The Greatest Pancetta Substitutes

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Pancetta, also known as salt-cured pig belly, is a famous Italian meat cut that is traditionally eaten raw. This meat originates in Italy and is used in a variety of traditional cuisines. But, if you want to try something new, there are lots of pancetta alternative choices to try.

Although it is similar to bacon, the distinction lies in the manner of curing. This method imparts a unique pig taste to pancetta that lacks the smokiness of bacon. Pancetta is often sold as a flat slab of meat or in log shape.

While pancetta is a common ingredient in many Italian cuisine, it may not always be accessible at your local supermarket. As a result, this page provides a plethora of pancetta replacements that may be suited for your recipe.

What Is Pancetta?

Pancetta is a piece of pig belly that has both lean and fatty regions. The beef is brined in a container for up to 10 days. Additional spices often employed in the remedy include nutmeg, pepper, cloves, juniper, cinnamon, and rosemary.

Pancetta emerges from the solution after 10 days, when it is coiled up with fatty layers on the exterior. Pancetta tastes like bacon, but with a bit more salt and without the overwhelming smokiness of bacon. Its richer pig flavor is ideal for individuals who wish to eat pancetta raw or slice it into meals.

Pancetta goes well with carbonara, antipasti, and French frise salad. Pancetta risotto may be made by combining mushrooms with rice. Or, use it in the same way you would bacon with your eggs.

Pancetta Substitute

Whichever meal you’re creating, there are several pancetta replacements. The list below includes some of those replacements, as well as the numerous pancetta recipes you may make with them.

1. Prosciutto

When your sandwiches need a hint of ham, use prosciutto instead of pancetta. This hog flesh is finely sliced and dry-cured, allowing it to be eaten raw, much like pancetta.

In terms of flavor, prosciutto is a fatty meat with a salty and savory flavor comparable to pancetta. Since they are so similar, it is simple to swap one for the other in any recipe.

This substitution works well in sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and risotto. It also works well as an antipasti option.

2. Smoked Ham

Smoked ham, like pancetta, is made from hog but from a leg meat cut. It’s smoke-cured, which gives it a smokey, deep pig taste. It may also be used in lieu of pancetta in a variety of cuisines. Since it has been cured, smoked ham may even be eaten uncooked.

Slice your smoked ham into thin slices to use on sandwiches or pizzas. Alternately, when using smoked ham in pasta and risotto dishes, dice it.

3. Salted Pork 

If you need a pancetta alternative for a soup meal, you might use salted pork. Salted pork is produced from pork that has been preserved with salt, making it saltier than other alternatives. This option tastes similar to bacon but is saltier and lower in fat.

Salted pork may also be used in pasta recipes, chowder, and bean soup. Nevertheless, before using salted pork in your dish, soak or boil it to lessen its saltiness.

4. Smoked Sausage

Smoked sausage is created by grinding smoke-cured pig flesh and stuffing it into a sausage casing. This meat is often sweet and peppery, with a unique pig flavor and soft texture.

This sausage works well in pancetta meals that don’t call for finely sliced pork. Yet, in terms of taste, it is one of the greatest pancetta alternatives. As a result, you won’t need to make any further changes to your recipe while employing it. Smoked sausage goes well with spaghetti, rice, pizza toppings, sandwiches, and other foods.

5. Smoked Turkey

Smoked turkey is your best choice for a sweeter taste in your recipe. Smoked turkey is best used in meals that call for cubed, savory-sweet meat. It’s also moist, with a smoky fragrance reminiscent of smoked ham.

Smoked turkey provides a mild meaty flavor to your dish. This pork, however, lacks the salty and fatty qualities of pancetta. To replicate the texture and taste of pancetta, add more salt and oil.

6. Bacon

While both pancetta and bacon are made from pig belly, bacon cannot be eaten uncooked. If you don’t mind the smoky taste of bacon, it’s a great replacement for pancetta.

Bacon is similar to pancetta in many aspects, except it is significantly richer and saltier. It is often smoke-cured, which enhances the savory taste of your meal.

Bacon may be used in carbonara pasta, soups, sandwiches, salads, pizza, and many other dishes.

7. Salami

Salami is a cured pig sausage produced from ground pieces of meat combined with various spices. This meat is often salty and tasty due to the spices employed in its preparation. It does, however, imitate the fattiness of pancetta, resulting in a caramelized taste when fried or grilled.

Since this beef has been cured for preservation, it may be used raw for sandwiches. Cooked salami goes well with spaghetti, pizza, and other Italian foods.

8. Tofu

If you’re feeling daring, add tofu in your spaghetti and pizza meals. Tofu is a protein-rich pancetta substitute made from bean curd. Tofu may be used in many pancetta meals since it absorbs the flavors of the dish.

Tofu is a firm curd with a delicate taste and texture. For substituting pancetta, use firm tofu. Tofu should be marinated in soy sauce or a similar salty marinade before frying or grilling to simulate the taste of pancetta.


While pancetta is a common ingredient in many Italian meals, it may not always be available or preferred. If you’re searching for a pancetta alternative, there are lots of wonderful choices above to finish off the ideal meal.


What is a healthier substitute for pancetta?

Smoked ham is a highly nutritious and high-quality option for Pancetta, and it has the same scent and flavor. Ham may be used in any recipe and receives its taste from the smoke used in the cooking of the meat.

Can you sub bacon for pancetta?

CAN BACON BE USED IN PLACE OF PANCETTA? While replacing pancetta with bacon will not harm a meal, many recipes advocate blanching bacon before substituting it for pancetta.

What is the beef equivalent of pancetta?

Like pancetta, prosciutto features salty and savory taste qualities. It’s a fatty piece of beef that looks a lot like pancetta.

What can replace pancetta in Ragu?

If you can’t get pancetta, thinly sliced bacon will suffice; the primary difference is that pancetta isn’t smoked.

Is pancetta just diced ham?

The two meats, however, are substantially different. Pancetta, which originates from a pig’s belly, is seasoned meat that has been salt-cured. It’s commonly marketed as fat cubes in the United States. Prosciutto is made from the rear leg or ham of a pig.

Why is pancetta more expensive than bacon?

Pancetta, which originated in Italy, is made from the pig’s belly and is more costly than bacon or guanciale due to the time-consuming curing procedure.

Does bacon taste like pancetta?

Since they’re both prepared from pig belly, the textures and tastes are remarkably similar, albeit bacon has a stronger, smokier flavor. If your recipe asks for raw pancetta or thinly sliced pancetta, prosciutto is a good replacement.

Is pancetta more like bacon or ham?

Pancetta is commonly referred to as “Italian bacon,” yet its preparation is more akin to dry-cured ham than bacon. It is rolled into a thick cylinder and sliced into tiny slices with a lovely concentric structure in its most popular form, known as pancetta arrotolata.

What can I use instead of pancetta in vegetarian carbonara?

Extra-firm smoked tofu has always been my favorite. No concerns if you don’t have extra-firm smoked tofu. You may just need to drain and press it before marinating, add a little more smoked paprika, and simmer for a few minutes longer.

Is pancetta the same as back bacon?

Thus pancetta is cured but unsmoked, while bacon is cured but smoked, yet both must be cooked before consumption. These may be used interchangeably in meals depending on whether a smokey taste is desired.

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