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The 5 Best Substitutes for Parma Ham

What is the best substitute for Parma ham? This is a question that foodies have debated for years.

Some say that prosciutto is the closest thing to Parma ham, while others argue that cured meats like bacon or pancetta can provide a similar flavor.

In reality, there is no single answer to this question.

The best substitute for Parma ham depends on the dish you are making and your taste preferences.

In this article, we will explore five of the most popular substitutes for Parma ham.

What is Parma Ham?

what is parma ham

Parma Ham is a dry-cured ham that originates from the city of Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

The ham is made from the hind leg of a pig that has been fed a diet of locally-grown wheat, barley, and oats.

The leg is then rubbed with salt and spices before being left to cure for at least 12 months.

During this time, the ham loses around 30% of its weight, resulting in a very concentrated flavor.

Parma Ham is typically served in thin slices and can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a dish.

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It is an important ingredient in many Italian dishes, such as pasta carbonara and pizza Margherita.

Parma Ham is delicious and versatile food that is enjoyed by legions of fans around the world.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Parma Ham

Look no further for those of you who are looking for a delicious and healthy alternative to Parma ham.

Here are five substitutes that will tantalize your taste buds without packing on the pounds.

1 – Prosciutto


If you’re a fan of Italian cuisine, you’re probably no stranger to prosciutto.

This cured ham is a staple ingredient in many dishes, and its salty-sweet flavor is irresistible.

But what exactly is prosciutto, and how is it made?

Prosciutto is made from the hind leg of a pig or wild boar.

The meat is first salt-cured, then air-dried for several months.

This curing process not only adds flavor but also helps to preserve the meat.

Once it has been properly cured, the prosciutto is ready to be thinly sliced and enjoyed.

While prosciutto is often served as an appetizer, it can also be used in various cooked dishes.

It pairs particularly well with fruits and vegetables, making it a great addition to salads and pasta dishes.

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Prosciutto can also be wrapped around chicken or fish before cooking, providing a delicious flavor boost.

2 – Serrano Ham

serrano ham

Serrano ham is a type of cured ham that originates from Spain.

The ham is made from a pig’s hind leg and is typically dry-cured with salt and spices.

The curing process can take anywhere from two months to a year, and the ham is typically aged for several months after curing.

Serrano ham has a distinctive salty and slightly sweet flavor, with a touch of spice.

It is often served thinly sliced as an appetizer or used as a component in various dishes.

Serrano ham is an incredibly flavorful and versatile food that everyone should experience regardless of how it is consumed.

3 – Jamón ibérico

jamn ibrico

Jamón ibérico is a type of cured ham that is popular in Spain.

The ham is made from the hind leg of a specific pig known as the Iberian pig.

These pigs are fed a diet of acorns and grass, which gives the ham its characteristic flavor.

Jamón ibérico is dry-cured for several months and then aged up to two years.

The resulting ham is rich and salty, with a deep umami flavor.

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It is often served thinly sliced as an appetizer or main course.

Jamón ibérico is a coveted delicacy, and it can be quite expensive.

However, it is well worth the price for those who appreciate fine food.

4 – Bacon


Most of us are familiar with bacon – it’s a delicious breakfast staple.

But did you know that bacon can also be used as a substitute for Parma ham? This delicious Italian ham is made from dry-cured pork and has a distinct flavor that is perfect for flavoring pasta dishes, pizzas, and more.

If you can’t find Parma ham at your local grocery store, don’t worry – bacon makes an excellent substitute.

Just cook the bacon until it is crispy, then crumble it into small pieces.

You’ll get all of the flavors of Parma ham without having to search high and low for the real thing.

So next time you’re in a pinch, reach for the bacon instead of the Parma ham – your taste buds will thank you.

5 – Pancetta


Anyone who loves to cook knows that finding the right ingredients is often half the battle.

If you’re making a dish that calls for pancetta but can’t find any at the store, don’t worry – Parma ham is a great substitute.

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Pancetta and Parma ham are made from pork belly that has been cured and seasoned.

The main difference is that pancetta is not smoked, while Parma ham is.

This means that Parma ham will have a more intense flavor than pancetta.

However, both types of ham will add a delicious salty flavor to your dish.

So if you’re looking for a pancetta substitute, reach for some Parma ham instead.


In conclusion, a few great substitutes for Parma ham can be used in many different dishes.

Each of these substitutes has its unique flavor that can add something special to your dish.

So, the next time you look for a substitute for Parma ham, consider one of these five options.

If you are looking for a healthier option, try prosciutto Cotto.

For a more flavorful option, try serrano ham.

And, if you are looking for a cheaper option, consider pancetta.

Whichever substitute you choose, be sure to enjoy your dish.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Parma Ham

The 5 Best Substitutes for Parma Ham
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Prosciutto
  • Serrano Ham
  • Jamón ibérico
  • Bacon
  • Pancetta


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