Guanciale Vs. Pancetta – Similarities and Differences

Guanciale is a form of pork jowls. It is typically made by rendering fresh pork jowls, then salting and curing them.

Pancetta is the cured and seasoned version of guanciale. They both contain a lot of fat, so it’s important to buy the right amount of guanciale for your recipe. 

If you have extra jowls on hand, store them in a bag in the freezer and they’ll last for several months.

Pancetta is cured for six to eight weeks and is used to make many of the best Italian salumi, including culatello, culatello di Zibello, guanciale, coppa, and lardo.

It’s usually very dry and it’s not as fatty as guanciale.

It’s made from the pork belly of a pig that has been brined and hung for several days to develop flavor and tenderness.

Pancetta is usually sold sliced, and guanciale is usually sold in large chunks. Both are fatty and salty.


What Is Guanciale?

Pork cheek or pork jowl is a lump of salty Italian meat that is often cured. It is called Guanciale. It is rich and fat but lacks smoky qualities.

Guanciale is almost completely melted in the mouth. Italian artisans cure it by cooking it. The meat is rubbed with a lot of salt and seasonings.

It is hung to dry in a cool room for four weeks. Guanciale can be used to achieve greater depth of taste. Guanciale has been preserved thanks to the removal of excess water and salt.

The meat can be safely stored in a cool room for six months in such conditions.

The guanciale is sold in various ways. Pork cheeks are better than thinly sliced meat. Guanciale must be stored in the fridge for at least two weeks after it is opened.

Pasta carbonara and bucatini amatriciana are some of the most popular pasta dishes that use guanciale.

It can be used as a topping for salads, or it can also be sliced thinly and eaten with bread. When cooking with Guanciale, it is important to not add too much additional fat.

The meat is high in fat and can be combined with olive oil or butter to create a fat bomb. The dish may lose its flavor and become greasy because of this.

If you are on a low-fat diet, eating guanciale in large amounts may be harmful because it is one of the fattiest meats you can find.

The good news is that the fat contained in Guanciale is non-saturated and safe to eat if you eat less than 1.5 ounces a day.

Guanciale contains a high amount of salt and should not be eaten by people with chronic heart problems, diabetes, and kidney diseases.

What Is Pancetta?

A type of Italian meat made from pork belly is called Pancetta. The cured meat has a salty taste because of the excess water that was removed.

Italian artisans often use pepper, fennel, allspice, and nutmeg to season pancetta. The curing process for Italian meats is the same as it is for other Italian meats.

Pancetta is rubbed with spices and salt before it is eaten. It was rolled up with the spices on the inside and the fat on the outside.

The meat is wrapped tightly and kept at a warm room temperature for 24 to 36 hours. The meat is dried for three to four weeks at a cooler temperature.

The pancetta loses about 70% of its initial weight after being curated. According to the curing process, pancetta can be kept in its original packaging for months.

The meat needs to be consumed within two weeks in the fridge.

The pancetta should not be left open at room temperature for more than a few hours.

Pancetta can be stored in a freezer to prolong its freshness, but it will likely lose its flavor.

The taste of Pancetta is similar to that of bacon but without the smokiness. It can be used in pasta dishes and also on a platter of cold meat.

If you’re tired of using bacon or prosciutto, pancetta is a perfect substitute. A lot of Pancetta is sold in the U.S. There are thinly sliced or chopped cubes in this store.

It can also be found as a piece of concrete. It’s perfect for chopping and cooking in sauces on a slab.

Thinly sliced pancetta can be eaten on its own, or used to make finger foods, for instance, wrapped vegetables or scallops.

Pancetta has over 400 calories and over 40 grams of fat per 3.5 ounces of product. There is more fat in this meat than there is in chocolate.

If you consume pancetta in moderation, it isn’t harmful to your health. Natural and non-saturated fat is contained in the pancetta.

It takes about an ounce to serve a typical serving of pancetta.

The salt content raises a more significant concern, so it is not recommended for people with kidney diseases. According to all meats, pancetta is also high in calories.

Guanciale vs Pancetta. What are the Differences and the Similarities?


The meat from Italy is the most obvious similarity between guanciale and pancetta.

Pork is the source of both types of meat, which are cured to prevent the growth of bacteria and have a salty taste.

These meats can be kept in the original packaging for a long period.

They can’t last forever, so they have to be consumed within two weeks after opening.

Both pancetta and Guaanciale have the same taste, but not the same quality.

Both types of meat have distinct salty and fat tastes, making them a great alternative to bacon and prosciutto in most recipes.

These meats are often used in traditional Italian dishes and can be thinly sliced on their own.


There are more differences between guanciale and pancetta than there are similarities. The spices used during the curing process differ from those used in the other types of meat.

Rosemary, pepper, and garlic are some of the seasonings used in the curing of guanciale. Pancetta is rubbed with a variety of seasonings.

Depending on the region, the spice combination can be different. Guanciale is a central Italian specialty, while pancetta is used across the whole country.

Both Pancetta and Guanciale have a salty taste but a different texture. Thinly sliced guanciale seems to melt in the mouth due to its higher fat content.

It has a more robust flavor because it is cured for four months instead of a month.

Pancetta and Guanciale are traditionally used in different dishes due to their different flavor and texture.

Yes, they can be used as a substitute for each other. Many recipes don’t specify which type of meat to use.

Italians believe that the rich flavor of pasta dishes can’t be recreated. It is possible to be eaten raw when it is cured.

It usually is cooked with other ingredients to give it a strong flavor. Guanciale can be used as a topping for salads and pasta.

In pasta, soups, salads, and many other dishes Pancetta is used.

It can be served raw on a platter with bread or on its own. pancetta is available in nearly any store in the U.S. all year long.

It is not possible to find wide availability in guanciale. The U.S. is located in the US All imports of Guanciale from Europe to the U.S. have been banned by the FDA.

Local farmers are the only ones who can make real Italian guanciale. This doesn’t mean lower quality, but more farmers in the U.S.

This is a good choice of meat. guanciale is cheaper in Italy because it contains less meat and more fat. Guanciale may cost more due to the low availability in the U.S.

Guanciale Vs. PancettaTable

Cured forFour weeks to six monthsAbout four weeks
Made fromPork jowlPork belly
Spices traditionally usedPepper, rosemary, thyme, garlicPepper, fennel, allspice, and nutmeg
TasteSalty and very fatty, strong flavorSalty and moderately fatty
TextureMelting in mouthTender but not melting
Shelf lifeUp to 1/2 a year when unopened in original packaging and up to two weeks when openedUp to 1/2 a year when unopened in original packaging and up to two weeks when opened
Can be eaten rawYes, but it usually isn’tYes, it is commonly eaten raw
It is frequently used inPasta dishes, salads, soupsPasta dishes, cold meat platters
Availability in the U.S.Import is prohibited by the FDA, but it can be bought from local farmers or in select stores.Widely available in stores

See also: Guanciale vs Pancetta for Carbonara


There is no clear winner in this contest. The salty, rich taste and long shelf life of both types of meat make them beloved.

If you know the difference between the two types of cured Italian meat, you can try them out in different recipes to determine your favorite.

Hope now you understand the similarities and differences between pancetta and guanciale. 

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