Prosciutto vs. Speck. What are the Differences and Similarities?

There are a lot of people who have weak spots for cured meats. It’s a guilty pleasure for most meat lovers to have their unique flavor and texture.

Both prosciutto and speck are dried ham products that originated in Italy. 

Prosciutto means “sliced pork” and is made from the shoulder section of the pig. 

Speck is a type of prosciutto, and is cured with salt and smoked. Both are delicious with some cheese.

It is impossible to leave out “fancier” prosciutto cured meats when talking about them. Many people don’t know what speck is and aren’t sure what makes it different.

It’s a good idea to compare prosciutto vs Speck.

You will see that they are very similar in many ways. There is only one additional step in the production process that is different between the two. Let’s go.

What Is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is a type of meat that is typically made from the pig’s hind leg.

Over the years, the production of authentic prosciutto has remained the same, despite technological advances.

The cleaning of the meat is the first step in the manufacturing process.

After that, a lot of salt is added to it, which will remove the excess water and potentially harmful bacteria.

There is also a mixture of spices added to the meat. The water and blood are expelled from the salted prosciutto by pressing it and leaving it to dry for two months.

The prosciutto is washed after this period to remove the extra salt.

The final step is moving the meat to a dark room, where it will remain completely dry.

The length of this period can be determined by several factors, including the size of the meat, location, and the desired flavor.

The stronger the taste, the longer the meat has been dried. The production process of high-quality prosciutto can take at least nine months to complete.

Prosciutto di Parma is the most popular of all the different types of prosciutto on the market.

It comes from the city of Parma in northern Italy.

This type of prosciutto can only be made in Parma, and it doesn’t contain nitrates, nitrites, or any other Additives.

What Is Speck?

Speck is a type of cured ham that comes from a different region than the one in Italy. It is usually made in Tyrol, an area that includes both northern Italy and western Austria.

The German-Austrian influence on many aspects of the culture, including meat production, is what this region is known for.

Many people are under the impression that this ham comes from Germany because “speck” means ” bacon” in German.

The process of production of speck is very similar to the process of production of prosciutto. The hind leg of a pig is the same meat that it is made from.

The initial phase is the same as before, the meat is cleaned and then seasonings are added. The meat is left to cure for several weeks, just like prosciutto.

This process is used to make sure there are no harmful bacteria or excess water in the meat. speck is unique because it is smoking that is the final step in the manufacturing process.

Smoking outdoors creates a unique combination of smoke and fresh mountain air that contributes to the flavor of the meat.

The process of smoking the meat takes about two or three hours each day, and it typically lasts from one to three weeks.

The meat is left to mature in a cellar for about four to five months after it’s been smoked.

A Tyrolean speck is the most popular variety and has a strong tradition dating back to the 13th century.

Similarities and Differences Between Prosciutto and Speck


The origin of these two types of meat is the first similarity that they have. Both of them are from Italy, though from different parts of the country.

One of the European schemes of geographical indications and traditional specialties gives protection to both prosciutto and speck.

The best-known type of prosciutto is Prosciutto di Parma, and it has a protected designation of origin.

Prosciutto and speck are both cured meats and have the same status as Tyrolean speck, which is a protected geographical indication.

Up until the last phase of manufacturing, their processes are very similar. If you are a cured meat lover, you may see similarities between speck and prosciutto.

True fans will be able to tell the difference simply by looking at them.

Prosciutto and speck are excellent additions to a wide range of meals. It is possible to serve them as a delicious snack on their own.


The smoked speck is left to mature before being eaten. Although the key difference is in the manufacturing process, it would be wrong to say that speck is the only one.

The combination of spices used when making speck is one difference worth mentioning.

Sometimes bay leaves and juniper berries are added to speck, which is not common when making prosciutto.

Most types of prosciutto only feature salt and pepper, while speck almost always has other spices in it.

The secret of the spice mix can only be passed down to family members that are still involved in the production.

Speck has a more intense flavor thanks to this unique mix of spices. speck features a deep, smoky flavor and a darker color due to a slightly different manufacturing process.

It has an elastic texture and is denser than before. Speck has less fat and more meat by weight, which is why it is leaner than prosciutto.

Prosciutto vs. Speck Table

Cured MeatYesYes
MeatHind leg of a pigHind leg of a pig
ProtectedProsciutto di Parma has PDOTyrolean speck has PGI
Production ProcessTraditionalTraditional
German-Austrian InfluenceNoYes
SpicesTypically, salt and pepperbay leaves, juniper berries, or other spices
AppearanceLighter colorDarker, rich color
Meat-to-Fat RatioLowerHigher
UseCan be served on charcuterie boards or on its own, it used as an appetizer,  it can be added to dishesIt can be served on charcuterie boards, or on its own, it can be used as an appetizer, it can be added to dishes
SlicedThinly slicedThinly sliced


Here there is no clear winner between Prosciutto and Speck. Both of these are very high-quality meats that you should try once in your life.

Prosciutto and speck both have excellent appearance, texture, and flavor, and which one you choose depends on your preferences.

If you want a more intense flavor, speck is what you should choose. There is a perfect blend of traditional Italian manufacturing processes with a northern influence.

If you want to have a milder taste and lighter texture, you should choose prosciutto.

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