From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Guanciale closeup (cropped).jpg
A piece of guanciale
TypeCured meats
Place of originItaly
Region or stateCentral Italy
Main ingredientsPork jowl or cheeks
Ingredients generally usedSalt, sugar, and spices

Guanciale (Italian pronunciation: [ɡwanˈtʃaːle]) is an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, the Italian word for 'cheek'.[1]


Pork cheek is rubbed with salt and spices (typically ground black or red pepper, thyme or fennel, and sometimes garlic) and cured for three weeks or until it loses approximately 30% of its original weight. Its flavour is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate. Upon cooking, the fat typically melts away.

In cuisine[edit]

Guanciale may be cut and eaten directly in small portions, but is often used as an ingredient in pasta dishes[2] such as spaghetti alla carbonara and sauces like sugo all'amatriciana.[3]

It is a specialty of central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, is sometimes used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.[4]


  1. ^ Cotto, Andrew (10 November 2010). "Italy's Ultimate Answer to Bacon: Guanciale". Salon. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  2. ^ Ruhlman, Michael; Polcyn, Brian (2012). Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 87–89. ISBN 978-0-393-06859-7. OCLC 829279722. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  3. ^ Carnacina, Luigi; Veronelli, Luigi (1977). "Vol. 2, Italia Centrale". La cucina Rustica Regionale. Rizzoli. OCLC 797623404. republication of La Buona Vera Cucina Italiana, 1966.
  4. ^ Graue, Jennifer (August 13, 2016) [March 11, 2011]. "The New Bacon: Pancetta, Guanciale and More". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 9 January 2017.

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