Pasta Carbonara with Greek Yogurt

Pasta Carbonara is a classic Italian dish where the heat from cooked pasta turns an egg and cheese mixture into a sauce. This version uses Greek yogurt for extra protein and health. It’s ready quickly and uses ingredients that you probably already have on hand!

A pasta dish full of flat linguine noodles and pieces of Canadian bacon in sauce. There's a glass of red wine behind it. The words "Pasta alla Carbonara with Greek Yogurt" appear on the image.

Here’s A Video Showing How To Make Greek Yogurt Pasta Carbonara:

Pasta Carbonara is a dish that I tried making years ago simply because I was intrigued by how the sauce was made. To make a Classic Carbonara, you whisk together some eggs and Parmesan cheese. Then you cook pasta, and when the pasta is done, you drain it (reserving a bit of pasta water), and then add the hot pasta to the egg mixture. The heat from the pasta (and the bit of reserved water, if needed) cooks the egg into a silky sauce that coats the noodles.

If you have trouble imagining what I mean, note that hollandaise sauce is made mostly out of eggs that are cooked slowly so that they turn into a sauce instead of clumping up into scrambled eggs. So hollandaise is a sauce made by thickening eggs with heat. The same concept applies here. Cool, right?

Carbonara with Greek Yogurt

One of the things that scares people about making carbonara is that they worry that their pasta will be too hot and it will scramble the eggs. It was because of this that I started experimenting with adding things to the egg mixture. My thinking was that if it wasn’t straight eggs in there, maybe the heat wouldn’t hit it so intensely. Then you’d have a quick carbonara recipe with less risk.

When I tried using Greek yogurt for this, I found that the flavor was really delicious, and I loved that it added some protein to the meal. I now make this version of carbonara all the time!

Bacon or Ham?

As to the bacon in the recipe, traditional versions of carbonara often have pancetta in them. Since I never have pancetta at home, and I don’t always have bacon (nor want to have to cook it till crisp), I wanted to use something else.

I’ve gone with ham in the recipe below, because I usually have a package of ham in the fridge. By using ham, this recipe ends up containing ingredients that I almost always on hand (ham, pasta, eggs, Parmesan, Greek yogurt). So, this has become one of those meals that I can whip up in under 30 minutes using ingredients that I already have. That, combined with how delicious it is, has made this recipe a staple in our house. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Enjoy!

Christine :-)

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Pasta Carbonara with Greek Yogurt


  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Pasta Carbonara is a classic Italian dish where the heat from cooked pasta turns an egg and cheese mixture into a sauce. This version uses Greek yogurt for extra protein and health. It’s ready quickly and uses ingredients that you probably already have on hand!


Ingredients

  • 12 oz. of uncooked whole wheat linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
  • 6 oz. (170g) ham, chopped*
  • 1/2 oz. (about ½ of a cup, unpacked) finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to serve at the table
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. However, just before you drain it scoop out at least 1 cup of the hot pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, fill a kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Empty the boiling water from the kettle into a large bowl.
  3. A couple of minutes before your pasta has reached the desired doneness, dispose of the hot water from your large bowl by pouring it down the sink. (It was only there to warm up the bowl, so you don’t need that water anymore).
  4. To that large warmed bowl, add the yogurt, ham, Parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper.
  5. Stir it around and then crack in your eggs. Whisk it all together with a fork.
  6. Don’t forget, before the pasta is cooked, scoop 1 cup of the pasta water out of your pasta pot. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then immediately add the hot noodles to your egg mixture.
  7. Stir the pasta into the yogurt sauce. You want all the noodles to be coated a bit with the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, drizzle in some of your reserved pasta water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until you get the right consistency.
  8. Divide the pasta among plates and sprinkle with more Parmesan, if desired.

Notes

*Note: This recipe originally called for 6 ounces of Canadian bacon, chopped. I changed it to ham in 2021 because it works just as well and we’re all more likely to have ham in our fridge than Canadian bacon. However, you can use Canadian bacon, or crisped up bacon (4 slices) if you’d like. Make sure that you check your package to see if your ham or Canadian bacon requires heating before eating.

Videos by Leigh Olson. Article and recipe by Christine Pittman.

 This post was originally published in 2013 and has been revised for republication March 2021.

Pasta Carbonara with Greek Yogurt

28 responses to “Pasta Carbonara with Greek Yogurt”

  1. Whysper says:

    Born, raised and lived in Canada all my life and to this day if somebody was to ask me what Canadian bacon was, I could not tell them. You walk into one of our grocery stores there is nothing labelled “Canadian” bacon. You’ll see “back” bacon and maybe even “peameal” bacon (unsmoked back bacon covered in cornmeal) if you’re in Ontario. If you were to go into a restaurant and order Canadian bacon, you would probably get some funny looks lol. We don’t own bacon LOL

  2. Livia says:

    Another recipe left me with blended together yogurt, eggs, and oil and I was not sure is actually find a recipe where I could use this up. But your recipe is perfect and sounds delicious! Thank you.

    If you are still a brand representative for Stonyfield, I used to love their single serve plain yogurt. And not a single store around me (Philadelphia) still carries it. Only the Greek yogurt. And I’ve called and left them feedback, but I haven’t seen any change.

  3. DS says:

    The comments motivated me to check wikipedia for the history of carbonara, and it seems it started with American bacon after all: Pasta alla Carbonara ‘is unrecorded before the Second World War… It was first described after the war as a Roman dish, when many Italians were eating eggs and bacon supplied by troops from the United States.[22]

    • Christine Pittman says:

      How interesting! I love the way “classic” dishes came to be. It’s such a cool mixture of time, place, people and their needs at the time. I bet there’s a class at a university somewhere about history through the eyes of food. That would be an amazing class to take!

  4. Lori says:

    @Rara – A word of caution not take the ‘authenticity’ of cuisine so seriously. Despite the fact that we all consider tomato an essential part of Italian gastronomy, for example, it didn’t exist in Italy until the 16th or 17th century, or after Spanish colonization of Mexico/Central America and transatlantic trade. The same must apply to many other ingredients. So many Italian dishes were never ‘quintessential Roman dishes’. Thank god for trade, modern agriculture, and the evolution of gastronomy.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe! It was delish.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Lori, So glad you liked the recipe. And I agree, it’s really tricky to know what is authentic when it comes to food. Our food and how we adapt it has so much to do with the culture in which we live.

  5. Rara Avis says:

    May I add that, however delicious (I tried it, and it is!) this recipe, it does wrong in calling itself a carbonara adaptation?

    You see… Pasta alla carbonara does not, can not, have any cream in it. There are bastardized versions of the recipe that include cream, but they derive from a fundamental misunderstanding of the original recipe’s nature. Pasta alla carbonara is revered as one of the quintessential Roman dishes, to the point that it has become part of the Roman identity. And it does NOT have any dairy other than the cheese (Pecorino Romano, mandatorily, or at most a mix of this and Parmigiano-Reggiano). And of course, the recipe does NOT “call for Canadian bacon.” The meat must be guanciale, or at worst, pancetta.

    I suggest you call this recipe something else, and take credit for the quite original, and–as I said before–delicious mixture of flavors.

  6. […] recipe for Pasta Carbonara. It uses only five ingredients and it’s very versatile too. You can swap out the Canadian […]

  7. […] #3: Pasta Carbonara Made With Greek Yogurt (30 minutes – most of it spent waiting for the nood… […]

  8. […] are some that we love so much that we make them over and over and over again. That’s true of this Pasta Carbonara Recipe. We’ve always loved carbonara. The thick egg sauce dripping off of noodles is fun and […]

  9. […] since back when I made this Pasta Carbonara with Greek Yogurt, I’ve loved incorporating yogurt into savory dishes. The creaminess and tang are perfect with […]

  10. […] use the Petite Creme in French Toast from one of my favorite yogurt dishes, a pasta actually. This Pasta Carbonara is made by mixing together Greek yogurt and eggs and then tossing it with hot pasta. It’s […]

  11. Panda says:

    I love u for this!! Not only are the ingredients readily available (it’s not that easy to get your hands on cream from where I am at) but it’s oh my goodness-ly yummy :D

  12. Everyday Mom says:

    This is one of my favorites. It requires so little ingredients. And I love the taste. Even though it is so simple, the flavor is awesome with the yogurt and the salty bacon. I found it pretty simple to make, and I love that it doesn’t require too many pots and pans and dishes. Another big bonus for me is that I don’t get that sickly heavy feeling after eating a large bowl of it – like other types of pasts with heavy, rich sauces, since it is light. Tastes good, easy to make, and feels good!!

  13. Jordan says:

    this is one of the best dishes to be tried on the weekend….booked for this weekend!!

  14. phyllis says:

    I always forget about carbonara, but will make it this week with my homemade noodles. Thanks.

  15. Yumm! Pasta Carbonnara is one of my VERY favourite meals ever. Love the greek yoghurt idea.

  16. Veronica says:

    Ooooo! I love Carbonara. I’ve never made it with yogurt before. Interesting. I’m going to try that.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      The yogurt adds a nice tang and lots of richness without a lot of fat. It’s a nice way to smooth out lots of pasta sauces. I just have to keep reminding myself to never add it to heating ingredients but to always add it after removing the sauce from the heat otherwise it curdles. With Pasta Carbonara this isn’t as much of an issue because the sauce never is heated. So happy you like the idea!

  17. Katerina says:

    Congratulations Christine on the freelance job! Carbonara is my son and husband’s favorite! This one looks particularly scrumptious!

  18. katie says:

    Too funny. I just made spaghetti carbonara the other night (for the first time)! Super simple meal to make on busy nights. Congrats on the freelance projects and helping organize the Food & Wine conference. I just saw the info recently and if I’m in town I might go!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Isn’t Carbonara just too delicious? And the possibilities for changing it up are huge! Yes, come to the Food and Wine Conference. Did you see the line-up of speakers? It’s going to be amazing!

  19. Paula says:

    This is one of my husband’s favourite pasta dishes! Congratulations on the freelance work!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      It’s one of my husband’s favorites too. It’s actually his go-to answer to “What should we have for dinner tonight?” If he doesn’t say steak, he says Carbonora (and then he adds, “With lots of bacon, please.” Thanks Paula!

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