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5 from 1 vote

Lemon Pepper Carbonara

This lemon pepper carbonara is the perfect synergy of lemon zest and spicy black pepper. It works beautifully with creamy egg yolks and salty bits of bacon.This makes for the perfect weeknight meal. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: carbonara, eggs spaghetti, lemon pepper
Servings: 2
Calories: 974kcal
Cost: $9


  • 3 ounces thick-cut bacon diced
  • 4 organic egg yolks
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano grated
  • 1 ounce Parmesan-Reggiano grated
  • 1/2 pound spaghetti or pasta of choice
  • ¼ cup pasta water reserved


  • In a small skillet, set over medium heat, add the thick-cut bacon pieces and cook, stirring every now and then, until they’re golden and crispy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a bed or paper towels to drain.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon zest, freshly ground pepper, Pecorino Romano and Parmesan-Reggiano. It may take a bit in order to get it smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Bring a pot to a boil. And then add in a few pinches of salt. (I usually salt my water very heavily but since the cheeses can be salty, I only add a pinch of two.) Boil the pasta to al dente and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the bowl with the egg mixture and add a splash or two of pasta water. Toss it vigorously until thoroughly combined. You want to toss it together for a full 1 minute. It may seem long but it’s necessary to ensure proper coating. Add in the bacon and toss one last time.
  • Divide it amongst bowls, topping it with some extra lemon zest and grated cheese as garnish.


Tips and Tricks

  • Carbonara usually calls for guanciale, but I had trouble finding it. And if I have trouble, I’m guessing so will you. I ended up finding a very thick-cut bacon and used that and it was awesome.
  • If you want perfect cubes of bacon, transfer the bacon to the freezer for 10 minutes. This chills it, making it easier to cube up.
  • Work with room temperature eggs. I find that it combines with the cheese much easier if everything is room temperature. To do this quickly, place the eggs in a bowl with warm water for 5 minutes. This will shake off their chill.
  • Will this recipe work with only one type of cheese? Yes, if I could choose only one cheese, I would do Parmesan-Reggiano because Pecorino can sometimes be a bit too salty. But both make it out of this world.
  • Look for bronze-die pasta when purchasing pasta. It ensures the best quality pasta. And will give you the most delicious pasta water.


Serving: 2g | Calories: 974kcal | Carbohydrates: 63.2g | Protein: 55.2g | Fat: 53.2g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 502mg | Sodium: 1242mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 0.5g | Vitamin A: 59IU | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 2mg