Instant Ramen Carbonara Recipe

Who doesn't love a fusion recipe, especially one meshing two characteristically cheap meals together? Tiktok has once again introduced us to a new delicious pasta, this time mixing instant ramen noodles with creamy carbonara. Viral as it is, the recipe differs from creator to creator, some incorporating American cheese and others opting for Japanese Kewpie mayo.

Our version, developed by recipe creator Michelle McGlinn, leans into the Italian influence and whisks together a fast, single-serving carbonara sauce out of egg yolks and cheese. It makes a fancy meal out of your ramen packet and can be made with plenty of substitutions (just don't tell any Italians). With just a little help from the included seasoning packet, this recipe is every bit as creamy, salty, and cheesy as your favorite authentic carbonara. Complete with a sprinkling of sesame seeds for a nutty finish, this instant ramen carbonara will become your new favorite go-to.

Gather the ingredients for instant ramen carbonara

Let's first take a look at the ingredients this recipe uses before diving into substitutions: Dehydrated instant ramen noodles, pancetta, egg yolks, pecorino Romano, black pepper, pasta water, and sesame seeds. A small but mighty list of high-quality ingredients that make all the difference in a dish so simple.

Most of these ingredients are already in your pantry, like the noodles, pepper, and eggs. If you're a cheese fanatic, you might have pecorino on deck, too. But what if you don't keep pancetta on hand and need lunch now? Swap the pancetta for bacon, a close, less-salty cousin. Vegetarian? Just omit the meat entirely. As for the cheese, Parmesan can be swapped for salty-rich pecorino, or you can try using grated cheddar for a mac-and-cheese-esque version. Want a spicy carbonara? Use spicy ramen instead of chicken and top with kimchi.

Whisk the eggs

Carbonara takes as little as 5 minutes to make, but must be done specifically to avoid soupy or clumpy noodles. Start by whisking the egg yolk, pepper, and pecorino Romano together to form a paste. You want this to be thick because you'll be adding water to adjust the consistency later. You can whisk this together in your serving bowl to save dishes, and, working quickly, bring it all together in just one bowl.

Fry the pancetta and noodles

This recipe becomes a quick 5-minute meal with some skilled multitasking. Get the ramen noodles boiling, which shouldn't take longer than 3 minutes or so. As those boil, fry the pancetta, crisping the diced bits as much as possible. Like bacon, the pancetta will exude a small amount of grease as it cooks, which will coat the noodles and form the base of the sauce, namely the rich flavor. With tongs, pull the softened noodles out of the boiling water and add directly to the frying pancetta, tossing the two together. The water clinging to the noodles will be just enough to form a thin sauce out of the pancetta fat. Dunk a measuring cup into the now-empty pasta water to use for the egg mixture.

Temper the eggs

Not all cooks temper the eggs in a bowl first, opting instead for adding the egg mixture to the noodles and then tossing with water. Either way, you need hot pasta water (it should still be steaming in that measuring cup) and a quick hand. Splash the hot pasta water into the egg mixture and whisk constantly to avoid curdling the eggs. Egg yolk is delicate and cooks in low and residual heat, so to avoid unintentional scrambled eggs, keep the yolks moving.

Once the paste thins to a sauce, add your seasoning packet and toss the mixture directly into the noodles in the still-hot pan. The heat from the water and the warm pan will safely cook the eggs. If the noodles become sticky and thick from the eggs, splash in more pasta water until the sauce is silky and shiny (but not runny).

Garnish and serve

If you've done it correctly (and it may take some practice), your ramen noodles should now be a silky, creamy masterpiece of cheesy goodness. It's not thick like mac and cheese nor saucy like Alfredo; carbonara is silky and sticks to the noodles, leaving barely any liquid behind. Transfer the pancetta noodles to a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds and optionally an extra egg yolk.

To really dress up your noodles, try topping with kimchi, green onions, or steamed bok choy. This Italian-Asian fusion dish is delicious paired with fried dumplings, bao buns, and scallion pancakes for a full dim-sum inspired meal. Dust off that ramen packet in the back of the pantry and dig into this easy and cheesy ramen carbonara!

Instant Ramen Carbonara Recipe
4.9 from 39 ratings
This instant ramen carbonara recipe perfectly strikes the perfect balance between quick, easy, and elegant.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chopsticks pulling noodles from bowl
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup grated pecorino Romano, plus more for topping
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 package instant ramen
  • ½ cup chopped pancetta
Optional Ingredients
  • Sesame seeds, for topping
  • Egg yolk, for topping
  1. Whisk the egg yolks, pecorino Romano, and black pepper together in a small bowl until paste-like. Set aside.
  2. Boil the ramen noodles until soft, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  3. While the pasta boils, cook the pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add the softened noodles, taking them out of the boiling water and into the skillet. Toss with the pancetta until a thin sauce forms from the water and fat. Turn off the heat.
  4. Pour ½ cup of hot pasta water into the egg yolk paste, whisking constantly. Sprinkle ½ of the ramen noodle seasoning packet into the thinned egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet with the noodles, tossing to coat. To thin the sauce further, toss with remaining pasta water.
  5. To serve, top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, egg yolk, and freshly grated pecorino.
Calories per Serving 953
Total Fat 62.3 g
Saturated Fat 28.3 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 398.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 55.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 2.9 g
Sodium 2,909.6 mg
Protein 41.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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