Capicola vs Prosciutto: The Ultimate Comparison

Capicola and prosciutto are delicious Italian cured meats, but they differ. Capicola is made from pork shoulder, while prosciutto is made from the hind leg of a pig. Capicola has a more intense flavour and is often seasoned with spices, while prosciutto has a delicate buttery taste. Both are versatile and can be used in various dishes. Capicola and prosciutto are two popular Italian cured types of meat that offer unique flavours.

In this article, I will explore the Differentiation, similarities, Comparison and others. So, let’s start and know more details.

Capicola vs Prosciutto

Also Read: Shell Steak vs NY Strip: Which Will You Choose?

Overview Of Capicola vs Prosciutto

CutNeck or shoulderLeg
TextureFirm and leanTender and silky
FlavorSpicy and savorySweet and savoury
Curing Time4-6 months9-24 months
ServingOften used in sandwichesServed as an appetizer or in antipasto

Detailed Similaritis Between Capicola vs Prosciutto

Capicola and prosciutto are both types of cured meats, but they have distinct differences in preparation, flavour, and texture. Here’s a detailed comparison between Capicola and Prosciutto:

  1. Origin and Name:
    • Capicola: Also known as coppa or capocollo, it is an Italian cured meat that comes from the neck or shoulder of the pork.
    • Prosciutto: An Italian dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked. There are different varieties, the most famous being Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele.
  2. Cut and Preparation:
    • Capicola: made from the muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork. It is seasoned with a mixture of salt, sugar, and various spices before being cured.
    • Prosciutto: Comes from the hind leg of the pig. The process involves dry curing the meat with sea salt, which is often aged for an extended period, sometimes over a year.
  3. Curing Process:
    • Capicola: Cured and aged in a casing, often made of natural or synthetic material, allowing the flavours to develop over time.
    • Prosciutto: Dry-cured and air-dried, hung in a controlled environment for an extended period to enhance the flavour and texture.
  4. Flavor Profile:
    • Capicola: Has a rich, savoury flavour with a good balance of fat, resulting in a slightly marbled appearance. The seasoning mix used in the curing process contributes to its distinctive taste.
    • Prosciutto: Offers a delicate, sweet and salty flavour. The longer ageing process gives it a more nuanced and complex taste with a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  5. Texture:
    • Capicola: Tends to be more marbled and has a firmer texture compared to prosciutto. It can be sliced thinly or thickly, depending on personal preference.
    • Prosciutto: Known for its thin, delicate slices and a buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
  6. Uses in Cuisine:
    • Capicola: used in sandwiches, charcuterie boards, and salads. It can also be cooked and used in various dishes.
    • Prosciutto: Often served as is, thinly sliced and draped over bread, melon, or paired with cheese. It is also popular in pasta dishes and pizzas wrapped around fruits.
  7. Regional Varieties:
    • Capicola: Different regions in Italy have their variations, such as Capocollo Calabrese or Capocollo Lucano.
    • Prosciutto: Varieties like Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele are renowned and have protected designation of origin (PDO) status.

Is Capicola beef or pork?

Capicola, or coppa or capocollo, is made from pork. It comes from the muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork. The cut is cured and aged, resulting in flavorful and often marbled cured meat. While pork is the traditional and most common base for capicola, it’s essential to check the specific product or ask the butcher if you want to confirm the meat source, as variations may exist.

Is capicola the same as salami?

Certainly! Capicola and salami are distinct varieties of cured meats, each offering a unique culinary experience. Capicola, originating from Italy, is crafted from the neck or shoulder of pork. Its preparation involves seasoning with a blend of salt, sugar, and spices before curing in a casing. The result is a delicately marbled meat with a rich, savoury flavour. Capicola can be sliced to varying thicknesses, accommodating different culinary uses.

On the other hand, salami represents a diverse category of cured sausages made from various types of meat, including beef, pork, or a combination of meats. The preparation of salami involves mincing the meat, incorporating a mixture of herbs, spices, and sometimes wine, and then encasing the blend before curing and drying.

Salami is known for its robust and varied flavours, with different types and regional variations offering complex taste profiles. Sliced thinly, salami exhibits a firm texture that adds a distinctive element to charcuterie boards and various dishes. Despite being cherished components of Italian cured meats, capicola and salami stand apart in their ingredients, preparation, and flavour profiles.

Is capicola similar to ham?

Capicola and ham, although both originating from pork, are distinct cured meats with unique characteristics. Capicola, sourced from the neck or shoulder of the pig, is an Italian delicacy known for its slightly marbled appearance. It undergoes a meticulous preparation process, involving seasoning with a blend of salt, sugar, and spices before being cured, often in a casing. The result is a rich, savoury flavour that makes capicola a versatile ingredient for sandwiches, salads, and cooked dishes.

Conversely, ham is derived from the pig’s hind leg, and its preparation methods vary widely. Hams can be cured, smoked, or cooked, leading to diverse flavours and textures. The taste of ham may range from sweet to salty, and its texture can be moist or dry depending on the specific type and preparation. Ham is a versatile meat in various culinary applications, from sliced sandwiches to being a centrepiece at festive meals. While both capicola and ham offer delightful pork-based experiences, their distinct cuts, preparation techniques, and flavour profiles contribute to their unique places in the culinary world.

Is Gabagool just prosciutto?

“Gabagool” is a colloquial term often heard in Italian-American communities, particularly in the northeastern United States. This term is a linguistic twist on the Italian words “capicola” or “capocollo,” denoting a specific type of cured meat. Made from the neck or shoulder of the pork, capicola is seasoned, cured, and aged to develop its distinctive flavour and slightly marbled texture. The colloquial pronunciation reflects the influence of regional dialects and cultural expressions within Italian-American communities.

It’s important to note that while “gabagool” specifically refers to capicola, prosciutto, another beloved Italian cured meat, is distinctly different. Prosciutto is a dry-cured ham made from the pig’s hind leg, offering a different flavour profile and texture. Both “gabagool” and prosciutto contribute to the rich tapestry of Italian and Italian-American culinary traditions, each celebrated for its unique qualities and cultural significance.

Also Read: Salisbury Steak vs Hamburger Steak: Decoding the Key Differences and How to Choose


1. What is the difference between Capicola and Prosciutto?

Capicola is made from pork shoulder, while prosciutto is made from the pig’s hind leg. Capicola has a more intense flavour and is cured with herbs and spices, giving it a unique taste. Prosciutto is cured with salt only and has a delicate, savoury flavour.

2. Is Capicola spicier than Prosciutto?

Yes, Capicola is generally spicier than prosciutto. It is often seasoned with hot or spicy peppers during the curing process, which gives it a peppery kick.

3. Can Capicola and Prosciutto be used interchangeably in recipes?

While they come from pork, Capicola and Prosciutto have distinct flavours and textures. Using them based on their specific qualities is best to achieve your recipes’ desired taste and texture.

4. How should I store Capicola and Prosciutto?

Both Capicola and Prosciutto should be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container to prevent drying out.

5. Are Capicola and Prosciutto gluten-free?

Yes, both Capicola and Prosciutto are gluten-free as they are made from pork and do not contain any gluten-containing ingredients.

6. Can Capicola and Prosciutto be frozen?

Yes, both Capicola and Prosciutto can be frozen for extended storage. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

7. Are Capicola and Prosciutto raw or cooked?

Capicola and Prosciutto are cured meats that are not typically cooked before consumption. They are safe to eat but can also be included in cooked dishes if desired.

8. Can Capicola and Prosciutto be sliced thin?

Yes, both Capicola and Prosciutto can be sliced very thin. They are often sliced paper-thin to enhance their texture and flavour when used in sandwiches or antipasto platters.

9. How long do Capicola and Prosciutto stay fresh?

Capicola and Prosciutto can stay fresh for 2-3 weeks if properly stored in the refrigerator. However, consuming them within a week is best for optimal taste and quality.

10. Can Capicola and Prosciutto be sliced at the deli counter?

Yes, most deli counters offer sliced Capicola and Prosciutto. Simply ask the deli associate to slice it to your desired thickness; they will gladly assist you.


While capicola and prosciutto are similar in that they are both Italian cured meats, they each have unique qualities that set them apart. Capicola offers a bold and robust flavour, ideal for those who enjoy a touch of spiciness, while prosciutto provides a delicate, buttery experience. Whether you prefer the Southern charm of capicola or the refined elegance of prosciutto, these cured meats will surely delight your taste buds and transport you to the heart of Italy.


This Mitu and very fond of making new food recipe and trying something analytical comparison between foods.

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