Cooking Guide

Pancetta Vs Pork Belly Read This If You Want To Know!

Pancetta and pork belly are both delicious, but which is the better cut of meat?

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This article will compare the two cuts of meat to show out the similarities along with key differences between them to help you decide.

Not only able to gain more knowledge about these two pork cuts, but you will also know the common recipes that go with each ingredient to treat your family with the best dish from either pork belly or pancetta.

What is pancetta?

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Pancetta is a type of Italian cured meat that tastes like bacon but has a much more intense flavor.

It’s made from pork belly and salt, then aged for at least six months.

The longer it’s aged, the more flavor will penetrate the meat.

The word pancetta comes from the Latin meaning “little bread.”

Pancetta is usually dense and has a light pink color, making it not only taste good but also has an eye-catching look.

It has been around for centuries as a favorite breakfast dish; many Italians enjoy their morning meal with breadsticks and olives alongside some fresh eggplantpuréee made into frittatas or omelets.

In Italian cuisine, pancetta is usually sold in thin slices while it is often sold cubed in the United States.

What is pork belly?

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Pork belly is the boneless and fatty cut of meat from the underside of a pig’s stomach.

The pork belly cut includes many layers that are separated by fat in between, which makes it perfect for cooking low and slow without drying out or burning up.

It can also be fried, roasted, or smoked to reach a crispy skin and render the fat, resulting in juicy and rich-taste meat.

Pork belly can be sold raw or processed, as the majority of bacon that we often buy from any grocery out there.

It is especially popular in Asian cuisine and some parts of Europe rather than in America.

What are the differences between pancetta vs pork belly?

Many people thought pancetta and pork belly are actually the same thing.

It’s true to some extent, but not always.

The table below will show you clearly how they differentiate from each other in several criteria.

 PancettaPork belly
Fat content and textureLess fat because of the curing processTougher in texture  More fat Tender when properly cooked
TasteSaltier and richer with a high amount of sodiumLighter but sweeter when cooked because it is sold fresh and doesn’t have any added seasonings
PreparePancetta is cured with salt and seasonings before being soldPork belly is usually sold raw or cured to make bacon
ShapeCan be sold in thin slices or a large slab that has been tightly rolled and tied to keep the formUsually sold in a large and thick strip
PriceCheaper because can be eaten raw directly from the packageMore expensive because it requires more work to do before cooking

What are the similarities between pancetta vs pork belly?

1. Besides some key differences, pancetta and pork belly share some similarities, as listed below:

Pancetta is the cured and seasoned version of pork belly

So they are actually one thing, right?

You can make pancetta from fresh pork belly bought from the grocery.

On the other hand, pork belly can generate different kinds of processed products, such as bacon or pancetta.

2. They are used in many delicious recipes

Pancetta and pork belly are versatile ingredients that work in many recipes.

Pancetta can be used to add a deep flavor to your soups or stews, or pasta and pizzas.

It can be served as a cold cut for sandwich fillings.

When the pork belly is sold cured as bacon, it can be used the same way as pancetta, whereas there are many ways to cook fresh pork bellies such as slow-cooking, roasting, or grilling.

The same thing is all these dishes are mouth-watering and perfectly match with some salad or roasted vegetables on the side.

Which one is better?

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In short, pancetta is pork belly, but pork belly is not always pancetta.

These pork product and cut are both great for a variety of recipes.

Therefore, when it comes to determining which one is better between pancetta and pork belly, it is usually down to personal preference and the dish you are cooking.

So if you expect something to cook fast or enjoy right out from the package, pancetta will be more perfect.

But if there is going to be a reunion meal for a big family, you better treat your loved ones with something more special and flavorful, which is roasted whole pork belly.

Will you let us know which one you will add to your shopping list next time?

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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