What is Pancetta? Find out with this quick guide!

Known as “Italian bacon”, pancetta is typically sold in thin, round slices, perfect for snacking, building a hearty hero sandwich, or flavoring a sauce, soup, or stew. Milder than bacon, pancetta has a clean, lightly salty pork flavor which makes it great in so many recipes!

meat on a plate to show What is Pancetta  with an onion in the back

What is Pancetta?

Pancetta is a salt-cured meat product made from pork belly. It is part of a family of pork and beef Italian meats like mortadella, prosciutto, bresaola, capicola, and the more commonly meat-cured products that use pork and beef parts like pepperoni and Cotto salami. Pancetta is cured in a casing, but normally sold sliced or cubed with a thick rind around it. Keep the rind in the recipe for maximum flavor!

Pancetta Vs Bacon Vs Prosciutto

Pancetta is made from the belly of a pig, and bacon can come from basically anywhere there’s a spiral of meat to fat ratio. Prosciutto comes from either hind leg and is meatier but tougher. Bacon is often cured with a variety of seasonings and preservatives, whereas pancetta and prosciutto are cured and air-dried with fewer seasonings. Any kind can be substituted in recipes, although classic Italian dishes call for true “Italian bacon.”

plated pancetta to show What is Pancetta 

What Does it Taste Like?

Many people will tell you that pancetta tastes a little like bacon. The difference is that bacon which has a distinctly smoky flavor, pancetta tastes lighter, cleaner, and not as salty.

Recipes with Pancetta

It’s easy to incorporate pancetta into recipes! It is especially delicious on an antipasto platter or layered into a gourmet BLT. Diced pancetta brings a bold flavor to pasta main dishes.

Level up your appetizer game by switching bacon for pancetta in these recipes: bacon-wrapped asparagus, bacon-wrapped brussels sprouts, bacon-wrapped scallops, and bacon-wrapped shrimp.


What’s your favorite way to use Pancetta? Be sure to leave a comment below! 



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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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