Chicken Main Dishes Pasta

Last updated on April 25th, 2024 at 04:10 pm

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Chicken Carbonara Recipe [VIDEO]

What if I tell you that you can cook a restaurant-style pasta meal in just 30 minutes in the comfort of your kitchen? This is exactly what this Chicken Carbonara recipe is, a sinful, and indulgent dish that can become your go-to family meal—but sophisticated enough to be served on a special occasion as well.

Best Chicken Carbonara Pasta

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or advanced cook, everyone needs a good pasta recipe under the sleeve. That one recipe that becomes your signature card, and your friends beg you to make it every time they visit. Trust my judgment when I tell you that this recipe has all the chances to become that staple you are looking for. Check what some of the people who tried it have to say:

“When we eat out with my son Chicken Carbonara is often his first pick so I decided to try and make it. We had it for lunch this weekend and it was a hit with my family. This is a great recipe and I have saved it to my favorites. The instructions are well written and helpful–always a plus!”

We all know the famous carbonara pasta, which is perfectly cooked pasta in a silky smooth sauce, made with egg yolks, pancetta, and Pecorino Romano or parmesan. Creamy Chicken Carbonara is a take on the classic dish, but with tender chicken pieces, a slight peppery flavor, and finished with crispy and smoky bacon bites.

While I know that the traditional recipe calls for pancetta or guanciale, which are cured pork meat, I have decided to use bacon, because it’s easier to get and more budget-friendly. What’s great about this recipe is that you can use leftover roasted chicken from a previous meal, and save some time while repurposing leftovers.

The star of the recipe is the sauce, and to take it to the next level, I have added lots of fresh garlic, for a robust savory flavor. To brighten it, I have added fresh lemon zest, and lots of cream to get that luxurious sauce that coats every bite of pasta.

I love making delicious pasta recipes that will transport you to Italy once you taste them. Some of my favorites are Classic Penne alla Vodka, Shrimp Scampi made with Champagne, and Chicken Alfredo Fettucine.

Why you’ll love chicken carbonara

  • ready in just 30 minutes and made with simple ingredients that you already might have on hand
  • perfect for quick and easy weeknight dinners, and special occasions
  • a budget-friendly meal
  • even picky eaters love it

What is Chicken Carbonara made of?

Pasta

One of the main ingredients is pasta, and the classic recipe is made with spaghetti. However, you can use fettuccine, tagliatelle, bucatini, or linguine. Longer pasta is best for creamy sauces like this one, but if you don’t have any on hand, shorter pasta like penne or rigatoni will work as well.

Sauce

The classic carbonara creamy sauce is made by combining egg yolks and parmesan cheese with cooked spaghetti. However, I prefer my pasta sauce on the creamier side, and after multiple taste-tests, I have decided that adding cream to the sauce is best. 

While not mandatory, I recommend adding onion and garlic, you may be surprised how much better the sauce will taste. I also added dried oregano, basil, ground black pepper, and fresh lemon zest.

And you can not make this recipe without a good Italian cheese, I used Parmesan cheese, but Pecorino Romano is another great option.

Chicken

I prefer to use cooked chicken in this recipe, it saves time and effort. Usually leftover chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken will do. But if you don’t have any on hand, just quickly season and cook two chicken breasts and chop them.

Bacon

I have mentioned that originally the recipe was made with cured pork meat, I prefer a more budget-friendly option. Quiet honestly I also prefer the taste of smoky and crispy bacon.

How to make Chicken Carbonara?

  1. Cook the pasta: First, cook the pasta in boiling water until it’s al dente. Al dente means firm to the bite. Once cooked, drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. Combine the sauce ingredients: Next, in a bowl, mix until combined the egg yolks, cream, herbs, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest.
  3. Cook the bacon: Add the bacon to a hot frying pan over medium heat, stir and cook until crispy. Discard the grease, leaving only about one tablespoon in the pan.
  4. Add the chicken: Once the bacon is crispy, add the onion and garlic to the pan, stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the chicken, and cook until heated through, which will take about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add pasta: With the heat on low, add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Pour the sauce: Give the prepared sauce mixture a good stir, and add it to the pan. Toss and cook the whole thing for ONLY 4 minutes, mixing constantly. Do not overcook it, because you do not want your egg yolks to scramble. Turn off the heat, and continue to stir. The sauce will still cook from the residual heat.

Expert tip:

How to reheat chicken carbonara pasta

Don’t be afraid to make a larger batch of this recipe and have leftovers. Many people think that reheated pasta just doesn’t taste the same. But, I am here to tell you how to better reheat it, so it tastes great, even on the second or third day.

I recommend reheating leftover pasta in the oven. Simply, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, place leftover pasta into a baking sheet, add some sauce, water, or broth, and cover with foil. Then, place the dish in a preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until completely reheated.

The moisture from the liquid will make the dry pasta taste fresh again, just make sure to stir it well before serving.

Alternatively, if you quickly need to reheat it, add the pasta to a microwave-safe dish or container, add a small amount of water or broth, cover it, and heat in 30-second intervals, checking when it’s warm enough to serve.

The same rule applies if you decide to reheat the pasta quickly on the stove. Add it to a skillet with a few tablespoons of water, and toss over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until warmed enough to serve.

Recipe variations:

  • Meat: While I have used chicken in this recipe, it can be replaced with leftover turkey meat, ham, or shrimp.
  • Pasta: A variety of pasta can be used instead of spaghetti, while I recommend using long pasta, you can make this dish with what you have on hand.
  • Vegetables: This is not the recipe to which you will add a lot of veggies, but you can stir in a few cups of spinach, or some sweet peas.
  • Gluten-free: Easily make it without gluten, by using gluten-free pasta.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is carbonara sauce made of?

Traditionally, this Italian sauce is made with eggs, pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese, ground black pepper, and cured pork meat like pancetta or guanciale. The sauce is famous for being made with raw egg yolks heated using only the heat of cooked spaghetti. You can take this basic recipe, and turn it into something exquisite and personalized by adding garlic, dried and fresh herbs, and cream.

Is carbonara sauce safe to eat?

The guidance and advice for anyone vulnerable to food poisoning is to make sure that the eggs are cooked through, hence recipes with carbonara sauce should be avoided. However, if you live in the UK, the FSA approved the UK eggs produced according to the British Lion Code of Practice. It means, that those types of eggs, can be consumed by children and pregnant women, safely without needing to hard-boil them.

Is carbonara sauce and alfredo sauce the same?

No, while both are very famous Italian pasta sauces, they are very different. Alfredo sauce is made with cream, parmesan, seasoning, and parsley. While authentic carbonara sauce is made with onion, raw eggs, Pecorino Romano, ground black pepper, and cured pork meat. There are varieties, to which cream is added.

Store

  • Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: I do not recommend freezing this recipe, the egg-based carbonara sauce will separate when thawed and reheated. 

More pasta recipes to try:

Recipe tips

  • Pasta should be cooked al dente, otherwise, you risk overcooking it when adding it to the pan with the other ingredients.
  • Use the freshest, pasteurized eggs when making this recipe.
  • Drizzle oil over the cooked pasta and toss it, so the pasta won’t stick together once it’s cooled down.
  • Make sure that the leftover pasta is totally cooled down before placing it in an airtight container and then storing it in the refrigerator.
  • The sauce should be thick and not too runny – otherwise, you will get thin liquid floating at the bottom of the dish.

Chicken Carbonara Recipe

Creamy Chicken Carbonara Pasta is a sinful and indulgent dish. Made with yolks, cream, spaghetti, and bacon, it is the ultimate comfort food.

creamy chicken carbonara on a spaghetti spoon
  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time20 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 small sweet onion finely diced
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups cooked chicken shredded
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Garnish:

  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook pasta per package directions, aiming for al dente.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cream, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, oregano, basil, and parsley until combined.
  • Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add diced bacon, and cook until crispy, for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Next, add onion and garlic and continue to cook and stir for another 2 minutes.
    bacon bite onion and garlic in a skillet
  • Add the chicken to the pan, toss and stir and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the chicken is warm.
    shredded chicken in a pan with bacon onion and garlic
  • Reduce heat to low-medium and add the spaghetti to the pan, toss to combine, and pour the cream mixture on top. Toss again to combine and ONLY cook for about 4-5 minutes. Cooking longer will make the eggs turn into scrambled eggs.
    pouring creamy carbonara sauce over pasta
  • Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with parsley, and more grated parmesan cheese, and serve.

Nutrition Facts

 

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Comments

(37)
Tisha

Tisha

Definitely one that gets added to our menu multiple times! so good

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

Such a satisfying dish! I'm making this again and again!

Allyson Zea

Allyson Zea

This is a dinner staple at our house! Thanks for the easy recipe!

Sandra

Sandra

This is the best carbonara recipe I've ever tried! It's so creamy and full of flavor!

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