7 Best Guanciale Substitute for Every Cured Meat Lover

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Are you in love with cured meat? If you are and know only of bacon, here meet Guanciale – a type of cured meat made from pork jowls or cheeks – rich in flavor and taste. However, it can be challenging finding guanciale in the US.

However, you have 7 savory guanciale substitutes smoothly available to make your plate and palate on top of the world. These alternatives include lardo, pancetta, bacon, prosciutto, etc. While each of these meats has its unique flavor, they all make for a delightful and satisfying meal.

Check these guanciale substitutes – get ready to add some new flavors to your culinary repertoire.

Guanciale SubstituteMade From
BaconPork cheek
LardoBack of the pig
Pork JowlPork cheek
Salt PorkPork belly
PancettaPork belly
ProsciuttoPork leg
SpeckThe hind leg of pig

7 Best Guanciale Substitute 

For all you foodies out there wanting to cook up a delicious Italian meal, but don’t have Guanciale on hand, never fear! I’m here to help you. There are plenty of substitutes that will give your dish the same smoky, fatty flavor.

1. Bacon

guanciale substitute

Bacon is a type of cured pork popular in the United States. It is made from pork belly and has a high-fat content. Bacon is typically smoked but can also be cured in a sugar and salt mixture.

There are two types of bacon-

  • American bacon and 
  • Canadian bacon. 

Comparison between two types of Bacon

FeaturesAmerican BaconCanadian Bacon
Made FromPork BellyThe lion, a leaner part of the pig
SmokedIt is not smokedIt is smoked
FatHigh Fat ContentLower Fat Content
You Can TryBenton’s Hickory Smoked Country Sliced BaconJones Sliced Canadian Bacon.

When making a guanciale substitute, it is essential to use a slice of bacon that has a high-fat content. That will ensure that the guanciale substitute is as flavorful as possible. American bacon is the best type of bacon to use for this purpose.

To make a guanciale substitute, start by cutting the bacon into small pieces. Then, cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat until crisp.

Remove it from the pan once the bacon is crisp and drain it on a paper towel. Allow the bacon to cool before chopping it into small pieces.

2. Lardo


Lardo is a type of bacon made from the fatback of a pig. It is cured and then sliced into thin pieces. You can eat them raw, but it is more common to use them as a cooking ingredient. 

Lardo has a mellow pork flavor and a slightly sweet taste – no wonder a popular Italian cuisine. You can try Milanos lardo.

One drawback with lardo is – not as much as guanciale – it’s also challenging to get them in store. Guanciale is also made from the fatback of a pig, but lardo is cured with the followings.

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Spices instead of herbs.

3. Pork Jowl

Pork Jowl

Looking to make a substitution for Guanciale in your favorite recipes? Pork jowl is an excellent alternative. The jowl is fatty and has a strong flavor, making it the perfect choice for dishes where you want the flavor of Guanciale but don’t have access to it.

Pork jowl is a type of pork that comes from the jaw area of the pig. It is very fatty and has a strong, rich flavor. Many people compare the taste of pork jowl to bacon or ham. Because it is so fatty, it is often used in dishes where you want a lot of flavors.

Try Burgers’ Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Chunk Country Pork Jowl. You will love it.

4. Salt Pork

Salt Pork

Salt pork is a popular food in the Southern United States, but many people don’t know that you use it as a guanciale substitute.

Salt pork is made from the belly of a pig cured in salt and smoked. One of the benefits of salt pork is that it is very versatile, that you can use it in various dishes, and it pairs well with many different flavors.

Salt pork is a healthier option than Guanciale. It contains less fat and calories than Guanciale. Salt pork also has a nice smoky flavor that goes well with many dishes. Guanciale doesn’t have much of a smoky flavor; it can be a good substitute for Guanciale.

If you haven’t tried any salt pork, try J Bar B Foods Salt Pork for a flavorful experience.

5. Pancetta


In America, people are often creatures of habit. They like their bacon crispy, our coffee black, and our deli meat thinly sliced. This meat commonly used in Italian cuisine but rarely found in mainstream delis is pancetta. However, you can try COLAMECO Uncured Pancetta which is relatively available on the market and on online.

Pancetta is a type of bacon made from pork belly and cured in salt, pepper, and spices for 3-4 weeks. It has a slightly smoky flavor and a chewy texture. Although not as easy to find as bacon, you can use pancetta in place of Guanciale in most recipes.

6. Prosciutto


Most people are familiar with prosciutto but might not know it. Prosciutto is a type of ham that is dry-cured and sometimes smoked. It has a salty, savory flavor and a slightly chewy texture. You can eat Levoni Prosciutto di San Daniele, imported from Italy, offering tempting aroma, flavor, and taste.

Prosciutto is often eaten as an appetizer or added to sandwiches and salads. It can be expensive, but a little goes a long way.

There are two main types of prosciutto – Prosciutto Crudo and Prosciutto Cotto.

  • Prosciutto Crudo: It is more traditional and is made from raw pork. It is cured for 12 months and has a strong flavor.
  • Prosciutto Cotto: It is cooked and has a milder flavor. It can be thinly sliced and eaten as is or added to recipes.

7. Speck 


Speck is a guanciale substitute you can use in many different recipes. It’s cured meat made from the pork belly or back bacon of a pig.

It is similar to bacon but has a slightly different flavor and a harder texture. It’s seasoned with black pepper and smoked over beech wood, resulting in a salty, smoky flavor that pairs well with any dish. 

You can use speck as a guanciale substitute; however, they are not the best alternative to it. Guanciale has a more intense flavor due to the addition of garlic and other spices and is fattier than a speck. Check Alma Gourmet Speck if you want some kick in life.

How To Choose A Guanciale Substitute?

How To Choose A Guanciale Substitute

Bacon, pancetta, and even prosciutto can be substitutes for Guanciale. Each of these options has its unique flavor and texture, so you must decide which one is best suited for your dish.

When it comes to choosing a guanciale substitute, there are a few things you need to take into account.

  • Fat

The first is the fat content. Guanciale is a very fatty meat, so you’ll want to find a similar fat content substitute.

  • Flavor

The second is the flavor. Guanciale has a very distinct, salty flavor that you’ll want to see in a replacement.

  • Texture

Lastly, it would be best if you considered the texture. Guanciale is a very dense, chewy meat, so you’ll want to find a substitute that has a similar texture.


  • Is guanciale banned in the US?

No, Guanciale is not banned in the United States. However, it cannot be easy to find because it is not as popular in the US as in Italy. Guanciale can be found at some specialty grocery stores or online.

  • Can I substitute prosciutto for guanciale?

Guanciale is an Italian cured meat made from pork cheek or jowl. It has a very intense flavor and is used in pasta, all amatriciana, and carbonara dishes.

On the other hand, Prosciutto is a type of Italian dry-cured ham that is made from pork leg. It has a much milder flavor than Guanciale and is often served as an antipasto.

So can you substitute prosciutto for Guanciale? The answer is yes, but it will change the dish’s flavor. If you want to keep the same flavor intensity, use less prosciutto than Guanciale. If you want a milder flavor, use more prosciutto.

  • Is guanciale similar to bacon?

Guanciale is a type of bacon made from pork jowl or cheek. It has a stronger flavor than regular bacon and is sometimes used in dishes where regular bacon would be too subtle. Guanciale is similar to bacon, but it has a more intense flavor and a slightly different texture.

  • What is the difference between pancetta and guanciale?

Pancetta and Guanciale are pork belly products, but there is a big difference between the two. Pancetta is a cured meat that is smoked and then dried. Guanciale is made from the jowl or cheek of the pig, and it is not smoked.

  • What can I use instead of pork cheek?

You can use some different cuts of meat in place of pork cheek. For example, one option for a guanciale substitute is pork belly. Pork belly is a fatty cut of meat that comes from the same area of the pig as Guanciale.

It’s a bit easier to find than Guanciale, and it has a similar fat content. However,you can eat pork belly can be used in the same dishes as Guanciale, so it’s a great substitute.

Final Words

Whether you’re a cured meat lover or are just looking for an interesting new ingredient to add to your cooking repertoire.

If you can’t find Guanciale or are looking for a cheaper alternative, several guanciale substitutes will work well in its place. Pork belly is a good option, as it’s similar in fat content and can be used in all the same dishes.

Another possibility is pancetta, which is also similar in taste and texture. Whatever you choose, cook it until it’s crisp for the best results. With these substitutes, you can enjoy all your favorite guanciale dishes.

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