5 BEST Guanciale Substitutes in Recipes

Are you looking for a delicious, pork-based flavor that adds something special to your favorite dishes? Guanciale is the answer.

As an Italian cured meat, guanciale has a smoky and meaty taste that adds savory depth to many recipes.

Not sure how to cook and use guanciale or what the ideal substitutes are if you can’t get it at your local store?

Read on to learn more about this unique delicacy, including how to make it yourself and the five best substitutes for guanciale.

What is Guanciale?

Guanciale is an Italian delicacy made from cured pork cheek or jowl.

Different regions have their own unique methods for curing and preserving the meat, typically with a blend of salt, herbs, spices, and in some cases, a bit of red wine.

The resulting product is soft with a distinct flavor compared to other pork products.

It also has a great deal of fat content, which aids in melting while cooking and adds to its complexity as well as its robust porkiness.

Guanciale can be used in many dishes such as carbonara, spaghetti alla gricia or even onmin-vitello tonnato.

Most Italians will use it like bacon by slowly rendering fat over low heat until it is browned and crispy but still stays juicy when served.

5 BEST Guanciale Substitutes in Recipes

If you’re looking for a delicious substitute for guanciale in your recipes, look no further.

Guanciale is an Italian cured pork product made from the pig’s jowls or cheeks; its flavor is often described as being similar to bacon but with a more intense and complex flavor.

See also  The 5 Best Maitake Mushroom Substitutes to Consider

Here are five of the best substitutes that you can use in place of guanciale in your recipes.

1 – Pancetta

Pancetta is a type of cured and salted pork belly, originally from Italy.

It has a naturally sweet aroma, but the dried spices used for flavoring it also add complexity.

Pancetta is cured with salt, garlic, black pepper, and sometimes, other herbs and spices such as rosemary and nutmeg for an earthy flavor.

The texture of the meat is firm yet moist when cooked correctly.

Pancetta works well in pasta sauces, soups, and stews; slices of pancetta are often used to wrap lean pieces of fish or chicken before baking or frying.

It can easily substitute guanciale—the pig’s jowl—in recipes with its characteristic salty-umami flavor profile.

And with that said, we all can look forward to experimenting with new dishes incorporating this scrumptious Italian ingredient.

2 – Prosciutto

Prosciutto is an Italian dry-salted ham, most commonly from the leg of a pig.

It’s been aged for 12-18 months to cure it, giving it its particular flavor and aroma.

The resulting meat is intensely savory with subtle flavors of sweetness and saltiness.

It has a very fine texture due to the long aging process, making it wonderful either on its own or as an ingredient in dishes like salads and sandwiches.

Aside from being a delicious protein to enjoy as is, prosciutto can also be substituted for guanciale; another Italian cured meat made with pork cheeks and fatback.

Both are popular ingredients in carbonara sauce.

However, prosciutto can be more widely accessible.

See also  The 5 Best Kabocha Squash Substitutes to Consider

Chopped or thinly sliced, it can make for a great addition to many dishes due to its strong flavor profile.

3 – Bacon

Bacon is a classic and beloved food, both an ingredient and a stand-alone snack.

It is a pork belly that has been cured with salt and smoke, giving it a unique flavor and texture.

Depending on the thickness of the bacon strips, when cooked, they can be crunchy or chewy.

Bacon is typically used to bring some smokiness to dishes such as pasta sauces and bean stews, but it’s also delicious on its own, either pan-fried, oven-wriggled or eaten cold in a sandwich.

Guanciale is another type of cured pork belly which also has a smoky flavor but with more fat than bacon.

It, therefore, gives dishes such as carbonara noodles an even more intense flavor.

If you can’t find guanciale in your local shop, bacon makes for a great substitute.

4 – Lardons

Lardons are smoky, salty pieces of diced lardon or bacon.

A traditional French delicacy, they also add delicious texture to soups, salads, and other dishes.

Lardons have a unique flavor due to their thick texture and intense smokiness.

The flavor is unmatched when cooked crispy in a pan used for grilled cheese or minestrone soup.

In addition to adding delicious flavor, lardons can be used as an alternative for guanciale in recipes that call for the Italian cured pork product.

If you’re looking for something with great taste and texture without too much fuss or mess, look no further than the humble lardon.

5 – Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon has become a popular alternative to traditional pork bacon.

See also  The 5 Best Butter Bean Substitutes to Consider

Despite being made from turkey meat, it still has the same delicious flavor of crispy and salty bacon.

This type of “bacon” does have a different texture, as turkey bacon is significantly less fatty and salty than its traditional counterpart.

However, for those that still want the delightful taste of bacon without guilt, this is certainly the way to go.

Additionally, turkey bacon works very well when substituted for guanciale in any recipe; it will enhance the flavor profile while giving a unique texture and crunch to any dish.


In conclusion, guanciale is an Italian cured meat made from pork cheeks and fatback.

It has a distinct flavor and aroma, making it great for dishes such as carbonara sauce.

For those who can’t find guanciale or want to try something new in their recipes, there are many great substitutes available.

These include prosciutto, bacon, lardons, and turkey bacon.

Each of these options will bring something unique to the table, making for a delicious dish regardless of which one is chosen.

5 BEST Guanciale Substitutes in Recipes

5 BEST Guanciale Substitutes in Recipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 – Pancetta
  • 2 – Prosciutto
  • 3 – Bacon
  • 4 – Lardons
  • 5 – Turkey Bacon


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

Similar Posts