Pancetta Substitutes

A scrumptious pork belly that’s salt-cured and blended with sugar, spices, and everything nice, pancetta has a distinct meaty flavor that’s salty and slightly fatty with no hint of smokiness.

You can look for them in the refrigerated meat section of your local grocery stores and supermarkets. 

Pancetta is perfect when you want to sauté pork or want to create a salumi platter with other cured meat cuts.

You can also use it to add more depth to your soups, pastas (particularly carbonara), sandwiches, vinaigrettes, malfattis, roast chickens, salads, and pizzas.

In case you don’t have any in your kitchen and they’re sold out everywhere, you can consider pancetta alternatives such as salami, prosciutto, bacon, smoked turkey, pepperoni and smoked sausage. We also have non-meat substitutes!

Pancetta Substitutes That Actually Taste Similar 

You would have to consider paying a visit to your local butcher to purchase some pancetta stocks if they aren’t readily available in commercial stores. It could take time and if you’re in a pinch, this might not be the best option for you.

Luckily, this article will provide you with 5 substitutes for pancetta with a similar taste to save you from encountering a kitchen nightmare! 

Read further to find out more:


A well-known cured Italian sausage made either or both from fermented and air-dried meat that’s usually pork but now it could be from a variety of meat and game such as lamb, beef, venison, duck, and even horse, or a mixture of any of the aforementioned. 

Salami is commonly used in making sandwiches and pasta recipes but it can also be for linguine con vongole, salads, cocktail mixes, frittatas, pizzas, cheesy roll-ups, sauces, toasts, egg-based dishes, nachos, mac and cheese, and skillets. Pair it with a glass of wine and you’d have a great culinary experience!

You can add it to your recipes at the same amount you typically would for pancetta, but do so gradually. Too much salami can overpower your dish and it’s best for you to prevent that from happening. 

Salami Sandwich is more Tasty than Pancetta
Salami Sandwich is more Tasty than Pancetta


This substitute can be literally translated to ham and is made from pork legs that are salt-cured, seasoned to perfection with herbs and spices, and left to air dry for a certain period. It has a dark pink to brick-red hue to it, with a sweet and salty flavor profile. 

Prosciutto is delectable when eaten alone in thin slices, but you can also pair it with vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread, and a crowd-favorite: wine! You can use the longer-aged prosciutto slices in pizza and pasta dishes if you want more depth and complexity in their flavors. 

There are two varieties of prosciutto—cotto meaning cooked, and crudo meaning raw. Prosciutto cotto is best served in a panino or alongside cheese and white wine while prosciutto crudo works well with breadsticks or on antipasto platters. 


This list wouldn’t be reliable without including everyone’s favorite meat. Bacon (vs Pancetta) is a smoked and salt-cured meat made from pork belly or back with a rich crispy and salty taste. It’s well known for its versatility in various cuisines. 

Bacon is already great as is with eggs in the morning or some toast. You can also use it for pizzas, pastas, mac and cheese, quiches, burgers, meat and chicken wraps, salads, guacamoles, dips, guacamoles, and even brownies!

A gram of bacon is roughly equal to more than a gram of pancetta when using it as a substitute. Nonetheless, you can add as much as you want according to your preferences. Just make sure you don’t cook it at a high temperature for a long time. 

Smoked Turkey Sandwich is more Tasty than Pancetta in America
Smoked Turkey Sandwich is more Tasty than Pancetta in America

Smoked Turkey

Not a big fan of meat? Try smoked turkey instead! Depending on who’s cooking, smoked turkey is made by coating a whole turkey in a spice mix and then smoked to a tender juicy texture. Every 1 to 2 hours, the turkey is basted with turkey juices for an extra kick. 

Smoked turkey works great with coleslaw, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, baked beans, and mac and cheese as side dishes. You can also incorporate smoked turkey in other dishes such as chowders, quesadillas, tetrazzini, pot pies, jambalaya, sandwiches, salads, ramen, casseroles, and pastas. 

Not to forget smoked turkey sandwiches (how much do you need for a big family picnic) either.

When using it as a pancetta substitute, you can use a 1:1 ratio since it is interchangeable. Make sure you’re adding according to your taste!

Smoked Sausage

Pork, beef, chicken, sheep, goat, veal—there are tons of smoked sausage varieties to choose from, which means you have many different ways of preparing your recipes. Mealtime will never be boring!

You can try making soups, pastas, skillets, casseroles, noodles, kabobs, mac and cheese, dips, calzones, chowders, corn dogs, slow-cooker stews, burgers, and salads with smoked sausage. Honestly, this list could be further extended since smoked sausage is incredibly versatile. 

Smoked sausage alone is a great substitute for pancetta but for the best results, try mixing and matching it with other substitutes on this list, such as bacon, if you’re feeling particularly creative and want to experiment. Serve it with a glass of wine and bon appétit! 


Pepperoni can also be used for a thicker (usually sliced thicker) and stronger taste. There is DIY pepperoni, old-style and many other interesting pepperoni statics and facts.

What Are Vegan-Friendly Pancetta Alternatives?

If you don’t want to use any meat substitutes, you can use tofu, porcini and portobello mushrooms, cubed tomatoes, eggplants, tempeh, baked potato skins, and olives. These ingredients are great stand-ins for pancetta when you want your dish to be vegetarian-friendly.