20+ Clever Substitutes for Pancetta to Spice Up Your Dishes

Substitute pancetta with smoked bacon, serrano ham, prosciutto, salami, chorizo, or Canadian bacon for flavorful dishes, catering to various dietary needs.

substitute for pancetta 20+ Clever Substitutes for Pancetta to Spice Up Your Dishes

Pancetta is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, known for its full flavor and versatility in many dishes. However, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or simply don’t have pancetta on hand, it’s beneficial to know some substitutes that can work equally well in your recipes.

For those who may not be familiar with pancetta, it is a type of cured pork belly that is similar to American bacon. Pancetta is commonly used in many Italian dishes, such as pasta, antipasti, and soups. It is also often served on charcuterie boards, thanks to its rich and savory taste.

While pancetta is a tasty ingredient, it may not be suitable for everyone’s dietary needs or preferences. Vegetarians and vegans, for example, may want to avoid using pancetta in their recipes. Additionally, pancetta may not always be available in your local grocery store or may be too expensive for your budget. This is where knowing substitutes for pancetta can come in handy.

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Smoked Bacon

Delicious artisanal whole smoked slab bacon on a cutting block.

Smoked bacon is perhaps the most obvious substitute for pancetta since the two meats are very similar. Both are made from pork belly and have a similar texture and flavor. However, smoked bacon can be saltier than pancetta, so be sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly when using it as a substitute.

Serrano Ham

Slices of jamon serrano ham or prosciutto crudo parma on wooden board with rosemary. Wooden background. Top view.

Serrano ham, a type of Spanish cured ham, is another great substitute for pancetta. It has a rich, savory taste and a slightly chewy texture that makes it an excellent addition to many dishes. Serrano ham can be sliced thinly and added to pasta dishes, soups, or pizzas.

Prosciutto

Pork ham slices on cutting board, Italian Prosciutto cotto. Black background. Top view. Copy space.

Prosciutto is a type of Italian cured ham that is similar to pancetta but with a milder flavor. It is often served in antipasti platters or used as a topping for pizza. When using prosciutto as a substitute for pancetta, be sure to use a good quality brand for the best results.

Salami

Genoa sliced salami background with top view

Salami is a cured sausage that can be used as a substitute for pancetta in many recipes. It has a similar texture and flavor to pancetta, making it a versatile ingredient in many dishes. Salami can be sliced thinly and added to pasta sauces or used as a topping for pizzas.

Chorizo

chorizo brands 20+ Clever Substitutes for Pancetta to Spice Up Your Dishes

Chorizo is a spicy cured sausage that is commonly used in Spanish and Mexican cuisine. It has a distinct smoky flavor and a reddish color that can make it a great substitute for pancetta in certain dishes. Chorizo can be sliced and used as a topping for pizzas or added to soups and stews.

Canadian Bacon

slices of Canadian back bacon in a pile on a white plate

Canadian bacon is a type of bacon that is made from lean pork loin rather than pork belly. It has a mild flavor and a tender texture, making it a popular addition to breakfast dishes like eggs benedict. Canadian bacon can also be used as a substitute for pancetta in recipes that require a less fatty meat.

Pepperoni

Thick Pepperoni Slices

Pepperoni is a spicy sausage that is commonly used as a pizza topping. It has a smoky flavor and a chewy texture that can make it a good substitute for pancetta in certain dishes. When using pepperoni as a substitute, be sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly since it can be quite salty.

Turkey Bacon

Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon is a healthier alternative to traditional bacon made from turkey meat. It has a similar texture and flavor to regular bacon but with fewer calories and less fat. Turkey bacon can be used as a substitute for pancetta in recipes that require a leaner meat.

Ham Hock

Traditional german meat dish with ham hock or pork knuckle fresh oven baked and served on a plate on rustic and wooden table background. Closeup and front view

Ham hock is a cut of meat from the pig’s leg that is often used in soups and stews for its rich, smoky flavor. It has a similar taste and texture to pancetta, making it a great substitute in many recipes. When using ham hock as a substitute, be sure to remove the bone before adding it to your dish.

Pastrami

pastrami brands 20+ Clever Substitutes for Pancetta to Spice Up Your Dishes

Pastrami is a type of cured beef that is often used in sandwiches and other deli dishes. It has a rich, smoky flavor and a slightly chewy texture that can make it a good substitute for pancetta in certain recipes. Pastrami can be sliced thinly and added to pasta dishes or used as a topping for pizzas.

Beef Jerky

How to Make Shredded Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a dried and cured meat that can be used as a substitute for pancetta in some dishes. It has a chewy texture and a salty flavor that can add depth to your recipes. When using beef jerky as a substitute, be sure to chop it finely before adding it to your dish.

Bresaola

Bresaola on Board

Bresaola is a type of cured beef that is similar to prosciutto but with a milder flavor. It has a tender texture and a slightly sweet taste that can make it a great substitute for pancetta in certain recipes. Bresaola can be sliced thinly and added to pasta dishes or used as a topping for pizzas.

Mortadella

Mortadella

Mortadella is a type of Italian sausage that is similar to bologna. It has a smooth texture and a mild flavor that can make it a good substitute for pancetta in some recipes. Mortadella can be sliced thinly and added to sandwiches or used as a topping for pizzas.

Duck Prosciutto

Tasty Spanish snack – duck jamon served with aragula

Duck prosciutto is a type of cured duck breast that is similar to pancetta but with a milder flavor. It has a rich, smoky taste and a tender texture that can make it a great substitute in many recipes. Duck prosciutto can be sliced thinly and added to pasta dishes or used as a topping for pizzas.

Guanciale

Guanciale dried speck а ham, Italian cured meat product

Guanciale is a type of Italian cured meat made from pork jowl. It has a rich and savory flavor that is similar to pancetta, making it a great substitute in many dishes. Guanciale can be used in pasta dishes like carbonara or added to soups and stews for extra flavor.

Tofu Bacon

Tofu bacon is a meatless alternative to bacon that is made from marinated tofu. It has a smoky flavor and a chewy texture that can make it a good substitute for pancetta in some recipes. Tofu bacon can be sliced thinly and added to sandwiches or used as a topping for pizzas.

Vegetarian Sausage

Vegetarian sausage is a meatless alternative to traditional sausage that can be used as a substitute for pancetta in many recipes. It has a similar texture and flavor to meat-based sausages, making it a versatile ingredient in many dishes. Vegetarian sausage can be sliced thinly and added to pasta sauces or used as a topping for pizzas.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a meatless alternative to pancetta that can add depth and umami flavor to your dishes. Porcini mushrooms are a popular choice since they have a rich and earthy flavorthat is similar to pancetta. Mushrooms can be chopped and sautéed in butter or oil, then added to pasta dishes, soups, or stews as a delicious substitute.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are another meatless alternative to pancetta that can add a burst of flavor to your recipes. They have a slightly sweet and tangy taste that can complement many dishes, particularly pasta and salads. When using sun-dried tomatoes as a substitute for pancetta, be sure to chop them finely before adding them to your dish.

Tempeh Bacon

Tempeh bacon is a vegan alternative to traditional bacon made from fermented soybeans. It has a smoky flavor and a chewy texture that can make it a good substitute for pancetta in some recipes. Tempeh bacon can be sliced thinly and added to sandwiches or used as a topping for pizzas.

What do Italians use instead of pancetta?

Italians use alternatives like guanciale or prosciutto when they don’t have pancetta. Both options offer a similar flavor profile and can be used in many recipes.

Can I use bacon instead of pancetta?

Yes, you can use bacon instead of pancetta, although the flavors may differ slightly. Bacon is often smokier and saltier, so adjust your recipe accordingly.

Can you use diced bacon instead of pancetta?

Diced bacon can be used instead of pancetta in most recipes. Keep in mind that bacon’s smoky flavor might change the overall taste of the dish.

Can I substitute salami for pancetta?

While salami can be substituted for pancetta in some recipes, it has a distinct flavor and texture. Use it cautiously, as it may alter the intended taste of the dish.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are plenty of delicious substitutes for pancetta that you can try today. Whether you are looking for a meat-based alternative like smoked bacon or prosciutto, or a meatless option like tofu or mushrooms, these 20 substitutes can help you create tasty and satisfying dishes without the need for pancetta. Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different ingredients to find the perfect substitute for your specific recipe. Happy cooking!

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