If you know that both pancetta and prosciutto come from pigs, you're off to a good start. But what really makes these two salty, savory, and similar-looking pork products different? These charcuterie all-stars have clear characteristics that make them suitable for many dishes beyond the meat and cheese plate. This article will tell you the most important points of pancetta vs prosciutto.

Pancetta vs Prosciutto 

Pancetta comes from the belly of the pig, whereas prosciutto comes from the hind leg. Because pancetta is only cured, it must be cooked before being eaten. On the other hand, prosciutto is salt-cured and air-dried for months, making it safe to eat without cooking.

Both pork products are available sliced. While prosciutto is most commonly sold in paper-thin slices, pancetta can also purchased cubed and sautéed with onions or garlic and used as a base for soups, pastas, and risotto.

What Is Pancetta?

Pancetta is essentially the Italian version of American bacon. It has a layer of fat and packs a lot of punch in recipes. Chopped pancetta produces a hearty and salty bite in recipes, so beware of adding too much salt in any dish that uses pancetta.

What Is Prosciutto? 

Thinly sliced, smooth, and delicate, prosciutto is an elevated version of sandwich ham. Because the slices are quite salty, they pair well wrapped around fresh fruit, tossed in salads, or as part of a cheese and meat plate

How to Enjoy Both Types of Meat

Known for being a key ingredient in spaghetti carbonara along with eggs, cheese, and spaghetti, pancetta can also be used as a bacon substitute in many recipes. It also is great in sides like roasted Brussels sprouts and appetizers like goat cheese-stuffed figs

Found in the classic dish saltimbocca and wrapped around veal cutlets, prosciutto can also be enjoy wrapped around asparagus, dates, or melon. From wonderful pizza and salad toppings to a salty and satisfying snack, prosciutto elevates any dish.

Whether you're in the mood for a hearty winter stew or a light summer dinner, these pork products can find their way to the table. By now you know the difference of pancetta vs prosciutto and the best ways to use them.