7 Best Capicola Substitutes

If you’ve been searching for a cured-dry meat equivalent to capicola, you have landed on the right page.

Perceiving the rising aroma of this fatty, delicately spiced, and low-roasted meat out of a chimney across the neighborhood could make you across the road without even looking.

That’s how delicious capicola is.

Sadly, it is less popular than other cured meats; this makes it challenging to find and discouragingly expensive.

But some of the capicola substitutes we have listed on this page will help you miss capicola less.

Some of these options are even healthier and have more flavor. 

What Is Capicola? 

Capicola is an Italian-style ham made from pork shoulder.

It’s usually cured with salt, sugar, and spices, then smoked over wood chips. It can be used to make sandwiches or eaten on its own.

The taste of capicola is smoky, roasted, and mildly spiced flavor.

It also has a tender texture. This meat is similar to American-style ham but with a slightly salty flavor that makes it unique to the palette.

You might think it tastes like salami because it’s so similar, but salami is smoked at different temperatures and humidity levels.

Aside from that, capicola has been used for centuries as a food staple in Italy. Still, it has recently become popular in the United States due to its use in sandwiches and appetizers.

It can also be used to make pastrami; add some mustard and pepper to kick it!

7 Best Capicola Substitutes

1. Prosciutto 

Prosciutto is taking the top spot because it is your best bet whenever capicola is out of reach.

While it is a good substitute for capicola, it can be helpful to know the differences between the two.

There is no denying that Capicola and prosciutto are both cured meats from pork.

However, prosciutto is gotten from the hindquarters of the pig.

And unlike capicola, spiced with different ingredients, prosciutto is only salted and dry-cured.

But when it comes to its fatty content, prosciutto leads.

It is higher in fat, giving it a more buttery texture. 

2. Lonza 

The debate between capicola and Lonza has been going on for as long as I can remember.

And I’ve not here to tell you which is better but why you can use them interchangeably.

Lonza is more like a brother to prosciutto and a cousin to capicola. But capicola is tender and requires slower cooking.

Lonza, like capicola, is made from pork. It is pork loin that has been cured and then air-dried for about three to four months.

The flavor profile of Lonza is different from that of capicola since it is typically seasoned with black pepper and fennel.

Also, Lonza is a lean cured ham that should be sliced thinly like prosciutto. This makes it preferable for charcuterie boards and pizzas.

3. Pancetta

Pencetta is another substitute you can count on.

It’s dry-cured meat like capicola processed the same way, so they are reminiscent of that depth flavor too.

Texture-wise, both will appear on charcuterie boards in thin slices. But since prosciutto has a much fattier content, the texture is buttery, while capicola remains tender.

Regardless you can swap this meat without noticing much difference, even though pancetta is saltier and fattier.

But most home cooks will unhesitantly settle for Pancetta is pocket-friendly compared to capicola. 

4. Mortadella

Mortadella is an Italian sausage traditionally made from pork and pork fat but may contain other ingredients.

 If you don’t like or can’t eat pork, you can buy mortadella made from chicken or beef instead.

This sausage is bologna-style sausage and contains diced white pieces of fat from the pig.

It contains 15% fat and is seasoned with salt, pistachio nuts, garlic, black pepper, myrtle berries, and cinnamon.

The spices and pistachios add a richness and a crunch to the cured meat that goes beyond its fatty texture.

Also it has a smokey pork taste but the flavor can vary depending on the seasoning used.

You can eat it only or slice it and pair with pasta, salads, sandwiches, and toast.

Note that Capicola has a milder flavor than mortadella because it’s not as heavily seasoned with spices as mortadella is.

5. Serrano 

Cooks can substitute capicola or serrano for each other in recipes, depending on their preference.

Serrano ham is the Spanish counterpart to Italy’s capicola. It is a dry-cured ham that bears a resemblance to prosciutto.

However, the main difference between this meat is that serrano comes from a special breed of pig—the white Iberian hog.

Although serrano ham is a buttery, spicy, sweet-and-salty meat that has all the complexity of Spanish gastronomy.

And they are also very thinly sliced.

6. Turkey Ham

There is a lot of confusion about capicola and turkey ham. But one thing is certain: they are different cuts of meat.

Capicola is a cured Italian pork salumi made from pork shoulder. Meanwhile, turkey ham is made from cured turkey thigh meat and sold ready to eat.

You can substitute turkey ham for capicola if you crave a sandwich with meat that has a lower fat content.

Although the Turkey ham is made from processed turkey meat, not pork, it has been shaped like a traditional ham (though it doesn’t taste like one).

It is preferable if you don’t like pork or don’t feel up to eating one.

Use the turkey ham in sandwiches for the salty flavor capicola would provide. This may not be a culinary triumph, but it makes your sandwich taste better.

7. Salami

Salami is another fantastic capicola substitute, only it can be made from beef and veal too.

It is also seasoned with different ingredients, including vinegar, herbs and spices, and wine. Hence the flavor profile could be spicy, smoky, sweet, and savory —depending on the ingredients used. 

Capicola, on the other hand, is likely to have a milder flavor than Salami and less fat.

And since salami is cured with salt and spices (such as garlic) before being rolled in fresh herbs and spices like oregano or basil leaves, it has a stronger taste and a more pronounced aroma than capicola.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Most Expensive Cured Meat?

Spanish Iberian ham is the most expensive cured meat in the world.

A single leg can cost more than $4,500.

This meat is obtained from the black Iberian pig, which is a rare breed found in the Iberian Peninsula, particularly in the southern and western regions.

What Recipe Can You Use Capicola For?

Capicola is a great sandwich filling, but it’s not just for sandwiches. It can also be used in other recipes for Italian sausage or salami. Here are many others:

  • Soups
  • Meat pie
  • Meatloaf
  • Stuffed shells
  • Mini Muffaletta
  • Italian Hoagie Dip
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Spicy Italian Crescent Ring
  • Italian Hoagie Quesadilla with Bruschetta Mayo
  • Cheese Board: Add capicola to your cheese board to any white or blue cheese you have on hand (cheddar, Gorgonzola). You’ll love how great it tastes in combination with these other cheeses!
  • Salads: Add chunks of capicola and other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and maybe even herbs. You can even mix in some mayo or olive oil if you want!

What Does Capicola Pair With?

Capicola is excellent for pairing with fruit, cheese (cheddar), and other meat.

It’s delicious on its own, but it tastes even better when paired with other foods, even wines.

You can also serve it as an appetizer board with cornichon, burrata, dijon, and even focaccia. 

How Long Is Capicola Good In Fridge?

How Long Is Capicola Good In Fridge?

The lifespan of a capicola depends on various factors. 

It depends on how long it was before purchase and what else is in there with it.

But generally, capicola is supposed to last for 7-21 days if kept in the refrigerator.

Also, capicola is an excellent candidate for freezing because it’s a cured pork product, and curing meat is an age-old process that helps ensure the meat retains its flavor and texture after it’s been frozen.

Many people choose to freeze their capicola so they can enjoy it for 3-6 months.

However, keeping your capicola at room temperature won’t even last up to a week after being infected by bacteria. 

Is Capicola Good On Pizza?

While some people may think that anything can be put on a pizza, Capicola is not one of those things.

The reason why Capicola is not good on pizza is that the meat is too fatty and salty. The pizza crust should be thin enough to absorb the cheese and sauce but big enough to hold up to the toppings.

The olive oil used for frying Capicola will make it greasy, so it will pool on top of the dough and cause it to get soggy.

Using many ingredients like tomatoes or peppers on your pizza will also cause sogginess if they aren’t evenly distributed throughout your pizza crust.

Pizza calls for leaner meats.

Aside from that, it’s not even advisable to consume too much fatty content all in one recipe. 


So that’s all there is for the capicola substitute.

The main idea of this blog post revolves around making a capicola substitute that doesn’t just taste similar to the real thing but also looks and feels similar.

Although this will be tricky because of the many textures involved.

It is possible to follow step-by-step instructions with the right ingredients and know the best meals for each option.