


  • 4 oz. pancetta, diced (see note)
  • 12 oz. boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1/2-inch strips (cut longer strips in half)
  • 12 oz. spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 oz. finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 oz. finely shredded Pecorino cheese (about 3/4 cup), plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • Salt to taste


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crisped, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
  3. Scrape the pancetta mixture, including any fat that accumulated in the pan, into a large metal mixing bowl. Set the bowl near the stovetop to keep it warm.
  4. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheeses, and pepper. Add the mixture to the bowl with the pancetta.
  6. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then immediately add the drained hot pasta to the bowl with the egg mixture.
  7. Add 1/3 cup of the pasta water and toss vigorously until the cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms, adding more water as desired. Add salt and more pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with additional cheese on the side.


Note: Pancetta is an Italian style of bacon available at the deli counter at most major supermarkets. Ask for slices about 1/4-inch thick so it’s easy to turn into 1/4-inch dice. Sometimes you’ll see it already packaged as thin slices, which you can cut into pieces. And sometimes you’ll see it packaged already diced and ready for carbonara. If you can’t find it, substitute regular bacon.