Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower, Claire Spollen
Hands-on Time
22 Mins
Total Time
22 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 3/4 cup)

Timing on this recipe is important, so have your bacon cooked and eggs ready when the pasta is done. Do not let the pasta drain completely; for the creamiest sauce, you want a little of the water still clinging to the noodles when you add them to the eggs.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water; drain pasta.

Step 2

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon, reserving drippings in pan. Remove pan from heat.

Step 3

Combine milk, pepper, salt, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Slowly drizzle in reserved 1/4 cup pasta water, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly add pasta to egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add egg mixture to bacon drippings. Place pan over low heat; cook 2 minutes or until liquid begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with bacon and parsley; serve immediately.

Ratings & Reviews

Best CL Creamy Pasta I've Tried

April 25, 2015
Great recipe; I usually find that Cooking Light creamy pasta lacks the smoothness of higher-calorie options, but this one had great texture and a smoky-bacony flavor.  However, it does not reheat well, so I would only make enough to eat immediately -- good thing it's pretty easy to make.

This is NOT the real carbonara.

August 27, 2017
The real carbonara has NO milk in it.  Yes, it can be made with either bacon or pancetta.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep skillet; and then you want to saute 4 ounces of either one that has been sliced into either small strips or pieces.  You want to saute it for about 3 minutes until the fat is rendered and in that you will saute 4 cloves of garlic, that have been finely chopped for about 1 minute.  To this you will add the hot linguine and toss to coat the strands in the fat.  In a small mixing bowl mix the eggs and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese together and stir until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and pout the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is why this is done off heat ti ensure this does not happen).  Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches the desired consistency.  Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste to see if it needs salt. Mound in warmed bowls and pass additional the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese around the table.  That is the Italian way to make this dish.

Great weeknight dish

May 05, 2015
This dish has a pleasant flavor and is easy enough for a weeknight. It definitely needs more salt and pepper.


May 20, 2015
Easy weeknight dinner with uncomplicated ingredients.


March 10, 2016
I had high hopes for this recipe. Used pancetta instead of bacon, but followed the recipe other than that. It's bland and honestly not very good. I won't be making this one again. I wouldn't recommend this one.

4 1/2 stars

July 21, 2016
Upon learning there were no leftovers, my teenager said, 'Next time make a TRIPLE batch!' and she's kind of a picky eater.  This is super easy and super delicious.  I did add a bit more salt than the recipe called for.  It would be fun to add some garlic too.  It only loses 1/2 point for all the dishes to clean.  But it is so nice to have a recipe that can easily be thrown together with what you already have handy in your pantry/kitchen.  Excellent pasta.