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4 from 3 votes

Shrimp Carbonara

This Shrimp Carbonara recipe makes a quick and easy dinner idea for busy weekdays. Prepared with a garlicky creamy sauce, crispy bacon, plump shrimp, and Parmesan cheese, it’s one of those pasta recipes that your family will ask you to make again and again. It is creamy, comforting, and super delish!
Keywords:carbonara, pasta, quick, shrimp, spaghetti
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories668 kcal
Cost $2.50 per person


  • 12 oz spaghetti or fettuccine or linguine
  • 1 large egg at room temp (do not forget: AT ROOM TEMP). For a creamy sauce according to the American standards, use the triple of eggs in this recipe.
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temp (do not forget: AT ROOM TEMP). For a creamy sauce according to the American standards, use the triple of egg yolks in this recipe.
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temp.
  • cup Parmesan cheese grated (plus extra to garnish pasta). For a creamy sauce according to the American standards, use the triple of cheese in this recipe.
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt or less if you consume less sodium: about ½ tsp
  • 6 slices smoked bacon diced
  • 1 lb colossal shrimp peeled, deveined, and tail-off
  • 1 cup RESERVED starchy pasta cooking water For a creamier/thicker sauce, reduce water to a ¾ cup instead.
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley finely chopped (plus 2 tablespoon for garnish)


  • To make this quick dinner recipe, cook the pasta: Boil enough water, a hint of olive oil, and about 1 tablespoon of salt in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions in the package or until al dente. Spaghetti takes about 8-10 minutes to cook! Reserve one cup of the starchy pasta water and then drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce base: In a food processor or blender, add the egg and yolk, butter, cheese, garlic, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Blend for about 15 seconds or until it is creamy. Stop and scrape the sides down as needed. Reserve the mixture!
  • Cook the bacon and shrimp: In a large pan or skillet, sauté the chopped bacon over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Drain all but 2 tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan. Pat dry the shrimp with a paper towel, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and then add the shrimp to the bacon grease in the pan. Cook over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, or just until the shrimp turns pink. Transfer the shrimp to the plate with the bacon.
  • Finish to make the sauce and toss the pasta: Heat the same skillet over medium heat and pour in 1 cup of reserved starchy pasta hot water to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Then, turn off the heat so you will not wind up with scrambled eggs!!! Just then add the reserved egg/cheese mixture and stir until creamy. Stir in the parsley, bacon and shrimp, and then toss the cooked pasta until coated. NOTE: For a creamier sauce according to the American standards, add ½ to ¾ cup heavy cream when mixing the REGULAR egg/cheese mixture into the pasta water asked in the recipe. See notes below!
  • Serve shrimp carbonara topped with extra cheese and extra chopped parsley!

Recipe Notes

This is NOT the traditional Italian Carbonara recipe. It is one of the variants of the dish made abroad.
CREAMY = MOIST. No carbonara sauce is as creamy as a heavy cream base sauce because nothing beats cream in a pasta sauce for obvious reasons. If you want, add ½ to ¾ cup of cream to the water pasta and more cheese to make it creamy according to the American standards. Or, if you want to avoid cream at all costs, use the triple of eggs and egg yolks asked in the recipe and also the triple of cheese to make the sauce creamy without heavy cream. Remember: Nothing beats cream! 
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
You may cook the pasta itself ahead and freeze it for up to 1 month. Thaw it in the fridge to use in our shrimp carbonara recipe. But I don’t recommend freezing the final dish because it will break the sauce apart and make the shrimp rubbery once reheated.  
Recipe Tips
  • Because the recipe comes together quickly, make sure to prep all your ingredients ahead (before you start cooking)!
  • Although you can cook the pasta and also the bacon ahead, prepare the sauce and cook the shrimp right before serving the shrimp carbonara pasta.
  • Always use room temperature eggs. They will cook properly when at room temp and will avoid curdling.
  • Use unsalted butter at room temp to process easier in the blender or food process.
  • Garlic is not often used in Italy for carbonara sauce but it makes it tastier.
  • Use as much cheese as you want. But if using Pecorino Romano the pasta will be saltier.
  • Reserve the starchy pasta cooking water! If needed, place a measuring cup in your colander to remind you.
  • Prefer long shape pasta or noodles such as spaghetti, fettuccine, or bucatini pasta. It will go well with this type of creamy yet not heavy sauce.
  • You may add ½ cup of heavy cream to the pasta sauce for making it extra creamy.
  • You may add ½ cup cooked veggies to our pasta carbonara such as green peas although it is not in the original carbonara recipe.


Calories: 668kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 295mg | Sodium: 1907mg | Potassium: 546mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1126IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 312mg | Iron: 2mg

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