Home > Substitute > 15 Best Prosciutto Substitutes for Tasty Holiday Dishes

15 Best Prosciutto Substitutes for Tasty Holiday Dishes

Prosciutto is used in cuisines worldwide and is known for its distinct flavor and ability to get eaten raw or cooked.

Hailing from Italy, this delicate meat is a dry-cured ham that you cut into skinny slices. The cooked version is called cotto, which means cooked in Italian, and the raw version is called crudo, which means raw in Italian.

Prosciutto can get added to dishes such as pasta, sauces, salad, and a garnish. It is delicious when eaten alongside cheese on a platter. It can be both the entree and the appetizer.

It has a nice salty flavor that’s also slightly sweet. So, what do you do if you can’t get your hands on any prosciutto or you don’t want to use this pork-based option?

We’ve listed 11 meat prosciutto substitutes and 4 vegetarian prosciutto substitutes. If you simply want a non-pork prosciutto substitute, here are the options for you:

  1. Beef Bresaola (sweet, nutty, deep flavor)
  2. Pastrami (popular in stews, pasta)
  3. Cheese (vegetarian & delicous)
  4. Mushroom (portobello or shiitake is flavorful)
  5. Chickpeas (Learn more details below)
  6. Walnuts or Almonds (popular in risotto, pasta, and pizza)

Top 11 Substitute for Prosciutto (Meat)

What can I substitute for prosciutto? Here are some of the most excellent prosciutto substitutes that won’t leave you disappointed!

#1 Ham


This prosciutto substitute is the first that comes to mind when you think of similar meat.

Ham tastes almost precisely like prosciutto, but the difference is that it’s not quite as salty.

It has a similar texture, so if you ask for thin slices at the deli, you can use an equal amount as you would with prosciutto. Consider black forest ham or smoked ham specifically.

#2 Bacon


Bacon is also a solid prosciutto substitute because it already comes sliced thin, meaning less work. You can add it directly to your recipe.

You can also eat bacon cooked or raw, and it adds a deliciously salty (in a good way) bite to your dish. This meat can also get used in equal amounts. Smoked bacon is perfect for almost any recipe where you use prosciutto!

#3 Culatello


Many people have never heard of culatello, but it’s a suitable alternative to prosciutto. It is also pork, and you get it from the fillet or loin of the leg.

You also cure culatello with salt, and most times, people use it in dishes that need a salty element. Be sure not to add too much so that it doesn’t change the flavor of your recipe.

#4 Mortadella


Mortadella is a type of Italian sausage that you can also use in place of prosciutto.

This meat is closer to lunch meat because of its size and texture. It does have a much different taste than just prosciutto, but the unique flavor is savory and salty.

Add pistachios, myrtle berries, and black pepper to a dense flavor that is not as strong as bacon but stronger than prosciutto.

#5 Jamón Serrano

jamon serrano

Also known as Spanish Ham, this meat is rich with deep curing and a nutty aroma and flavor. It gets cured with a lot less salt than prosciutto, suitable for dishes where you don’t need the salt to stand out too much.

Nonetheless, this prosciutto substitute is perfect with a platter with cheese, fruits, nuts, and other vegetables.

#6 Beef Bresaola

beef bresaola

If you want a yummy beef wellington substitute prosciutto non-pork, try the beef bresaola. If you can’t eat pork or don’t prefer it, this is a great alternative. It has a sweet, nutty, deep flavor that gets air-dried during Italian preparation.

You can chill it and drizzle a little olive oil on top to serve with greens, crackers, or to use on top of a pizza or sauce. Bresaola is a little milder than prosciutto.

#7 Pastrami


You can slice pastrami [1] thinly if you want to use it as a prosciutto substitute. It doesn’t have a distinct salty-sweet flavor or richness, but cooking it a little longer in stews, pasta, etc., will draw out more flavor.

To mimic the effect prosciutto has, you can add it to dishes where the other flavors are a little milder. That allows the pastrami to stand out more as it would if you were using the original.

#8 Salami


Salami is one of the best alternatives to prosciutto. This tasty replacement is very similar to prosciutto in taste, but it does look different outwardly.

However, salami is a versatile meat, and it goes well with virtually all recipes. Salami comes from cured sausage, which contains fermented and air-dried meat.

Because salami has a similar taste, you can use it just as you would use the prosciutto in the same amount. Choose salami that’s sweet, hot, spicy, and savory, as this kind of salami will fulfill your needs in most recipes.

You May Like: Salami vs. Pepperoni: What’s the Difference?

#9 Pancetta


Pancetta, or Italian bacon, is another prosciutto substitute, and it happens to taste similar.

The most significant difference between the two types of meat is the need to cook pancetta first before implementing it into any of your recipes. The cooked pancetta offers a nice texture and a flavorful kick.

Furthermore, you can add this delicious ingredient to pasta, salads, and other various dishes. Be sure to let it cool down before adding it to your fresher dishes, such as your salads.

#10 Capicola


Capicola is a dried and cured pork that can consist of the shoulder or the neck. This prosciutto substitute can be found easily in meat stores all around.

Capicola has a similar texture and taste to that of prosciutto; however, avoid the sweet-cured Capicola as it may ruin the entire flavor profile of your recipe. Instead, use the slightly smoked, moderately spiced, and thinly sliced version of the Capicola.

#11 Guanciale


Guanciale [2] is another cured meat that can be used as a substitute for prosciutto. This cut of meat derives from the cheek of pork, and it has the tasty flavor of prosciutto!

Be aware that guanciale does not have a lot of fat, so factor this in when you use it in place of prosciutto.

Moreover, since you can eat guanciale without cooking it, it tosses well in salads and other cold dishes.

4 Best Vegetarian Prosciutto Substitutes

#1 Cheese


For those looking for a prosciutto substitute non pork, cheese is a delicious choice to make. You can use a variety of cheese such as swiss cheese, Romano cheese, or even parmesan cheese to achieve a great texture and taste in your dish.

The cheese will blend nicely into your recipe. The flavors that will result will most likely make you forget that there was ever supposed to be a meat component in the first place.

So, cheese has been used as the most popular vegetarian prosciutto substitute.

#2 Mushroom


Thanks to their umami flavor, mushrooms are another prosciutto substitute non-pork option that you can plug into the equation. They also have natural savory components.

For the best results, caramelize them before use, and it will add an extra complexity of flavor to your recipe. The best type of mushrooms to choose for your recipe is either portobello or shiitake.

Furthermore, mushrooms have the added advantage of being low in calories and a good source of fiber. So, in addition to a tasty dish, you will get quality vitamins and several antioxidants as well.

#3 Chickpeas


Chickpeas is one of the best vegan substitutes for prosciutto.

To imitate the taste of prosciutto, just simply drained chickpeas in salt and then mix it with paprika. Finally, put them in the oven for 10 minutes.

#4 Walnuts or Almonds

walnuts almonds

The final prosciutto substitute non-pork is nuts like walnuts or almonds. Mix them into the other ingredients will add savouriness. It’s a popular alternative when making risotto, pasta, pizza, or other recipes.

FAQs About Prosciutto

1. Can I substitute prosciutto for pancetta?

Prosciutto can be used to replace pancetta in a recipe. They have similar tastes.

2. Can you substitute turkey bacon for prosciutto?

Of course you can! Turkey bacon is an excellent alternative to prosciutto if you don’t want to consume pork. It comes with lower fat content and won’t raise cholesterol levels as much.

3. What’s the best substitute for prosciutto in soup?

Guanciale is your best choice when you want to make a soup. It comes from the cheek of pork which will make a soup more delicious.

4. Is prosciutto healthy to eat?

Prosciutto is definitely safe & healthy to eat since it comes with lower calories and fat than bacon.

Final Thoughts

Prosciutto is a staple ingredient in many households, but it can be tricky to find in the local markets.

Prosciutto is the perfect complement to dishes such as meatballs, pizza, sandwiches, spaghetti, bread, risotto, and much more. Prosciutto has a delicious savory component that you can add to virtually any dish.

If you can’t get a hold of it, some alternatives are just as good as the original. We have veggie substitutes, pork substitutes, and non-pork substitutes, which are sure to provide you with an alternative that suits you!

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

Leave a Comment