Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (2024)

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If you’re interested in makinghomemadepancetta, but don’t know much aboutcuring meats(like me!), you’ll love this simplehomemadepancettarecipe! With herbs and spices, you can mimic the flavor of traditionalpancettafor use in all of your favorite recipes.

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (1)

A few years ago, Keith and I spent several weeks inItaly.I missed a lot of non-Italianfoods while we were there because they’re nearly impossible to find: burgers, Thai food, Mexican food.

And bacon.

Table of Contents

  • What is Pancetta?
  • FAQ
  • Use to Make…
  • How to MakePancetta
  • Recipe Video
  • Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe

InItaly, you’ll find deliciouscured meatslikeprosciutto,guanciale, andpancetta, but not bacon. At least that’s all we could find, with the exception of our stay atthe Oasihotel near the Cinque Terrewhere breakfast was included. Among other menu offerings was an ‘American Breakfast’: toast, fried eggs and crispy bacon. We were there for a week and ordered it every. single. day.

When I got back home, it waspancettathat I missed.

It’s not that I couldn’t findpancetta, but it was always in a shrink wrapped package, sliced paper thin. To make some of my favoriteItaliandishes, like Bucatini all’Amatriciana for example, I needed thick slices to dice.

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (2)

What is Pancetta?

Not long ago, I bought a pound ofpork bellyand got to thinking about making myownpancetta. Pancetta is the Italian cousin of bacon, made by curing pork belly with salt and aromatics, but not smoked.

I considered the traditionaldry cureroute (Michael Ruhlman’scookbookis a wealth of information on makingcured meats). But it’s something I haven’t dabbled in before and wasn’t interested in the wholecharcuteriecuring process, which typically includescure ingredientslike sodiumnitrite, also calledcuring saltorpink salt, and dealing with an entirepork belly(10 pounds or more).

So I thought, “Why not just coatfreshporkbellywith the traditional herbs and aromatics used to makepancettaand let the flavors penetrate over a couple of days in the refrigerator?”

It worked beautifully!

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (3)

The herb mixture includes mostly common herbs and spices likebay leavesandblack pepper, and is a cinch to make. But you’ll need aspice grinder(aka coffee bean grinder) or mortar and pestle.

You’ll coat thepork bellygenerously, then cover and let it dry brine in the refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours. From there, use it in any recipe you like that calls forpancettaor bacon (or portion and freeze it for up to 3 months!).


What is the difference between pancetta and bacon?

Bacon andpancettaare both curedpork belly. Bacon is brined and smoked whilepancettais flavored with herbs and aromatics, but not smoked.

Can you fry pancetta like bacon?

Yes, absolutely! Just be sure to note the thickness when determining how long to pan fry it, just as you would bacon.

Does pancetta need to be cooked before eating?

Pancetta that has been traditionally cured is often thinly sliced and can be eaten straight from the package. Because this homemade pancetta is not traditionally cured, it should be thoroughly cooked before eating.

Use to Make…

  • Pancetta Pasta
  • Bucatini Carbonara
  • Bucatini all’Amatriciana

How to MakePancetta

Step 1: Finely grind peppercorns, dried juniper berries, bay leaf, and fresh thyme and rosemary leaves in a spice grinder.

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (4)

Step 2: Combine ground spice mixture with brown sugar, nutmeg, and garlic in a small bowl.

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (5)

Step 3: Place pork belly flat in a baking dish. Coat all sides thoroughly with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 24 to 72 hours. Use or freeze for up to 3 months.

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (6)

Recipe Video

Easy Homemade Pancetta

5 from 12 votes

By: Marissa Stevens

Prep: 15 minutes mins

Total: 3 days d 15 minutes mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Italian

Calories: 151

Servings: 16 ounces

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (7)


An easy way to simulate the delicious flavor of cured pancetta without the hassle of actually curing it. Basic ingredient list from this recipe.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole dried juniper berries
  • 1 dry bay leaf broken into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves about 2 sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves about 1/2 small sprig
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pound skinless pork belly


  • In a spice grinder, combine first 5 ingredients (peppercorns through rosemary leaves), pulse until finely ground. (This can also be done with a mortar and pestle.) Transfer mixture to bowl and stir in kosher salt, brown sugar, nutmeg and garlic.

  • Place pork belly in a dish large enough so it will lie flat; coat generously on all sides with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 24 to 72 hours. Use or freeze for up to 3 months.


Use in any recipe that calls for pancetta or bacon, taking care to cook it thoroughly before eating.


Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 445mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Leave a comment & rate the recipe below!

Easy Homemade Pancetta Recipe (2024)
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