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Authentic restaurant-style carbonara with the addition of tender shrimp, this recipe is rich and flavorful! This shrimp carbonara recipe is easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner, and delicious enough to make for company.

Top-down look at two bowls of shrimp carbonara, with linguini noodles swirled and piled to support tender shrimp.

🍤 What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • Tender pasta, coated in a rich & creamy parmesan sauce, combined with juicy shrimp and crispy bacon. What could be better?! This shrimp carbonara is packed full of fresh, rich flavor. Whether you’re cooking for the family, a date night, or for company, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
  • Don’t let the recipe intimidate you. All the ingredients you’ll need are easily accessible at most grocery stores, there’s nothing fancy or hard-to-find required. Simple ingredients for a simple recipe! We used organic spaghetti, but you can easily swap that out for gluten-free pasta, whole-wheat pasta, or even palmini noodles.
  • Shrimp carbonara gives the elevated feel of a restaurant-quality dish, made right in your own kitchen! To take this dish to yet another another level, you could start with a salad topped with Italian dressing, or finish the evening with an absolutely delectable vanilla bean panna cotta!

👩‍🍳 Chef’s Tips

  • Cook time on the bacon may vary, but just make sure you don’t overcook it! There’s a fine line between crispy bacon and flat-out burnt bacon. If you’re not sure how close you’re getting, err on the side of “flimsy”. The taste of burnt bacon will absolutely throw off the whole rest of the dish.
  • I personally love a really saucy pasta. If you do, too, there are a couple of ways to make your shrimp carbonara even saucier. For starters, using less pasta with the same amount of sauce will automatically give you a higher sauce-to-pasta ratio. If you want to stick with the same amount of pasta, though, head to the Notes section of the recipe card. I’ve included an easy adjustment!
  • You don’t want to overcook your pasta – al dente is the goal! If you’re not always confident you’ve gotten it just right, don’t bother throwing noodles at your wall. The easiest and safest bet is to boil the pasta for 1 minute less than the instructions on the packaging indicate. When you add the pasta to the skillet later in the recipe, it’ll cook a little more. Slightly undercooking it to start helps guarantee you don’t overcook it by the end. No one wants mushy noodles!
  • Speaking of your pasta… SALT YOUR WATER! No, really. I know you’re coating the noodles in a delicious sauce later, but even with a sauce, you can typically tell when the noodles are bland. Boiling the noodles is pretty much your only opportunity to season them. Salting your water really well – not just a little pinch – makes a big difference!
Close-up view of shrimp carbonara in a large white pasta bowl.

🦐 More Shrimp Recipes You’ll Love

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik

Shrimp Carbonara

Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes
A rich and creamy pasta carbonara, loaded with fresh shrimp. Authentic Italian flavor in a dish that is ready to serve in under 30 minutes.
4 servings


  • Large pot
  • Large wooden spoon
  • colander
  • medium mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • Large skillet
  • Large plate
  • Paper towels
  • Slotted spoon
  • Tongs
  • 4 serving plates or serving bowls


  • 24 ounces water up to 32 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt up to 1 ½ tablespoons as desired
  • 12 ounces dry spaghetti noodles or dry bucatini
  • 1 ¼ cups grated fresh parmesan divided, see Notes
  • 6 large egg yolks see Notes
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces bacon sliced into ¼-inch-long pieces
  • ¾ pound large shrimp peeled, deveined


For the Shrimp Carbonara

  • Fill large pot with 24 ounces water. Depending on size of pot, add more water if needed to fully cover pasta.
  • Place pot over high heat and bring water to rolling boil. When water begins to boil, stir in 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons salt. Reduce heat to medium-high and allow water to return to rolling boil.
  • When water returns to rolling boil, add dry pasta. Boil pasta, stirring occasionally, until pasta is just al dente. For best results, boil pasta 1 minute less than time indicated on packaging.
  • Before draining pasta, remove 1 cup pasta water from pot and set water aside. Pour pasta and remaining water into colander and drain pasta well. Set pasta aside.
  • Add 1 cup parmesan cheese and 6 egg yolks to bowl. Whisk ingredients together vigorously until fully combined. Mixture should be quite thick, almost like cake batter. Set bowl aside.
  • Heat skillet over medium heat. While pan warms, line plate with paper towels and set aside.
  • When skillet is warm, add bacon slices and cook until bacon is just crispy. Be very careful not to burn bacon – if unsure, stop cooking while bacon is still slightly flimsy. Use slotted spoon to transfer bacon to paper towels, leaving as much rendered fat in skillet as possible.
  • Once all bacon has been removed, increase heat under skillet to medium-high. Add shrimp to skillet, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding.
  • Sauté shrimp undisturbed 1 minute, then stir shrimp and sauté 1 additional minute.
  • After 1 minute, add cooked pasta to skillet. Toss pasta to incorporate with shrimp, coating pasta in rendered bacon fat.
  • Slowly pour in ¼ cup of reserved pasta water while whisking constantly to incorporate water. Pasta water and rendered bacon fat will emulsify and thicken.

To Serve Shrimp Carbonara

  • Before continuing, stage serving plates or bowls. Carbonara will need to be served immediately after next steps. If time is needed to prepare sides, turn off heat under skillet without removing pan. This will keep dish warm but please note that shrimp and pasta will continue cooking and may become overcooked.
  • Remove skillet from heat. Return cooked bacon to skillet, then slowly pour in parmesan-egg mixture. Sprinkle 1 pinch salt over liquid.
  • Use tongs to gently toss pasta and shrimp in parmesan-egg mixture until thick, silky sauce forms. Note: if sauce is too thick, stir in additional pasta water in 1 tablespoon increments, making sure to fully incorporate water before adding more.
  • When satisfied with sauce consistency, divide shrimp carbonara between serving plates or bowls. Top with additional black pepper and remaining ¼ cup parmesan. Serve immediately.
  • Shrimp carbonara needs to be served immediately after preparing, so be sure to account for that before you get started! If you’re serving any sides with it, try to time them so they’re ready at the same time as the carbonara.
  • For Saucier Carbonara: Use 7 egg yolks instead of 6, and increase the parmesan to 1 ½ cups total (1 ¼ cups mixed with the egg yolks, and the remaining ¼ sprinkled on top before serving).
  • Make it Gluten Free: Use gluten-free pasta.
  • Make it Low Carb: Use palmini linguini or angel hair pasta instead of traditional pasta. Follow the instructions on the packaging to prepare the palmini.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 770calProtein: 49gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 462mgSodium: 901mgPotassium: 555mgTotal Carbs: 66gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gNet Carbs: 63gVitamin A: 628IUCalcium: 477mgIron: 3mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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