Capicola Vs Prosciutto | Know The Fact

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When it comes to Italian cold cuts, capicola and prosciutto are among the most popular options. But with the availability of many cured slices of meat on the market today, it might be hard telling them apart. So in this article, we’ll take a closer look at both types of meat and help you decide which is the best choice for your next sandwich. Keep reading.

What is capicola

The word capicola is a combination of two words, capo means “head” and cola, which means “neck.” Capicola is meat made from pork shoulder or neck cured in natural casings. Italy has several variations like capocollo, Cappo, or capicollo.

The Italian-Americans refer to it as gabagool, while those outside Italy refer to it as capicola or coppa. It is also referred to as sopranos, because of the TV character Tony Soprano. It has a distinct flavor that is slightly sweet with hints of spices. Capicola is moist, with a chewy texture and is usually sliced thin to be used as an ingredient in sandwiches like panini and muffuletta. It can be eaten as an appetizer or snack.

Is capicola spicy

Capicola is typically quite spicy. It is made from pork shoulder or neck and is seasoned with various peppers, including chili peppers. As a result, it has a distinct flavor that some people find quite spicy. The level of spiciness can, however, vary depending on the specific recipe and the type of peppers used. Capicola is not for you if you do not enjoy a little heat in your food.

What makes capicola spicy

Capicola gets its signature flavor from a blend of spices, including black pepper, fennel seeds, and chili flakes. The spice blend varies depending on one’s preferences and the region, but these three ingredients are typically always included. The pork is cured with the spices for several weeks to add in some flavors.

You can rub the mixture onto the meat, and dissolve it in the water that the meat is brined or mixed into the meat. When preparing capicola at home, give capicola plenty of time to cure so that the flavors have a chance to develop fully.

What is capicola made of

Capicola is a type of dry-cured meat covered in spices. It is known to have a succulent texture and a lovely buttery feel. The ingredients used in making capicola may vary depending on personal preference and regional differences.

It is often rubbed with sugar, kosher salt, and juniper berries. It is then cured for several weeks before being thinly sliced to produce a rich taste. The sugar helps balance the saltiness of the other ingredients, while the juniper berries add a pleasing botanical flavor. Garlic and thyme are added for their aromatic qualities, while paprika and chili powder contribute a touch of heat. On the other hand, black pepper is added for a bit of zest.

When combined, these ingredients create delicious cured meat. You will not resist this spicy capicola that is perfect for enjoying on its own or as part of a sandwich or charcuterie board. The final product has a vivid red color and a slightly sweet flavor. Other ingredients used are nutmeg, Prague powder, bay leaves, garlic, and chipotle powder.  

Differences between capicola and prosciutto

Capicola and prosciutto are both cured meats from pigs of Italian origin. The primary difference is where they are cut from. Capicola is cut from the neck and shoulder areas, while prosciutto is generally from the hindquarters. Many believe these cuts are the same, but these two dry salamis differ. So how do you tell capicola from prosciutto?


Capicola is cut from a pig’s neck muscle,while prosciutto is cut fromthe thigh or hind legs.

Meat type

Capicola is always made from a pig’s neck muscle. It cannot be meat from another animal. On the other hand, prosciutto is not specific to pork. It can be made from other animals like cows, goats, lambs, or any domestic animals.


When it comes to size, the capicola is much smaller than the prosciutto. Prosciutto is a large cut of meat, or the entire leg hung to dry.

Texture and taste

Capicola has a uniform distribution of fat which makes it look beautiful and slice easily. Prosciutto, on the other hand, has more fat content and might be a bit tough. In terms of taste,these two cured types of meathave a difference in flavor. They generally have a buttery texture but the flavor may vary between people.


After curing, capicola will have a vivid red color, whereas prosciutto will be pink or deep red in color.


The price of these two types of meat may also differ. Prosciutto is generally more expensive than capicola. This is because it takes a lengthy process of about two years in production and is often more prominent in size.

Production and curing process

As mentioned earlier, capicola is cut from the neck area. It is then cleaned and rolled with twine,and ready for the curing process. It’s covered ina curing mixture, vacuum sealed, and refrigerated for up to8 days. After then, it is removed, washed, and dried, then placed on a rack for curing for up to 6 weeks at 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prosciutto is cleaned, then kept in salt for up to 2 months to eliminate moisture and bacteria. After that, the meat is taken out, washed off the salts, and left to age for at least 18 months. The meat should be left in a place with plenty of airflows to reduce the chances of moisture build-up that hastens bacterial growth. 

Capicola nutritional facts

Here is the nutritional information in 12g capicola

– Calories in Capicola41
– Total Fat3.2 g
– Cholesterol11 mg
– Sodium214 mg
– Potassium39mg
– Carbohydrate0.3 mg
– Protein2.7 mg

Prosciutto nutritional facts

Here is the nutritional information in 28g prosciutto

– Calories55
– Total Fat2.4 g
– Cholesterol20 mg
– Sodium764 mg
– Potassium145 mg
– Carbohydrate0.1 mg
– Protein7.9g

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you eat capicola and prosciutto?

The best way to eat capicola is as a thinly sliced appetizer. You can also feature it on a charcuterie platter with sliced apples and hard cheeses and sprinkle it over an omelet or salad. To eat slices of prosciutto, serve them with ripe melon or Parmigiano cheese. You can also eat it between panini.

Can you cook with capicola and prosciutto?

If you want to cook with either of these meats, it is best to use thinly sliced prosciutto. This type of meat can be wrapped around chicken or fish before cooking. Capicola can also be used in pasta sauce, omelets, and casseroles.

Can you use prosciutto instead of capicola?

Yes, you can use prosciutto instead of capicola. These two slices of meat are similar and can be used interchangeably in recipes.

Which one is better? capicola or prosciutto?

This really depends on your personal preferences. Some people might prefer the taste of capicola, while others prefer prosciutto. These meats are delicious and can be enjoyed in many different ways.

How long does prosciutto last?

 Pre-packaged prosciutto can last 2-3 months. You can store it in the refrigerator for an extra week but note that the longer it sits in the fridge, the more the quality degrades. If you open the package, consume it in up to 4 days. Deli ought prosciutto can go for up to 4 days.

Video: How to Make Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich 

Final words

There are a lot of similarities between capicola and prosciutto. These Italian meats are made from pork and typically seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices. However, there is also some key difference between these two types of cured meat. Capicola is brined for several weeks, giving it a more robust flavor that some people prefer. Prosciutto, on the other hand, is aged for a more extended time, which gives it a more intense flavor. When it comes to choosing between these two types of meat, it comes down to your personal preferences.

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