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Cacio e Pepe is a simple Roman pasta dish that is easy to make and tastes absolutely heavenly. This cheesy peppery Italian pasta is a favorite for a reason. 

Cacio e Pepe on white plate

We traveled to Rome to seek out the best recipe for Cacio e Pepe and have now brought it back to share with the masses. This recipe is authentic as it comes and is the perfect version of Cacio e Pepe to make at home. Don’t let its simplicity fool you, this pasta is absolutely delicious!

\The translation of Cacio e Pepe literally means cheese and pepper. This pasta dish is incredibly simple, but packs a lot of rich flavor with pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground pepper. It has a very rich and strong flavor due to the Pecorino Romano sharp cheese as well as the heavy amount of pepper. Warning: some might find this dish spicy. 

  • Cheese Options:

    Because this is a classic Roman dish, you should use a hard cheese from the Roma region of Italy when making this dish for the most authentic flavor. Pecorino Romano is the traditional choice. If you do not have pecorino Romano available to you, grated Parmesan is an acceptable substitute, though not an authentic choice as it comes from the Parma region of Italy.
  • Pasta Options:

    The traditional choice of pasta for Cacio e Pepe is tonnarelli pasta, a thick round long pasta similar to a thick spaghetti or bucatini. Since these are both similar in shape, they both make acceptable substitutes where tonnarelli is not available.
  • Storage and Reheating Instructions:

    Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove over medium low heat until warmed through with a scant amount of water to keep it from sticking together. 

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other pasta recipes:

Authentic Cacio e Pepe with fork

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

cacio e pepe on plate
Cacio e Pepe is a simple Roman pasta dish that is easy to make and tastes absolutely heavenly. This cheesy peppery Italian pasta is a favorite for a reason.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
  • 1 pound tonnarelli or thick spaghetti pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 cup pasta water approximate
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in salt. Cook your pasta until al dente.
  • Remove cooked pasta from the water with tongs when finished and placed into a large mixing bowl.
  • Working quickly, add in 1 1/4 cups pecorino romano cheese immediately, reserving the remaining 1/4 cup. Add in 1/2 cup of the pasta water and pepper.
  • Stir with tongs quickly to allow the heat from the pasta and water to melt the cheese. Add remaining water until you have a thick, creamy sauce coating the pasta.
  • Serve hot sprinkled with remaining cheese.


Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 1469mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Calcium: 291mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cacio e Pepe
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Diane Biddle
May 1, 2018 9:49 am

5 stars
I think Rachel in her videos is just darling and it is so nice to see someone her age doing something she is passionate about and doing it so well. Rachel’s videos and recipes are inspirational and make it easy for me to try new dishes at home. I have always been a “make the same things over and over” so my husband and I, in our empty nest years are enjoying the recipes I am learning to make from “stayathomechef” Thank you.

January 15, 2019 1:26 pm

Hello Rachel just read this comment from Diane Biddle. She verbalized exactly how I feel about you and your fantastic videos. Thanks Rachel for expanding my menu repertoire and Diane for prompting me to write.

June 5, 2019 3:59 pm
Reply to  Janet

Thank you for all the delicious recipes and making easy to make.

July 16, 2018 6:33 pm

5 stars
This was such a hit with the whole family! I used half the amount of pepper and a little extra pasta water and it was perfect for even my super picky 4 year old. Super easy weeknight dinner for the win!

May 5, 2018 7:12 pm

Made this tonight for dinner…so simple and delicious!

August 20, 2020 1:45 pm

5 stars
Loved it! So easy and quick to make. I added some diced plum tomatoes, but other than that kept to the recipe. I was worried the cheese wouldn’t melt properly but it did and was sooo delicious. Good for days when you’re too busy to cook.

August 19, 2020 2:52 am

5 stars
Seems quick cooking with minimal fuss, looking ahead to try, though I have to make do with local ingredients ❤️👍

June 22, 2020 3:17 pm

5 stars
Rachel this is a recipe that can’t be beat! It is soooooo delicious!

June 8, 2020 10:19 pm

5 stars
Very easy to make. It turned out perfect. I loved that peppery cheesy flavor. Being from California I did finish it with some parsley and lemon. Delizioso!!

June 8, 2020 3:28 pm

Can you use gluten free pasta?

June 10, 2020 8:33 am
Reply to  SUSAN

You can, though we would recommend sticking with a brand that you already know and trust. Not all gluten free pasta is created equal.

June 7, 2019 1:55 pm

I lose your videos. I lost my total sense of smell and taste from a reaction to horrific dental work. Watching you create and explain the dishes is so pleasing and brings me wonderful memories of when I was able to enjoy food, your presentations are just a delight!

Dimitris Prasakis
May 31, 2019 4:42 am

5 stars
I don;t usually cook but your video made me want to!
Going to the supermarket right now to buy my tonnarellis!
You rock 🙂

Kathleen Sauer
June 7, 2020 5:27 am

I use Bucatini pasta ! It’s a thick round noodle also. Barrelli makes it in case you see that in store .

May 21, 2018 9:15 pm

Maybe it was just the pepper we used (4 peppercorn grinder) but this ended up way to peppery to the point it was so spicy tasting we couldn’t stop coughing. We love your recipes but not sure this was one for us

Daniel Karlsson
May 18, 2019 4:22 pm
Reply to  Heather

5 stars
Dont grind your pepper to fine it should be very coarse ground pepper then u can use more pepper corns. A tip to toast the whole pepper corns in a dry pan b4 u grind them up. If u use coarse pepper u will get a great pepper flavour and little heat.

May 6, 2018 5:39 pm

5 stars
I feel this pasta makes this dish. I doubt I can find it at my grocery store though. I would make this only if I can
get his pasta.

June 6, 2020 2:15 pm
Reply to  Joan

The pasta that is often used is bucatini . I usually find it in my grocery store . If you can’t find it ,try linguine

February 11, 2019 1:35 pm

A couple of adjustments. I am not an italian chef so can’t say I am 100% right. It is good to use 1/2 pecorina romano and 1/2 parmesean reggiano (THE KEY TO THESE INGREDIENTS IS TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE DOP) With a simple dish such as this you cannot use unregulated, poor quality cheese. Purists will say no to butter but I toast some ground pepper in a pan with a dab of butter. When spaghetti is halfway done, I transfer some pasta liquid and the pasta to the sautee pan with the pepper and let it cook until… Read more »

July 23, 2019 4:54 pm
Reply to  Amy

Growing up in Rome has made me a total pasta snob and, as you mentioned, a purist. I’d just like to offer a tip that eliminates the butter, toasts the pepper, leaves absolutely no greasiness and keeps cacio e pepe authentic — toast the pepper in a small skillet or pan before you start boiling the water. Enjoy!

Pat Bak
May 7, 2020 2:38 am
Reply to  Cassidy

Have you ever used red pepper flakes

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