Pancetta vs Bacon – What are its Differences?

The Italian cousin of bacon, pancetta, really makes everything better.

The cured pork belly products add a deep, rich flavor to almost any recipe, from breakfast to pasta, vegetable dishes, casseroles, and everything in between.

Pancetta is cured pork back fat, usually from the belly. It has a fatty taste and tends to be darker in color than bacon. 

Bacon is lean pork meat that is often smoked. Bacon is more popular and is sold in most grocery stores.

Is one type of bacon better than the other, and can you get away with making substitutions? Everything you need to know about bacon and pancetta is broken down.

What Is Pancetta?

Pork belly is used to make Pancetta. It’s usually seasoned with herbs and spices. The cure uses pink salt to turn meat into a red color.

The belly is rolled into a log and hung to dry. As it is not smoked it comes with pure savory flavor with a deep and rich color.

It is possible to enjoy pancetta raw, even if it is usually cooked. If you want to use thinly-sliced pancetta, look for it on a platter of cured meats.

The thin slices are ideal for making pancetta-wrapped shrimp, an elegant alternative to traditional bacon-wrapped seafood.

The best way to cook pancetta is to cut it into small cubes. Depending on where you buy it, it could come pre-chopped.

If you want to make a side dish out of it, you can cook it up in a little cooking oil and add veggies.

It can be used to make breakfast casseroles or to make classic pasta dishes like carbonara or spaghetti. It is possible to use it to make fantastic flavors into soups, stews, or bean dishes.


What Is Bacon?

Pork belly can be used to make bacon, which is cured with salt, spices, and sometimes sugar. After five days, the bacon is removed from the cure and rinsed to remove any excess salt.

It is smoked for a few hours until it reaches its internal temperature of 150F. This gives it a smokey flavor that is missing from the pancetta.

It isn’t safe to eat raw bacon, so it needs to be cooked first. It is possible to cut slab bacon to your desired thickness if you find it.

For making glazed bacon or cutting it into lardons, thick-sliced bacon is a good choice.

For pasta dishes, slow cooker recipes, or being crisped up and used as a pizza topping, lardons are an ideal choice.

If you want to serve bacon on its own or make bacon-wrapped recipes, thinly-sliced bacon is a better choice. The easiest way to make a bacon lattice is by cutting these thin slices.


Difference between Bacon and Pancetta

Let’s check the differences between bacon and pancetta.


  • The bacon is made when the animal’s side is brought and smoked.
  • Pancetta is made from seasoning a side of the pork belly with salt and pepper.
  • That is when it is curled into a roll.
  • Finally, it is wrapped in a shell to hold the shape.
  • Pancetta is not allowed to smoke.


  • In America, bacon can be found on the belly as well as the sides.
  • According to Italian law, pancetta comes from the belly of the animal.


  • The bacon is not very moist because it is smoked.
  • Pancetta is moister because it is not being smoked.


  • Thin slices of bacon are less salty than regular ones.
  • Pancetta is saltier than bacon, as it often comes in larger slices or dice.


  • Thin slices of bacon are the most common method of cutting it.
  • Pancetta can be cut into thicker slices or dices.


  • The thin slices of bacon are what it comes as.
  • Pancetta can be rolled up in the shape of sausages.

You can see that there are only slight differences between the two.

The main differences are that bacon is smoked and pancetta is not. pancetta has a more salty taste than bacon due to its large size.

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