Unveiling the Distinctions: Capicola vs Prosciutto

Capicola vs. Prosciutto – What’s the difference?

If you’re familiar with cuts of pork, you probably know a little bit about capicola and prosciutto. These two cured meats are very popular, and many people think they are interchangeable, but are they really?
Keep in mind that while a meat option may be similar, there will always be differences in the end. While you may be able to substitute or use them similarly, you should be familiar with the differences and understand how these unique qualities can affect your meal in the end.

What is the difference between capicola and ham?

The main difference between the two is that capicola comes from the neck and shoulders of the pig, while prosciutto comes from the hindquarters. Capicola has a shorter curing time because it’s a smaller cut.
The process of curing these meats is also quite different when you look at the details.
In this guide, we will show you exactly what the differences are between capicola and prosciutto. We will walk you through all the details so that you can understand how they differ and what to expect if you buy the wrong one. Stick with us to learn more about Capicola vs. Prosciutto and their differences.

The differences between capicola and prosciutto

This guide will give you a comprehensive overview of each of these meats. We will talk about them individually to give you an overview of what they are, and then we will do a review that compares them in a quick summary for your reference. Let’s get started!

What is Capicola?

Capicola is a cured pork meat. This meat comes directly from the neck and shoulder area of a pig near the coppa muscle, which may be where the name comes from. This meat is smoked and cured and typically takes only about 6 months to mature, which is significantly less than the curing time for prosciutto.
When you buy capicola in the store or from a meat vendor, it usually comes in a casing that looks a lot like salami and can come in a variety of different seasonings and flavors. Sometimes it has a simple salt flavor, and other times it may contain paprika.
Capicola is a dry-cured meat used as a cold cut. You might see it on a charcuterie board next to cheese and crackers. It is sliced very thin and has a lot of flavor. You will quickly become addicted to the taste when you take a bite. The meat comes from Italy and is tender when cut or eaten.
The most common misconception between capicola and prosciutto is that they are both cured, so they must be the same. While we understand the logic, it’s simply not true. The taste, texture, and appearance are quite different.
In fact, capicola is always made from pork, but did you know that prosciutto is sometimes made from other animals? Pork may be the primary meat, but it’s also been known to come from lamb, goat, cow, and other animals. It will be labeled as such if it is anything other than pork.
When you compare these meats, capicola tends to be small. It is a noticeably smaller cut of meat compared to the other. It also tends to be more cost effective when you compare the two. This cost difference is not only because it’s a smaller piece of meat, but also because it takes less time to cure and prepare for market.
In terms of taste and texture, capicola has a lower fat content. This is why it is so tender to eat or cut. The reduced fat means that you won’t get tough pieces because of fat around the edges, and you certainly won’t get a piece of just fat. The fat that is part of the meat is spread out so it looks nice and has a tender, consistent texture.
Even the basic color of the two meats is different, with capicola having a deep red color after curing.

What is prosciutto?

Now that we’ve seen what makes capicola so special, let’s take a look at prosciutto in comparison. This meat typically comes from a pig, but as we mentioned earlier, it can also come from another animal. If the label doesn’t tell you otherwise, you can assume it comes from a pig.
Prosciutto comes from the hindquarters of a pig (or other animal). A unique difference is that this cut of meat is very large and is sometimes sold as a whole leg and quarter.
Prosciutto takes much longer to cure and prepare, with a process that lasts nearly 24 months. It is packaged differently and takes more time because it is so much larger than capicola. This meat is covered with the pig’s fat and skin. It is never cured with any seasoning other than salt, so the flavors don’t vary much from one to the other.
Both capicola and prosciutto have their own unique qualities that set them apart. Capicola is smaller, has a shorter curing time, and comes from the neck and shoulders of the pig. It has a deep red color and a tender, consistent texture. Prosciutto, on the other hand, is larger, takes longer to cure, and comes from the hindquarters of the pig. It is covered in fat and has a distinct flavor.
While both can be used in similar ways, such as on a charcuterie board or in sandwiches, understanding their differences can help you make a more informed choice when it comes to choosing the right meat for your dish.
So the next time you’re in the store or ordering at a restaurant, you’ll know the difference between capicola and prosciutto and be able to choose the one that suits your taste and recipe needs.


What is the main difference between Capicola and Prosciutto?

The main difference is that capicola comes from the neck and shoulders of the pig, while prosciutto comes from the hindquarters.

Are capicola and prosciutto interchangeable?

While they can be used in similar ways, there are noticeable differences in taste, texture and appearance. As a result, they are not completely interchangeable.

How long does capicola take to cure compared to prosciutto?

Capicola typically takes about 6 months to age, while prosciutto requires a much longer curing time of nearly 24 months.

Can prosciutto be made from animals other than pork?

Yes, although pork is the primary meat used for prosciutto, it can sometimes be made from lamb, goat, cow, and other animals. If it is made from another animal, it will be labeled accordingly.

What is the difference in fat content between capicola and prosciutto?

Capicola has a lower fat content than prosciutto. The reduced fat in capicola contributes to its tender texture and the absence of tough or fatty parts.

How do capicola and prosciutto differ in size and appearance?

Capicola is a smaller cut of meat, while prosciutto is larger and often sold as a whole leg or quarter. In addition, capicola has a deep red color when cured, while prosciutto is covered in fat and has a distinct appearance.