Crispy prosciutto is a really easy and delicious way to add some crunch and phenomenal flavour to so many dishes. Or just a snack! Less of a recipe and more of a technique, follow my super simple steps to get perfect crunchy prosciutto in minutes.
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What is prosciutto?
Prosciutto is the Italian word for ham but this is not the ham you’ll get in any regular ham and cheese sandwich. Prosciutto crudo, generally referred to as just prosciutto, is an Italian cured ham made from the hind leg of the pig.
It’s seasoned and aged for a number of months giving it an intense and salty flavour and firm texture. It is then sliced into paper-thin slices to serve. Technically, the thinner the better, resulting in a line of fat that melts on your tongue and a flavourful chewy meat to follow.
Do you need to cook prosciutto?
No, you don’t need to cook prosciutto but can you cook prosciutto and should you? Yes, definitely if the occasion calls for it. While prosciutto served raw is amazing, once it’s crisped up it can be used in so many ways like crumbled over salads or soups, or served bacon style with your eggs. They can also be served up as prosciutto crisps on their own for snacking.
How to cook prosciutto
Cooking prosciutto is super simple and there are a number of ways to do it. You can bake it, fry it, air fry it or even microwave it and every way is simple. Baked prosciutto is my favourite method for it’s simplicity and the one I use in the recipe card below.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
How to bake prosciutto
- Start by preheating the oven, then lay out the prosciutto slices flat on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until deep golden brown. It will crisp up more on cooling.
- Once again, bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and crispy looking.
How to air fry prosciutto
Air frying prosciutto is quite simple but requires you to press it down some way so that it doesn’t lift while cooking and there’s more washing up.
- Lay 2-3 slices of prosciutto into your air fryer basket (don’t overcrowd it). Place a small rack on top if possible to help hold the lightweight slices down.
- Air fry at 180C / 350F for 4-5 minutes, flipping them at the halfway point.
How to fry prosciutto
Another easy option is pan-frying. In a non-stick pan is easiest but if your pan is not non-stick you’ll need to add a fair bit of oil.
- Add just a little oil if your pan is non-stick and heat the pan over medium heat.
- Add the prosciutto in a single layer – don’t let it overlap – and cook for a few minutes each side until evenly browned all over.
How to microwave prosciutto
Making crispy prosciutto in the microwave is also simple to do and great if you don’t have time to preheat the oven.
- Lay the prosciutto in a single layer on a microwave safe plate. Lay a piece of paper towel over the top.
- Cook on high for 3-4 minutes until deep golden brown.
In all methods, the prosciutto will crisp up more as it cools so don’t be tempted to keep cooking until it’s crispy while piping hot or you will have burnt it.
How to use crispy prosciutto
By simply crisping prosciutto it becomes so much more versatile and adds a tasty salty crunch to a range of meals.
- For topping salads: Crumble up the prosciutto into small or large pieces and scatter it over a salad (at the last minute). For a green salad, try this rocket and parmesan salad – it pairs well with the peppery rocket / arugula and parmesan cheese. For something a little more substantial, this simple potato salad has the perfect creaminess to go with salty, crunchy prosciutto. I often use this crumbled over a caesar salad too.
- As an appetizer: I use the crunched up piles of prosciutto on my shareable bruschetta.
- In sandwiches: Crispy prosciutto adds a great crunch and lovely seasoning to a salad sandwich.
- Over roast vegetables: It works wonderfully crumbled over roast veggies like these maple roasted carrots or this hasselback butternut squash. A little bit of prosciutto with sweet roasted veggies is very special.
- Over soups: Soups always benefit from a crunchy topping and crunchy prosciutto is perefect. Try it on my butternut squash soup or this garlic potato chowder.
- On pasta: Crumble it over pasta dishes like my creamy pesto pasta or creamy pumpkin pasta.
- For breakfast: Simply crumble it over your eggs, serve it alongside or go the sweet and savoury route adding it to waffles or pancakes with maple syrup in place of bacon.
- On pizza: After your pizza has finished baking, crumble some crispy prosciutto over the top to serve.
- On a grazing platter: Crispy prosciutto is a great crunchy snack you can serve with crusty bread and burrata on an elegant platter.
- Other veggies: Other vegetables like steamed green beans or spinach benefit from the savoury flavour of prosciutto. Cauliflower is a wonderful pairing too.
Crispy prosciutto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It will lose a little crispness over time but is still good.
Prosciutto comes from the pork leg and is seasoned and dry aged over many months.
You sure can. That’s the type I use here.
Yes, you can. It’s quick (3-4 minutes on high is enough) but it crisps less evenly, can be prone to burning unless you keep a close eye on it and you’ll need to cover it with some paper towel.
Yes. Prosciutto is a cured meat that is designed to be eaten raw however you can cook it too.
Prosciutto is is less marbled than bacon and has less fat and calories. It also has a stronger flavour so a little goes further.
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- 6 slices prosciutto
- 1 large baking tray lined with baking paper
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- large baking sheet
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan forced) / 400°F.
- Line a large baking sheet with baking paper then lay out the pieces of prosciutto flat (or you can tear them into 2-3 pieces and let them fall into little piles). Make sure they don't overlap, though they can touch.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until browned and crispy on the edges. The fat should be a lovely golden brown.
- Transfer the prosciutto to a plate – it will crisp up more as it cools.
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- Thinner prosciutto will cook and crisp quicker than very thick prosciutto.
- Shapes: Prosciutto can be baked in flat slices or in little piles depending on how you want to present them.
- Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.
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