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Guanciale – Super delicious Italian pork cheek “bacon”

In this article you will learn how to make a super tasty Guanciale. Guanciale consists exclusively of pork cheek. This type of bacon has its origin in Italy, more precisely in Latium. 

Personally, I find it not so easy to get a good guanciale in Germany. Therefore, I did some research and made it myself. I am infinitely enthusiastic about the taste and therefore I would like to share this recipe with you.

The recipe is simple and does not require much effort. The preparation actively takes 15 -30 minutes. For the curing and drying phase you have to allow for about 3 – 5 month waiting time.

Guanciale is air-dried and tastes similar to Pancetta. But the taste is much stronger.

Due to the high fat content, the bacon is rarely eaten raw. The typical dishes with Guanciale are spaghetti à la Carbonara, Fave col Guanciale and Bucatini all’Amatriciane. For these dishes I also have recipes for you at the end.

Enough talk! Here you can find the complete recipe in the video or read it. 

Have fun and good luck making it!

Guanciale – What do you need to make it?

Guanciale - all ingredients

Ingredients for your Guanciale


  • 100 % Pork cheek with rind

For curing per 1000g:

The amount you need is measured by the weight of the pork cheek.


Your pork cheek is 350g. Then you need:

  • 6.25 g salt (350 / 100 * 2.75)
  • 0,875 g Cure #1 (350 / 100 * 0.25)

For the drying process I used: 

  • Chili flakes (not too hot)
  • Rosemary
  • Pepper

The equipment to make Guanciale

Space in the refrigerator

Your Guanciale must be kept in the refrigerator to dry for at least three weeks. For this purpose it must either be hung up or be put on a grid.


The cheesecloth is used to wrap your Guanciale in it. It holds the spices on the Guanciale and is permeable to air. Therefore perfectly suited for air drying. 

Kitchen string

The kitchen string is important so that you can lace up the Guanciale well. This prevents it from falling out of the kitchen towel. 

Spice Grinder

If you want to grind your spices The spice mill grinds the spices while the mortar crushes or grinds the spices. 

Make Guanciale – Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Weigh your pork cheek and write it down. The weight is used to calculate how much salt and cure you need in the next step. Calculate your salt & cure quantity. It is 2.75 % salt and 0.25 % Cure #1.

Guanciale - weigh

2. Massage the herbs, salt & cure into the pork cheek. Make sure that it is covered on all sides. 

Guanciale - spices

3. Place the pork cheek in a vacuum bag and vacuum it.

Guanciale - vaccum

4. Put the pork cheek in the refrigerator (2 days / cm of meat thickness). Turn your pork cheek once a day. This ensures that it is cured correctly.

Guanciale - curing

5. Wash the spices with cold water.

Guanciale - water

6. Pat the meat dry with a kitchen towel.

Guanciale - dry

7. Optional: you can rub your pork cheek with ground pepper. 

Guanciale - pepper

8. Hang the Guanciale in the refrigerator/cellar/maturing cabinet to dry. It is important that the humidity is 75% and the temperature stays below 15°C. My piece lasted about 3 months. 

Important: The better the humidity can be controlled, the more evenly the Guanciale will dry. If it dries too quickly, this can lead to a dry edge. Here I recommend you vacuum seal the piece of meat again and then let it ripen in the refrigerator for a few months.

Guanciale - dry (2)

9. Your Guanciale is ready 😄. Enjoy it.

Guanciale - ready

How long is the shelf life of the Guanciale?

The Guanciale can be kept for about 2.5 months. But I can assure you that it will not survive that long, because it tastes too good for that!

The perfect dishes for your Guanciale – 3 extra Guanciale recipes

Spaghetti à la Carbonara from Gustini

Spaghetti à la Carbonara is a classic in Italian cuisine. The Guanciale goes perfectly with the dish here. You can find the recipe here.

Fave col Guanciale from cook around

Here is an Italian recipe that is easy to understand.

Bucatini all´Amatriciane from Ale Modo Mio

The third traditional dish with guanciale is bucatini all´Amatriciane.

It tastes delicious.

Click here for the recipe.



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  1. Could you please translate to tsp, tbsp, cups and ounces in your recipes. Some of us are not used to grams and such. Thank you

    1. Hey Michael,

      thanks for the input. I won’t do it because it will typically result in a lower quality product. I will post an extensive article on this.

      Long story short: These measurements are fine if it does not need to be super precise. For sausage making the only way to make sure they will taste is to use measurement by weight. It is also pretty easy once you get a scale.

      If you want you can convert it on your own. You will see what I mean. The amounts are just too small and you will have a variation of up to 30% for some of the ingredients if done so.

      Sorry to be the bearer of not so good news but I want to make sure that everyone can produce high quality products. So this is the way to go.

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