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Enhance Recipes: 5 BEST Substitutes for Ham Hock

Finding the perfect substitute for ham hock can feel like a culinary quest.

Good news: it’s doable. We’ve all been there, right in the middle of cooking, only to realize the ham hock is missing from our pantry.

No need to hit the pause button on your recipe.

We’re here to share the top five swaps that will save your dish.

These alternatives will keep the flavor profile on point without skipping a beat.

Think of it as a quick kitchen hack that keeps the meal prep rolling.

Ready to find out what these life-saving substitutes are? Let’s get into it.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ham Hock

If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional ham hock, there are several options that can provide a similar flavor and texture.

Some of the most popular alternatives include:

1 – Chopped Bacon

Chopped bacon is a flavorful, affordable, and convenient ingredient that adds a nice smoky flavor to any dish.

It is made by slicing smoked bacon into small pieces, which allows you to easily add it to recipes without the need to cook it.

The texture of chopped bacon provides a chewiness that complements other ingredients.

Its sweet yet salty taste pairs well with proteins such as chicken and beef, as well as vegetables such as onions, peppers, and carrots.

It also can be used to substitute ham hock in dishes if you want a lighter flavor and texture while still getting the same smoky taste.

Chopped bacon lends its deliciousness to everything from breakfast frittatas to hearty stews and so much more.

2 – Guanciale

Guanciale is an Italian-style cured pork product made from the jowls or cheeks of a pig.

It resembles pancetta but has a distinctive flavor with a greater depth than bacon, which is typically made from belly meat.

It is known for having a gentle sweetness and smooth texture that provides remarkable versatility in dishes from pasta to salads.

The rendered fat will give any dish a well-rounded umami flavor that balances perfectly against acidic ingredients.

It can be used as an interesting substitute for ham hock or bacon when cooking soup, stew, or beans.

When using guanciale in place of the ham hocks, the rendered fat can be used instead of oil for developing flavors at the start of cooking before adding other ingredients to build mouthwatering layers upon each component.

3 – Cubed Ham

For those seeking a more subtle ham flavor in a dish, cubed ham is the perfect way to pep up the flavor profile.

This is a boneless, pre-cooked ham that comes in cubes–perfect for soups, stews, casseroles, and quiches.

While its taste is milder than traditional smoked hams, it brings an unmistakable love of smokiness and saltiness to your plate that takes ordinary dishes to the next level.

As far as texture goes, cubed ham gives dishes just the right amount of chewiness – soft enough not to overwhelm but firm enough that your guests will know they’re biting into something special.

Even better yet: cubed ham can be used as an excellent substitution for traditional smoked hams or smoked ham hocks in either sweet or savory recipes.

4 – Chopped Salt Pork

Chopped salt pork is a flavorful, smoked pork product that has been heavily salted and cured in order to preserve it.

Its flavor is mild yet smoky, with hints of nutmeg and pepper.

The texture of the meat is lightly chewy, with large chunks of fat interspersed throughout.

When added to dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles, the saltiness of the pork successfully enhances the overall flavor without overpowering it.

For those looking for an alternative to ham hock, chopped salt pork makes an excellent substitution.

Not only does it look quite similar, but it also adds a fragrant smokiness to dishes that regular-fired bacon simply can’t match.

5 – Smoked Sausage

Smoked sausage is a popular food item that’s enjoyed all around the world.

It’s generally made from beef, pork, turkey, or other types of meat and smoked until it has a delicious smoky flavor.

It has a firm texture that holds up well when grilled or cooked in stews and soups.

Smoked sausage can be a great substitute for ham hock, especially if you’re looking for a milder flavor.

Just make sure to cook it until heated through, as you would with any other type of sausage.

When used correctly in recipes or dishes such as gumbo or jambalaya, smoked sausage can provide an extra boost of smoky flavor while also adding much-needed protein to your meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Ham Hock

Looking to add depth and flavor to your dish without ham hock? We've compiled a list of the 5 best substitutes that will infuse your recipes with the same savory richness and smokiness.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Chopped Bacon
  • Guanciale
  • Cubed Ham
  • Chopped Salt Pork
  • Smoked Sausage


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Ham Hock
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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