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The 5 Best Substitutes for Capicola Ham

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If you’re looking for a change from the usual types of ham, capicola might be a good choice.

There are many different flavors of ham: maple-cured, honey-cured, smokehouse.

But there’s something about capicola that puts it in a league of its own.

Capicola is a cured Italian pork shoulder.

Like most cured meats, it’s pretty high in sodium and can be spicy.

And like prosciutto, capicola has a distinct flavor that imparts a lot of flavor to whatever dish you add it to.

The salty and spicy flavors of capicola allow it to be eaten on its own.

Since it’s a dry-cured ham, there’s no need for any additional ingredients or condiments while enjoying capicola.

If you don’t want to splurge on the real deal, substitute with other types of ham may work.

In this article, we’ll explore the best substitutes for capicola ham.

What is Capicola Ham?

what is capicola ham

Capicola ham is a type of ham that comes from the shoulder of the pig.

It can be purchased raw or cooked, smoked or unsmoked.

The name ‘capicola’ comes from the Italian word for this cut of meat, ‘capperi’.

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies capicola as a type of salami, which is supposed to be made with pork.

The capicola ham often has a mild flavor and is sometimes dry-cured.

It can be prepared in several ways, including smoking and simmering in its juices.

The meat can also be sliced and eaten raw or used in recipes without cooking it first.

Capicola ham is common in Italian cuisine, where it is often paired with cheese or used in sandwiches.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Capicola Ham

If you’re craving capicola ham but you’ve run out or can’t find it, five alternatives will give you a similar flavor and texture:

1 – Pancetta Ham

pancetta ham

Pancetta ham is Italian bacon, and it is often substituted for capicola ham in recipes.

It has a similar dry-cured flavor and texture.

In addition, it is made by using a method that’s similar to the process of making capicola ham.

This includes salt curing and air drying the meat before cooking it.

This particular type of bacon has a slightly different taste from traditional American bacon.

However, pancetta ham can be used in virtually any recipe for American breakfast bacon or capicola ham.

2 – Prosciutto Ham

prosciutto ham

This type of meat is dry-cured, similar to pancetta ham and capicola ham.

Prosciutto ham has a stronger flavor than pancetta, but it does have a slightly sweeter taste than traditional American bacon.

The texture also tends to be drier, which gives it a ‘shredded’ look.

Prosciutto ham is usually served in thin slices.

It’s common to use this type of ham for hors d’oeuvres or sandwiches, not breakfast.

The meat can be eaten on its own or added to recipes like other ham.

3 – Serrano Ham

serrano ham

Serrano ham is considered one of the most popular types of ham in the world.

It tends to be slightly sweet and salty, making it versatile meat added to almost any recipe.

Furthermore, this type of ham has less sodium than many other cured types of meat, such as capicola ham.

Serrano ham is commonly used in sandwiches, salads, or appetizers for various meals.

It can also be shredded and placed on pizza or pasta dishes.

This particular type of cured meat is not as tough as pancetta ham, but it does have a similar flavor to Serrano ham.

4 – Turkey Ham

turkey ham

Turkey ham has a high nutritional value, but it contains far less fat than capicola ham.

It is typically smoked or cooked before it’s packaged and shipped to stores.

This type of meat is also lower in sodium, making it an appealing option for people who are watching their salt intake.

Turkey ham can be used as a substitute for capicola ham in recipes.

The turkey ham has less fat than Serrano ham, but it’s also lower protein.

Furthermore, this meat does not have the same fatty flavor as traditional capicola ham.

However, if you are craving a ‘ham’ sandwich or slice of pizza, turkey ham can give you the salty flavor you’re looking for without the extra calories.

5 – Black Forest Ham

black forest ham

The Black Forest ham is also known as ‘Black Forest smoked ham’.

It’s made by using a wet-curing process.

This type of meat has less fat than pancetta or Serrano ham, but it does contain nitrates and nitrites.

These ingredients are often added to ham because they act as a preservative and provide a salty taste.

Black Forest ham is typically served cold or at room temperature as an appetizer.

This type of meat does not have the same texture as other alternatives to capicola ham because it’s usually sliced very thinly after being cooked.

However, if you’re looking for a substitute that contains similar flavors, Black Forest ham may be a good option.


Capicola ham is one of the most popular types of ham globally.

It’s made by dry-curing meat and then smoking it over fruitwood or hardwood.

This type of ham is often used in sandwiches or served as an appetizer, but it can also be added to various recipes.

The five substitutes mentioned in this article can all replace capicola ham in recipes.

For instance, pancetta, prosciutto, Serrano ham, turkey ham, and Black Forest ham can all be used in place of capicola ham when you’re making breakfast or pizza.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Capicola Ham

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Pancetta Ham

  • Prosciutto Ham

  • Serrano Ham

  • Turkey Ham

  • Black Forest Ham


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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