Keto Carbonara takes the classic flavors of spaghetti carbonara and subs in chicken for the pasta. My Chicken Carbonara Recipe makes a delicious low carb dinner that is ready in about 30 minutes. This easy recipe is low carb, keto, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, and Trim Healthy Mama friendly.
Carbonara is one of my favorite flavors of sauce. Rich and creamy with parmesan and pancetta. Could anything be better?
Before switching to a low carb and Trim Healthy Mama eating plan spaghetti carbonara was a go-to when eating out at Italian restaurants. Since then I've really missed that dish. I've thought for a while about how to incorporate that delicious sauce and serving it on a protein-based keto chicken carbonara instead of pasta was a home run. This keto carbonara is a family-pleasing quick meal!
What is Chicken Carbonara?
Chicken carbonara is just the classic Italian dish made with chicken instead of pasta. The base flavors are Parmesan, bacon, onions, garlic, and cream. Serving this as a chicken entree makes this a naturally low carb and keto dinner.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs - Any boneless chicken works in this. You want it in bite-sized pieces before you start.
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper - You will want this trio to season the chicken.
Bacon - Fresh cooked bacon is best so you have the bacon grease to cook the chicken in. This maximizes the flavor.
Onion & Garlic - This classic duo gives the keto chicken carbonara sauce a rich flavor.
Heavy whipping cream - Heavy cream makes the sauce very creamy and decadent. If you'd like a lighter sauce you can sub in half and half.
Chicken broth - Just a bit to thin the sauce to the perfect consistency.
Egg - Eggs are used in carbonara so the sauce sticks to the pasta. We will use one for the same purpose in this keto carbonara.
Parmesan cheese - Flavorful grated parm adds saltiness.
Italian seasoning - Choose a seasoning blend you enjoy or just make your own combination of parsley, basil, and oregano.
Fresh basil - Fresh chopped basil really packs a punch. Add it when serving or it will lose its flavor.
How to Make Keto Carbonara
Step One: To make the low carb carbonara you first cook the bacon and then cook the chicken in some of the bacon fat.
Step Two: After the chicken is cooked remove it from the pan and make the sauce by cooking down onions and garlic and then adding cream and broth.
Step Three: Add in the cooked bacon.
Step Four: Add in the spinach. It will wilt very quickly when added to the hot sauce.
Step Five: Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and season with salt and black pepper. Serve the keto carbonara with fresh basil.
Can I use chicken breast instead of thighs?
Yes, you can sub in cut up chicken breasts instead of the thighs in this keto carbonara recipe.
Does this Carbonara recipe have a raw egg?
Classically carbonara sauce does have raw egg or egg yolks. But it's not really raw. The heat from the pasta cooks the egg just enough that the sauce is rich and creamy. I included instructions for making this dish with and without an egg.
I really do recommend making it with the egg if you can! I only gave both choices in case you find yourself in a pinch and unable to get eggs or have an egg allergy. This sauce really is so much better with an egg.
Can I sub in another vegetable for the spinach?
Absolutely. You can use spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), broccoli, cauliflower, or almost any non-starchy vegetable of your choice. These flavors go well with just about anything.
Or you can skip mixing in a vegetable entirely and have your veggies on the side.
Can I make this into shrimp carbonara?
Yes, shrimp works great in place of the chicken in this keto carbonara! That is a great choice to switch up your low carb carbonara. You can also use pork, beef, scallops, or an assortment of sauteed vegetables.
What should I serve with Keto Chicken Carbonara?
This can be a one-pot main dish or you can serve it with a side salad and keto breadsticks.
If you'd like to have a low-carb pasta sub my favorite is hearts of palm noodles. Shirataki noodles are ok and zucchini noodles work too but of the three I would always choose palm noodles to make this a pasta dish. They are mildly flavored and are firm like al dente pasta. They work great in keto pasta carbonara!
I've also seen many recipes online for keto pasta made from eggs, almond flour, and oat fiber.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 slices cooked bacon (crumbled)
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease
- ½ cup onion chopped
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 beaten egg (optional)
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
- 2-3 cups fresh spinach
- Cook the bacon until crispy and then crumble into pieces.
- Place 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken to the skillet and sprinkle with the garlic powder as well as salt and pepper to taste. Continue to saute the chicken until it is completely cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, at the ½ cup of chopped onion and saute for a few minutes until they start to become tender.
- Add in the minced garlic, and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Whisk in the heavy whipping cream and the chicken broth, scraping the bits off the bottom of the skillet.
- OPTIONAL: Put the beaten egg in a small bowl. Slowly stream the sauce into the egg while whisking it vigorously. Once half of the sauce has been incorporated slowly add the egg mixture back to the skillet while whisking.
- Mix in the parmesan cheese, chopped basil and Italian seasoning.
- Toss in the crumbled bacon, and 2-3 cups of fresh spinach. Cook until the spinach has begun to wilt.
- Add the chicken back into the skillet, and toss to coat in the sauce. Sprinkle in additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer the mixture for 3-5 minutes longer, and serve.