Udon Carbonara is cheesy comfort food that is quick and easy to make! With crispy fried bacon, thick chewy noodles and a smooth creamy sauce it is easy to devour this dish. Carbonara Udon is reminiscent of pasta yet uses udon noodles for a great alternative.
My Garlic Spaghetti takes the meat out of the equation for a little spicy spaghetti that is perfect any night of the week!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Minimal prep work: chopping the mushrooms, grating the cheese and whisking the eggs are the only hard work about this recipe. None of which take too much effort or time 🥰.
- Fuss free as well as effortless: this recipe is as simple frying some bacon, adding mushrooms, making a cheesy egg sauce and cooking noodles, it will be done in less than 15 minutes.
- Japanese fusion: udon noodles are commonly used as stir fried noodles in Japanese recipes. Most of those recipes like yaki udon use udon noodles and have a soy based sauce. We take inspiration from the style of cooking used in those recipes (my noodles recipes will offer you plenty of choices) but then we cross that with an Italian pasta sauce in an Australian cooking kind of way. Its delicious, you don't have to trust me, try it and see 😍😘🥰.
- Creamy sauce: but no actual cream is used in the recipe! The cooking water from the noodles, eggs and cheese make the creamy like texture of the pasta sauce.
- Fast cook time: using high heat, we keep things moving and the dish cooks very quickly!
- Versatile: there are a number of ways to have this be a staple recipe but switch it up a little so that you don't get bored. Check out my substitutions and variations for more!
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Udon noodles: these are thick, white noodles. They are very commonly used in Japanese cooking. You will find them in the fridge section or Asian foods section of the supermarket. You can use frozen udon noodles if that is your preference, my favourite are the vacuum packed version. Cook them as per the instructions on the packet.
- Bacon: my preference and recommendation is to use store bought diced bacon for the recipe as it makes it so easy. The cost difference compared to bacon that you would purchase and chop yourself is minimal 😉😘.
- Mushrooms: not always used in traditional carbonara recipes, but adding a great texture to the dish, I recommend you purchase whole button mushrooms and slice them in halves or thirds. These get cooked in the pan and don't require oil (the bacon fat helps to cook these 👍).
- Cracked black pepper: sprinkled on top of the dish for serving, not used in the cooking process.
- Parsley: we need a fresh herb for flavour, texture and a pop of colour on top of the dish. Without it, whilst the flavour is there the colour of the dish is a bit boring! So use curly parsley finely chopped sprinkled over the top of the dish as a tasty visual delight. (Yes, you can use flat leaf parsley also if you want to 🧐).
Tasty tip: we do not need salt and pepper for the recipe to season, but we do used freshly cracked pepper for serving. A non stick fry pan is the recommendation. Also no need to add oil at any stage of the cooking process.
Here at the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by frying the bacon in a non stick pan and we do not need to use oil for this step.
- Cook bacon and mushrooms (Photo 1)
- Whisk eggs (Photo 2)
- Add parmesan cheese to eggs (Photo 3)
- Stir to combine (Photo 4)
The eggs and parmesan cheese get whisked together to form a paste which is the basis for the carbonara sauce. Cooking water from the noodles is also added to the fry pan, stirred consistently to create a creamy cheesy pale yellow sauce.
👩🍳 How to Make Udon Carbonara
To make udon carbonara start by frying the chopped bacon in a fry pan at high heat. You won't need oil or salt and pepper for this step. After 1 to 2 minutes add the chopped mushrooms. The bacon grease that will be in the pan will help to brown and cook these as you go.
Read the instructions on the packet for the noodles. Follow these to cook the noodles then drain and reserve the noodle water. The best way to do this is to place a large heatproof jug underneath the colander when draining the noodles. The noodles won't need to be rinsed when they are cooked.
- Drain noodles, reserve water (Photo 5)
- Add cooked noodles to the cooked bacon and mushrooms (Photo 6)
- Pour over cheese egg mixture (Photo 7)
- Add noodle water and stir to combine (Photo 8)
The quantity of noodle water used for the recipe is 1 cup. I usually start by adding half a cup, stirring that in and then adding the other ½ cup. This helps to allow you to create the sauce and get a consistent texture throughout.
You can also keep the rest of the noodle water in a sealed jar in the fridge. This will mean that when you reheat leftovers, you can add some of this to the pan to ensure that the sauce is wet and creamy (not dry and all absorbed by the noodles due to the cooling and refrigeration process).
🍽 Serving Suggestions
If you want to serve a side dish of some kind with the noodles, the Garlic Pizza Bread is a good choice.
To garnish the dish, top it with more grated parmesan, freshly cracked black pepper and finely chopped parsley.
This one is both chopstick and fork or splayd friendly so you can use your utensil of choice. It goes down a treat with a nice glass of chilled white 😘😍😉.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the dish in a sealed air tight container in the fridge for 2 days. Reheat prior to serving.
Also store the leftover noodle water in a jar with a sealed lid as a little of this can help to reheat the noodles and sauce.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool before freezing. Portion into air tight containers which can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Remove and allow to thaw prior to reheating for consuming.
Tasty tip: reheating noodles that have been frozen can lead to mixed results. So ensure that the dish has thawed to get the best results when reheating.
How to Reheat
Reheat leftovers of the dish in a pan on the stove, add tablespoons of the noodle water to rejuvenate the sauce. Start slowly, stir as you go and stop when you are happy with the consistency of the sauce.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use chopped pancetta or prosciutto in place of the bacon if you wish.
- You can also use chopped leftover ham.
- Guanciale which is a meat product derived from pork jowl or cheeks is another alternative that you might like to try.
- If you want to add chopped finely diced garlic to the recipe, you can, do this when frying off the mushrooms.
- If you have another herb that you want to use in place of the chopped parsley, go right ahead 😉😊.
- You can also use finely sliced green onions as a great colour choice if you want to sub these in and the herbs out altogether.
- I use freshly grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiana Reggiano and Pecorino Romano are both great options), but you can use the cheese that you prefer if not parmesan for the cheese and egg mixture (to the equivalent amount).
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Have everything prepped and ready to go so that you don't have to stop in the cooking process and chop or prepare anything.
- Use a non stick pan (can also be fry pan, sauté pan or wok).
- There is no need to use oil when frying the bacon.
- Let the bacon cook for 1 or 2 mins before adding the chopped mushrooms as the bacon grease will cook the mushrooms (again with no need for oil).
- We do not need salt or pepper to season during the cooking process (the bacon provides the salt dimension in the recipe).
- When adding the egg mixture, ensure that the pan is off the stove so that the eggs don't scramble.
- We do use cracked black pepper when serving the dish.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What type of noodle is used in carbonara?
Spaghetti is the most common and popular choice when making carbonara. However, you can also use fettucine, linguini or noodles.
Is carbonara same as Alfredo?
Carbonara and Alfredo are both pasta sauces yet they use different ingredients, so no they are not the same.
Why don't you use cream in a carbonara?
If is often misunderstood that to make carbonara sauce you use eggs and cheese and not cream. Despite the creamy appearance of the pasta sauce, the traditional way to make it does not involve using cream as an ingredient.
😍 More Easy Noodle Recipes
If you love getting your noods on (I get you 😘😉), then I have plenty more recipes that I know you will love to make. Try each of the following:
- Chicken Yaki Udon
- Cumin Lamb Noodles
- Beef Noodle Stir Fry
- Pork Mince Noodles
- Beef Yaki Udon
- Chicken Rice Paper Rolls
- Seafood Yaki Udon
- Shrimp Yaki Udon
You can also find all of my noodle recipes in the one spot. It is time for carbonara my friend 🥰.
- 1 1 Sauté pan Fry pan or wok
- 1 Colander to drain the noodles
- 1 Large mixing bowl or saucepan, to cook the noodles
- 1 Heatproof jug to reserve the cooking water (from noodles)
- 2 Chopsticks to stir and unfold the noodles as they cook
- 200 grams/8 oz bacon diced
- 200 grams/8 oz mushrooms (optional) chopped in half
- 400 grams/14 oz udon noodles Note 1
- 4 large free range eggs whisked
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- cracked black pepper to serve
- parsley chopped, to serve
- 1 cup reserved noodle water Note
- Cook the bacon: add the bacon to the fry pan, turn to medium heat and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Note 2
- Add the mushrooms: add the mushrooms to the bacon and fry for 2 - 3 mins. Note 3
- Cook the noodles: read the instructions on the noodle packet and follow those to cook the noodles. Drain using a colander with a heatproof jug underneath to reserve the cooking water.
- Combine and make the sauce: turn the heat off and add the cooked noodles to the pan with the bacon and mushrooms. Pour the cheese mixture over the noodles, followed by ½ cup of the reserved noodle water. Stir to combine then add another ½ cup of this noodle water. Stir till carbonara sauce is consistently mixed throughout the dish.
- Garnish: add some more grated cheese over the top of the noodles. Liberally add some cracked black pepper. Sprinkle the chopped parsley of the top of the dish to finish.
- Serve and enjoy: portion into bowls and serve with forks or chopsticks.
- Note 1 - Udon noodles: you can use either frozen udon noodles or vacuum packed udon noodles. I am using vacuum packed from the Asian foods section. Most stores from Walmart to Tesco, Safeway, Aldi, Woolworths and Coles will sell these without the need to go to a specialty Asian grocer. This is a great ingredient to add bulk to the recipe so you could increase the noodles (add 2 more 200 gram/8 oz packets) without having to alter the rest of the recipe, although you might want to add a splash more of the reserved noodle cooking water for the sauce.
- Note 2 - Cooking the bacon: there is no need to add oil, salt and pepper when cooking the bacon. Use a non stick pan.
- Note 3 - Cooking the mushrooms: some of the fat from the bacon will be in the pan by this stage, so again no oil, salt or pepper is necessary to cook this.