Can You Substitute Salt Pork for Guanciale?

Guanciale, a cured meat product made from pork jowl, is a key ingredient in many Italian dishes, including the classic pasta dish Amatriciana. However, guanciale can be difficult to find outside of Italy, and it can be expensive. As a result, many home cooks are looking for substitutes for guanciale.

One possible substitute for guanciale is salt pork. Salt pork is a pork product that has been cured in salt. It has a similar flavor to guanciale, but it is not as fatty. Salt pork can be found in most grocery stores, and it is relatively inexpensive.

To use salt pork as a substitute for guanciale, simply rinse the salt pork to remove any excess salt. Then, cut the salt pork into small cubes and render it in a skillet until it is crispy. The rendered salt pork can then be used in place of guanciale in any recipe.

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between guanciale and salt pork:

Characteristic Guanciale Salt Pork
Flavor Rich, fatty Salty, smoky
Texture Soft, chewy Firm, crispy
Availability Difficult to find outside of Italy Widely available
Price Expensive Inexpensive

Other Possible Substitutes for Guanciale

In addition to salt pork, there are a number of other possible substitutes for guanciale. These include:

  • Pancetta: Pancetta is a cured pork belly that is similar in flavor to guanciale. It is more widely available than guanciale, but it is also more expensive.
  • Bacon: Bacon is a cured pork product that is made from pork belly. It has a smokier flavor than guanciale, but it can be used as a substitute in a pinch.
  • Lardo: Lardo is a cured pork fat that is similar in texture to guanciale. It has a mild flavor, and it can be used to add richness to dishes.


If you are looking for a substitute for guanciale, salt pork is a good option. It is widely available, inexpensive, and has a similar flavor to guanciale. However, there are a number of other possible substitutes for guanciale, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

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What can be used in place of guanciale?

Pancetta: Pancetta is the closest alternative to guanciale. It’s also an Italian cured pork product, typically made from the pork belly. Pancetta has a similar rich and savory flavor, making it a suitable replacement in Carbonara. Bacon: Bacon is widely available and can be used as a substitute for guanciale.

Can I use salt pork instead of pancetta?

Since salt pork is pork belly that hasn’t been smoked like bacon and pancetta is pork belly that has been cured but not smoked, we think pancetta is the best substitute flavor wise. Pancetta doesn’t have as much fat as salt pork, so you can add lard to the mix.

What is another name for salt pork?

Salt pork that contains a significant amount of meat, resembling standard side bacon, is known as “streak o’ lean“. It is traditionally popular in the Southeastern United States.

Can I use pancetta instead of guanciale for Carbonara?

You can substitute pancetta (best option) or bacon for guanciale in pasta carbonara to achieve a similar smoky and savory flavor profile. Adjust the quantity based on personal preference, keeping in mind that the substitution may yield a slightly different taste and texture.

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