What Meat Goes In Carbonara: 25 Tasty Meat Ideas

What meat goes in carbonara? This is a common question that people have when they are preparing this dish. Carbonara is a classic Italian pasta dish that is made with bacon, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. While the ingredients may vary slightly depending on what region of Italy you are from, the basic recipe remains the same.

As an Italian-American, I grew up eating carbonara regularly. My grandmother taught me how to make it, and it’s now one of my favorite dishes. I have always been curious about what meats can be used in carbonara, so I decided to do some research.

I found that there are a few different types of meat that can be used in this dish, depending on your preference. After experimenting in the kitchen, I finally found the perfect combination of meats that makes carbonara even more delicious!

What Meat Goes In Carbonara

  1. Beef
  2. Seafood
  3. Chicken
  4. Pancetta
  5. Prosciutto
  6. Sausage
  7. Salami
  8. Ham
  9. Pork Belly
  10. Bacon


Beef provides a heartiness and richness that enhances the other flavors in the dish. The key is to choose a cut of beef that has good marbling – that’s the fat that runs through the meat. The fat gives the beef its flavor, so you want to make sure there’s enough of it. Otherwise, your carbonara will be bland.

I like to use a bottom-round roast because it has just the right amount of marbling. It’s also a leaner cut of beef, so it’s healthier than some of the other options. And it’s affordable, which is always a bonus.

Now, let’s talk about cooking the beef. You want to cook it until it’s tender but not overcooked – otherwise, it will be tough and chewy. I like to cook my beef in the oven at a low temperature (250 degrees F) for 25 minutes for every pound of beef. This gives me time to do other things while the beef is cooking, and it always turns out perfectly tender. Just be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook – you don’t want all those delicious juices to evaporate!


I recently discovered that seafood makes an excellent stand-in for meat. Shrimp and calamari are my go-to options, but scallops and lobster would also be delicious. The key is to cook the seafood properly so that it maintains its delicate flavor and texture. When done right, seafood carbonara is truly a heavenly dish.

Seafood is a great option for carbonara because it’s light and delicate, with a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. And it’s also a healthy choice, packed with protein and essential nutrients.

When cooked properly, seafood should be tender and flaky. To achieve the best results, make sure to avoid overcooking, which can lead to a tough and rubbery texture. When in doubt, err on the side of undercooking, as you can always put the seafood back in the pan for a minute or two if it’s not quite done.


While there are many delicious ways to make carbonara, one of the most popular versions is made with chicken. Chicken carbonara is a hearty dish that is perfect for a winter meal. The chicken adds protein and flavor to the dish, and the eggs help to thicken the sauce.

While chicken carbonara can be a bit of a challenge to make, it is well worth the effort. Here are some tips and tricks for making the perfect chicken carbonara:

  • Use a good quality chicken. I prefer to use organic, free-range chicken for this dish. The chicken should be cooked until it is tender and juicy.
  • Use pancetta or guanciale for the best flavor. If you can’t find either of these meats, bacon will work in a pinch.
  • Be sure to whisk the eggs well before adding them to the sauce. This will help to prevent them from scrambling.
  • Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
  • Serve the carbonara over cooked pasta, rice, or potatoes. I like to use white rice or boiled potatoes.


There’s no denying that pancetta is delicious. This Italian cured meat is made from pork belly that is seasoned and then smoked. The result is meat with a rich, slightly sweet flavor and a firm texture.

When used in carbonara, pancetta adds a delicious depth of flavor to the dish. It also helps to balance out the richness of the cheese and cream. However, pancetta can be quite salty, so it’s important to use it sparingly. If you’re looking for a healthier option, you can also use turkey bacon.

Turkey bacon has a similar flavor to pancetta, but with fewer calories and less fat. If you’re looking for an even healthier option, you can leave the meat out altogether. The vegetables will still provide plenty of flavor and nutrients.


Prosciutto is a type of Italian dry-cured ham that is aged for at least 12 months. It has a delicate, sweet flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. When added to carbonara, it gives the dish a boost of flavor and richness. Plus, it pairs well with the other ingredients in carbonara, such as bacon, eggs, and cheese.

Of course, you need to be sure to use thin slices so that they cook evenly. Additionally, cook the Prosciutto over low heat so that it doesn’t get too crispy. And finally, add it to the carbonara just before serving so that it stays nice and moist.


Sausage is a type of ground meat that is usually seasoned and used in dishes such as pasta, stews, and casseroles. It is typically made from pork, but can also be made from beef, chicken, or turkey.

Sausage has a rich, savory flavor and a moist, dense texture. When used in carbonara, it adds a depth of flavor to the dish and helps to thicken the sauce. However, it can also be quite greasy, so it is important to cook it thoroughly before adding it to the carbonara.

To ensure crispy results, cook the sausage in a dry pan over medium heat until it is browned and cooked through. Then drain off any excess grease before adding it to the carbonara. This will help to prevent the dish from becoming too oily.


If you’re looking for a delicious and easy way to upgrade your carbonara, try adding some salami! This cured meat is full of flavor, and its slightly salty taste will complement the other ingredients in your dish perfectly.

Additionally, the firm texture of salami provides a nice contrast to the creamy sauce and soft pasta. But, there are a few things to keep in mind when using this ingredient:

  • Be sure to slice the salami thinly so that it cooks evenly.
  • Taste your carbonara before adding additional salt, as the salami may make it salty enough on its own.


Ham is a great choice for a Carbonara because it has a salty and savory flavor that complements the pasta nicely. Additionally, it provides a nice texture contrast with the creamy sauce and crispy bacon.

When selecting Ham for your Carbonara, look for a cut that is not too thick or thin. You want the ham to be cooked through but still juicy. If you are using precooked Ham, simply heat it in the pan with the pasta. Otherwise, cook the Ham separately and add it in at the end.

Pork Belly

Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat that is often used in Asian cuisine. It has a rich, savory flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. It is an excellent choice for carbonara because it adds a delicious richness to the dish. The fat in the pork belly also helps to thicken the sauce and gives it a velvety texture.

However, be sure to render the fat by cooking the pork over low heat until it is crisp and golden brown. This will help to prevent the dish from becoming greasy. Also, use a small amount of pork belly – too much will overwhelm the other flavors in the dish.


For those who want to take their carbonara to the next level, bacon is the way to go. That’s because bacon not only adds flavor but also texture and depth.

Thick-cut bacon has a chewy texture that pairs well with the creamy sauce and pasta. Plus, the smoky flavor of bacon rounds out the dish perfectly. Just be sure to slice it thin so it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.

And if you’re looking for an extra boost of flavor, try using smoked bacon. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Related Questions When Choosing What Meat Goes In Carbonara

What are other options when choosing what meat goes in carbonara?

  1. Corned Beef
  2. Sisig
  3. Luncheon Meat
  4. Canned Tuna
  5. Guanciale
  6. Buffalo
  7. Pork Jowl
  8. Duck
  9. Turkey
  10. Lamb
  11. Venison

What is the golden rule of cooking carbonara?

Choose the proper pasta and cook it al dente, not too soft or hard. Additionally, it is important to follow the package directions for cooking time.

Remember to use only fresh eggs, and whisk them well before adding to the sauce. Do not add too much cheese, as this can make the carbonara greasy. Lastly, be sure to use pancetta or guanciale for the best flavor.

What is traditional carbonara made of?

There are many variations of carbonara, but a traditional carbonara is made of eggs, black pepper, spaghetti noodles, guanciale, and pecorino Romano.


With this guide, you will be able to choose the perfect meat for your next carbonara feast. Whether you are in the mood for something salty and savory or crispy and delicious, there’s surely something on this list that will fit your needs.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and experiment with different meats until you find your perfect carbonara match. Who knows, you may even discover a new favorite dish in the process.

What Meat Goes In Carbonara: 25 Tasty Meat Ideas

Discover 25 delectable side options to spice up your meal.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 390 kcal


  • Beef
  • Seafood
  • Chicken
  • Pancetta
  • Prosciutto
  • Sausage
  • Salami
  • Ham
  • Pork Belly
  • Bacon
  • Corned Beef
  • Sisig
  • Luncheon Meat
  • Canned Tuna
  • Guanciale
  • Buffalo
  • Pork Jowl
  • Duck
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Venison


  • Select the recipe that best suits your dish and preferences.
  • Gather the ingredients required to complete the selected recipe.
  • Make your rice dish in 30 minutes or less!
Keyword Carbonara