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Selfmade Pancetta – Delicious Italian air-dried ham

In this post I’ll show you how to make your own pancetta.

Pancetta is a classic ingredint in Italian cuisine. It is made from the pork belly and is air-dried over a long period of time.

The ham does not need to be cold smoked, but it has a lot to offer in terms of taste. So you don’t need a smoker to prepare it.

The recipe is an excerpt from my book “Make Dry-Cured & Cooked Ham Easily At Home Step-By-Step Instructions & 28 Delicious Recipes”.

The pancetta tastes great cut into fine cubes in a carbonara sauce, or sliced paper thin and fried up.

You can prepare the pancetta flat (pancetta tesa) or rolled (pancetta arrotolata). I’ve explained both variations to you in this post.

Have fun and good luck making it!

Pancetta – What do you need to make it?

Pancetta-all ingredients

Ingredients for your Pancetta 


  • 1 kg pork belly

Spices for 1 kg:

  • 29.5 g salt
  • 2.5 g Cure #1
  • 2 g sugar mixture 50/50 dextrose and regular sugar (If you do not have dextrose use 100% regular sugar)
  • 1 g pink pepper
  • 0.5 g black pepper
  • 0.5 g fennel seeds
  • 0.5 g juniper
  • 0.25 g bay leaf
  • 0.5 g chili (optional)

The equipment to make Pancetta

Spice Grinder

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

Make Pancetta – Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Remove any tendons, fibers and silverskins from the meat. Make sure there are no large cuts or “pockets” in the meat. Mold can easily form in these pockets and ruin your product. 


2. Weigh the meat. Note the weight and then calculate how much salt and spices you need. Then weigh all the ingredients afterwards.


3. Crush the spices coarsely (except for the salt).


4. Mix the salt with the spices.


5. Rub the meat evenly with the spices.


6. Put the meat with the rest of the salt and spices in a bag and vacuum seal it.


7. Place the bag in the refrigerator for a minimum curing time of 1.5 days / cm of meat thickness. This means that if the pork belly is 4cm thick you will cure it for at least 6 days (longer always works). Turn the bag over occasionally.


8. After the curing time you can take the meat out of the bag and wash the spices off the meat. I cured mine for around 9 days at this point. 


9. Pad the meat dry with a kitchen towel.   

Pancetta-dry 2

10. Now it is time to put the meat in a dark place to dry. It should ideally be around 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 °F) and 75% humidity. You can process the pancetta either flat (Pancetta Tesa) or rolled (Pancetta arrotolata). If you dry it rolled, you have to shape it with a kitchen thread. Drying and ripening in the rolled state is a little more prone to errors than the variant without rolling. If you don’t have a cellar or ripening chamber that has these temperatures, you can also dry it on a grill rack in the refrigerator. Make sure the air can circulate around the meat.


11.  Now let the meat dry until it has lost around 30% of its weight. For me, drying took about 8 weeks. Then I vacuumed the pancetta again and put it in the fridge for 4 weeks. This will help with any dry spots on the outside and makes sure it develops a strong and intense flavour.


12. Your pancetta is ready 😄. Enjoy it. 


How long is the shelf life of the Pancetta?

In the refrigerator, the pancetta can be kept for several months. The danger here is that it dries out over time and becomes tough. Therefore, it is best to always pack it airtight or portion it in a vacuum.



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  1. I’m uncertain as to the 2.5 Cure #1 ingredient. Is it 2.5 Cure or Cure No1. What amount is included in the ingredients. Is it 2.5 grams; 2.5 Tbsp? What should I put in. I cannot start to make this pancetta without clarification.

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