6 Parma Ham Substitutes

Parma ham is prosciutto. Prosciutto is a type of dry cured Italian meat. The main difference between prosciutto and parma ham is that not every type of prosciutto is parma ham. Parma ham is from the Parma region of Italy and is made  from dry cured pork legs. It is a delicious style of meat that can be used for all sorts of different dishes and sandwiches. 

Parma ham is luckily pretty easy to substitute if you cannot find it or you just don’t like it. Different kinds of prosciutto, ardennes ham, pancetta, serrano ham, pastrami, and bacon will all make wonderful parma ham substitutes. 

Parma Ham Substitutes

1. Prosciutto

As mentioned above, parma ham is prosciutto, but there are many different kinds of prosciutto that are not parma ham. Because they are so similar, and because parma ham already is prosciutto, you can easily replace parma ham with any other kind of prosciutto and you may not even notice a difference. You can use any kind of prosciutto as a parma ham replacement for any kind of sandwich or other cooking recipe. 

2. Ardennes Ham

Ardennes ham is a Belgian style ham that is dried very similarly to parma ham. It tastes very similar to parma ham and has practically the same texture. Ardennes ham isn’t the most common style of meat around, but does make the perfect parma ham replacement. 

3. Pancetta

Pancetta is a popular cut of meat that is cured exactly the same way as parma ham. Pancetta is actually the pork belly instead of the leg, so it has a much higher fat content, giving it a slightly different flavor from parma ham, but it is extremely similar. Pancetta must be cooked before eating since it is only cured, while parma ham salt is cured and dried for months, making it safe to consume without cooking. 

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4. Serrano Ham

Serrano ham makes a good parma ham replacement because they come from the same breed of pig. It is a Spanish style ham that is very similar to prosciutto, though it has a few differences. The flavors are similar, however serrano ham does have a much more enhanced flavor. Compared to serrano ham, parma ham is much more sweet and mild, while serrano ham is more bold and intense. Serrano ham goes wonderfully on sandwiches, and while you will probably taste a difference when you replace parma ham with it, the sandwich will still be amazing.

5. Pastrami

Pastrami is a very popular deli meat that is very easy to find in any grocery store. If you are having trouble finding parma ham, or other substitutes, pastrami is the best way to go! Pastrami is cured in a brine with other spices, so the flavor is slightly different from parma ham. Pastrami has a higher moisture level, but in a pinch will do just fine as a parma ham replacement. 

6. Bacon

Out of everything on this list, bacon is the easiest one to find and something everyone knows how to cook. In hot dishes, pasta sauces, or sautees, bacon is a great replacement for parma ham because it will bring a great flavor to the dish. While they are completely similar, no one will knock you for using it instead of parma ham. I mean, who doesn’t love bacon?

Parma ham is certainly delicious, but sometimes it’s hard to find. There are plenty of other meats you can use as a replacement for parma ham whether you are making sandwiches, pasta dishes, sautees, or stews.