Easy Chicken Carbonara

updated Feb 3, 2020
Easy Chicken Carbonara

A weeknight-friendly recipe for spaghetti carbonara with chicken.


Prep10 minutes

Cook17 minutes to 20 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

I have a deep love for classic spaghetti carbonara, the Roman dish of spaghetti tossed with crispy pork, lots of pecorino cheese, and a luxe egg sauce. Here, the addition of chicken makes it an even heartier meal, but it’s practically as quick as the original. In fact, you only need five ingredients and 30 minutes to pull it off.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

An Easy, Protein-Packed Pasta Dinner

Unlike pasta dishes that get their luxurious texture from heavy cream, carbonara gets its rich and creamy consistency from the addition of eggs. This means it already has more protein than your average pasta dinner, plus, the crispy, salty bits of pancetta provide another layer of protein and flavor. Add sautéed pieces of juicy chicken and you’ve got a meal that’s seriously protein-packed (we’re talking 41 grams per serving).

When it comes time to serve, pour yourself a glass of white wine. The crisp, cold sips are the perfect counterpart to each satisfying twirl of creamy pasta.

Easy Chicken Carbonara

A weeknight-friendly recipe for spaghetti carbonara with chicken.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 17 minutes to 20 minutes


Nutritional Info


  • 1

    boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning and garnish

  • 3 ounces

    Parmesan cheese

  • 1 (4-ounce) package

    diced pancetta

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 12 ounces

    dried spaghetti

  • 4

    large eggs

  • Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Cut 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast into 1/2-inch thick strips and season all over with salt and pepper. Finely grate 3 ounces Parmesan cheese into a medium bowl (about 1 1/2 cups). Transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl and reserve as garnish.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the pancetta is crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

  3. Add 12 ounces dried spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or according to package instructions. Meanwhile, place 4 large eggs and 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper in the medium bowl of Parmesan and whisk well to combine. Coarsely chop a handful of parsley leaves for garnish if desired.

  4. When the pasta is ready, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta, then immediately add the pasta to the skillet off the heat. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta and use tongs or a fork to vigorously stir and toss to combine, adding 1 tablespoon of the reserved pasta water at a time as needed to evenly coat the pasta and chicken in a creamy sauce. (You’ll probably use only about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.)

  5. Garnish with the parsley if using. Serve immediately with the reserved Parmesan and a few coarse grinds of black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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