Best Pancetta Substitutes

Best Pancetta Substitutes

Best Pancetta Substitutes Top

Pancetta is a type of salume of Italian origin that comes from the pig’s belly. It adds depth to a variety of dishes, like pasta and soups.

There are two reasons people look for a pancetta substitute; they either can’t find it in their local market or they simply don’t like how it tastes.

In this article, we’ll take a look at three pancetta substitutes that offer the same rich flavor for all Italian dishes.

What Does Pancetta Taste Like?

Pancetta is known as Italian bacon. It has the same porky flavor but without all the smokiness. This is because pancetta isn’t smoked; only cured and generously seasoned. 

Pancetta is usually added to pasta and soups to enhance flavor and add depth. Whether you cut it in cubes or serve it raw and sliced thin, pancetta is an incredibly delicious ingredient to add to your dish.

Can I use basil instead of bay leaf?

3 Best Pancetta Substitutes for 2024

If you don’t prefer the taste of pancetta, there are a few alternatives you can try. 


While pancetta comes from the pig’s belly, prosciutto is cut from the hind leg. Both pork products don’t have a smokey flavor, but prosciutto is lighter, with an undertone of sweetness.

Prosciutto pairs well with any Italian dish. It can replace pancetta in pasta, soups, and salads. If you want, you can put prosciutto in a sandwich and eat it without cooking. 

Prosciutto is safe to consume when raw, which makes it the perfect alternative in sandwiches and salad toppings.

Remember, prosciutto has a lighter flavor compared to pancetta. This means you need to put more prosciutto in the dish to maintain the same flavor.


Bacon shares more similarities with pancetta than any other salume. However, bacon is smoked, while pancetta isn’t.

Both products come from the pig’s belly. They’re both nutty and have an intense flavor. However, expect it to throw off your recipe a bit in certain dishes.

If you want to use bacon and remove the smokey flavor, you can blanch it before adding it to the recipe. Blanching in boiling water removes a noticeable amount of fat from the bacon. In turn, this removes most of the smokiness while retaining the porky flavor.


Finally, ham is an acceptable option if you don’t like prosciutto and bacon. It isn’t ideal, but it works fine in salads and sandwiches.

Ham shares characteristics with all types of salume. It’s precooked and usually salt-cured only. However, you can find varieties that are smoked, seasoned, or even dry-aged for a chewier texture.

As a substitute to pancetta, ham works best sliced thin or in cubes. You can also buy some smoked ham if you want to add a kick to your dish.

What is a good alternative for Sesame seeds?

What can I replace pancetta with – Top 15 Pancetta Alternatives

Pancetta is a delicious Italian cured pork product that is often used in recipes where bacon would normally be used. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a firm texture.

However, there are other options out there that can be used instead of pancetta. Here are some of the most common alternatives.

  • American Bacon
  • Italian Bacon
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Smoked Bacon
  • Vegetarian Bacon
  • Quorn Bacon 
  • pork belly
  • smoked ham
  • salted pork
  • turkey bacon
  • smoked turkey (thin slices)
  • bacon bits
  • salami
  • beef bacon

What is a good vegetarian substitute for pancetta?

I like plant-based bacon, but you can also use pan-fried mushrooms, caramelized tofu, and olives.

Can you replace pancetta with bacon

Pancetta is an Italian cured pork product that has been around since the Middle Ages. It’s usually made from the belly of the pig, though sometimes it comes from the loin. Pancetta is often used in Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, and risotto.

Bacon is also a type of meat that originated in England. Bacon is typically made from the belly of pigs, though it can also come from the loin. Bacon is often used in American dishes such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

So, can you use bacon instead of pancetta? The answer is yes, but there are a few differences between the two, mainly pancetta has a lot less water content.

Can you use bacon instead of pancetta in Carbonara

Carbonara is an Italian classic dish that has been around for ages. It consists of eggs, cheese, and bacon cooked together. The traditional recipe calls for pancetta, but I’ve seen recipes using bacon in place of pancetta.

I decided to try making carbonara with bacon and see if it was worth switching out the pancetta. And yes it tasted really nice and I did not notice a significant difference.

Wrapping Up

Italian cuisine is all about simple dishes with abundant flavors. An Italian invention that showcases that is pancetta. Salt-cured and heavily seasoned, pancetta is one of the tastiest additions used to enhance flavor.

If you’re looking for a pancetta substitute, consider prosciutto, bacon, or ham. If you’re looking for a vegetarian substitute, mushrooms and flavored olives will surprise you with the result!

See our list of food hacks.

Similar Posts