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Is Canadian Bacon Just Ham?

A plate is filled with Canadian bacon.
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Whether you’re indulging in eggs benedict, swinging through the McDonald’s drive-thru for an Egg McMuffin, or even committing the tastiest pizza crime of them all—ordering a Hawaiian pie—you’re likely familiar with Canadian bacon. But is it really just ham?

While this salty breakfast meat might taste familiar, Canadian bacon and ham are different, but some of those differences are subtle.

Canadian bacon and ham have similar flavor profiles. And let’s face it, it’s hard to go wrong with cured, salty meat. The major difference between the two pork products, though, is where they come from on a pig. Canadian bacon (also known as back bacon) comes from, you guessed it, the back of the pig. Traditional American ham comes from the back legs. Ham is also often slightly fattier and can be cut and sold in a variety of ways.

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Canadian bacon is usually cured and smoked, and is known for being sold in signature circles, or as a whole “log” consumers can cut themselves.

While they have those differences, you can certainly swap out Canadian bacon for ham in most recipes. But, part of the appeal of Canadian bacon is its convenience. It’s usually pre-cut, making it easy to throw on a breakfast sandwich and simple to cook batches in a skillet. If you want to achieve that “signature” look when you’re preparing a homemade McMuffin or eggs benedict, you’ll stick to Canadian.

So is Canadian bacon ham? Technically, the two are different, but that doesn’t mean you always need to stick with one or the other. Try both in different recipes and you’ll soon figure out your porky preference!

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a freelance writer based in Southwest Michigan. Read Full Bio »
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