Chicken Penne Carbonara

4.80 from 143 votes
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When creating a recipe that can be enjoyed at any time of the week, I look to incorporate wholesome ingredients that make the dish pop in taste. This chicken penne carbonara blends just a few simple ingredients to create a wonderful one-bowl meal.

Bowl of chicken penne carbonara.

Are you on the hunt for a comforting Italian pasta recipe? For my Italian-Chinese family, a big bowl of pasta always shows up on our dinner table. As a busy working mom, it’s important to have quick and simple meals that nourish my family but also taste great.

This easy chicken carbonara penne pasta is a one-pan wonder packed with flavor that the entire family will devour! Each bite is packed with protein and vegetables, with just the right balance of pasta and sauce. I’m sharing my secret ingredient to making this dish with minimal effort and maximum yum.

Ingredients portioned out on a table.

How to Cook Carbonara Pasta

The key ingredient is a culinary game-changer, Barilla Pronto Pasta! What makes this pasta so handy is that it’s a product innovation that allows for one-pan meals to be made without waiting for water to boil and no draining needed. That makes my inner scientist and mom want to do a happy dance!

I always feel like I’m waiting forever to get the water to a boil, but instead, the penne pasta I used for this recipe took only 10 minutes from start to finish in the same pan. If I can save time and clean up, sign me up!

Carbonara pasta is a classic Italian recipe using a savory custard sauce of gently cooked eggs and cheese. Here’s how to make your own carbonara version right at home.

Side by side photo showing bacon cooking and egg cheese mixture.

Building Flavor

It all starts with bacon or pancetta. It adds an intensely smoky, savory flavor and crisp texture to contrast the tender pasta. Minced garlic provides earthy aromatics, inviting the senses to open up and make you salivate.

Green peas add a hint of sweetness to the dish and a beautiful bright green color. All of these get tossed back into the pasta after the sauce is added.

The sauce

The sauce base for carbonara is two ingredients; eggs and grated parmesan cheese. When whisked together and tossed with HOT pasta, the eggs gently cook and the cheese melts to create a creamy sauce without feeling heavy.

Make sure to continuously stir the sauce and pasta over very low heat so that the eggs do not scramble. The sauce should coat and cling to the pasta.

Cubes of chicken mixed together with penne pasta.

It’s hard to believe that all of the ingredients were cooked and infused together in one pot! The penne maintains its shape and texture after cooking and catches the light coating of custard sauce in the ridges. The chicken, peas, and bacon are mixed with the pasta then garnished with extra Parmesan cheese and parsley.

This chicken carbonara penne pasta is going to be a new mealtime favorite! What pasta dish will you make next using Barilla Pronto Pasta? For more one-pot ideas, check out my chicken cacciatore pasta or chicken spinach pasta recipes. I can’t wait to hear what pasta dishes you create!

More Pasta recipes

Big bowl of pasta with chunks of chicken and bacon.

Recipe Science

What May Cause the Egg Sauce To Curdle?

If you’ve ever made carbonara before, you may have experienced the sauce getting lumpy with small pieces of scrambled egg. What happened? With the right amount of heat (too much in this case) the eggs will coagulate and scramble; whole eggs set between 144 and 158° F. It’s a balance between cooking the egg sauce enough, so it’s safe to eat (above 140° F so bacteria is destroyed), yet creamy like a custard. To ensure this happens you want to add the sauce to the pasta when it’s hot to help it cook. Make sure to keep stirring the pasta in the pan over low heat until the sauce coats the pasta and is slightly thickened. If the sauce is allowed to sit, the hot pan will solidify the egg sauce instead of keeping it smooth. (Source:

Chicken Penne Carbonara

A comforting classic Italian one pan chicken carbonara penne pasta recipe. Tender penne tossed in a delicious parmesan sauce with bacon and peas.
4.80 from 143 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • black pepper, for seasoning
  • paprika
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 slices bacon, thick-cut, diced into 1" pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup peas, frozen, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley


  • Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Heat a large 12-inch skillet with high sides over medium-high heat. Add one tablespoon of oil and allow it to heat up. Carefully add the chicken breast and cook for 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium and cook 2 more minutes.
    Flip to the other side, reduce heat to medium and cook another 6 to 7 minutes, or until no longer pink and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
  • Transfer to a clean plate to allow to rest and cool slightly. Once cooled, chop the chicken into ½-inch cubes.
  • Clean the pan if needed if there are dark particles on the surface after cooking the chicken. Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and saute until crispy, stirring every minute, about 6 minutes.
  • Turn heat to low and add garlic, saute for one minute until fragrant. Turn off heat and transfer the bacon garlic mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Discard bacon grease.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together two eggs and 1 cup grated parmesan cheese until smooth. Set aside.
  • To the same pan add uncooked penne pasta and 3 cups of water, turn heat up to high. Set the timer for 10 minutes and cook on high, occasionally stirring, until most of the water is absorbed and pasta is tender. Time may vary depending on the stove.
  • Turn heat to low. Immediately add cheese and egg mixture, stirring vigorously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. The egg sauce should cook through (the raw egg flavor will go away once warmed by the hot pasta and short heating time on the stove).
  • Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. I used about ¼ teaspoon additional salt. Add diced chicken, bacon and garlic mixture, and ½ cup of peas to the pasta. Stir to combine, until peas are warmed through.
  • To serve, garnish with parsley, more grated cheese, and some freshly cracked pepper.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • If desired add some hot water to the cheese sauce after mixing, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to thin sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 416kcal (21%)Carbohydrates 45g (15%)Protein 36g (72%)Fat 11g (17%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 123mg (41%)Sodium 436mg (18%)Potassium 42mg (1%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 200IU (4%)Vitamin C 10.7mg (13%)Calcium 280mg (28%)Iron 3.2mg (18%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Stacey Thomas says

    This it THE BEST carbonara recipe ever! I’d never cooked it before and tried Jessica’s method and ingredients and it’s brilliant. I don’t use a lot of peas so I substitute spinach (which I throw in at the end like you would the peas) or broccoli and I’ve also added mushrooms. I’ve made it enough now that I almost know it without checking in here but still do to be sure. Thank you Jessica 🥰

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you Stacey! I love that you use spinach or broccoli as an alternative to peas for the carbonara recipe. Great job!

  2. Connie says

    Made this last night. It was amazing. Thanks for sharing. You make it easy to cook for my family and friends.

  3. Carol Dehne says

    This was an amazing light pasta dish. Good for a summer evening on the porch. I followed the recipe and was a bit nervous about adding the egg/cheese mixture to the pasta as I had never tried this technique before. I warned my husband that we might be having scrambled eggs with pasta for dinner! But it turned out perfect! Thanks for a really easy, delicious light pasta dinner. Served it with a chilled Pinot Grigio.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I can imagine you enjoying the pasta on the porch with a perfect glass of wine! Great job making the recipe!

  4. Sheena says

    This was fantastic! I used regular pasta, but otherwise followed directions exactly and it turned out perfectly! I boiled, drained the penne (reserving a tiny bit of pasta water just in case but didn’t need it), dumped the pasta back into the pot on low heat before adding the egg/parm mix and proceeding with instructions. This was such an easy, fast and delicious recipe made with ingredients I always have on hand I’m sure I will make it again and again.

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