Instant Pot Chicken Carbonara Recipe

While we may think of carbonara as a cream-based pasta sauce, recipe developer Joe Dillard notes that the creamy texture actually comes from eggs instead of dairy. In fact, if you check the ingredients list, you'll see this carbonara has no cream or milk. One thing this recipe does have, though, is extra meat. As Dillard tells us, "This recipe adds chicken to the pasta for a hearty and filling option that also adds plenty of delicious flavor." With both noodles and meat, it can almost make for a one-pot meal, although you might also like to add a green vegetable or at least a side salad to balance out the starch.

One thing Dillard feels is important to point out, though, is that not all Instant Pots function in the same way. "For example," he says, "some have start buttons, while others are equipped to automatically begin cooking when locked." In the event that the instructions he gives don't match up exactly with the menu options your model has to offer, he suggests that you refer to the owner's manual that came with your appliance.

Collect the ingredients for the Instant Pot chicken carbonara

As the recipe name indicates, this carbonara is made with chicken, and here Dillard is opting to use boneless, skinless breasts. He also uses bacon, but says "You can swap [it] out ... for the more traditional option of pancetta" should you so choose. You'll also need one whole egg plus a couple of yolks as well as some spaghetti. Dillard likes to use the type of spaghetti sold as "pot size," telling us that the product "makes it very easy to make spaghetti in the Instant Pot," but adds, "you can simply break regular spaghetti in half" if that's what you have to work with.

Rounding out the ingredients list are butter, parmesan, an onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and water, plus some parsley to pretty up the finished product.

Sauté the bacon and chicken

Set the Instant Pot to "sauté" and the heat to "more." After the pot heats up (it will probably display a message along the lines of "hot"), you can fry the bacon for 5 to 7 minutes to crisp it up. Once that's accomplished, fish it out and drain it on paper towels.

Use the bacon grease to sauté the chicken, stirring it every so often until it looks golden brown. Check to make sure it's cooked on the inside as well as the outside by sticking a meat thermometer into the thickest part. When the thermometer reads 165 F, take the chicken out of the pot.

Sauté the aromatics

Melt the butter in the Instant Pot, then use it to fry the onion for 3 to 4 minutes until it softens and appears translucent. Toss the garlic into the pot along with the salt and pepper, then cook everything for 45 seconds longer. Press "cancel" to exit sauté mode.

Pressure cook the spaghetti with the chicken

Pour the water into the Instant Pot, then use a non-metallic utensil such as a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom. The reason for doing so isn't to deglaze the pan, but because, as Dillard cautions, "Instant Pots are made to display a burn warning if they sense any food stuck to the bottom."

Divide the spaghetti into two even bunches, then put them into the pot criss-cross style so they cook evenly. Push the noodles down so they are covered in water, but do not stir them. Put the chicken into the pot, then close and lock the lid. Hit "pressure cook," set the timer for 5 minutes, and press the start button. Wait patiently as the pot pressures up, then counts down. As soon as the timer goes "beep" or whatever noise your model makes, do a quick pressure release.

Make the carbonara sauce in the Instant Pot

Once your pot has safely de-pressurized, open it up and set it on "keep warm." Whisk the whole egg with the yolks (if they are at room temperature, this will facilitate the process), then pour the eggs into the pot, stirring all the while. When the sauce looks thick and creamy, stir in the parmesan until it dissolves and everything looks nice and smooth, then sprinkle the parsley over the top.

Dillard recommends eating the chicken carbonara warm and says you might sprinkle on some additional parmesan if you so desire. If you don't finish it all in one sitting, you can refrigerate what's left for up to 3 days and heat it back up in the microwave or in a pan on the stove — no need to haul out the Instant Pot for another go-round.

Instant Pot Chicken Carbonara Recipe
5 from 52 ratings
Learn how to make creamy carbonara easily in your Instant Pot.
Prep Time
Cook Time
spaghetti carbonara with chicken
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 ounces spaghetti (either pot-sized or broken in half)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces grated parmesan
  • 1 large egg + 2 large yolks at room temperature, whisked with egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. Press the "sauté" button on the Instant Pot and adjust the heat to "more."
  2. Once the display reads "hot," cook the bacon for 5 to 7 minutes or until crispy, then drain it on a paper towel.
  3. Sauté the chicken in the Instant Pot, stirring occasionally until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and appears golden brown in color.
  4. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, then saute the onion in the butter for 3 to 4 minutes until the former appears translucent.
  5. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to the Instant Pot and saute for 45 seconds, then press the "cancel" button to turn off the sauté mode.
  6. Pour the water into the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a non-metallic utensil.
  7. Put the spaghetti into the pot in two even, crisscrossing portions, pushing it down to ensure that all of the noodles are submerged (no need to stir).
  8. Put the cooked chicken on top of the spaghetti, then cover the Instant Pot with its lid, lid, turning it to lock it into place.
  9. Press the "pressure cook" button, set the timer to 5 minutes, then press the start button.
  10. When the timer beeps, use the "quick release" function.
  11. Whisk the whole egg with the yolks.
  12. Set the Instant Pot to "keep warm" mode, then slowly pour the eggs into the pot while stirring constantly.
  13. Once you have a thick, creamy sauce, stir in the parmesan until combined.
  14. Stir in the cooked bacon.
  15. Garnish the warm carbonara with parsley and additional parmesan, if desired.
Calories per Serving 564
Total Fat 25.2 g
Saturated Fat 10.9 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 152.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 2.4 g
Sodium 780.8 mg
Protein 37.1 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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