Iberico ham vs prosciutto. What’s the difference?

Iberico ham vs prosciutto? Prosciutto vs Iberian ham? Oh goodness, don't make me choose! And what's the difference anyway? There is a certain competition that exists between the two and even worse: sometimes, we have to choose between them on a restaurant menu.

So, in order to help you understand a little bit more about these wonderful meats and why we choose one or another,  I’ll explain what the main differences between these two kinds of ham are.

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Iberico ham vs prosciutto: Iberian Ham
Iberico ham from Spain.

Iberian ham:

Also known as Jamon Iberico, Iberico ham, or Serrano ham, this delicious ham is mainly produced in Spain. It’s not made from “normal” pigs but from Iberian pork. This ham is better (and a lot more expensive) than the ham coming from other pigs because they grow wild and not on farms. They eat acorns, their meat is less fatty. It can be taken from the hind leg or the thigh, though the thigh is more valued.

Iberico ham vs prosciutto: Prosciutto
Italian Prosciutto.

Italian prosciutto

In contrast, prosciutto can be dry-cured, usually thinly sliced, and served uncooked; this style is called prosciutto crudo in Italian and is distinguished from cooked ham, prosciutto cotto, a pig's or a wild boar's ham. This last one is more valued, coming from the same type of pork as the Iberian ham. It can also be from the hind leg or thigh.

The difference between Iberico ham vs prosciutto:

The difference, then is in the curing, as prosciutto is cured for a longer period and in the open air. Although there are many ways of doing it. Also, a pig's feeding is important for the final result; for example, in some regions of Italy they are fed with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese whey, it gives the meat a kind of walnut flavor.

In general, Spanish ham is more intense and prosciutto is lighter, but very tasty at the same time.

However, as I'm guessing you'd rather cook with the ham than raise pigs, I’ve got 3 easy prosciutto (or Iberico ham) recipes you can prepare in 5 minutes. These are perfect if you want to impress someone who may visit you and doesn’t have much time to cook!

Prosciutto & Jamon Iberico Recipes

Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp:

Prosciutto vs Iberian Ham: Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp.

You only need to fry the shrimp, let it cool down, and then wrap it in a slice of prosciutto or serrano ham.

Prosciutto with mozzarella:

Prosciutto vs Iberian Ham: Prosciutto and mozzarella
Prosciutto and mozzarella.

Buy those cute little mozzarella balls and put them on a dish of prosciutto or Iberian jamon. You can decorate the plate with some salad and add basil sauce to it.

Asparagus Wrapped in Crispy Prosciutto:

Prosciutto vs Iberian Ham: Asparagus Wrapped in Crispy Prosciutto
Asparagus Wrapped in Crispy Prosciutto.

Cook some green asparagus, wrap it in prosciutto and dip it with the cheese you prefer. Put it in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Then add a splash of olive oil.

These are perfect if you want to impress someone who may visit you and doesn’t have much time to cook!

If you do have time to prepare, I love these 19 prosciutto recipes from Epicurious and these Iberico jamon recipes from BBC Food.

There is nothing I like better while traveling than a picnic from ingredients I have found at local “farmers” markets or small shops. I recommend checking out meat or deli stands or stores to purchase individual meal portions of Iberico ham vs prosciutto. Add some bread, cheese wine and you have a fabulous meal!

How about you? Do you prefer Iberian ham vs prosciutto? Have another recipe to share?

Both Italy and Spain are absolute gastronomic treats for foodies. In Italy, I eat like a queen in Florence. In Spain, it's Madrid, although I love Barcelona as well! Ham in sandwiches is one of my favorites and both Italy and Spain have many to choose from!

The francophile in me feels obligated to tell you that ham is also a part of the typical French breakfast!

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  1. DelightedScribbler says:

    Ham in every form is a thin slice of heaven. There’s even a vegetarian or two that will admit to succumbing to what is widely known as the gateway meat. I started this comment committed to one variety over the other, but now I’m torn. I look at your yummy pictures and fight tear of joy! Sooooo goooood.

    1. @DelightedScribbler, so true, so true!

  2. Lady Jennie says:

    Mm I wonder what that creamy dressing could be on the asparagus?

    1. @Jennie, looks horseradish-y…

  3. i need that asparagus right now!

    1. @Jen, it looks yummy, right?!

  4. JeffreyDahmer says:

    I went to Spain and fell in love with the Iberico ham. If i could put it in a pipe, i would! Their baked pork is insanely good as well! Now, I have to travel to Italy and try their prosciutto.

  5. Gerardo López says:

    Iberico ham and Serrano ham are similar products but they come from different breeds of pork. Serrano comes from white pork and Iberico is made from black iberian pork. It may look as a subtle difference but it’s not. But most importantly, prosciutto is not made from black iberian pork.

    Only serrano ham could be comparable to prosciutto. Iberian ham is a way more refined product than any of those two, it should never be used on the kitchen. The same way you don’t use an excellent wine to cook.