Substitute for Prosciutto

I love trying new recipes or food I have never tried before. I remember when I ate prosciutto for the first time. I thought it was the best-dried ham I’ve ever eaten. 

I tried raw, and I was skeptical because I hadn’t attempted raw meat. I am glad to say I was not disappointed. Have you ever eaten prosciutto? If not, this is your cue to try it. 

Supposing you are a fan of Italian ham, you must have come across prosciutto. It is a dried ham that is seasoned with delicious spices. You can eat it raw or cooked. 


Prosciutto is perfect for making salads, and you can use it to add flavor to various dishes.

What if you do not have Prosciutto or are not a fan? What do you use then in that recipe that demands you have prosciutto?

You can substitute prosciutto with ham, culatello, pancetta, bacon, salami, cheese, and capicola. 

Also, Check Out: Tasso Ham Substitutes

What is Proscuitto?

It is an Italian ham that is dried and cured for eating. People use different herbs to cure ham. It is seasoned with various spices, and you can eat it either raw or cooked. 

There are two main types of prosciutto, Cotto, and Crudo. People cook Cotto while they salt Crudo and eat it raw. Crudo is mainly used when making salads since its succulent and juicy. In cooking, chefs use Cotto prosciutto to add flavor to their dishes. 

Primarily, people eat prosciutto with bread or pair it with fruits like melon. Other than that, cooks also use it in cooking pasta and some vegetables. 

Prosciutto is savory, and you can use it anywhere you want if you dare. It is good sometimes to try things that people have not tried. 

Although it is an Italian ham, prosciutto is widely used. Because of that, you can get it in most stores and supermarkets. 

The Substitutes

There are several reasons you may want to substitute prosciutto. Maybe you ran out of it while cooking or do not like it.

For those reasons, I have come up with a list of alternatives to use in place of prosciutto. Please read on to know them. 

1. Ham 


Ham is the perfect substitute for prosciutto and the most famous one. It has an almost exact taste to Proscuitto, seeing Proscuitto is just dry and cured ham. 

For Italians, ham might mean Proscuitto. In the united states, however, ham is referred to as many things, and many folks consider ham and prosciutto different. 

Ham has a more distinguished flavor as compared to prosciutto. It is juicier than prosciutto, so it retains most of its flavor. 

It is widely sold, and you can’t miss ham in the grocery store. You might have some in your fridge already. So if you suddenly ran out of Proscuitto during cooking, use ham. Season it with some salt, and then use it as you would use prosciutto. 

How Long Does Ham Last? Click to Read.

2. Culatello 


Culatello is another excellent substitute for prosciutto. It is prepared in the same way as prosciutto. It is dried and salted, and you can always snack on it, whether raw or cooked. 

This substitute, however, differs from Proscuitto in that it has a lower fat amount. Proscuitto is very high in fat content, and it might not be healthy to overeat it. Therefore, if you are looking for a delicious alternative with lesser fat, culatello is perfect. 

Butchers cut culatello from the upper thigh, a region with fewer fats than other regions. They then dry and cure it. They season it with garlic, pepper, and white wine to make it tastier. 

It, therefore, offers a rich smoky flavor that is both tangy and sweet. You can also use culatello topping for pizza or as an appetizer. You can serve with fruits like melons or with hard cheese. 

3. Pancetta


Like prosciutto, pancetta is versatile and can be used to add flavor to various dishes. You can also eat it raw when you slice it and cure it with salt. You can use it to make salads or eat it with your favorite pizza. 

It originates from Italy, but it is available in the US too. People derive it from the belly of the pork; thus, it has some fat. 

The flavor of pancetta and prosciutto vary slightly, but they both have that earthy and savory taste. It is a good substitute, especially when you don’t like ham. 

Proscuitto tastes a lot like bacon, but they have some variations. Bacon is more succulent since it is not dried and cured. 

If you are substituting prosciutto because you do not like the taste of ham, you can use pancetta. It will serve the same purpose as Proscuitto in your recipe, and it might be the taste you are looking for. 

4. Bacon


There is a considerable difference between bacon and pancetta. Although some Italians might regard them as the same, Americans tend to think differently, and I agree. They both have the same base taste, but pancetta is dried and cured with additives so that the taste will change. 

Bacon is famous. It is available everywhere, and you might already have it in the kitchen. You can buy bacon from any store; therefore, it is not something you will struggle to find. 

Bacon is another excellent substitute for Proscuitto if you dislike ham. It has a smoky flavor that is a bit tangy. More than that, you can also eat it raw, and therefore it is a perfect appetizer.

You can also use it in salads and as a pizza topping. In short, you can use it in all the places that you can use prosciutto. 

5. Salami


Primarily, people derive salami from pork. You can, however, find beef or chicken salami; hence it is a perfect prosciutto substitute. Supposing you are in the market for a non-pork replacement for prosciutto, you can use the beef salami. 

In the stores, you will find salami in the form of fermented sausages. It looks like a giant sausage that is filled with minced meat. You can then slice it to your liking and use it in place of prosciutto. 

Different salamis taste different. Despite that, any salami can be used as an alternative for prosciutto. It depends on what you are in the mood for, beef or pork. 

6. Cheese


Hard and aged cheese is a perfect alternative for prosciutto. Examples of hard cheese are romano and asiago. Cheese has a deep and savory taste, and you can eat hard cheese as a snack. 

You can also slice it and use it to make a delicious salad that would have otherwise required you to use prosciutto. Cheese is also widely available, and you might already have it. 

Using cheese as a substitute for prosciutto is easy. You take a cheese bar, slice it, and then use it. 

Cheese can also come in handy if you want to use it as a pizza topping; you can also eat it with pasta, for it is delicious. So, when you want to replace prosciutto with a non-meat substitute, cheese is a perfect choice. 

7. Mushrooms


I have included mushrooms in this list for all the vegan people. You might be looking to replace prosciutto because you do not consume animal products. In that case, any meat or milk product will not work well for you.

For that reason, I got you. Some notable species of mushrooms like shiitake are known for their deep umami flavor. Most white meats have an umami flavor, and therefore mushrooms will have a close taste. 

To replace prosciutto with mushrooms, boil them and add them to your recipe. Also, you can chop the mushrooms and use them to make that salad that requires you to use prosciutto. 

To make the mushrooms more savory, season them with salt, soy sauce, and other spices.


Final Point

There are several reasons why you are interested in substituting prosciutto. You might not have it now, you dislike Proscuitto, or you do not consume meat. 

Whatever the reason, I have you covered. I have covered the best alternatives that I know will work fine for your recipe. All of the substitutes I have covered are easy to find and buy, so you will not have to struggle. 

Please go through them and see what draws your interest. I would advise you to try them out before settling on your favorite. All the best. 

Why are shiitake mushrooms so expensive?

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