Types of Bacon: 10 Tasty Bacon Types

July 17, 2023

Bacon is a delicious pork cut that complements numerous dishes. The most common type of bacon in the USA is American bacon, but there are numerous other types of bacon in different parts of the world.

Bacon is one of my family’s favorites, and I typically use it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes. I learned how to prepare different kinds of bacon in culinary school. These delicious pork cuts can vary depending on how they are made, cured, and served with their best accompanying dishes. My favorite of course is pancetta bacon.

So if you would like to know more about the wonderful world of bacon, continue reading on…

types of bacon

Ten Types of Pork Bacon

1. American Bacon

American-style bacon is the most popular type of bacon you’ll find in grocery stores. This cut often comes from the pork belly and is composed of roughly one part pork and three parts fat. This bacon type is also called streaky bacon due to the fat layers that run parallel to the pig’s rind.

American bacon is usually injected with a mixture of sodium nitrite and salt to cure it. However, you can also buy variations that are marinated in a curing solution or dry cured using a dry rub. The bacon is then thinly sliced and, if necessary, smoked after curing.

If you enjoy crispy bacon sandwiches, streaky bacon is the best option because of its high-fat content, which helps it crisp up when cooked. Additionally, it complements several foods.

Streaky bacon is generally cut into different thicknesses. The thickness of standard-cut bacon, also known as regular bacon, is around 1/16 inch. Additionally, the thickness of thick-cut bacon is roughly 1/8 inch, which is nearly twice as thick as normal bacon.

Extra thick-cut streaky bacon has a thickness of around 1/4 inch. These result in a chewier, heartier mouthfeel. On the other hand, restaurant bacon is roughly 1/32 inch thick. This cooks up in a flash into incredibly crispy thin slices that are perfect for service in restaurants, and hotels.

Pork Belly Bacon, Pepper and Rosemary Leaves

2. Collar Bacon

Collar bacon has a darker color and a stronger flavor because it is cut from the pork shoulder. Even though shoulder meat is thinner than pork belly, it still has some specks of marbling for flavor and moisture.

This type of bacon is hard to find; however, you can try your luck and order from a meat company online if you can’t find any nearby. Another option is to buy a whole collar and cut your own bacon. Collar bacon tastes great in pasta dishes and sandwiches because of its rich flavor and firm texture.

freshly sliced smoked bacon with two eggs, garlic and onion

3. Jowl Bacon

Jowl bacon is cured or smoked pork cut from the pig’s cheeks. Pig jowl contains uneven layers of delicate meat sandwiched between white fat strips.

This kind of bacon can be fried and served as a main dish. Alternatively, you can combine this bacon with greens, like collard greens. Furthermore, chopped jowl pork is a great choice for your sandwiches.

When cooked, jowl bacon is tasty and has a rich, sweet, smoky flavor. It also has a smooth mouthfeel. Jowl bacon, regarded as the fattiest of all varieties of bacon, is a winter-cured product, allowing you to preserve it without refrigerating it for over two weeks.

Bacon Strips and Sunny Side-up Egg on Round White Ceramic Plate

4. Peameal Bacon

Peameal bacon, also called cornmeal bacon, is made from boneless pork loin. This meat cut is cured and then coated in ground yellow peas or cornmeal. The peameal bacon has a crispy mouthfeel thanks to the coating. 

Furthermore, this type of bacon has a juicy texture because of its low-fat content. Peameal bacon has a sweet and slightly salty flavor. This kind of bacon can be prepared any time of the day and grilled, baked, or fried.

Grilled and Sliced Peameal Bacon

5. Speck Bacon

Speck bacon originates from Europe. Although this piece of cured pork is finely sliced, it differs from regular bacon in many other ways.

To begin with, speck has more muscle than regular bacon since it comes from the pig’s leg instead of the pork belly. The cut that results from the flattened, and opened leg is what gives speck its distinct long, narrow slices.

Speck bacon is generally thinly sliced and consumed raw after being brined, smoked, and air-dried. You can enjoy this meat cut in salads, sandwiches, or with crunchy fruits and veggies.

Traditional Tyrolean Speck with Black Pepper

6. Pancetta Bacon/Italian Bacon

Pancetta is an Italian type of bacon cut from pork belly. This Italian bacon is cured just like other kinds of bacon. During this procedure, some manufacturers season it with ingredients like garlic and black pepper.

In addition, a particular kind of pink salt is used during curing, which gives the pancetta its distinct pale pink hue. I particularly enjoy the velvety texture of this Italian bacon.

Additionally, pancetta, unlike other varieties of bacon, is available in two basic shapes: arrotolata (rolled) and stesa (flat). In my opinion, it’s best to choose arrotolata if you want sliced meat for sandwiches and stesa if you want diced bacon. 

Traditional Italian Bacon

7. English Bacon

In my opinion, British bacon is a delicious combination of American and Canadian bacon. It is made from both pork belly and pork loin. For this reason, British bacon has a good balance of lean meat and fat. English bacon is slimmer than American bacon and fatter than Canadian bacon. 

British bacon is a great option if you don’t like anything that is particularly fatty or lean. You also don’t compromise on the flavor because this bacon also tastes juicy. British bacon, also known as rashers, is frequently chopped into thick slices. To keep your taste buds satisfied in the mornings, try rashers with sausages, eggs, etc.

Rustic English Bacon Butty Sandwich

8. Canadian Bacon

Canadian bacon refers to what Americans call back bacon. A common misconception is that Canadian bacon is a part of ham. Even though they have comparable flavors, they both have different textures and are cut from different parts of the pig. Ham is made from the pig’s rear leg, while back bacon comes from the pork loin.

Canadian bacon is known for its lean cut and is often cut into thick, round slices that have been thoroughly salted, cured, and smoked. As a result, this kind of back bacon is ready to eat right out of the packaging.

Canadian bacon isn’t as crispy as other kinds of back bacon. Instead, it tastes tender and juicy. You can bake it, sauté it, or even make salads, soups, etc., with it.

Homemade Canadian Bacon on the Plate

9. Gypsy Bacon

Gypsy bacon is a staple in German and Hungarian cooking.

Gypsy bacon is cured meat with the rind still on, and you can eat it right out of the packet because it has already been cooked with paprika and garlic. These ingredients work together to give your bacon a savory and peppery flavor. This top-notch bacon pairs perfectly with a cold beer, but it also deliciously complements sandwiches, maple syrup topping, and even stews.

Gypsy Bacon Meal with Melted Cheese and Bread

10. Chinese Bacon

Chinese bacon, which is often referred to as lap yuk, is also made from smoked pork belly. However, Chinese bacon is air-cured in a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and soy sauce or maple syrup instead of being cured in salt.

This mixture gives the bacon a rich, delicate flavor with a hint of sweetness, saltiness, and spiciness. Furthermore, Chinese bacon still has the chewy rind on, which provides extra flavor. This type of bacon works well as the main component in pasta dishes, salads, and stir-fried foods.

Traditional Chinese Bacon

Other Types of Bacon

Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon comes from smoked turkey that is chopped into strips. This type of bacon doesn’t shrink when cooked like traditional bacon does and has a low-fat level.

Turkey bacon tastes fine, but doesn’t have as much flavor as pork bacon. Turkey bacon tastes wonderfully on sandwiches because they add a delicious smoky flavor that doesn’t overpower the overall taste.  

Beef Bacon

Beef bacon is cut from the fatty cut around the cow’s navel. This type of bacon is treated like pork bacon. So, it’s not a surprise that its flavor is the most similar to pork bacon.  


Duck bacon is made from tender duck breast. This type of bacon is thinly sliced, then rubbed with salt and sugar, and smoked over wood chips. The resulting product is smoky, and has a wonderful meaty texture.

What is Bacon?

Bacon is a fatty cut of meat commonly cured with salt and other seasonings that comes from the belly or back of a pig. Bacon is typically eaten with breakfast, but there are plenty of lunch and dinner recipes that highlight how versatile this pork cut is.

During the curing process, ingredients like paprika, black pepper, salt, and brown sugar give the bacon strips a stronger flavor in addition to their natural taste. It’s common for cooks to smoke bacon with wood chips like hickory and mesquite for an intense smoky flavor.

If you’re looking for a different kind of bacon to add to your recipes, vegan bacon, and turkey bacon are tasty alternatives.

Which is Better: Wet-cured Vs. Dry-cured Bacon?

It can be tricky to choose between cured and dry-cured bacon. Ultimately, your pick comes down to personal taste, but let’s first define these terms.

Curing is a process that preserves meat, thereby increasing its shelf life. Wet curing and dry curing are the main types of curing. Even though the difference in the final product may not be readily visible at first glance, the type of curing used impacts the texture and flavor of the bacon.

  • Wet curing: Wet curing involves brining the pork cut. The bacon is soaked in a solution of salt, water, and other seasonings. This imparts a mild flavor and retains moisture, leading to a juicier bacon strip.
  • Dry curing: This type of curing involves rubbing salt and special seasonings on the pork cut and letting it sit in the refrigerator for 5–12 hours. Dry curing doesn’t require any added moisture like wet curing. This process produces bacon strips with richer flavors but less juiciness than wet-cured bacon.
Slices of Raw Bacon Stacked in a Pile

I recommend choosing dry-cured meat if you like robust, crispy, and flavorful bacon. On the other hand, choose brined (wet) bacon if you prefer lighter-tasting bacon that still tastes moist and juicy.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, bacon is available in different types and can be eaten with several tasty side dishes. Bear in mind that this list only highlights the best bacon I’ve tried, and there are more bacon types on the market. I recommend visiting a meat shop near you and experimenting with the ten types of bacon shared in this post. You might just find your new favorite kind of bacon.

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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