This Best Chicken Carbonara recipe uses grilled chicken for extra flavor and is combined with bacon in a creamy, cream cheese and herb sauce. This easy pasta recipe is quick to cook, packed full of flavor and sure to be a hit with all the family.
Best Chicken Carbonara
Y’all know my husband is Italian, so it’s no surprise that we have Italian dishes at least once, if not twice per week.
This is a favorite pasta recipe, I make my Chicken Carbonara recipe with cream and this decadent and indulgent dish of pasta is the ultimate comfort food.
My crew likes variety, so I have an arsenal of Italian recipes that are on rotation! If you haven’t made chicken carbonara before, it is an Italian Dish made with chicken, pasta, creamy sauce, Parmesan cheese and pancetta.
Pancetta is a cured meat, imported from Italy. It’s available at most grocery stores, but can be pricey, so I substitute it with bacon and it yields a similar result, so you can use either.
I make this with fettuccine, angel hair, or penne pasta as these are the preferred pasta types for my crew. However, feel free to use whatever pasta noodle you have in your own stores.
How to make Carbonara with Chicken:
- Start by cooking the pasta according to package directions. Adding some extra virgin olive oil and salt to the water while boiling, for added flavor.
- Now prepare the chicken and bacon. I used leftover grilled chicken breasts, and diced three breasts, along with half a cup of leftover bacon which I chopped into small pieces.
- To make the sauce, put your cream cheese and heavy cream in a saucepan on low.
- Using a whisk, stir it until the cream cheese is melted and they are mixed together well.
- In a large frying pan, I add a splash of olive oil, the diced onion, diced red pepper and saute until onion is clear.
- Add in the minced garlic, diced chicken, and bacon bits.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 4 egg yolks, heavy cream, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes until combined.
- Reduce heat to medium low, add your cooked pasta and toss to combine.
- Pour the cream mixture on top.
- Toss again to combine and ONLY cook for about 4-5 minutes. DO NOT COOK TOO LONG, the eggs will turn into scrambled eggs!
- Taste test a bite, and add any additional salt/pepper as desired.
- I garnish with any remaining parsley, and place the freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the table so everyone can add more, if they like.
- PASTA: You can use any variety of pasta in this dish, but I like to use penne, linguine or angel hair pasta noodles.
- OIL: I always use extra virgin olive oil when cooking pasta as it has the best flavor.
- VEGGIES: I use a combination of diced sweet onion, red bell pepper and minced garlic in this sauce.
- MEAT: I add both diced grilled chicken and cooked bacon in this recipe, it’s a great way to use up leftovers too.
- CREAM: I use heavy cream, but you can use half and half.
- CHEESE: I use both cream cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese in the sauce. I also like to serve extra grated Parmesan when serving for anyone who wants to add extra on top.
- EGGS: 4 egg yolks are added to the carbonara sauce.
- HERBS & SPICES: I flavor the sauce with dried oregano, basil and parsley along with a teaspoon of crush red pepper flakes.
- You can substitute the bacon with pancetta or ham in this recipe – they are pretty interchangeable in this dish.
- For a lighter sauce, substitute the heavy cream with half and half.
- You can also substitute regular cream cheese with low fat cream cheese to make it lighter.
- Grilled chicken is our preferred protein in this dish, but shredded or diced chicken will also work well.
- You can also substitute the chicken with turkey or shrimp in this dish too.
I like to garnish this pasta dish with some freshly chopped parsley or basil, just before serving. I also like to add a bowl of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese to the table, so that everyone can add a little extra over the top.
As this is a filling pasta dish, I like to serve it with some crusty bread or garlic bread alongside, and a green salad of fresh tomato salad.
Recipe hints & tips:
- Adding olive oil to the water when boiling the pasta will help prevent it from sticking together after drained.
- Cook the pasta to al-dente as you cook it again once you add it to the the sauce. Any longer and you risk the pasta breaking apart.
- Once you add the eggs to the pasta sauce DO NOT cook the eggs for more that 4-5 minutes or they will turn into scrambled eggs!
- Don’t use a can of Parmesan cheese, you will get a far better flavor from freshly shredded Parmesan.
How do you reheat carbonara?
I prefer to reheat pasta in the oven, but you can use the microwave as well. Sprinkle the top with shredded Parmesan cheese and some freshly chopped parsley to refresh the dish before serving.
To reheat in the oven, place the leftovers in a small baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the foil covered pan in the preheated oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes until heated through.
To reheat in the microwave, place the leftovers on a microwave safe dish and heat for about for 2-3 minutes until heated through.
How to refrigerate carbonara:
Once cooked and cooled, place leftover carbonara in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored leftovers should last in the refrigerator for up 4 days.
How to freeze carbonara:
Use an airtight container to store all leftovers in the freezer. Properly stored leftovers should last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Also, you can do a double batch of chicken carbonara, and freeze the second dish for later. Once cooked and cooled, place in an airtight container then label the dish and store in the freezer.
To thaw, I prefer to move to the refrigerator the day before I want to eat so it thaws overnight in the refrigerator.
Don’t miss these other great tasting pasta dishes here at When is Dinner:
- Chicken Tenderloins and Garlic Pasta
- Taco Pasta Bake
- Instant Pot Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta Casserole
- Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta
- One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
- Chicken Fajita Pasta
- Sunday Spaghetti Sauce w Angel Hair Pasta
- 1 lb pasta (Penne, Linguine, or Angel Hair)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Sweet Onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup bacon, diced
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 grilled chicken breasts, diced or shredded
- 2 c heavy cream
- 1/2 pkg of cream cheese
- 1 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese - NOT from the can
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Adding some EVOO and salt to the water while boiling, for flavor.
I use leftover Grilled Chicken Breasts, and dice three breasts.
I also use leftover bacon, and chop half a cup into small pieces.
Put your cream cheese and heavy cream in a saucepan on low.
Using a whisk, stir it until the cream cheese is melted and they are mixed together well.
In a large frying pan, I add a dab of olive oil, the diced onion, diced red pepper and saute until onion is clear.
Add in the minced onion, diced chicken, and bacon bits.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 4 egg yolks, heavy cream, freshly grated parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes until combined.
Reduce heat to medium low and add your boiled pasta.
Toss to combine.
Pour the cream mixture on top.
Toss again to combine and ONLY cook for about 4-5 minutes. DO NOT COOK TOO LONG, the eggs will turn into scrambled eggs!
Taste test a bite, and add any additional salt/pepper as desired.
I garnish with any remaining parsley, and place the freshly grated parmesan cheese on the table so everyone can add more, if they like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 823Total Fat: 54gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 355mgSodium: 971mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 50g