Cured vs Uncured Pancetta

Cured vs Uncured Pancetta: Turn of Events!

Pancetta pasta is one of the must-have dishes in my house on Thanksgiving. Because we all love pancetta. 

However, cured and uncured pancetta have their uniqueness. So choosing the right pancetta gets very complex. 

So. which one is best in cured vs uncured pancetta?

Cured and uncured pancetta are different on many levels. The preservatives are different for the two pancettas. Also by looking at the color you can differentiate them. The taste of cured pancetta is intense while uncured ones are saltier. Their longevity at room temperature differs as well. 

This is the gist of the discussion. Still, there is a lot to know. Come with me for an in-depth comparison between these two types of pancetta.

Short Comparison 

Several factors distinguish the cured and uncured pancetta. The dissimilarities between them are almost as same as the cured vs uncured meat debate. To satisfy your taste and for your good health, you must have a clear idea of the topic.

We have prepared a short comparison table so that you can easily make your decision. From this table, you will get to know all the key differences at a glance. 

So let’s have a look and then decide between cured vs uncured pancetta. 

FactorsCured Pancetta Uncured Pancetta 
Curing AgentsArtificial Only Natural 
ColorDeep PinkPale Pink
Amount of SaltLessMore
Preservation Without Refrigerator Possible Not Possible 
Cooking Necessity Cooked or Uncooked Cooked
Safety from Nitrates Contains Artificial NitratesContains Natural Nitrates 
PriceOrder NowOrder Now

You can see how cured pancetta is different from the uncured ones. But there are details of all these factors. 

To quench your thirst for more details we’ll discuss every little point. Let’s go through the following sections for that.

Head-to-head Comparison: Cured vs Uncured Pancetta 

You must distinguish between the cured and uncured pancetta correctly. Otherwise, you can face problems like unmelted cheese in the soup. 

So let’s check the particulars to clear doubts.

Curing Agents 

The main factor that makes uncured meat as opposed to cured meat is the curing agent. The word ‘uncured’ can make you think that the meat is completely uncured. But it’s not right. 

Rather the curing agents are different for all cured vs uncured hams, pancettas, and prosciuttos. Uncured pancetta is cured with natural elements. The prime curing materials like nitrates and nitrites are supplied from organic sources.

However, for this same reason you should store your uncured meat in an airtight fridge meat container. I chose the following containers to store my pancetta and other meat.

These containers are small in size and durable and the same time-

On the other hand, artificial elements are used in cured pancetta. Nitrate and nitrites are supplied in the pancetta through chemicals. These chemicals preserve the pancetta from rotting.


The easiest way to differentiate between two objects is to check their looks. And what is better than color in this aspect. The colors of cured and uncured pancetta are also different. 

To check if the pancetta is cured or not you have to observe the shade of the color. Like all other meats, the color of pancetta is also pinkish. The cured pancetta has a dark pink color. It looks more dense and very close to red.

However, this isn’t the case with uncured pancetta. These pancettas come in light shades of pink. The meat looks dry and can be easily identified. 


Taste is a primary factor no matter what the food is. However, the taste difference isn’t as high as pancetta vs prosciutto taste. But you’ll be able to differentiate it in your mouth.

Cured and uncured pancettas are quite distinct in the taste section. You’ll get the intense taste of meat in cured pancetta. As a result of using artificial preservatives, the taste of the pancetta stays almost similar.

The situation changes for uncured pancetta. Here the taste is lighter than the cured pancetta. This happens because of the use of natural ingredients. This pancetta also tastes saltier than the cured one. 

But don’t think that uncured pancetta is not tasty. Many people like uncured pancetta more than cured pancetta and vice versa. 

Because not everyone has similar taste buds. So you’ll make a mistake if you decide without tasting both of them.

For example I like to pair my uncured pancetta with some herbs. And trust me it tastes heavenly. Do you wanna know which herbs I use? Here they are-

Salt Proportion 

We all know the role of salt in preserving meat and other foods. So, salt plays an important part in making pancetta. However, the amount of salt used in cured and uncured pancetta are poles apart. 

In cured pancetta, salt isn’t needed much. Because artificial preservatives play the main role there. But in uncured pancetta, salt is the primary material.

Uncured pancetta is hugely dependent on salt. A huge proportion of salt is added to it. Salt is the base preservative in every uncured meat, be it uncured pancetta vs prosciutto

Now it’s your decision if you want your pancetta salty or not.


Besides taste, one of the main purposes of curing is preserving the meat. In the modern age, we have refrigerators for storing food. However, let’s see if it’s possible to preserve the pancetta without a refrigerator. 

Cured pancetta can be stored at room temperature for about a week. After that, it will start rotting. But it’s highly recommended that you keep the pancetta in a fridge after opening. This is the best way to preserve it.

Also, don’t forget to keep your pancetta in a freezer meat bag. Otherwise, there’s a high chance other foods will get contaminated. So, choose a meat bag for yourself today from the following table-

Uncured pancetta does not last long at room temperature. It must be kept in the refrigerator once the packet is opened. Otherwise, the condition of the pancetta will deteriorate quickly.

Moreover, the preserving periods are different because of the use of artificial and natural preservatives. However, natural preservatives are making their way now. 

Still refrigerating is equally necessary for uncured meat. We noticed it more when we compared pancetta vs bacon vs prosciutto together.

I follow the vacuum-seal process to store my uncured pancetta. You can watch the following video if you don’t know how to vacuum seal your meat

Also, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer you can pick one from the following list. All of them are very reasonable but super easy to use.

Cooking Necessity


A very common question among people is can you eat pancetta raw? Well, the answer isn’t the same for cured and uncured pancetta. Let’s see the eating procedures for pancetta. 

The cured pancetta is edible without cooking. It can be served from the packet. I make thin slices of them while eating. Or else it’ll be hard to chew and savor the taste. 

Also, raw cured pancetta is widely used in sandwiches. You can also cook these pancettas. 

But uncured pancetta is not edible without cooking. You can get different types of worms from it. A good way to cook the uncured pancetta is by using it in soups. The pancetta gets cooked while increasing the taste of the soup.

If i’m having a bad day I grab an instant soup and add pancetta in it. And my day is already made! Try it today, you won’t regret it. 


An important question is, which one is safer? The answer is similar to the answer of cured vs uncured bacon which is healthier. 

You see, both of the pancettas have their defense on the factor of safety.

People are more suspicious about the cured pancetta. Because artificial nitrates are used in it. Under high temperatures, the cured pancetta can get toxic. Many researchers even claim that it can cause cancer. 

Anyway, the number of preservatives is very less in cured pancetta. The reason behind this less amount is pretty simple. Artificial preservatives have high efficiency. So few of these chemicals are enough to preserve the pancetta.

But the situation reverses if we look at the uncured pancetta. The key selling point of uncured pancetta is the use of natural elements. But artificial or not, nitrate is used in it. 

Because Nitrate-free pancetta is only a myth!

And sometimes the number of nitrates can be more in uncured pancetta than the cured meat. So you’ve to give a good thought in deciding which curing material is the best as per your health conditions.


An essential factor while choosing between two goods is price. Many times we decide on a product only because of its price. So we have to check the prices of the pancettas too.

The cured pancetta comes in around $17 per pound. Whereas you can get uncured pancetta for about $20 per pound. As using natural ingredients is costly, the price goes up for the uncured pancetta. 

These are the factors you need to check keenly for choosing the right pancetta. Now you have to make the decision. The decision is not as complex as choosing between beef and calf liver. 

Final Discussion

Everyone has their preferences. And these preferences vary more while choosing between food. After all, we all have different taste buds. 

But as you need to take a last call you can look at the following summary table for the again. 

Now the ball is in your court. Select your preferences. Then make your call. 


How much does pancetta cost?

The cost of pancetta varies depending on the brand, store, and type. Uncured pancetta comes at higher prices than cured ones. They cost about $20 whereas cured ones cost $17. 

What is the best substitute for pancetta? 

The best substitute for pancetta is bacon. Both bacon and pancetta are made from the belly of the pork. The preparation procedures are not the same though. But there are a lot of similarities in their tastes. 

Is prosciutto the same as pancetta?

No, prosciutto is not the same as pancetta. Prosciutto is prepared from the hind leg of pork. On the other hand, pancetta comes from the belly of the pork. The taste of pancetta and prosciutto also differs a lot. 


We hope that now you have a clear conception of cured vs uncured pancetta. 

However, before taking the final decision you should try both products once. Though there are lots of dissimilarities, your taste bud will make the best choice.

Have a nice day!

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