Learn how to make Easy Chicken Carbonara, a classic Italian dish that combines the richness of creamy pasta with the savory goodness of chicken. It’s comforting, filling, and all-around scrumptious. The flavors in this dish are a perfect match, with the salty bacon and parmesan cheese complementing the tender chicken and creamy sauce, all made from scratch.
This is a classic recipe that can be enjoyed year-round, but it's especially satisfying during fall and winter months. Make this pasta dish as a weeknight family meal or a special occasion.
This is a popular Italian pasta dish that has found its way into the hearts and taste buds of many people around the world. Originating from the central Italian region of Lazio, carbonara is traditionally made using guanciale (cured pork cheek), Pecorino Romano cheese, eggs, black pepper, and spaghetti.
This recipe makes this dish more accessible, uses more standard pantry ingredients.
The addition of chicken to the recipe is a modern twist that adds an extra protein punch. It was created to cater to the tastes of those who prefer white meat or those seeking a healthier alternative to pork.
Chicken Bacon Carbonara is perfect for those who crave the richness of Italian food but want to enjoy a lighter version. A creamy and savory flavor.
Many restaurants from Cheesecake Factory to Olive Garden and Dominos to Quiznos have tried to capture this delightful taste, now you can make this in the comfort of your home with this easy homemade recipe.
Be sure to look at our other tasty pasta dish made with a healthier Alfredo base, Rattlesnake Pasta, Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta, Cajun Shrimp Pasta. Or our red sauce, Five Cheese Marina.
Pair this with a refreshing bowl of Kiwi Sorbet. A delicious fresh fruit dessert. Or make it a fancy dinner with our Philadelphia Cheesecake.
Why We Love this Recipe
- Easy- This is an easy Italian pasta dish that takes little effort for a fancy tasty meal. Mix up regular spaghetti night with this family favorite meal.
- Family Friendly- This kid approved meal has found a permanent spot in our monthly rotations. Everyone loves the various flavors of this fun pasta dish.
- Versatile-You can use this for so many different situations and occasions. From a fancy dinner at home to a busy weeknight meal.
- Gluten Free Option-This can be a gluten free meal when you use gluten free noodles instead of traditional noodles.
- Make it your own-Look to our variations and substitutions to make this dish fit your families needs. This dish is easily adaptable to fit your style.
- Fun Copycat- It's always fun to make copycat recipes from restaurants like Cheesecake Factory and Dominos.
- Diced Chicken- Thaw frozen chicken the night before in the refrigerator, or use fresh chicken and cut into small 1 inch by 1 inch cubes for easy cooking and eating.
- Bacon(Optional, Not Picture)- For extra flavor and a more traditional Carbonara Pasta dish add in chopped cooked bacon.
- Eggs- Eggs are what make this dish unique to other creamy, white sauce dishes.
- Linguine Pasta- While you are free to use any style of pasta your family likes, we love the look and functionality of linguine pasta.
- Grated Parmesan- Grated parmesan is easy to have on hand and is typically a pantry staple. You can use shredded parmesan for similar results.
- Heavy Cream- Heavy cream gives this sauce a rich and creamy taste that people crave when wanting this pasta dish.
- Diced Onion- We use purple onion for this dish but you can also use white or yellow onion at your connivence. We love the flavor that the purple onion adds to the dish.
- Frozen Green Peas- An easy staple to have on hand in the freezer, ad veggies to this dish with frozen peas. Frozen peas maintain a good taste and texture after being mixed with the other ingredients.
See recipe card for quantities.
- On medium heat, cook diced chicken in olive oil. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Just before the chicken is done, add the diced onions and garlic and finish cooking the chicken.
3. While the chicken and noodles finish cooking, combine the grated parmesan, eggs, and heavy cream in a medium mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
3. Once the chicken is cooked and the onions are soft, add the frozen peas and cooked diced bacon. Mix to thaw peas.
4. Drain the pasta, reserve ½ cup of pasta water, and add it to the top of the chicken mixture.
5. While the noodles are still hot, and the saute pan is over low heat, slowly add the egg mixture and mix until well coated. Add extra pasta water if you want the sauce to be thinner.
Hint: While mixing the sauce with the hot noodles, keep on low heat to help set the sauce. Take off the heat immediately once the sauce is set on the noodles.
Look to our list of substitutions to help fit your dietary needs and food preferences while enjoying this tasty meal.
- Gluten Free Noodles- to make this a gluten free meal, use your favorite brand of gluten free noodles instead of traditional pasta.
- Pasta Style- While we use linguine in this recipe feel free to use your favorite style of pasta like fettuccine, ziti, penne, bow tie, or even spaghetti noodles.
- Fresh Parmesan - for convenience and ease, we use grated (powder) parmesan. Substitute fresh parmesan at a 1:1 ratio.
- Evaporated Milk- Substitute heavy cream with evaporated milk at a 1:1 ratio. The taste will be altered somewhat and it won't be as creamy but will still have tasty results.
- Greek Yogurt- Use Greek Yogurt at a 1:1 ratio to make this entree without cream. You will get a thicker sauce, so add ½ cup pasta water reserve while mixing in the sauce with the noodles to help the yogurt sauce spread throughout the dish.
- Vegetarian- make this vegetarian by making this without bacon and chicken.
Make this your own by adding a new twist to this Chicken Carbonara with the suggestions below.
- Spicy - add crushed red pepper flakes to the entire dish or to individual plates for a spicy version.
- Ham- Instead of bacon, add in ½ cup of diced ham.
- Without Bacon - This entree tastes delicious without bacon. If you just want a chicken dish, don't add the diced bacon in with the other ingredients.
- Tortellini- For a cheesy experience, use tortellini instead of traditional pasta. Make sure it's hot when you mix it with the sauce.
- Zoodles- For a more veggie packed, low carb meal, use zucchini noodles.
- Spaghetti Squash- Replace the noodles with cooked spaghetti squash.
- Broccoli- Add cooked Broccoli to the dish instead of peas or in addition to the peas for a more vegetable packed dinner.
- Mushrooms- Add ½ cup sautéed sliced mushrooms with the chicken and onion mixture.
- Shrimp- Make this a seafood sensation by adding in cooked shrimp with the chicken or in place of the chicken.
To ensure the best results for this recipe you will need the following equipment
Store cooked pasta dish in an air tight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.
To reheat pasta, place in a microwave safe dish and reheat until chicken and pasta is heated through.
Place leftovers in a freezer bag or an air tight container and freeze for 3-4 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator and heat in the microwave until heated through.
Make sure the noodles are steaming hot when you add the egg sauce. We keep the pan on low heat while mixing in the sauce to ensure that the sauce is cooked through and no raw egg is left behind.
Chicken Carbonara is made with an egg based sauce while Chicken Alfredo is made with a cream and cheese based sauce. Carbonara typically has more calories than Alfredo because of the eggs.
The traditional/authentic Roman dish is made with eggs, black pepper, pecorino Romano (or parmesan), and guanciale (or pancetta). This particular dish uses more pantry friendly staples, eggs, parmesan cheese, chicken, bacon, and heavy cream.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with Chicken Carbonara:
- 1 medium sized mixing bowl
- 1 medium sauce pan
- 1 large saute pan
- 12 ounces linguine pasta or your choice of noodles
- 1 large chicken breast cut into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup purple onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 whole eggs
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 4 slices bacon (optional) cooked and diced
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
- In a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Drain, reserving ½ cup water.
- While the pasta cook, in a large saute pan, add olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add diced chicken breasts and cook until halfway cooked through. Add diced onion and minced garlic and finish cooking while cooking the onions and garlic. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the eggs, heavy cream, parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth.
- Add cooked and diced bacon and frozen peas to the chicken mixture. Mix altogether. Add the hot, drained, pasta to the top of the dish. Slowly mix in the egg mixture with the hot noodles and mix the chicken, pasta, and sauce all together.
- Keep the saute pan on low heat while mixing int he sauce, this will help the sauce set with the noodles.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
- You can store this for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or even freeze in an air tight container for up to 4 months.
- To make it gluten free, use gluten free noodles.
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
A family favorite in the making for sure! I love how this mixed up post tonight and all my kids loved it. This pasta carbonara recipe hits the spot.