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Brighten Your Traditional Carbonara With Kimchi

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

This is one of the recipes I am most proud of in 2020. What started as an entry in a Korean food contest, has become a new staple in my pasta rotation. By replacing half of the eggs used in a traditional carbonara recipe with stir-fried Kimchi, you'll find yourself enjoying the taste you crave in carbonara, but with a bright, spicy kick. The whole dish is completely transformed by this edition.

(Makes 2-3 servings)


  • 2 large eggs

  • 4 strips of bacon

  • 100g kimchi with its liquid

  • 40g finely grated cheese (pecorino romano or parmesan)

  • ½ box of thick spaghetti noodles, roughly 230g

  • Green onion for garnish

  • Salt & pepper

Start by putting a pot of salted water over medium-high heat; we will bring this to a boil as we work on the rest of the prep. Crack your eggs into a large bowl and beat to fully combine. Fry the bacon over medium heat in a skillet. Once the bacon is fully crisped and the fat has been rendered, remove them from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bacon on a paper towel to drain and let the bacon fat cool slightly.

We can move onto our kimchi preparation. Measure your kimchi and put it into the basin of a stick blender. If you don't have a stick blender, you can chop your kimchi on a cutting board. Either way, get your kimchi finely diced, we will want this close to a paste in texture. Remove all of the bacon fat from the pan and place the skillet back over medium heat. Add in 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and the diced kimchi to fry. Fry the kimchi for 3-5 minutes (until the color darkens and the liquid has been cooked out). Turn off the heat and let the kimchi cool in the pan.

When the water has fully come to a boil, add your pasta and stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking together (don't add oil to your water). Cook the noodles according to the time on the package, I always shoot for the lowest number on the package and then taste a noodle. If it isn't cooked enough, leave them in the water for another minute. Use a mug or cup to take about half a cup of the pasta water, we will set that aside for later.

Grate 40g of cheese directly into the egg mixture (I do half parmesan and half pecorino). From there, add your cooled kimchi and mix until combined.

Using tongs, take your pasta directly from the water and put them into the bowl with the egg mixture. Start vigorously mixing the pasta and egg mixture together. We need the heat from the noodles to cook the eggs. We will constantly mix until the eggs transform into a creamy sauce consistency. I look for all the mixture to cling to the pasta without leaving any liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Once the sauce has come together, give the mixture a taste. Season with more cheese, salt, and pepper as needed. If your sauce has thickened too much, add a little of the pasta water we saved.

Crumble your bacon into the bowl and mix one last time. Cut a few green onion tops if you want a garnish. Serve in bowls and enjoy having your mind blown.



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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