9 Perfect Substitutes for Prosciutto in Any Meal

You can find many fantastic substitutes for prosciutto. This Italian dry-cured ham is truly a delight to savor in your favorite dishes, whether homemade or restaurant-cooked.

Yet, it is true that you may not always find it available in your nearby supermarket or grocery store. Prosciutto is a well-known component of Italy’s food culture.

You will find it among the cold cuts sold in supermarkets. In prosciutto’s native Italy, this popular meat product sold as cold cuts has the name ‘prosciutto crudo’ or simply ‘crudo’.

Prosciutto is usually sliced thinly and served raw. Reading this short article will help you learn about the nine best substitutes for the popular pork product.

These kinds of meat slices feature nearly similar taste and structure as the world-famous ham from Italy. You can use them to enhance your homemade recipes.

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Prosciutto: A Well-Known Italian Food Export

Prosciutto is a very famous kind of meat. It is an Italian food product in the form of dry-cured ham served salty, and you can eat it uncooked.

Additionally, prosciutto is made from either a wild boar or pig’s hind leg or thigh or other animals’ hind leg, like that of lambs. The procedure of making this delicate kind of pork product can take nine months to two years, depending on the ham’s size.

Prosciutto is commonly used in many cuisines and recipes worldwide. You may have eaten sliced ‘prosciutto crudo’ as a component of the following dishes:

  • Served as an antipasto accompanied by figs or melon or wrapped around grissini or breadsticks;
  • Accompanying cooked peas, asparagus, or other spring vegetables;
  • Mixed in a simple pasta sauce made with cream;
  • Included in a Tuscan dish of vegetables and tagliatelle or ribbon-shaped pasta;
  • Served in sandwiches or panini and various other sandwiches;
  • Used in variation on the Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil;
  • Baked with pizza as a topping;
  • Utilized as stuffing for other meats like veal;
  • Wrapped around steak or veal; and
  • Used as a bread filling.

As you can see, prosciutto is an all-around meat ingredient. Chefs and cooks worldwide perfect their dishes using this delicious pork product. However, if you find prosciutto unavailable in your local supermarket, you can always use many other related meat products.

Recommended substitutes for Prosciutto

You can always carry on preparing your favorite prosciutto foods, even without this favorite dry-cured ham of yours. The following pork or meat products are among the best substitutes for prosciutto:

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Smoked Smithfield ham

smoked-smithfield-hamThe smoked Smithfield hams are originally from the state of Virginia in the United States. This American meat product is famous for being expertly crafted.

If you do not find prosciutto available in your nearby grocery store, the smoked Smithfield ham makes a fantastic option. It comes in various variants, is perfectly cooked, and is very tasty.

The smoked Smithfield ham can come as fully cooked, unlike prosciutto, usually served raw. Nevertheless, this uniformly sliced meat product available in different flavors and sizes will elevate your mealtimes, thanks to its savory taste.

Pancetta

pancettaThe pancetta is cured using salt and spices, offering you a very similar taste to prosciutto. This pork product, also known as ‘Italian bacon’, requires cooking before using it in your recipes.

Furthermore, the cooked pancetta blends with your foods’ other ingredients and tastes the same as prosciutto. You can use it when making cold dishes and salads.

Serrano ham

serrano-hamAlthough it comes from the white pig’s landrace breed, the Jamón Serrano or Serrano ham has a very similar appearance and taste as prosciutto. This Spanish dry-cured ham is made by curing and covering the fresh ham with sea salt.

When you cook with Serrano ham, you can use the same quantity as you would with prosciutto. Thus, you will certainly love your sandwiches and salads.

Bacon

baconBacon is another popular and very common meat product that is among the best substitutes for prosciutto. It is sliced thinly and tastes similar to the world-famous Italian dry-cured ham.

Hence, the smoked, thinly sliced bacon will make you think the food you are eating has prosciutto on it. It is surely an amazing replacement for the Italian ham in many recipes when using it in equal amounts.

Guanciale

guancialeThe guanciale is a very famous cured pork product that you can use as an alternative for prosciutto. Its makers use the pork’s cheek to make this meat product with a prosciutto-like taste and preparation process.

It would be best if you remember that the guanciale consists of considerable amounts of fat. Thus, you should make sure that you do not overuse it in your recipes.

You can consume the guanciale raw. Plus, you can get the best dining results when you use it when making pasta dishes like carbonara and preparing cold meals like salads.

Salami

salamiThe salami is another very similar meat product to prosciutto you can use in many of your home recipes. These two pork products might not look very similar, though they both originated in Italy.

Manufacturers of salami use cured sausage containing air-dried and fermented meat. Additionally, as among the foods that are great substitutes for prosciutto, the salami will help you in most of your home recipes that call for the dry-cured ham when you utilize equal amounts of it or adapt it by your taste.

Many other types of hams

other-types-of-hamYou can find many other kinds of hams in your local supermarket available. They are the most common and most likely the first product that comes to your mind when looking for the best substitutes for prosciutto.

Most types of ham are thinly sliced, making them similar to prosciutto, texture-wise. The various hams can also taste like the Italian dry-cured meat product, although some can be less salty.

The different kinds of ham are perfect for vegetable wraps, pizza, salads, pasta, and many other common dishes you prepare at home. You can select the one that will fit best in your recipe.

Culatello

culatelloThe culatello is pork meat that comes from the pig leg’s fillet or loin. It is another kind of meat product similar to prosciutto, as it is also cured using salt.

Moreover, the culatello is useful for many recipes or dishes that call for prosciutto. You can usually employ it in dishes that include saltier meat.

Nevertheless, it would be best if you use culatello only sufficiently. In this way, your dish will not be very salty.

Capicola

capicolaThe capicola is another Italian meat that is among the ideal substitutes for prosciutto. Italian diners use the word ‘capicola,’ while for Americans, it is ‘capocollo.’

The capicola is very similar to prosciutto and is very easy to find in your community grocery stores and supermarkets. Its manufacturers use dry-cured pork neck or shoulder.

You can slice the capicola in the same thin size as the prosciutto. Plus, you can use it as a good alternative for many dishes that call for the popular Italian dry-cured ham.

The capicola guarantees that your recipes will be mouthwatering and very tasty, especially when you adapt it to your taste or use equal amounts.


If your local supermarket’s cold meat section happens to run out of your favorite prosciutto, you should not worry. After all, you can always find a supply of smoked Smithfield ham, pancetta, Serrano ham, bacon, or guanciale.

Furthermore, salami, culatello, capicola, and many other types of hams make fantastic substitutes for prosciutto. Thus, you can always prepare your and your family’s favorite recipes, appetizers, pasta, salads, and other homemade dishes deliciously and with the same tastiness of the world-famous Italian dry-cured ham.

Pricing of prosciutto and its substitutes

Prosciutto and most of its substitutes are far from cheap. All these types of ham are a luxury food, and when people purchase prosciutto or something similar, they’re usually ready to pay a lot as quality matters with this type of food.

Here is an overview of the price per ounce for all the substitutes:

  • Smoked Smithfield ham: $0.30
  • Pancetta: $2.00
  • Serrano ham: $4.20
  • Bacon: $0.49
  • Guanciale: $1.60
  • Salami: $0.45
  • Culatello: $3.15
  • Capicola: $1.00

Prosciutto itself costs about $1.20 per ounce, so we can safely say it’s somewhere in the middle of all its substitutes.

Serrano ham is one of the more luxury prosciutto alternatives in the list, being priced at about $4.20 per ounce. If you’re looking for cheaper substitutes, bacon, salami or smoked Smithfield ham would be the best bang for your buck.

Nutritional facts of prosciutto and its substitutes

Prosciutto itself is rich in protein, and does not contain a lot of calories. For some of our readers, calories is important. That is why we’re always taking the nutritional facts of the substitutes in consideration. Prosciutto itself has the following nutritional values per 1 ounce:

  • Calories: 55
  • Protein: 7.8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0.1 grams
  • Fat: 2.3 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams

Below, you will be able to find a nutritional showdown between all the substitutes of prosciutto that we’ve found. All values are per ounce.

SubstituteCaloriesProteinCarbohydratesFat
Smoked Smithfield ham404.3g0.7g2g
Pancetta1472.7g0g15g
Serrano ham566g0.1g4g
Bacon15310g0.4g12g
Guanciale1651.6g0.5g17g
Salami956g0.7g7g
Culatello929g0g6.4g
Capicola314.9g0.7g0.8g
Comparison of the nutritional facts of all substitutes to prosciutto.

If you’re looking for a substitute to prosciutto that is similar in macronutrients, you could go for capicola. This is the only alternative that is also low in fat while high in protein.

The three substitutes that are highest in calories, which are pancetta, bacon and guanciale, are also high in saturated fat which are better to be avoided.

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