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Bacon Pasta

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close up overhead shot of bacon pasta on a plate
Bacon pasta is an easy to make dinner dish with noodles, crunchy bacon, and a creamy sauce.
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Table of Contents
  1. Bacon Pasta Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Bacon Pasta Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Bacon pasta is one of life’s great pleasures and it just doesn’t get any better than this! The easy, one-pot pasta recipe is the perfect combination of crispy bacon and soft noodles topped off with a homemade cheesy sauce.

close up overhead shot of bacon pasta on a plate

Bacon Pasta Ingredients

Bacon Past raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need: 

  • 3 cups dry penne pasta
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 14 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic cloves
  • 1½ cups of heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan for topping
  • 1½ tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley, optional garnish

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

PASTA: You can use any type of pasta noodle that you like in this tasty recipe. If you want a smaller noodle, you can use rotini, bowties, shells, or macaroni. If you want to switch things up, you could also use a long pasta noodle such as spaghetti or fettuccine.

BACON: You can make your own bacon and chop it up into pieces yourself, or you can use a store-bought package of bacon bits.

HEAVY CREAM: For a thicker and creamier pasta, stick with heavy cream. If you want it to be a bit lighter you can also use whole, 2%, or low-fat milk.

PARMESAN: If the grocery store is out of parmesan, or the price is a bit too high, try Pecorino or Grana Padano. Pecorino might be a bit salty so you may want to decrease the salt in the recipe a little. Grana Padano will melt really nicely into your pasta and has a nutty, mild flavor.

PEAS: If you want to make a Cheesecake Factory copycat carbonara recipe, try adding some peas! This recipe is similar to the hit classic.

SPICE: Add a little bit of a kick to this creamy pasta dish with a dash of red pepper flakes.

How To Make This Bacon Pasta Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Your sauce will come together better if you let your cream and milk sit out for 20 to 30 minutes beforehand. This lets them warm up a bit first.

STEP ONE: Fill a 4 to 5-quart stock pot with water and 2 teaspoons of table salt. Heat the salted water on medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a low rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

PRO TIP:

Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.

STEP TWO: In a 10 to 12-inch skillet, over medium heat to medium-high heat, cook the diced 14 strips of bacon until completely cooked and browned. Remove the bacon only to a plate or bowl lined with a paper towel, but leave the bacon drippings in the pan.

PRO TIP:

Start with a cooler pan and turn up the heat slowly if needed. If the pan gets too hot, it won’t cool quickly enough and the bacon will burn.

pieces of bacon being cooked in a skillet

STEP THREE: Pour the excess bacon fat into a heat-safe bowl. If possible, try to keep the crunchy bacony bits in the bottom of the pan.

STEP FOUR: Reduce the heat to low heat, and return the skillet to the heat. 

STEP FIVE: Using a whisk, add the minced garlic and sauté for 1½ to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.

garlic being cooked in a skillet

STEP SIX: Continue whisking and slowly add the heavy cream and the whole milk. Whisk continually until the milk reaches a very low simmer, being sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the delicious bacon bits.

STEP SEVEN: Continue to whisk and evenly sprinkle the ¾ cup of parmesan cheese, kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Remove the skillet from the heat and continue to whisk.

parmesan cheese, kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder being whisked together in the skillet of cooked garlic

STEP EIGHT: Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cooked pasta until it is evenly coated.

STEP NINE: Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and cooked crumbled bacon evenly over the top of the pasta.

parmesan cheese and bacon sprinkled over the pasta in a skillet

STEP TEN: Sprinkle the fresh parsley over the top of the pasta before serving.

STEP ELEVEN: Serve immediately. 

How To Serve

Plan to enjoy this easy pasta dinner on busy weeknights when time is short. Add our tasty garlic bread or cheesy pull-apart bread on the side along with a simple Caesar salad.

We absolutely love bacon pasta recipes for dinner. If you want a couple more easy bacon pasta recipes, our carbonara pasta and bacon mac and cheese will not disappoint! 

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

IN THE FREEZER: Leftover pasta can be frozen for up to 3 months. However, heavy cream in the pasta sauce does not tend to thaw well and may change the consistency.

close up shot of bacon pasta in a pan

We’re confident this is the best bacon pasta recipe you’ll ever make, and the only one you’ll ever need again. Perfectly creamy with all the goodness of parmesan cheese, salty bacon, and noodles that will fill all the bellies, you’ll be reaching for this easy recipe whenever you need a quick weeknight dinner!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this pasta dish?

You can freeze the leftovers of this easy pasta dish, but keep in mind that the creamy texture may be affected by freezing. It will last up to three months in the freezer.

How do I know when my pasta is al dente?

To test your pasta for al dente, take a bite of the pasta a minute or two before the package instructions indicate it should be done. When you bite into it, and your teeth feel some resistance, but the pasta is still tender, your pasta is al dente.

What kind of pasta is best for this recipe?

This bacon pasta recipe will work well with any type of pasta that you enjoy. Long or short pasta shapes will both work.

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close up overhead shot of bacon pasta on a plate

Bacon Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Bacon pasta is an easy to make dinner dish with noodles, crunchy bacon, and a creamy sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups penne pasta, dry
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 14 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, for topping
  • tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley (optional garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Fill a 4 to 5-quart stock pot with water and 2 teaspoons of table salt. Heat the salted water on medium-high heat. Once the water comes to a low rolling boil, add the pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • In a 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook the diced bacon until completely cooked and browned. Remove the bacon only to a plate or bowl lined with paper towels, but leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
  • Pour the excess bacon drippings into a heat-safe bowl. If possible, try to keep the crunchy bacon bits in the bottom of the skillet.
  • Reduce the heat to low and return the skillet to the heat.
  • Using a whisk, add the minced garlic and sauté for 1½ to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Continue whisking and slowly add the heavy cream and the whole milk. Whisk continually until the milk reaches a very low simmer, being sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to release all the delicious bacon bits.
  • Continue to whisk and evenly sprinkle the ¾ cup of parmesan cheese, kosher salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Remove the skillet from the heat and continue to whisk.
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir in the pasta until it is evenly coated.
  • Sprinkle the cooked crumbled bacon and the parmasen cheese evenly over the top of the pasta.
  • Sprinkle the flat leaf parsley over the top of the pasta before serving. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Your sauce will come together better if you let your cream and milk sit out for 20 to 30 minutes beforehand. This lets them warm up a bit first.
  • Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
  • Start with a cooler pan and turn up the heat slowly if needed. If the pan gets too hot, it won’t cool quickly enough and the bacon will burn.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 848kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 58g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 2106mg | Potassium: 385mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1360IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 286mg | Iron: 1mg
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