Capicola vs Prosciutto: How are They Different?

Mouthwatering pastas, heavenly-tasting pizzas, superb cheeses, pesto sauce, and, of course, cured Italian meats are all sources of national pride in Italian food!

Among the other delights, cured Italian meats stand out. Without them, our pizzas would be soaked in orange fat and our charcuterie plates would be drab.

When it comes to charcuterie, prosciutto and capicola are two Italian favorites that stand out above the others. These cold cuts are part of the salumi family of premium salt-cured pig meats.

But don’t be fooled by their familial ties! This article will explain why capicola and prosciutto are not the same thing.

Difference Between Capicola and Prosciutto

Prosciutto is formed from the pig’s rear legs, while capicola is created from the region between the neck and the 4th or 5th rib of the hog shoulder.

Whole-muscle salumi include capicola and prosciutto. In Italy, salumi refers to salted meats and is most often used to describe curing whole muscles.

Both forms of cured beef are common on charcuterie boards and other delicacies, yet they vary greatly in many aspects, including:

Capicola originated in the northern Italian city of Piacenza and the southern Italian region of Calabria. Prosciutto was invented in northern Italy, namely in Parma and San Daniele.

Pig breed: Capicola pigs are raised in southern Italy, one of which is Apulo-Calabrese. They must be at least 8 months old and weigh at least 300 pounds to be considered. Landrace, Large White, and Duroc breeds are used to make prosciutto. They are usually more than 9 months old and weigh about 360 pounds.

Capicola heals in around 6 months. Prosciutto takes much longer to cure and prepare, sometimes up to two years. Meats that require longer to cure have a richer taste and a softer texture.

Curing ingredients: Sea salt, fennel seeds, black pepper, and chili flakes are used to cure capicola. The spice combination varies according on personal choice and geography, but these three elements are always included. Prosciutto, on the other hand, is just cured with salt, black pepper, and sometimes juniper berries and rosemary.

Capicola’s taste ranges from intense to mild and smokey. Red pepper-cured capicola is fiery and spicy, but black pepper-cured capicola is sweeter. Prosciutto has a delicate sweet and salty flavor that is not hot. There may also be a somewhat smokey aftertaste.

Capicola has a delicate texture and an equally distributed fat content. Prosciutto, on the other hand, is fattier, and the extra fat might result in chewy bits at times. When these fatty parts are chopped into tiny slices, they become buttery and lose most of their chewiness.

Color: Capicola is distinguished by its vibrant dark red color and excellent marbling, while cured prosciutto is lighter and more pinkish in hue, resembling ham.

Size: Capicola is substantially smaller in size than prosciutto. Large prosciutto is often offered whole or in thin, lengthy slices. Capicola pieces are thinner and offered in narrow rolls similar to salami.

Price: Because prosciutto’s dry-curing procedure takes far longer than capicola’s, prosciutto is frequently more expensive.

Capicola vs Prosciutto Comparison Table

Category Capicola Prosciutto
Origin Northern Italian city of Piacenza and the southern Italian province of Calabria Northern Italian cities of Parma and San Daniele
Pig breed Apulo-Calabrese Landrace, Large White, and Duroc
Weight & age of pigs At least 8 months old and weigh around 300lb Typically over 9 months old and weigh about 350lb
Pig cut Area between the neck and the 4th or 5th rib of the pork shoulder Pig’s hind legs
Curing time 6 months 24 months
Curing ingredients Sea salt, fennel seeds, black pepper, and chili flakes Curing salt, black pepper, juniper berries, and rosemary
Flavor Smoky, salty, sweet, or peppery Smoky, salty, and sweet
Texture Delicate and tender Chewy and buttery
Color Vivid red with marbling throughout Delicate pink with less marbling
Size Thin, smaller pieces Thin, bigger pieces
Price Less expensive More expensive

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

Looking at the nutritional chart below, we can see that prosciutto contains more calories, salt, and fat than capicola, making it a less healthier option.

Nonetheless, prosciutto has more protein and is higher in potassium, iron, and calcium. That is, consuming it in moderation will provide you with nourishment while not hurting your health.

Category (100g) Capicola Prosciutto
Calories 110 195
Carbs 2.63g 0.3g
Fat 2.86g 8.32g
Saturated fat 0.892g 2.78g
Cholesterol 48mg 70mg
Sodium 1.1g 2.7g
Protein 17.28g 27.8g
Fiber 0g 0g
Sugars 0g 0g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 9mg 10mg
Iron 0.8mg 1.11mg
Potassium 350mg 510mg

Can I Substitute Capicola for Prosciutto & Vice Versa?

Yes, prosciutto may be used in place of capicola. These two pork slices are equivalent and may be used interchangeably in cooking.

If you wish to replace the sweet taste of prosciutto with capicola, look for a kind that has been cured with black peppercorns rather than red peppercorns, since the latter will provide a more fiery flavor to your dish or board.

Enjoying Capicola

Capicolas are smaller-sized pieces that may be eaten in one bite with crackers, fruit, and cheese. Capicola is a staple of the New Orleans muffuletta sandwich, which is made with Italian bread loaf, mozzarella, mortadella, olive salad, capicola, genoa salami, and provolone cheese.

Capicola pizza may also be made with tomato sauce, red onions, and mozzarella. You may also serve this cured beef with scrambled eggs or in a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. Capicola may be served with creamy mashed potatoes for supper, or wrapped around vegetables and baked in the oven.

Enjoying Prosciutto

Aside from eating it alone, how inventive can you be when mixing prosciutto with other ingredients? You may be surprised.

First and foremost, slice it into paper-thin pieces. Layer it over a slice of crusty bread and drizzle with olive oil on top. It’s also good with cream cheese on a bagel.

Prosciutto is usually served with fruit in Italy. Wrapping prosciutto around a slice of watermelon is a delicious fruit choice. Allow the sweet-salty taste contrast to melt on your tongue rather than chewing them.

Make an Italian salad with mixed greens and prosciutto, or make a prosciutto pizza with burrata and parmesan.

Making the Perfect Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie is the art of assembling a meat and cheese plate, and we’ll show you how to make one that everyone will like.

To begin, you’ll need something to serve your charcuterie on, so either a serving plate, a rimmed baking sheet, or a basic wooden cutting board will do.

Serve a variety of hard, soft, and spreadable cheeses, such as Manchego, white Vermont cheddar, goat cheese, mozzarella balls, brie, and triple cream cheese. Make sure the hard cheeses are chopped up so they are simple to grip.

After that, add the cured meats. Salami, coppa, prosciutto, and capicola are our top picks. Fold each meat in a different shape and put it next to a different kind of cheese for a more visually appealing appearance.

The accoutrements should be served on tiny dishes. Green olives, miniature pickles, honey, and fruit spread may all be added. You may also use fruits and nuts to fill up the gaps. Apples, grapes, berries, and pistachios are all terrific choices.

Finally, there are the toasts and crackers. You may serve toasted baguette slices and handmade crackers. Also, if any of your loved ones are gluten-intolerant, include a gluten-free cracker on the board.


That brings us to the end of today’s session on Italian cured meats!

To recap, capicola is a premium cut of pork from the shoulder and neck area. The back legs, on the other hand, are used to produce prosciutto. Capicola has a deeper hue and lovely marbling. Because of the fat and skin that surrounds it, it is also smooth and soft, while prosciutto may be coarser and chewier.

Overall, you’d be able to notice the difference if you just had capicola and prosciutto. If you haven’t already, now is the time to master the appropriate charcuterie plate combinations!


Which is better capicola or prosciutto?

Coppa or Prosciutto: Which Is Better? Prosciutto is the more popular of the two cured meats owing to its buttery flavor and soft texture, which most people prefer. However, both are common charcuterie board alternatives and are excellent depending on personal taste.

Is prosciutto and capicola the same thing?

feel: Both capicola and prosciutto are served in thin slices on charcuterie boards, but prosciutto is recognized for its buttery feel owing to its greater fat content, whilst capicola is more soft. 3.

Can I substitute prosciutto for capicola?

Prosciutto may be replaced with dry-cured meats such as Spanish Jamon or other classics like as Culatello, Capicola, or pancetta.

What’s the difference between Coppa and prosciutto?

Coppa is prepared from pig shoulder, while Volpi® Prosciutto is created from the hog’s hind leg. Volpi® Coppa comes in Mild and Hot varieties and is flavored with black pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper flakes (Volpi® Spicy Coppa), whilst Prosciutto is produced with fresh pork and sea salt.

What is Gabagool in Italian?

The name gabagool was created when many Italian dialects mixed, yet it translates to nothing in Italian. According to Atlas Obscura, gabagool is just a variant of the word capicola pronounced with a distinct accent.

What meat is closest to prosciutto?

Pancetta. Pancetta is a popular cured meat that is similar to the well-known prosciutto.

Is prosciutto just fancy bacon?

In fact, Italians may be perplexed that it is even mentioned in this discourse. Unlike pancetta and bacon, prosciutto is derived from the pig’s rear leg rather than the belly. It is likewise salt-cured, but the curing process is substantially longer, making it safe to consume raw.

What is the most popular meat in Italy?

While pig is undoubtedly the most popular meat, salamis are also produced from beef, wild boar, geese, and turkey. There are several salamis created in Italy, including mortadella, coppa, and soppressata.

Should capicola be cooked?

Capocollo may be served hot or cold either as a snack, appetizer, or main course. Coppa is a firm dry sausage that is comparable to prosciutto in texture and flavor. Capocollo is also known as Capocolla, Capacollo, Cappicola, and Capicola.

What is the closest meat to capicola?

A crispy slice of pancetta is a delicious alternative to capicola. Pancetta is essentially salted, lightly seasoned, and cured pig belly. The meat is brilliant pink in color and has a smooth, velvety texture. Pancetta is cured for three weeks and may be consumed either cooked or raw.

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