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21 Different Types of Salami

Photo collage of different kinds of Salami

When you love the taste of salami, there are countless options available to you. These cured meats have bold and smoky flavors as a result of tradition, innovation and geography. 

Quicklist: Different Types of Salami

  1. Bresaola
  2. Cacciatore Salami
  3. Capocollo
  4. Chorizo
  5. Cotto Salami
  6. Felino Salami
  7. Finocchiona Salami
  8. Genoa Salami
  9. Guanciale
  10. Hard Salami
  11. Lardo
  12. Mortadella
  13. ‘Nduja
  14. Pancetta
  15. Peppered Salami
  16. Pepperoni
  17. Prosciutto
  18. Salsiccia
  19. Sopressata
  20. Speck
  21. Wine Salami

Related: Types of Sausage Types of Meat Types of Pork Types of Steak | Best Stromboli Recipes 

What is Salami?

Salami / dried sausage has been a popular food for thousands of years. The ancient Romans ate “lucanica” (a smoked sausage) with mustard and puls (a thick soup or stew).

The English word salami is derived from the Italian, “salume,” (salt, cured meat) — a general term for groups of cured meats and cold cuts, traditionally made with pork.

There are three categories that determine the main types of salami: the ingredients used in curing the meat, the way it is cut and how it is prepared.

Curing includes a fermentation process where the meat is salted and stored for a period of months. During this time the meat is air-dried losing about 35 percent of its hydration. 

Types of Salami

1. Bresaola

Lean meat Bresaola Salami with 3 slices.

Bresaola, originally from the Lombardy region of northern Italy, is usually made from a lean cut of beef. True bresaola can only come from Valtellina, an alpine valley bordering Switzerland, where it is IGP-protected within the EU and made under strict regulations.

The cured meat (which, outside of Valtellina, isn’t necessarily beef) hangs and dries for several months. Sometimes, it is smoked lightly to help it mature faster.

When it air dries, penicillium, a mold, flourishes giving the meat a deep, hearty flavor. Thin cuts of bresaola are served as part of an antipasto platter or as a pizza topping. 

2. Cacciatore Salami

Cured Cacciatore Salami with white fats.

Cacciatore Salami is semi-dried and made with pork shoulder. It has an earthy and smoky taste with a moist texture. Great for summer salad or pasta, it mixes well with fruit and vegetables. Also goes well with crusty bread and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. 

3. Capocollo

Slices of pinkish Capocollo Salami.

Also known as Coppa, this type of salami comes from the back of the neck (“collo”) and top shoulder of the pig (“head,” “capo”).

Capocollo salami is dry-aged for a month. Variations of this cut are found all over Italy: In Parma, you will find salt is the most used seasoning. in Piacenza, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are all part of the mix.

Two regions, one in the north one in the south of Italy, Coppa Piacentina and Capocollo di Calabria, have EU Protected Designation of Origin status.

The salami has a sweeter flavor and softer texture when it has more fat. Leaner cuts are dry, savory and firm. Capocollo is served as an appetizer, mixed in with pasta, or an omelet. 

4. Chorizo

Smoked and thinly sliced Chorizo salami.

At its roots chorizo, originally from the Iberian peninsula, features smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin and garlic seasoning. But every region of Portugal and Spain has their own variations of the cured meat. The Basque know it as “txorizo,” xoriço” in Catalan and the Portuguese say “chouriço.”

Mexican chorizo, spiced with peppers, is not a cured meat at all but fresh sausage that must be cooked before serving.

5. Cotto Salami

Cotto Salami slices with cherry and basil.

Cotto (“cooked”) is typically made of a pork and beef mixture that is finely ground. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, and sugar. Associated with Piedmont in northern Italy, cotto has a softer texture than many cured meats.

6. Felino Salami

Wine cured red Felino salami slices.

Which came first the town or the salami? Felino salami originated in Felino, a town in Parma, northern Italy, mainly known as the source of the cured sausage. In some circles, Felino salami is referred to as the “King of Salami.”

The finely ground pork includes Salsomaggiore salt, black peppercorns, white wine, and other spices. A slow and long aging process gives, the EU-protected sausage, an intense sweetness and peppery flavor. 

7. Finocchiona Salami

Finocchiona Salami slices in a wooden chopping board.

The fennel seasoning gives us a clue that finocchiona salami is a very ancient cut, indeed. Fennel at one time was much more commonly used than pepper, which was rare and expensive. The herb grows wild throughout Tuscany and is an easily available substitute.

The wonderful Finocchiona website (focusing on all things finocchionan in this EU-protected product) says the “Italian verb ‘infinocchiare’ (meaning ‘to cheat’) dates back to the 15th century and literally means “to cover the taste of sausages with fennel seeds.'”

Chianti makers served finoccchiona with their cheaper wines to elevate the palate. No less a foodie than Machiavelli was apparently a big fan of finocchiona salami. Not to mention the Medicis and Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Tuscan cured meat is made with ground pork (cheek, should or belly), the ubiquitous fennel, salt, pepper and red wine. Finocchiona is served in a variety of dishes from hors d’oeuvres to main courses.

8. Genoa Salami

Genoa Salami thin slices with marbled fats.

 

Genoese salami from Sant’Olcese, in Liguria, northern Italy, is traditionally made with both pork and beef. The beef comes  from breeds in Piedmont, while the pork is from northern Italian farms, as specified in this EU-protected regional sausage.

The production process, at two ancient factories in Sant’Olcese, involves seasoning the ground meat and cubes of lard with black peppercorns, garlic, white wine and salt, and then hand-stuffing the mix into natural casings.

The sausage is then hung over a wood fire for several days, followed by air drying in cellars for two to three months.  

Genoa Salami, from many different sources, is one of the most popular types of salami in the United States.

9. Guanciale

Cured pork jowls, with large amount of fats.

Guanciale is similar to pancetta or bacon and comes from the jowls of a pig. Featuring a large amount of fat content the meat is cured with bay leaves, juniper, salt and pepper. Some chefs consider guanciale, cut into fine strips, an essential ingredient in sauces for pasta dishes.

10. Hard Salami

Pork and beef salami cured and smoked.

Hard salami, from central Europe, is made from pork or a combination of pork and beef. The meat is cured and then smoked to give it a mild flavor and dry, firm texture.

Hard salami is marbled, similar to Genoa salami but it is a little firmer and not as moist. 

11. Lardo

Cured pork lard with little pink meat.

Lardo, “lard” in Italian, is typically used for cooking but can be eaten in many different ways including as a spread on bread.

Made from cured back fat, lardo is creamy and soft with a tang that is reminiscent of barbecue sauce. 

12. Mortadella

Thin slices of Mortadella Salami and rosemary.

Mortadella, originally from Bologna, is finely ground, pork that has at least 15% cubes of fat. The Romans spiced their mortadella (ground in mortars) with myrtle berries and they can still be found in the product today along with salt, pepper, pistachios and olives.

The versatile sausage can be served as an appetizer but it also works well as part of a main course.

13. ‘Nduja

Spicy ‘Nduja salami with jalapeno.

‘Nduja, originally from Calabria, Italy, is a combination of tripe, belly, and pork shoulder, along with roasted peppers and other spices.

It may have hints of lemon and garlic. It can be found in antipasto with olives and roasted peppers, but it is also eaten as a pizza topping. 

14. Pancetta

Rolled Italian bacon tied with strings.

Pancetta is referred to as Italian bacon. It is a cured pork belly rolled into a cylinder and tied. It usually is a balance between fat and lean meat. It typically contains a large amount of salt. Pancetta has a fatty texture. You find it cut into cubes or thick slices and rendered as a salty pork base. 

15. Peppered Salami

Thinly sliced Peppered Salami with cilantro.

Peppered Salami is finely ground, air-dried, cured, and then completely encased in pepper. It is meaty, tangy, and spicy. Some versions of peppered salami are smoked. It is not always the most popular type of salami. It can be eaten in more ways than other versions of salami. It can be grilled on a charcuterie board or added to a sandwich. 

16. Pepperoni

Bunch of pepperoni slices, cured and smoked.

Pepperoni is an American salami. It is made from cured beef and pork that has been seasoned with chili peppers and paprika. It is lightly smoked, red, and somewhat soft. It is often found on pizza. It became popular in Italian-American butcher shops in the early 1900s. 

17. Prosciutto

Prosciutto salami slices with rosemary basil and bell pepper.

Prosciutto comes from cured pork leg or shoulder but has many variations. Prosciutto can be cooked by boiling, roasting, or smoking. Some versions are most popular in the United States, such as prosciutto Cotto. It is usually thinly sliced for serving. It is usually more tender and has a richer taste. 

18. Salsiccia

Salsiccia Salami with bell pepper, tomato sauce and mushroom.

Salsiccia is a well-known and ancient sausage. It includes scraps of pancetta and pork neck that have been seasoned with pepper, white wine, cinnamon, and garlic. It may also contain sundried tomatoes, fennel, chili pepper, and caciocavallo cheese. 

19. Sopressata

Sopressata cured with pepper corn and pepper.

Sopressata is traditionally made from pork and comes from varying regions in Italy. In the United States, you find soppressata with black peppercorn or Calabrian chili peppers. It has a firm but slightly chewy texture.

It can be cured or uncured. It also contains nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and salt. It is smooth and bold. Depending on what it contains, it can have a mild or intense flavor. 

20. Speck

Speck dried cured pork loin with ingredients.

Speck is a dry-cured ham that comes from the pig loin. It is often smoked, cured with salt, and seasoned with pepper, juniper berries, sugar, and rosemary. It has a sweet but smokey and salty taste. It is ideal in antipasto, pasta, or pizza. 

21. Wine Salami

Wine cured salami slices in a chopping board with basils.

Wine-cured salami relied heavily on alcohol, and not just salt, to dry it. Red wines, such as Merlot and Chianti, and white wines, like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, are typically used. It has a fruity and sweet flavor. It is often referred to as spicy wine salami or wine-soaked salami. 

Best Types of Salami for Various Dishes

Salami is classic cold-cut deli meat that brings a ton of flavor to everything from pizza to stromboli. There are dozens of kinds of salami out there. Which is the best for what, and how do we tell them apart? In this article, we’ll look at the best types of salami for all kinds of different dishes and purposes.  

Best Salami for Pizza

Salami pizza

Genoa salami is the best variety for pizza.

Technically, pepperoni is an American variation on spicy salami and is one of the most popular pizza toppings of all time. If you count pepperoni as a type of salami, it probably gets the top spot by default. However, the balanced, wholesome, and less peppery flavor of salami deserves its place on pizza. 

Genoa salami can be spicy or mild and is typically broader and thinner than pepperoni. The flavor is savory and wholesome and mixes well with other pizza ingredients.

Best Salami for Sandwiches

Salami sandwich

There are so many options when it comes to salami sandwiches that it comes down to your personal preference and the other ingredients you want to include in your sandwiches.

Genoa salami is very popular for sandwiches. Subway uses Genoa salami for its Italian BMT sandwiches. The soft texture and wholesome flavor make Genoa salami a perfect base for other ingredients.

However, if you prefer something with more pepper, any kind of salami can be used for sandwiches. Experiment and see what works best for you!

Best Salami for Pasta Salad

Salami pasta

Salami is less of a base in a pasta salad, and more of an accent flavor. However, you still don’t want to overpower the other flavors. The ideal salami has a unique and recognizable flavor in the salad, without going over the top. 

Some popular choices are:

  • Genoa salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Chorizo
  • Tuscan Finocchiona 

Best for Charcuterie

Salami charcuterie

A Charcuterie board is a chance to show off the boldest salami flavors. There are no wrong choices for Charcuterie, but salami lovers will recognize an opportunity to showcase some special varieties.

When preparing a Charcuterie board with salami, you want to feature different flavors and present some contrast between the sweet, salty, smoky, and savory flavors that salami can bring.

Soppressata is a great choice, with a peppery taste, lots of fatty marbling, and a chewy texture. It is typically cut into small cubes. Genoa salami and pepperoni are both excellent choices and can be cut and presented as slices or cubes.

Calabrese salami is typically made with wine and comes in both sweet and spicy varieties.

Best Salami for Cheese and Crackers

Salami with cheese and crackers

Genoa salami pairs excellently with crackers and cheese, as a classic snack.

However, there is a world of flavor accessible to foodies who play with the combinations. Wisconsin Cheese suggests pairing salami with gouda, a semi-hard cheese that can be aged, smoked, or infused with flavor. 

Try mixing different crackers and cheeses with different kinds of salami. Each combination is different!

Best Salami for Keto

Low carb pesto pizza with salami.

Keto diets focus on protein over carbohydrates. Since all forms of salami are high in protein but low in carbs, any kind of salami makes an ideal keto snack.

However, the more sugar and preservatives that go into salami, the less attractive these varieties are to the health-conscious people who adopt keto diets.

If you want a natural, low-sugar snack with fewer preservatives, search for natural, dried salami and avoid the big brand names.

Best Salami for Backpacking

Hand holding a piece of salami with mustard drawing of mountainline against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Salami was invented in Europe to help keep meat from going bad. According to OutdoorCrunch, a salami in its natural casing can last up to a year, unrefrigerated! If you’re going hiking or backpacking and you want to bring a high-protein snack with you, salami is a great choice.

Dry or hard salami is the best for travelers and backpackers. It can easily be eaten as a snack and you can eat it for up to 7 days after you have cut into it, even without a refrigerator.

Best Salami for Stromboli

Stromboli

Stromboli is a classic Italian dish that can be made with different varieties of salami according to taste, but it’s an opportunity to use some of the most flavorful and unique varieties.

The BBC Good Food recipe for Stromboli recommends Milano salami, also referred to as crespone, which is flavored with garlic, pepper, and white wine and dry-cured. 

Top Brands

Boar’s Head

Since 1905, Boar’s Head has been a premium supplier of meats and cheeses. The brand offers a range of products, but it’s famous for its amazing salami. Many of its salamis are hand-crafted and use traditional Italian techniques. 

No matter which salami you choose, you’re in for a treat. Boar’s Head Hard Salami is known for its delicious smoky flavor. The Genoa Salami uses a blend of pork and peppercorns to create a flavorful product. 

Olympia Provisions

An old man trying to purchase a salami.

Olympia Provisions is a family-owned business that makes award-winning artisan salami. The brand uses old-world techniques passed down over generations. Its salami is made from pasture-raised pork. 

From Greek-style salami to traditional Italian salami, the brand offers lots of products. They usually introduce one or two new products per year. To avoid waste, the brand uses leftover meat to make treats for pets.

Applegate

For more than 30 years, Applegate has been making salami from premium ingredients. They rely on classic Italian recipes. The brand partners with companies that have been making salami for more than 100 years.

“It can take up to 11 months to create a great piece of salami,” says Applegate partner Simone. “We transform our meat through fermentation and a slow dry curing process.”

Applegate sources their meat from farms that treat their animals in a humane way. All products are free of artificial ingredients and preservatives, and many products are organic. 

Fra’Mani

Paul Bertolli, a Bay Area chef, founded Fra’Mani in 2006. This artisan salami company sources its ingredients from the United States, France, Italy, and other countries around the globe. Along with sliced salami, they offer salami chubs that are perfect for snacking.

Fra’Mani relies on Italian traditions to make the best possible salami. For many products, time is the key ingredient. For example, the Italian Dry Salami is dry-aged for 45 days.

Molinari

Molinari front store on a building.

P.G. Molnari has been making premium salami since 1896. Founded by Italian immigrants, the company uses modern versions of classic salami-making techniques. All products use chef-quality meat as well as a custom blend of spices. 

While P.G. Molnari is in San Francisco, the brand uses ingredients from across the globe. They offer authentic dry salami with a moldy casing. Some of their fermented salamis are shelf stable and don’t need to be refrigerated.

Foustman’s

San Francisco is the salami capital of the US and the home of Foustman’s. While this brand has a great selection of pork salami, they also sell salami made with other meats, like beef and lamb. They even make salami from turkey meat.

Foustman’s offers naturally cured dry salami as well as uncured salami. If you want to treat someone to artisan salami, Foustman’s also makes salami bouquets. Each bouquet includes three gourmet salamis that are wrapped in paper and tied together with a ribbon. 

Fiorucci

A pouch of Fiorucci spicy salami.

In the 1850s, a young man named Innocenzo Fiorucci sold salami in Norcia, Italy. He went on to open a shop in Rome, and his son created a chain of meat shops. Today, Fiorucci salami is made in both Italy and the United States and sold all around the world. 

Fiorucci makes all kinds of tasty salamis, including hot Coppa and Genoa salami. Every one of their salamis are bursting with flavor. Even though their products are simple, it’s easy to see why this brand has been popular for more than 100 years.

Olli Salumeria

Olli Salumeria started out in Virginia back in 2010. Since then, the company moved to Oceanside, CA and expanded nationwide. Every week, they make more than 100,000 pounds of gourmet salami.

“Our products are very much influenced by the raw materials that we start with,” says Olli Colmignoli, the co-founder of Olli Salumeria. “We only use animals that haven’t been given any antibiotics.”  

Their salami uses 100% vegetarian-fed pork. They rely on simple spices that bring out the natural flavors of the meat. Popular products include Napoli, Genoa, and Italian Dry salami.

Creminelli Fine Meats

Meat shop section of a grocery store.

The Creminelli family began making salami in Biella, Italy. After moving to Utah in 2006, the family launched the salami brand that people love today. This award-winning company offers products you can’t find anywhere else. 

They offer unique salamis, including one made from wild Texan boar. Creminelli also uses gourmet ingredients like black truffles and red wine. If you’re a fan of unusual salamis, this is a brand that you’ll want to check out.

Where to Buy Online

Renegade Foods

Renegade Foods salami.

Renegade Foods is the place to find authentic Italian meats online. From cured salami to prosciutto and pancetta, their products have the perfect balance of flavor and spice so you can get that authentic taste you crave.

The online store provides you with access to hard-to-find products from Italy, such as soppressata, capocollo, and Bresaola della Valtellina. They also sell their products through restaurants, wineries, and local markets. 

Olli Salumeria

Olli Salumeria brings together Italy’s finest cuts of cured meats, as well as a variety of salami from traditional recipes, to craft the perfect bite. Enjoy this personalized experience where you can select your very own Italian-cured salami online.r!

Di Bruno Bros.

Di Bruno Bros. salami.

Di Bruno Bros. was established in 1905 by Michele and Danillo DiBruno of Imola, Italy and today employ more than 350 people.

As the oldest family-owned food import business in the US, they have long been known for supplying the finest quality salami, prosciutto, Tuscan hams, and much more to discriminating customers around the country.

In addition, they started gourmet mail order and online shopping for fine meats more than 20 years ago.

Fortuna Online Italian Market

Fortuna Online is your source for the best imported Italian meats, including prosciutto, salami, guanciale, pepperoni, chorizo, and other cured meat products. They also have cheeses and specialty foods, olives, and peppers. Buy online or visit in person to see all that they have to offer.

Marky’s Meats

Marky’s Meats salami.

Marky’s cured salami is the perfect way to step up your meat game. It makes for a great addition to any sandwich, appetizer, or antipasto platter.

They sell Italian meats made according to traditional Italian recipes, with no preservatives or additives. The taste of Marras Salami is crispy and smoky, perfectly balanced between softness and robust flavors.

Dolceterra

Dolceterra salami.

Dolceterra is a family-owned business in Italy that’s been curing meats for over a century. They offer the widest selection of salami, Mortadella Bologna, pepperoni, and other Italian meats available online.

These hearty offerings are perfect for all types of foodies, including those following a paleo diet or looking for gluten-free products. They also have cheese, seafood, bread, pasta, and baked goods.

Supermarket Italy

Supermarket Italy salami.

Supermarket Italy is a family-owned business showcasing the best imported Italian goods by using only the highest-quality ingredients and sourcing products from the best vendors in Europe.

Their online store provides you with a unique opportunity to purchase some of the best Italian meats and cured salami, which are nearly impossible to find in the United States. Prosciutto, calabrese, guanciale,Italian Toscano salami, and much more can be purchased from their website.

Gusto Grocery

Gusto Grocery salami.

Gusto Grocery is the perfect place to buy cured meats and other tasty Italian delicacies from the comfort of your own home. Their online meat shop is stocked with a variety of products, including salami, prosciutto, mortadella, pancetta, and more.

They use only top-quality products made in small batches by local artisans. 

Italian Delights

Italian Delights was built around the concept of providing consumers with a convenient way to buy high-quality, authentic Italian cured meats and salami online.

It is a family-owned business that believes in only using the finest ingredients and most wholesome methods to make all its products. Each item is made to order with the utmost care, ensuring that you receive the freshest product available in the marketplace.

Russian Food USA

Russian Food USA salami.

Russian Food USA is a family-owned food business, established in 1995. Specializing in Italian and Russian products, their collection of items includes cured salami, smoked fish, pickled vegetables and fruit, honey, jam and marmalades, kvass, and kefir.

All of their products are strictly natural and made following traditional recipes.”

Eataly

 

Eataly salami.

As a trusted online Italian market, Eataly’s is known as one of the best places to buy Italian meat online. They strive to offer top-quality supplies at the lowest possible prices.

Their cured salami is made with only natural ingredients including high-quality meat, sea salt, and spices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is salami made of? What animal does salami come from?

Salami is most often made from pork that comes from domestic pigs. In some cases, special varieties may be made from wild boar and even duck. 

Is salami beef or pork?

Traditionally, salami was made from pork. Later, wild boar and duck became popular items. Today, you can find salami made from these items as well as beef, lamb, venison, horse, and donkey, but these are rare and difficult to locate except in some specialty shops.

How is salami made?

Making salami is a long process that takes skill to perfect. First, select pieces of muscle and fat from a pig are selected, chilled, and ground up to the perfect texture.

Next, species are added. You start with salt. Most often fennel, black pepper, garlic, and warm spices are added. There are many varieties of salami, however, and some producers may choose other spices.

Next, there is the fermentation process where the mixture is placed in a cooler and the temperature is gradually lowered to stop the growth of any bacteria and yet eliminate any sour taste.

Lastly, the meat is left to air dry until it reaches the correct texture. Harder salami needs to be dried longer than softer versions.

When was salami invented?

We can’t know for certain, but it is believed that the ancient Greeks and Romans started making salami over 2000 years ago. Back then, curing meat was the only way to keep it from rotting quickly because there were no refrigerators.

How long does salami last?

The USDA states that uncut salami can last as long as six weeks without being refrigerated.

Once salami is cut, however, it quickly starts to deteriorate with exposure to oxygen, and the cut salami can be expected to last about three weeks in the refrigerator.

Does salami need to be refrigerated? How long can salami stay in the fridge?

Uncut salami does not need to be refrigerated, but cut salami does because oxygen starts the process of spoiling.

There is a limit, however, of about six weeks unrefrigerated. In the refrigerator, uncut salami can last indefinitely as it just becomes drier. Once cut, however, three weeks in the refrigerator is the limit.

How long can salami sit out?

Once salami has been sliced, it is better not to leave it at room temperature for more than two hours. After that time, bacteria is likely to have started eating away at it.

Can you freeze salami? Can you freeze sliced salami?

It is best not to freeze unopened, unsliced salami as the quality will greatly deteriorate. If salami has not been cut for more than five days, you can double-wrap it in amounts you plan on using in one serving.

Is salami bad for you?

Salami is fairly healthy unless you are on a low-sodium diet. Salami is low in both calories and carbs and it contains high amounts of necessary vitamins. It is, however, high in salt content, which can cause problems for people with high blood pressure.

Is salami gluten-free?

High-quality salami very rarely contains gluten. Cheaper salami, like that found in the average supermarket, is likely to contain grains as filler.

Can you eat salami raw?

Yes, you can eat salami raw. Technically, it may not be cooked, unless it is smoked, but the creation process allows you to eat the final product safely without cooking.

Can you eat salami on keto?

Yes, salami is good for a keto diet. It is high in both proteins and fats yet it contains almost no carbohydrates.

Can you eat salami casing?

The ability to eat salami casing depends on what the casing is made from and requires reading the product label. The majority of casings are created from animal intestines that are cleaned thoroughly before use.

These are edible. Artificial casings, however, may contain things that are bad for digestion. These include those made of collagen and plastic.