The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes

Prosciutto is a very popular cured meat that is often used in many different recipes and especially as an appetizer.

This delicate meat is cured with a variety of salts and spices and sliced thin to make a delicious meaty ingredient that is often eaten raw. It’s especially popular in Italian cuisine where it is commonly used as a garnish.

However, there may be times when prosciutto is needed but isn’t convenient. This may be because you don’t have any at home or may even be because either you or a guest doesn’t eat pork or meat at all. 

Thankfully, there are several substitutes available for prosciutto. In this article, we have listed the seven best prosciutto substitutes that you can choose from.

We’ve picked a variety of substitutions and have included some that are vegan as well.

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes

What Is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is very popular in Italian cuisine but is seen in many dishes across the world. It’s a dry-cured ham that is often served as part of a simple appetizer but can also be added to a main meal.

It’s made from ham that has been cured and allowed to sit in a variety of salt and spices for several months.

This gives the ham a salty and slightly sweet flavor. Once the curing process has finished, the ham is then sliced thinly and has a very smooth texture.

Prosciutto can be found in many supermarkets and specialty stores. It may be thin but it packs a tasty punch. You’re sure to impress your friends and family if you serve prosciutto as part of your next dinner party!

Not all prosciutto is created equal, however. To truly experience prosciutto, make sure you choose quality brands that have cured their meat correctly and packaged it to preserve the flavors.

Now, let’s look at the best prosciutto substitutes that are available. If you don’t have prosciutto available, then try one of these options instead!

1. Ham

What Is Prosciutto

This is probably the most obvious substitute for prosciutto. Prosciutto begins life as ham after all before it is dry-cured, so it should be no surprise that ham works as a substitute for it. 

Many different types of ham are available and your local supermarket is sure to have several options for you to choose from. Regular ham is less salty than prosciutto but some types of ham are salter than others.

Consider whether you need sandwich ham, smoked ham, serrano ham, or any other ham that might be available. You can also find sweeter hams that have been treated with a honey glaze.

Ham can be used in place of prosciutto in every circumstance. It has a very similar texture to prosciutto so you can use thin slices of it in any recipe. It’s great in salads and pasta and can be used in the same amounts of prosciutto. 

2. Jamón Serrano

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes

This is a Spanish type of cured ham that is quite similar to prosciutto. It’s traditionally served in Spain as a traditional holiday dish. 

The ham used for Jamón Serrano is made from the hind leg of the pig. It’s rubbed with salt and then left to cure and absorb the flavors for several months.

Once the curing process has finished, the ham is then hung and allowed to dry for another several months. The end result is a type of ham that is both very salty and a little dry.

Jamón Serrano has a very strong flavor and is stronger than prosciutto. It may be a little too strong for some so you may want to use it in smaller portions in recipes if you find it strong. We recommend trying it first and seeing how you feel!

3. Culatello

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes (1)

This is a very similar type of meat to prosciutto. It’s also made from pork and comes from either the loin or filet of the leg. The meat is cured and salted with cheese rinds and spices.

It’s formed into a cylindrical shape and is then left for several months in temperature-controlled rooms to dry out. 

During the curing and drying process, the meat develops a very intense flavor. It also becomes tender enough that it will quickly melt in your mouth! The creation of culatello can be dated back to the Middle Ages.

You can use culatello in prosciutto recipes that will especially benefit from saltier meat. Be careful that you don’t use too much, however, as the salty taste can be overpowering. It also tastes great on its own but again, remember that less is more!

4. Bacon

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes (2)

Bacon is one of the most well-known types of pork and it’s also one of the most commonly found ones. It shares several properties with prosciutto and that makes it a great substitution.

It’s also cured pork and if you buy the right type of bacon, you can find it thinly sliced as well. Bacon has a very smoky and rich flavor and when cooked, you can make it nice and crispy if you want to.

When replacing prosciutto, we recommend choosing back that is smoked and thinly sliced. This will give you the closest substitution to prosciutto.

However, there are many different types of bacon available so feel free to choose whichever flavor and type of bacon you like best or suits your dish.

5. Pancetta

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes (3)

Pancetta is another form of Italian ham and is often known as Italian bacon. Like prosciutto, it is also cured with spices and salt and this means it will have a similar flavor to prosciutto.

When you use pancetta as a substitution for prosciutto, make sure that you remember to cook it first. You shouldn’t add it raw. Cooking pancetta will help blend into the dish and with the other ingredients better.

It will also make it taste more similar to prosciutto.

If the pancetta is being used in cold dishes such as salad, you should make sure that it has fully cooled from being cooked before using it. You can use equal amounts of pancetta as you would prosciutto.

6. Chickpeas

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes (4)

This is the first of our two vegan options. Chickpeas don’t look like prosciutto so you won’t have the same visual in your dish, but they combine together to add a similar flavor profile to prosciutto.

Take some drained chickpeas with salt, add some paprika, and put them in the oven for 10 minutes. The mix of salt and spice will be a surprisingly good replacement for prosciutto.

You’ll get the savory flavors you expect from prosciutto added to your risotto, pasta, or pizza. 

7. Mushrooms

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes (5)

You can use any type of bold mushroom as a prosciutto substitution. Mushrooms are a common replacement for many different types of meat in many different recipes and prosciutto is no different.

We especially recommend using shiitake or portobello mushrooms for this. You should cook the mushrooms until they become caramelized. They will then add a savory profile to your dish.

Mushrooms are especially effective in pasta but can also be used in other dishes as well.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we introduced the seven best prosciutto substitutes available. Prosciutto is a delicious dry-cured meat that is made from ham and sliced very thinly.

It can be used in a variety of different ways and is sure to make any dish even more delicious.

Whether you’re looking for a prosciutto substitute because you don’t have any in the kitchen or you need something that isn’t made with meat, there is an option for you on this list.

Don’t forget, you can always use plant-based meat alternatives to replace prosciutto as well! Look for meat alternatives that aim to replace ham or bacon for the best options.

The 7 Best Prosciutto Substitutes

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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Can’t find prosciutto? Don’t worry! Here are 7 delicious prosciutto substitutes that can be used in your favorite recipes, without compromising taste and quality.


  • Ham

  • Jamón Serrano

  • Culatello

  • Bacon

  • Pancetta

  • Chickpeas


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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