Best Substitutes For Pancetta Besides Bacon

Often confused with bacon, pancetta is another pork product, which is cured. Just like bacon, it is made from pork belly that is usually cured in salt and a few spices. Pancetta can be sliced thinly, cubed, or in one large block, but you can still prepare these like bacon.

Due to certain reasons, many people replace pancetta with bacon. So, if you are wondering if you can substitute bacon or other produce for pancetta, here is a quick answer.

Pancetta can be substituted by bacon. It is because they are very similar and the only difference is that bacon is smoked after it is cured. To remove the smokiness, you may boil it first before using it in various recipes.

You can often find pancetta in breakfast food, wrapped around meats like chicken or pork. They are also used in addition to pasta and salads. You can also use pancetta as the star of the dish whether it is soup, risotto, or stew.


Top 8 Pancetta Substitutes

Pancetta produces a unique taste in soups, sauces, and other dishes. It is Italian food with salted meat flavor and culinary seasonings that is dried by curing. Some people call it Italian bacon due to its similarities in texture and taste.

Moreover, both bacon and pancetta use the same pork belly meat in preparation. Pancetta is a great alternative for guanciale in classic pasta dishes. How about using pancetta substitutes?

While there are tons of pancetta recipes, adding this cured meat in pasta tastes delicious. You can savor the pork-flavored pasta without the smoky taste of bacon. If you love Italian foods, you probably know what pancetta is. There are different varieties of this cured meat that are available in different regions.

In the market, pancetta is sold like sausages, or you may also find straight and cube types. Imagine you have decided to cook tasty pasta with pancetta, then found out that you ran out of cured meat. The worst part is that you don’t get pancetta easily in your local store.

In such a case, you can think of replacing pancetta with other options.

Here are some of the food items that you can use to substitute pancetta:


Prosciutto is another Italian favorite that is loved for its taste and convenience. This dry-cured meat comes from pork or ham that is sliced thinly and can be served uncooked. You can cook it on its own with your favorite glass of red or white wine.

Aside from that, it is also great for sandwiches if you’re always on the go since it does not need a longer preparation time. It is excellent for adding flavors to pasta, risottos, pizzas, and other dishes.

While using this as a substitute for pancetta, cook it lightly and then toss it with pasta directly. You can even add the uncooked prosciutto to add extra aroma to pasta.


If the prosciutto is not available in your region, no worries because bacon can save the day.

Bacon is flavorful and aromatic, which can provide a savory taste to any dish. In America, it is a favorite breakfast staple that you can do so many things with it in other dishes. It is perfect in soup, pasta, sandwiches, and as a topping for salad.

Bacon is one of the cheapest alternatives you can get. It is very common and readily available whatever the season is. Pancetta differs from the bacon in the meat seasoning and curing methods. As we all know, bacon is made from smoking salted pork belly.

Meanwhile, pancetta is an unsmoked dried pork belly treated with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and other spices. While using bacon as a pancetta substitute, you can boil the meat for 2 to 3 minutes to lessen the smoky taste of the bacon and make it taste more like pancetta.


Salami is a well-known pork sausage in Europe. Although it is mostly made of pork, you can find it alongside other meat fillings, such as beef and veal, depending on your area.

Salami is preserved by air drying it to ferment the pork and make its shelf-life last long. It is very easy to store, where you can leave it at room temperature for up to 40 days.

You can enjoy salami in different dishes such as pizzas, sandwiches, pasta, and many more. You can complement it with a good selection of cheese and biscuits while having a fancy glass of wine.

Smoked Ham

Since pancetta is smoked ham, why not buy a big slab of smoked ham?

If you have a thin slicer that you can use at home, you can cut it just like pancetta. There are lots of varieties, and it is pretty helpful during the holiday season.

Smoked ham is a cheaper alternative since it is not being cut, unlike pancetta and prosciutto. Just like pancetta, smoked hams can also be cooked and have a longer shelf-life. You can make your homemade ham, giving you the freedom to season it according to your preference.

Smoked turkey

If you don’t eat pork or are not allowed due to religious reasons, smoked turkey is also a viable option.

Smoked turkey is like the bird equivalent of ham. Its flesh is tender and gives off the smoky flavor and aroma, which you can see in your favorite Italian dishes.

Unfortunately, smoked turkey is difficult to find in some locations. If there’s no smoked turkey, you can look for other bird alternatives, like chicken, duck, and goose.

You may ask the butcher to cut it for you or you can cut it yourself at home instead.

Porcini mushrooms

From its name, it can give you a hint, but porcini mushrooms are a great alternative for anything that contains pork. You can use porcini mushrooms as a vegan substitute for pancetta or you’re just worried about health conditions like high cholesterol levels.

Just chop the porcini or cube them, then cook them as you would have pancetta while adding spices and herbs as well. You can use this choice when you prepare pasta risotto, salads, soups, and stews.

Porcini are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals making them a great option for those who want to remain healthy.

Full-flavored olives

Full-flavored olives serve as excellent vegetarian pancetta fill-ins. They are salted-like pancetta that can add some texture to the dish. Of course, you will not get the taste, but adding flavored olives can do wonders in preparing Italian food.

Moreover, vegetarian bacon or some crispy bacon strips can be added as replacements for this cured meat.

Salted Pork

If you don’t have the above-mentioned food items for substituting pancetta, you can use salted pork, pork tocino, salted or smoked ventreche, smoked ham, and smoked sausage. While using any of these replacements, take note of the flavor and the quantity of the cured meat. Adjust the salt and flavoring according to your preference.

For example, when using salted pork as a substitute, make sure to soak or boil it with water first to get rid of the excess salt.

Saute this slab of pork to get the fat and use it on your pasta sauces.

It can make your dish extra meaty and flavorful. On top of that, salted pork is also a favorite addition to soups, including chowder and bean soup. It enhances the aroma, flavor, and meaty taste.

Difference Between Pancetta, Bacon, And Prosciutto

Prosciutto, pancetta, and bacon are completely cured meats that look and taste fairly comparatively; yet their appearance, surface, and taste vary depending upon where the meat comes from, the type of pig it comes from, and how it’s cured.

While you can use them as substitutes interchangeably, these three: prosciutto, pancetta, and bacon are largely very different from each other.

What is pancetta?

Pancetta is prepared, salt-cured meat cut from pork gut, the underside of the pig. Pancetta is light pink with a thick, velvety surface, and nutty flavor. Pancetta is normally sold in slight cuts in Italy, yet frequently sold cubed in the United States.

How is pancetta made?

It requires around three weeks from start to finish to make pancetta:

  1. Pork gut is prepared with salt, pepper, and flavors like juniper berries, coriander, and fennel seeds.
  2. This is refrigerated for a week or until firm, as long as 10 days.
  3. The meat is washed and brushed to eliminate the entirety of the flavors, then, at that point, reseasoned with pepper.
  4. The meat is rolled firmly into a chamber, slipped into packaging, and attached with butcher’s twine in one-inch stretches.
  5. The pancetta is then hung in a somewhat cool, dry spot to fix totally—around a little while.

What is bacon?

Bacon is smoke-cured meat produced using pig’s gut. Various kinds of wood are utilized to smoke the bacon, like applewood or Maplewood, which gives the bacon the kind of those particular trees. Once smoked, bacon is profound pink, has brilliant skin, and can be cut either thick or thin.

Other countries have various sorts of bacon, and this kind of bacon is designated “American bacon” or “streaky bacon” outside of the United States.

Pancetta vs. bacon

The greatest distinction between pancetta and bacon is that bacon is smoked and pancetta is salt-cured and dried. As far as cooking, this implies that bacon is raw and needs to be cooked while pancetta can be eaten both cooked or uncooked.

Bacon and pancetta are cut from a similar piece of the pig, which implies you can cook with pancetta and bacon conversely; it’s a question of inclination whether you prefer the saltiness of pancetta or smokiness of the bacon.

Different ways to utilize pancetta or bacon in the kitchen

There are numerous approaches to using either pancetta or bacon in your cooking.

  • Wrap cuts of pancetta or bacon around meat, fish, or vegetables before cooking for added exquisiteness and crunch.
  • Use bacon or pancetta as a pizza besting.
  • Render the fat from bacon or pancetta before cooking the vegetables in a soup to give an additional profundity to the flavor.
  • Add cooked and cubed pancetta or bacon to ordinary tomato pasta sauce with pecorino cheddar to make a speedy amatriciana.

What is prosciutto?

Prosciutto is the uncooked, salt-restored rear leg of a pig. Prosciutto implies ham in Italian, and the sort of prosciutto generally normal in the United States is called prosciutto crudo in Italy (which is different from cooked prosciutto, known as prosciutto cotto).

Prosciutto is a greasy cut of meat ordinarily sold in paper-slight cuts. Prosciutto has a blushing tone and a delicate, rich surface. The most notable and traded prosciutto in Italy is prosciutto di Parma or Parma ham. Parma, Italy is known for making another renowned ensured item—Parmigiano Reggiano or parmesan cheddar.

How is prosciutto made?

Making prosciutto is a lengthy process that takes over a year to finish:

  • The cut rear leg is vigorously salted and refrigerated for seven days.
  • After this, the leg is salted once more, hung, and refrigerated for one more few months to permit the salt to completely retain.
  • The meat is washed and brushed to eliminate the salt, then, at that point hung for a couple of more days.
  • The leg is then hung at room temperature for 90 days to start drying and solidifying. The meat is mellowed with grease, salt, and pepper blend so it doesn’t dry out excessively fast.
  • The prosciutto is moved to a basement with less light and less air to cure totally. Prosciutto solutions for something like nine months, with some restoring for a very long time. By law, Prosciutto di Parma should be restored for something like 400 days.

Ways to use prosciutto in the kitchen

Serve prosciutto without help from anyone else as a simple starter that doesn’t need any cooking or arrangement.

  1. Fold prosciutto over pieces of parmesan or remember heaped cuts of prosciutto for your cheddar board.
  2. Fold it over cooked vegetables like asparagus or broccoli.
  3. Add prosciutto skins to soups, stews, stocks, risottos, and pasta sauces to fabricate flavor. Prosciutto skins are not ordinarily available to be purchased at the store counter, so inquire as to whether they have any close by.

How does prosciutto vary from pancetta and bacon?

The principal way prosciutto varies from pancetta and bacon is the curing system. It requires around 10 days to make bacon and three weeks to make pancetta, yet it requires a year or more to make prosciutto.

Moreover, you can cook with pancetta and bacon reciprocally because they’re cut from a similar piece of the pig. You can’t as effectively substitute prosciutto for bacon or pancetta because the cut of meat and curing process is unique.

Prosciutto is intended to be eaten uncooked, while bacon should be cooked and pancetta can be cooked or eaten raw.


Can you substitute bacon for pancetta?

Indeed, you can utilize bacon as a substitute for pancetta in any recipe. You might need to heat the bacon before you use it so it loses a portion of its smokiness, yet you can cook it as you would pancetta after. Bacon might not have some seasoning in pancetta, so you can add them as well.

Is there a vegetarian substitute for pancetta?

Some great choices to fill in for pancetta that doesn’t include creature meat incorporate mushrooms, tofu, full-seasoned olives, and surprisingly non-meat ham options. Try to add the species and flavors that most take after pancetta and consistently taste before you use any of these.

Is pancetta healthier than bacon?

They are both equivalent in terms of nutrition. Pancetta might be considered better in light because it hasn’t been smoked, which adds nitrites and buildup that have been connected to the disease. Be that as it may, pancetta contains more salt and an equivalent measure of fat, so it is not still very healthy.

Can you fry pancetta like bacon?

Indeed obviously. If you like it crispier as a topping for servings of mixed greens or soups, you can place it in a griddle and let it cool flawlessly.

Can you put raw pancetta on pizza?

Yes, you can. A few foodies lean toward their pancetta uncooked when served. So after cooking your pizza on the stove, take it out then add slim cuts of pancetta on top. Thus, it will not be overcooked and will be soft to the bite.

What does pancetta taste like?

It takes after the flavor of bacon however without the smokiness. It’s not too overwhelming and you can appreciate it all alone.

How long can you store pancetta in the fridge?

Keep your pancetta in the fridge for 3 weeks. Store it in an airtight container and consume it within its shelf-life.


Cooking with pancetta is frequently a culinary joy. In any case, not every person can enjoy that frequently, either because of health reasons or due to the fact that pancetta is elusive. In that case, attempt any of these six substitutes, which are all scrumptious and simple to cook with.

Similar Posts