Capicola Substitute

Are you looking for a capicola substitute? Capicola or coppa is a cured meat that originated in Northern Italy. While it’s a very particular ingredient, a few alternatives are available if you need to replace it.

Capicola is seasoned with wine, herbs, and spices like paprika and garlic. These ingredients are stuffed into a casing and hung for at least six months. Some types of capicola are also smoked or roasted.

Most people find capicola’s savory flavor incomparable. This article will offer some options to use when looking for a replacement for capicola.

What Is Capicola?

Capicola gets its name from the word “capperi”, which is the Italian word for a “pig’s shoulder”. But this special meat is also called coppa, capocollo, and gabagool. It typically has a rich, somewhat smoky flavor, with some variants being a bit spicy.

Like prosciutto, you can eat capicola raw. Or you can use it in cooking for its salty, fatty, salami-like flavor. Thin slices of capicola are often used on sandwiches or served with cheese on meat platters.  

Capicola can be purchased unsmoked, smoked, cooked, or raw. It is a bit expensive, so it’s always good to have a substitute up your sleeve when your budget is tight. 

There is no end to the mouthwatering dishes you can prepare using this delicately spiced Italian meat. It adds a smoky, spicy, delightful fatty flavor to any food. Use Capicola on paninis or pizzas, and in risottos or omelets. Chicken breast stuffed with capicola and cheese is also a crowd pleaser.

Capicola Substitute

There are several cured meats you can use as substitutes for capicola. The substitutes you choose should be flavorful and easy to eat, raw or cooked. The following are a few great capicola alternatives.

1. Bresaola

Like capicola, bresaola is massaged with spices and stored for a few months to cure. It transforms into an attractive purplish, dark red color during curing.

Bresaola is lean, musty-flavored, and nutty. It differs from capicola in its leanness and delivers a mild taste. You’ll often find it served with arugula and milky cheeses like goat’s cheese.

Although capicola is made from pork and bresaola from beef, the latter still makes an excellent capicola substitute.

2. Salami

Salami is an Italian cured meat made by mixing ground beef, veal, or pork with spices and seasonings. The meat is then stuffed into a casing and aged to improve its flavor. Most people prefer salami made from air-dried and fermented pork.

While capicola mainly tastes like salty, spicy pork, salami is typically savory, spicy, and smoky. Salamis differ in flavor depending on the spice, herbs, wine, or seasoning used to make them. But there is a salami variety to cater to anyone’s taste.

Salami goes well with many kinds of cheese and is often used in pasta dishes and on pizzas. When choosing salami, always watch the fat content and spice factor for a satisfactory culinary experience.

3. Prosciutto

Prosciutto is meat made from the thighs and hind legs of a pig. But there are variants in some parts of the world prepared using goat or lamb meat. 

Capicola differs from prosciutto because it is seasoned with herbs and spices, while prosciutto is salted. The method of curing the meats is also different. Capicola is air-cured, while prosciutto is dry-cured. Prosciutto also has a soft buttery texture, while capicola is fatty and smoky.

However, prosciutto makes for an excellent capicola substitute in sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, and antipasto platters. You can also have it with wine, cheese, such as burrata cheese, and crackers.

4. Serrano Ham

Serrano ham is a Spanish ham made from the hind leg of a white pig. It is a perfect substitute for capicola ham because of its similar slightly salty and sweet flavor.

Serrano ham is the way to go if you are looking for a low-sodium alternative for capicola. You can use Serrano ham in pizzas, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, and pasta dishes. It has a buttery-rich flavor that makes it a great addition to sandwiches.

5. Pancetta

Pancetta is a cured meat made from pork belly. It tastes like bacon and can be eaten raw or cooked. Unlike capicola, which is smoky, pancetta has a salty taste. 

The deliciously rich, salty, spicy flavor of pancetta makes it ideal for sandwiches. It is also used in antipasto platters. Add it to carbonara for that tantalizing bacon flavor. Or fry it and sprinkle it over salads and soups.


Capicola is a uniquely flavored ham that imparts a deliciously rich, fatty flavor to antipasto platters, pizzas, and sandwiches. Next time you are looking for a capicola substitute, try replacing it with one of our recommendations for the perfect meal.