Top 13 Best guanciale substitutes | Vegans, You must Need

Guanciale is used as a key ingredient in several traditional Italian dishes, such as carbonara and amatriciana. It is an Italian cured meat product produced from pork jowl or cheek. Its name arrives from guancia, Italian for cheek.

Suppose you do not have guanciale in your hand, you can use more than 10 Guanciale substitutes also for vegans diet and I am quite sure that you won’t be disappointed!

What is guanciale? What does guanciale Taste like?

Guanciale is Italian cured meat made from pork jowl or cheeks. It is typically used in Italian cuisine, and its flavor has been described as being similar to a cross between bacon and ham. Although,

It has an intense, salty flavor with a slightly sweet aftertaste. The texture is slightly chewy, with a bit of fat running through it. 

Guanciale can be used in many dishes, such as pasta carbonara and amatriciana sauce. It is also often served on its own as an appetizer. It can again be eaten on its own as an antipasto.

What can I use instead of guanciale?

In hurry, You can go through this section-

Use Pancetta, Pork jowl, Prosciutto, capicola, Lardo, Lardon, Salt pork, Speck, Ham, Corned Beef, Homemade Guanciale and for vegan and vegetarians use pickle olives. etc. are the substitutes used instead of guanciale.

13 Ideal Guanciale Substitutes

1. Pancetta- Best substitute for Guanciale

Pancetta is a type of Italian salt-cured pork belly. It is typically cured with salt, pepper, and other spices. Pancetta can be eaten raw, cooked, or utilized as a flavoring agent. It is frequently used in recipes that call for bacon or ham. 

Pancetta is also a common ingredient in pasta dishes, salads, and pizzas.

Pancetta and guanciale are often used interchangeably. While they both come from the identical part of the pig, pancetta is made from the belly while guanciale is made from the jowls. 

pancetta is a great guanciale substitute

This gives pancetta a more uniform texture and also has a sweeter taste due to adding sugar and spices.

Pancetta is typically used in dishes cooked until crisp, such as in pasta carbonara, or added to soups and stews for flavor. 

2. Pork jowl- Best alternatives to guanciale

If you can’t find guanciale, you can substitute pork jowl for a similar flavor. The jowl is meat from around a pig’s head and has a strong pork flavor mimicking Guanciale.

Pork jowl is a type of pork that comes from the cheek or jowl of a pig. It is often cured and smoked, making it a popular ingredient in many dishes. Pork jowl can be roasted, braised, or grilled and is often used in soups and stews. 

Pork jowl is also popular in Asian cuisine, where it is often stir-fried or made into dumplings.

To use a pork jowl, cut it into small pieces and render the fat over low heat until it is melted. Remove the pork jowl from the pan and set it aside. Flow with the recipe as directed, adding the rendered pork jowl fat to the pan instead of the guanciale fat.

3. Prosciutto- Suitable Guanciale Alternative

Prosciutto is another best replacement for Guanciale, especially as an appetizer. This dry-cured Italian ham is dry-cured and has a similar flavor to guanciale, making it a perfect stand-in. 

It is thinly sliced and often served as an appetizer or filling in dishes such as sandwiches, pasta, and pizzas. While Prosciutto is slightly sweeter and has a more delicate texture

The meat is cured with salt, which gives it its unique flavor and texture. Prosciutto can be eaten raw or cooked and is a popular ingredient in many Italian dishes often eaten as an antipasto or wrapped around other ingredients.

Plus, it’s effortless to find at most grocery stores. Simply slice the prosciutto thin and cook it until crisp before adding it to your dish. Buon appetito!

4. Capicola is a great way to add some extra flavor Place of Guanciale

Substituting capicola for guanciale is a great way to add extra flavor to your dish. Capicola is a type of cured meat similar to ham or bacon. It is made from the pig’s neck or shoulder and has a bold flavor

When substituting one for the other, use equal amounts so that your dish doesn’t become too salty or too sweet. Although, capicola is more flavorful and intense than Guanciale.

It is normally seasoned with paprika, garlic, and other spices and then smoked or air-dried. Capicola is often used as an ingredient in sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads. It can also be eaten alone as a snack or appetizer.

Some of the most widespread ways to enjoy capicola include:

-In a sandwich: Capicola can be added to just about any sandwich to boost flavor. Try it on a hoagie roll with provolone cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

As a pizza topping: Add thinly sliced capicola to your favorite pizza for a spicy twist.

In a pasta dish: Toss cooked capicola with your favorite pasta and sauce for an easy weeknight meal.

-As an appetizer: Serve slices of capicola with crackers, olives, and cheese as an appetizer or snack.

Capicola and guanciale are two very different types of cured meats. It has a difference in taste and flavor, with 

5. Lardo- Suitable Guanciale Replacement

If you are seeking a dish that is really rich and flavorful, using lardo would be the better choice instead of Guanciale. It has a very distinctive flavor and is often used in dishes where a strong pork flavor is desired.

Lardo is a type of salted pork fat that is very popular in Italy. Lardo is a very fatty meat, so it will add a lot of flavor and richness to your dish.

It is typically used as a seasoning or cooking fat. Lardo can be purchased in either slab or ground form. 

Uses for lardo include:

  • -Adding flavor to soups and stews
  • -Cooking vegetables
  • -Making sausage
  • -Frying eggs
  • -Seasoning pasta dishes
  • -Adding richness to sauces
  • -Spread on bread as an appetizer

Lardo is an acquired taste and may not be for everyone. However, those who enjoy its flavor often find it to be a useful and versatile ingredient.

6. Lardon Similar to Guanciale

If you are looking for a flavorful way to add some excitement to your cooking, consider using lardon as a Guanciale alternative. This cured pork product can give any dish an extra zing that will keep your taste buds happy.

Lardon is a type of cured pork that is typically cut into small pieces with salt, sugar, and spices and used as a flavoring agent in dishes such as salads, pasta dishes, rice pilafs, and other savory dishes.

While lardon is most commonly associated with French cuisine, it is also popular in European countries such as Italy and Spain. Lardon can be made from various types of pork, but the most common type is bacon.

Lardon can also be used as a topping for pizzas and other baked goods.

Plus, lardon has a similar texture to guanciale, so it will work well as a replacement in most recipes. Try substituting lardon in dishes like pasta carbonara, spaghetti alla amatriciana, or pizza alla napoletana. 

Substitute lardon for guanciale in your recipes to make them healthier. Lardon is lower in fat and calories than guanciale, so it’s a great way to lighten up your dishes without sacrificing flavor. 

7. Salt Pork – Good Substitution for Guanciale

If you’re searching for a more authentic flavor, you can try curing your own salt pork. This process will require a few weeks, but it’s worth it if you have the time. Start by rubbing an ample amount of salt into a pork belly. 

Salt pork is a type of cured pork that is typically very salty. It is made by curing pork belly with salt, either by dry salting or wet brining. Salt pork can be used in many different dishes, such as stews, soups, and casseroles. 

It is also often used as a flavoring agent. Salt pork has a long shelf life and does not need to be refrigerated.

To substitute salt pork for guanciale, use a 1:1 ratio. So, if the recipe calls for 1/2 pound of guanciale, you would use 1/2 pound of salt pork. The two ingredients are very similar in taste and texture, so this substitution will work well in most recipes.

Salt pork has a higher salt content than guanciale and a firmer texture, making it better suited for dishes where a crisp texture is desired. It is also often employed as a seasoning agent rather than as the primary pork flavor source. 

Salt pork can be used in place of pancetta or bacon in many recipes, but it may require a longer cooking time to render the fat.

8. Use German Speck for Substituting Guanciale

Speck is a type of cured meat that is typically made from pork belly or ham. Speck is a traditional food in the Alto Adige region of Italy.  Speck has a characteristic deep flavor and a slightly chewy texture.

It is also prevalent in Austria and Germany. In recent years, speck has become increasingly available in the United States. It is then smoked and dry-cured with various seasonings, including salt, pepper, sugar, and spices such as juniper berries. 

When it comes to taste, speck is saltier and smokier than guanciale. The flavor of speck is also more complex, with a hint of sweetness from the fat

Speck is most commonly used as an ingredient in dishes such as pasta or pizza. It can also be served on its own as part of a charcuterie plate. When sliced thinly, speck makes an excellent addition to salads. Speck is typically used as an appetizer or in dishes such as pasta carbonara

Substituting speck for guanciale is a great way to add some extra flavor to your dish. Speck is a type of smoked pork similar to bacon but with a more intense flavor. It can be found at most Italian specialty shops or online. 

9. Substituting Ham for Guanciale

Ham is another good option beyond guanciale, it is a kind of pork that has been cured, smoked or both. It is typically sold as a whole joint, with the bone in, or as slices. The meat can be dry-cured or wet-cured.

Dry-cured ham has been rubbed with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices and then left to air-dry for several months. This results in an intense flavor that is slightly salty and sweet

Wet-cured ham has been soaked in a brine solution (water, salt, and sugar), which gives it a milder flavor.

Ham is often used as a centerpiece for holiday meals such as Christmas and Easter. It can be served sliced and cold or heated and served with a glaze. Ham can also be used in sandwiches, soups, and casseroles.

If you want to substitute ham for guanciale, pancetta, bacon, or any other fatty cured meat, you can do so by observing these simple steps:

1. Cut the ham into small pieces that will fit easily into your pan.

2. Sauté the ham over medium heat until it is nicely crisped.

3. Add the pancetta, guanciale, or bacon to the pan and sauté together until all of the meat is evenly crisped.

4. Serve as desired!

Ham and guanciale are two types of cured pork. The main difference between ham and guanciale is their taste; ham is salty and savory, while guanciale is spicy and fatty. 

Ham is typically used in sandwiches or as a component of other dishes, while guanciale is often used as a flavoring or seasoning ingredient.

10. Corned beef – guanciale substitute non-pork

Find a non-pork alternative to Guanciale for your carbonara, then try corned beef. Corned beef is a type of salt-cured beef that is usually boiled. The term “corned” comes from the large grains of rock salt that were once used to cure beef. 

Corned beef can be made from either brisket, round, or silverside cuts of beef. The meat is cured in a brine (salt water) solution for 10-14 days, then prepared in water for several hours till it becomes tender.

Corned beef is often served with cabbage and potatoes. It can also be employed in recipes such as corned beef hash or used to make sandwiches such as Reuben sandwiches.

There are many different types of corned beef available on the market today. Some brands are pre-cooked and just need to be reheated, while others are raw and need to be cooked before eating. 

you can try corned beef to replace guanciale

You can also find corned beef packaged in vacuum-sealed bags. Whatever type of corned beef you choose, read the labels carefully so you know how to prepare it properly.

Vegan/ vegetarian substitute for guanciale

11. Pickle Olives – Best Vegan Guanciale Alternative

If you’re making a dish that calls for guanciale, but you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute pickled olives. Simply remove the pit from the olives and chop them into small pieces. 

Pickle Olives are a type of olive that is pickled in vinegar. The vinegar gives them a sour, tangy flavor that is perfect for snacks or as an accompaniment to other dishes. Pickle olives are usually green, but they can also be black or brown.

Pickled olives are a popular ingredient in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. They can be used as a topping for salads, pizzas, and pasta. They are also often used as an appetizer or side dish.

Then, add them to your dish in place of the guanciale. The olives will add a similar salty, briny flavor to the dish.

There are many brands of pickled olives available on the market, so be sure to try a few to find the one that you like best. Some brands of pickled olives are very salty, so if you are watching your sodium intake, be sure to choose a low-salt brand.

If you want to assemble your own pickled olives, it is actually effortless to do. Simply place olives in a jar and cover them with vinegar. Be sure to employ high-quality olive oil, as this will give the olives a much better flavor. 

Allow the olives to sit in the vinegar for at least 24 hours before eating them. This will allow the flavors to meld concurrently.

If you are looking for a healthy snack, pickled olives are a great choice. They are lower in fat and calorie content, and they are also a good source of fiber. So, if you are peeking for a tasty and nutritious snack, be sure to give pickled olives a try.

How to make guanciale At home 


  • -1 pound pork belly or its substitutes
  • -1/2 cup salt
  • -1/4 cup sugar
  • -1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • -2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • -1/2 cup red wine
  • -1 bay leaf


1. Combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns, garlic, and wine in a non-reactive bowl (glass or plastic).

2. Add the pork belly and massage the curing mixture into the meat.

3. Place the pork belly in a large container to hold it, cover, and refrigerate for seven days, flipping the meat daily to ensure even coverage.

4. After seven days, remove the pork belly from the container and rinse it under cold water.

5. The meat should be patted dry with paper towels and placed on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

6. Refrigerate the meat uncovered for 24 hours to allow the surface to dry.

7. Cut the pork belly into 1-inch pieces and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap.

8. Place the wrapped pork belly pieces in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.

To cook:

1. Thaw the pork belly overnight in the refrigerator.

2. The oven should be preheated up to 400 degrees F.

3. Place the pork belly pieces on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes until crisp and browned.

4. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!

There you have it! Now you know how to make guanciale at home. This delicious cured pork dish is perfect for enjoying with friends and family. Serve it alongside some freshly cooked pasta or in a traditional Italian carbonara. Buon appetito!

Substitute for guanciale in carbonara

If you cannot find guanciale, you can substitute pancetta or bacon, corned beef, Speck, and Lardon.

Slice the pancetta or bacon into small pieces and cook in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Clear with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add to the pasta along with the eggs and cheese.

Bottom Line substitute for guanciale

Many substitutes for guanciale can be used in its place. Each has a distinct flavor that can enhance the dish used. Some of the most popular substitutes include pancetta, bacon, and ham

While each of these meats has a different flavor, they can all be used to create delicious dishes. When choosing a substitute for guanciale, it is essential to consider the flavors of the dish you are making and select meat that will complement those flavors. 

With some investigation, you are sure to find a delicious substitute for guanciale that your whole family will enjoy.


Q1. What is the difference between pancetta and guanciale?

Pancetta is a cured, unsmoked pork belly often used in Italian cuisine. Guanciale is a cured, unsmoked pork cheek that is also popular in Italian dishes. 

Both pancetta and guanciale are used to add flavor to recipes, but they can also be eaten on their own as a mouthwatering snack.

Pancetta has a more intense flavor than guanciale, making it ideal for use in bolder dishes. Guanciale, on the other hand, has a milder taste that makes it perfect for pairing with delicate flavors.

Choose pancetta or guanciale based on the flavor you want to achieve in your dish.

Q2. What is guanciale meat?

Guanciale meat is a cured meat product made from pork jowl or cheeks. It is flavorful and typically used in dishes such as carbonara.

When choosing guanciale, look for a piece that is pink in color with some white fat. The meat should be firm but not hard. Avoid any pieces that are bruised or have excessive fat. Guanciale can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months.

Q3. What is similar to guanciale?

Pancetta and bacon are both similar to guanciale
They are all cured meats made from pork, and they all have a similar flavor profile. Pancetta is produced from the belly of the pig, while bacon is made from the back. 

Guanciale is prepared from the cheek of the pig. All three of these meats are typically used in Italian cuisine.

Q4. Is guanciale similar to bacon?

Guanciale is a type of pork jowl that is popular in Italian cuisine. It is similar to bacon in that it is made from pork, but it has a distinctively different flavor.

Guanciale is cured with salt and spices, and then it is typically air-dried for several months. This curing process gives guanciale its unique flavor, which is earthy and slightly sweet.

Guanciale can be used in various dishes, including pasta carbonara and traditional Italian spaghetti all’amatriciana.

Q5. Where to buy guanciale?

There is no classic answer to this question, as the availability of guanciale can vary depending on your location. 

However, some good places to initiate looking for it include Italian specialty markets, online retailers that sell Italian ingredients, or even some high-end grocery stores. 

If you have trouble locating it locally, you can always order it online from one of the many retailers that sell it.

Q6. Is guanciale the same as salt pork?

Guanciale is a variety of cured pork that is made from the pig’s cheek or jowl. It is similar to pancetta and bacon, but it has a more intense flavor
Guanciale is often used in Italian cooking, and it is an essential ingredient in dishes like carbonara and amatriciana. 
Salt pork is a type of cured pork that is made from the belly or shoulder of the pig. It has a salty flavor, and it is typically used as a seasoning or flavoring ingredient. 
Salt pork is not as commonly used as guanciale, but it can be used in recipes that call for bacon or pancetta

Q7. Can I use pancetta instead of guanciale?

Yes, You can easily use Pancetta instead of Guanciale. Both pancetta and guanciale are cured, but pancetta is typically smoked while guanciale is not.

While pancetta can be used as a substitute for guanciale, the two meats have different flavors.  The pancetta will give your dish a smoky flavor, while the guanciale will provide a more pure pork flavor. 

Choosing which meat to use is up to you and what you think will taste best in your dish.

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