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Easy No Cream Carbonara Recipe

Opinions differ on the correct preparation of spaghetti carbonara. Some believe that it tastes best with cream and egg yolk, while others claim that Italians prepare it without any cream at all. And to be honest, I also have a very clear opinion here. For me, cream has no place in spaghetti carbonara at all. I love the classic version made with just cheese, eggs and pasta water. And with today’s no cream carbonara recipe I will show you how easy it is to prepare this Italian classic at home.

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no cream carbonara recipe

How to make spaghetti carbonara a bit healthier and more well-balanced…

Actually, I think it’s quite easy to incorporate pasta into balanced and healthy recipes. However, this becomes a bit more difficult with traditional Italian recipes, which aren’t served with lots of sauce. Normally, pasta sauces are the perfect way to sneak in lots of vegetables and protein.

But a good carbonara should by no means be drowned in a lot of sauce. That’s exactly why I’m a big fan of the classic no cream carbonara recipe.

However, to make the dish a little more balanced without ruining the taste of a typical Italian carbonara, I like to add some mushrooms, which I sauté separately in an extra pan.

I also use anchovies instead of bacon. They have an incredibly intense, salty flavor and so we need much less of them for the same taste. But of course, you can also use regular or turkey bacon.

Finally, I used a fifty-fifty mix of Pecorino (or Parmesan) cheese and a lower-fat hard cheese. The particular brand I used is called Eatlean. But that is completely optional for this no cream carbonara recipe. However, If you’re paying attention to the calories, you might just give this version a try. I bet you’ll taste almost no difference.

In addition, you always have the option to serve your spaghetti carbonara with a salad on the side. This way, you get a few extra vitamins into the game. And that’s always a win.

no cream carbonara recipe


The quantities, as they are given in the recipe below, are approximately equal to two servings. However, feel free to double, triple, or halve them, depending on how many people you’re cooking for.

If you like to have a larger portion or one with more or less calories, carbs, proteins or fats, feel free to adjust the amount of carbs and/or protein and fats to your individual needs.

I always base portion sizes on my personal dietary needs (presumably those of the average woman). However, you or perhaps one of your fellow eaters may need more (or less) than I do.

Here’s what you need for your no cream carbonara recipe

  • 160 grams or 5.5 to 6 ounces of whole grain spaghetti
  • one teaspoon of olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets (or 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of (turkey) bacon)
  • 30 grams or 1/3 cup of freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese and 30 grams (1/3 cup) of a lower-fat cheese (e.g., Eatlean cheese) – as an alternative to the lower-fat cheese you can use the double amount of Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • two eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • some pasta water


  • 350 grams or 12 ounces of mushrooms – and/or ingredients for a green salad

Alternatives & Substitutions

Instead of anchovies, you can use a classic or lower-fat (turkey) bacon as indicated. You can also use just Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and skip the fifty-fifty mix with a lower-fat cheese.

Finally, you can always omit the mushrooms and just serve your no cream carbonara recipe with a green salad on the side.

No Cream Carbonara Recipe – Here`s how it`s done

If you choose the version with mushrooms like I did, you should prepare them first. Simply clean the mushrooms and quarter or halve them. Then put them in a large pan and sauté them without oil over medium-high heat until they are nicely soft. Frying mushrooms without oil, will give them a nutty flavor which fits perfectly to the creamy, salty carbonara.

cleaned and quartered mushrooms

Meanwhile, bring the pasta water to a boil. During that time, you can already grate the cheese and chop the anchovies. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it al dente according to package instructions.

grated cheese

Eggs, Cheese, and Pasta Water – This is Everything You Need for a Carbonara Sauce

Meanwhile, you can crack the eggs in a bowl, whisk them, add the grated cheese and some pepper, and give this mixture a whisk. About three minutes before the pasta will be al dente, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the anchovy pieces (or the bacon) and fry them briefly. (Attention, bacon needs about one to two minutes longer. So, start a bit earlier and you also won’t need oil for that.)

egg cheese mixture for the no cream carbonara recipe

Now the pasta should also be ready. Therefore, take the spaghetti directly out of the water and add it to the pan by using a ladle or fork. Deglaze the pasta pan with about a ¼ cup of pasta water and turn off the heat so that the frying stops. In other words, you should no longer hear any sizzling sounds.

Now add the egg-cheese mixture and let it thicken in the pan, stirring constantly. Add a little more pasta water as needed so that the sauce gets your desired consistency.

creamy spaghetti carbonara in a pan

Easy No Cream Carbonara Recipe Made in no Time

That’s it! Isn’t it super easy to make the no cream carbonara recipe? Finally, you can add the mushrooms to the pasta, add season to taste with some more pepper and salt. Now you’re ready to serve and enjoy them.

And as mentioned above, you can always serve your no cream carbonara recipe with a salad on the side.

no cream carbonara with mushrooms

I hope you like super easy no cream carbonara recipe! If so, make sure to give it a try. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments, or send me a massage via email or Instagram (@julesbalancedrecipes).

And in case, you’ve tried this no cream carbonara recipe, I’d appreciate your comment and rating on this recipe. It’s easy to do via the comments section below this post and it would mean the world to me.

Have fun trying it out and bon appétit,

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easy no cream carbonara recipe

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no cream carbonara recipe

No Cream Carbonara Recipe

Julia Schmitt
Authentic spaghetti carbonara recipe made with eggs, cheese and pasta water. This recipe also includes some optional ideas to make this dish a bit more balanced, as you will see in the note section.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 494 kcal


  • 2 pans
  • 1 pot or saucepan (with lid)


Mushrooms (optionally) *

  • 350 g mushrooms (~12 oz.)

No Cream Carbonara

  • 160 g whole grain spaghetti (~5.5 to 6 oz)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets alternatively, 150g (5.3 oz) of (turkey) bacon, finely sliced)
  • 30 g Pecorino or Parmesan cheese freshly grated (~⅓ cup or 1 oz)
  • 30 g lower fat cheese (hard cheese) ** e.g. Eatlean cheese (~⅓ cup or 1 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, pepper
  • pasta water



  • Clean the mushrooms, cut them into quarters and sauté them in a large, non-stick frying pan without oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
    quartered mushrooms


  • Meanwhile bring some water to a boil and cook the spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, chop the anchovies and finely grate the cheese. Crack the eggs into a bowl, whisk them, and mix them with the grated cheese and plenty of pepper.
    carbonara sauce mixture
  • About three minutes before the pasta is done, heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the anchovies briefly (bacon takes a little longer, so start a little earlier and do not add oil to the pan).
  • Transfer the pasta directly to the pan by using a ladle or fork and add about ¼ cup (50 to 60 ml) of pasta water. Turn off the heat and make sure that there is no more frying going on (no sizzling sounds). Pour the egg mixture over the pasta, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Add a little pasta water as needed so that the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
    Carbonara in a pan


*You can serve a green salad alongside the pasta instead of or in addition to the mushrooms.
**You can use the double amount of Pecorino or Parmesan cheese instead of the lower fat one.
Nutritional values per serving:
  • calories: 494 kcal
  • fat: 16 g
  • carbohydrates: 54 g
  • proteins: 31 g


Calories: 494kcal
Keyword 20 minutes pasta dishes, Italian spaghetti carbonara recipe, no cream carbonara recipe
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