With only 5 delicious ingredients, this Bacon Spaghetti Recipe is so simple and takes just 30 minutes to make. It's one of those Italian-inspired pasta dishes that is so perfect because of its simplicity. Use good quality ingredients and the right techniques, and you'll be amazed by what a perfect dish this is.
I love any pasta dish that comes together with just a few flavorful, hearty ingredients and a splash of pasta water. In fact, I make easy recipes like this all the time, especially on weekdays when I want something flavorful but quick. If you like this recipe, you'll also love my recipes for Red Wine Mushroom Pasta, Rosé Spaghetti, and Lemon Zucchini Pasta.
How to make this Herby Bacon Pasta Recipe
This simple recipe only requires 5 ingredients plus salt and pepper! And it takes just 30 minutes to make.
Bacon Spaghetti Ingredients
See the recipe card for exact amounts.
- Spaghetti or other long pasta shape such as fusilli, bucatini, or fettucine
- Thick-cut bacon, cut into cubes or small slsices
- Yellow onion, sliced
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Red chili flakes
- Black pepper
- Kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water.
- Reserved pasta water / cooking liquid (see instructions)
This recipe makes 2 servings, but scales easily. Just double all the ingredients to make 4 servings and use a whole pound of pasta.
Step 1: Place the sliced bacon in a cold, large skillet then set the skillet over medium heat. (I prefer to start in a cold pan to prevent the bacon from spattering or burning.) Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the bacon fat has rendered, which takes about 7 minutes. Then use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy bacon onto a paper towel off to the side.
Step 2: Add the sliced onions and chili flakes to skillet and sauté for about 8 minutes until the onions have darkened significantly.
Step 3: In a large pot of salted water (filled only half way with water!!) cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente.
Step 4: Transfer 1 cup of pasta water from the pot to the skillet, along with the the reserved bacon, the fresh parsley, and the cooked pasta. Toss to combine and continue to toss until the sauce has thickened and coats the spaghetti. If it gets too thick or too greasy, add a splash more water.
Step 5: That's it! Serve with more red pepper, parmesan cheese, and maybe even a bright crunchy side salad.
- It's OK if the pasta isn't cooked by the time the onions are done. Simply turn off the heat and wait for the pasta to finish. Then, right before the pasta is ready, turn the skillet back on, this time to medium-high heat, and add the pasta water, pasta, parsley, and bacon.
- If you simply transfer the pasta water and the pasta directly to the skillet with the onions, there's no need to go through the step of straining the pasta or reserving the pasta water. Just use tongs to transfer the pasta and a measuring cup to transfer the water to the skillet.
- Al dente spaghetti is really delicious. It has the perfect texture, but is easy to overcook. Even if it seems like it needs another minute or 2, t's probably ready. It'll continue to cook more in the sauté pan.
- I do not recommend using angel hair in this Bacon Spaghetti Recipe. it overcooks quite easily and doesn't stand up well to the hearty bacon and onion. Plus I like my al dente pasta too much!
- Make sure to not discard the bacon grease! This fat cooks the onions and contributes flavor to the whole dish.
- If you don't eat pork, you can make this Bacon Spaghetti Recipe using beef or turkey bacon. However, these ingredients don't release as much fat as regular pork bacon. So you'd also need to add at least a little olive oil or butter to the pan to sauté the bacon and the onions.
- Gluten free: If you decide to use gluten free pasta, it may not yield as much starchy pasta water. And therefore, the sauce may break easily or appear too greasy or too watery. If this happens, you can add 2 tablespoons of a simple corn starch slurry.
- Make it creamy by adding a splash of heavy cream, creme fraiche, or sour cream.
- Add peas (bacon and peas are a classic match made in heaven)
- Add a hint of acidity with a squeeze of lemon or white wine. Add it right before you add the pasta and pasta water, and let it mostly cook off.
- Make it tomatoey. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste when the onions have one minute left to sauté (after 7 minutes of sautéing).
- Though this recipe is similar to a carbonara, it is not spaghetti carbonara. To turn this recipe into carbonara, you would need to stir in tempered eggs. But I suggest using a bacon carbonara recipe if that's what you're looking for.
Leftover Bacon Spaghetti
If you have leftovers or are making is recipe as meal prep, place the pasta in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. If freezing, place a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pasta, then cover with the airtight lid, then freeze.
To reheat leftovers, place the pasta in a pan with a splash of water. Saute until heated through. Each time the pasta gets too dry, add a splash more water.
Bacon Spaghetti RecipePrint
Bacon Spaghetti Recipe
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Italian food, pasta recipes, pasta water pasta recipes
- Method: pasta water
- Cuisine: Italian
A delicious, incredibly easy Bacon Pasta Recipe with the perfect balance of fatty bacon, sweet onions, starchy pasta, and bright fresh parsley.
- ½ pound of spaghetti or other long pasta shape such as fusilli, bucatini, or fettucine
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut into cubes or small slsices
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- A pinch of red chili flake
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water.
- 1 cup of reserved pasta water / cooking liquid (see instructions)
- Place the sliced bacon in a cold, large skillet then set the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the bacon fat has rendered, which takes about 7 minutes. Then use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy bacon onto a paper towel off to the side.
- Add the sliced onions and chili flakes to skillet and sauté for about 8 minutes until the onions have darkened significantly.
- In a large pot of salted water (filled only half way with water!!) cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Using less water helps create a more densely starchy pasta cooking liquid, which is what makes the sauce thick and saucy.
- Transfer 1 cup of pasta water from the pot to the skillet, along with the the reserved bacon, the fresh parsley, and the cooked spaghetti. Toss to combine and continue to toss until the sauce has thickened and coats the spaghetti. If it gets too thick or too greasy, add a splash more water.
- That's it! Serve with more red pepper and parmesan cheese if desired.
Keywords: bacon spaghetti recipe, bacon pasta recipe, bacon pasta, bacon onion pasta
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