Canadian Bacon Vs Ham

Canadian bacon and ham are similar because they are gotten from the same animal which is pig. Their taste is also similar but they are gotten from different parts of pig. Most people mistake bacon to be ham, it can be confusing when you are asked to state the difference between both unless you have had the chance to cook and eat them.

In this article, we will state the differences between these meats including their definition, taste, method of preparation, nutrition and other criteria. Continue to read on so as to know the amazing differences between Canadian bacon and ham.


Canadian bacon is a popular meat in most Canadian dishes, it is noted by some people as the most delicious bacon you can ever taste. There are many names for which this bacon is known as like Canadian bacon, Canadian-style bacon, or back bacon. It is gotten from the center of the pork loin including portion of pork belly too. 

Canadian bacon is usually preserved by salting and drying and very well cooked. Some are smoked while others are not depending on individual preference. Canadian bacon is different from American bacon because the latter has more fat. Canadian bacon has less fat and are much leaner, they have round slices and beautiful colors that are attractive. 


Ham is very popular and familiar, it is gotten from the leg part of a pig. There are so many ways to make ham; some are wet cured while others are dry cured. Some ham are preserved by smoking while others are not thereby creating different varieties of taste, flavors and colors. 

Ham is processed using different manufacturing procedures and preservatives which helps the meat to stay for longer periods, this also help to improve the flavor. Ham can be served in thin or thick slices depending on the dish. You can pair ham with sandwiches, eggs, and other delicious ingredients.

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It is difficult to differentiate both meats just by looking at them because they look similar in appearance. However, there are some distinct features that will help you to note them apart.

These features are:

1. Part Of Pig They Are Cut From

Canadian bacon is gotten from the back of a pig which is the lion meat while ham is cut out from the back legs, butt, or shank of a pig. Other parts from where ham is produced are the thighs and rear end of back legs.

2. Shape

Both meats are cut into different shapes while serving. Canadian bacon can be cut into thin or thick slices depending on the dish it is made with. It usually comes in a round shape. Ham can be cut into many shapes like cubes, very thin slices, regular slices and thick meats. There is no definite thickness needed when cooking or eating ham. 

3. When To Eat

Canadian bacon is mostly eaten as breakfast or lunch just like many bacons. Ham on the other hand is not usually a breakfast meat. It is usually eaten during lunch or dinner time. The time may change in some people and in certain circumstances though.

4. How To Eat

There are different ways of eating both meats. Canadian bacon can be eaten from the package without cooking but the taste is better and more savory when it is cooked. If eaten straight from the package, it can taste dry and hard with less taste. Canadian bacon can be grilled, baked or sauted. You can combine Canadian bacon with eggs, salads, frittata, pizzas and potato meals.

Ham does not need any more coming because it has gone through cooking processes. You can eat it straight from the package while enjoying the taste and flavor. Add ham to your sandwiches, casseroles, scrambles and antipasto platters. You can also add ham to cheese pizzas and bread puddings.

5. Taste

Taste is another way to distinguish between Canadian bacon and ham. Canadian bacon has a soft taste with extreme leaness. While cooking Canadian bacon, it is very important to preserve the sweetness and juiciness. Unlike other bacons, Canadian bacon has a less salty taste. 

There are so many types of ham and the state represents the culture or origin just like American style or Italian ham. However, the general taste of ham is slight soft and sweet taste with smoky flavor. Fresh ham has a similar flavor when compared to pork tenderloin however fresh ham is saltier and chewier.

6. Nutritional Value

Are there differences in the nutritional value of a Canadian bacon and ham? It is important to know the nutritional information of each so as to know if they match with your body’s need. Canadian bacon contains lots of protein and a bit more of fats than a ham does. There is also low cholesterol and calories in a Canadian bacon. Ham on the other hand contains less fats but more salt and carbohydrates. There is also more calcium and vitamin C in ham.

7. Method Of Processing

The method of processing depends on individual preference and needs. You can decide to smoke your ham or bacon. But in general, Canadian bacon and most bacons are brined using salt and maple syrup. Bacon can also taste great even if it is not cured. Ham is either traditionally smoked or cured. If it is to be brined, you can decide to use honey or maple syrup. Other ingredients like spices, caramel, spices and vinegar can be used to process ham as well.


Canadian Bacon Vs Ham
Canadian Bacon Vs Ham

Both meats come from pig but from different parts. However, Canadian bacon is healthier than ham generally. This is because Canadian bacon has more protein as compared to ham and there is also fewer carbohydrates. The level of sodium in a Canadian bacon is lesser than in ham. Ham has more calcium and vitamin C but it has more calories when compared to a Canadian bacon.


Pros of Canadian bacon are:

  • Canadian bacon can last up to ten days if cooked and it can stay up to a week and maybe longer if stored in a refrigerator.
  • There is a lower chance of adding weight if you consume Canadian bacon because it contains lesser calories.
  • There are lots of fats especially oleic acid in Canadian bacon. This fat is good for the heart and health in general.

Cons of Canadian bacon are:

  • There is high risk of having food borne diseases like trichinosis and tapeworm when dealing with uncooked Canadian bacon.
  • Canadian bacon is usually paired with foods like egg, butter and mayonnaise. This leads to high intake of calorie which will increase weight gain.

Pros of ham are:

  • There is amino acids like carnosine, this acts as antioxidants and also help to fight against aging.
  • There are lots of vitamin C and calcium in ham. These nutrients helps the body to function properly.

Cons of ham are:

  • There may be some carcinogenic chemical compounds in ham. When ham is exposed to heat and high flame, the risk of these chemical compounds increase.
  • Ham has a large amount of salt during its processing. High consumption of salt can increase the risk of having diseases like high blood pressure, heart and kidney diseases.


It is possible to substitute Canadian bacon for ham or vice versa in your dish because not everyone can recognize the difference between both. If you want to substitute Canadian bacon for ham, you should not cook the meat for longer period to avoid drying out especially if you are making stir fry dishes. If you are using ham in place of Canadian bacon, you should go for the part cut out from the center as the taste is almost similar to Canadian bacon. 


There are soma amazing dishes you can make with either ham or Canadian bacon. 

1. Egg Benedict

Egg benedict can either be made with ham or Canadian bacon, in fact, they are the best meat for the dish. However, Canadian bacon gives it a natural flavor and a colorful appearance.

2. Canadian Bacon Cheese Omelet

The name should not confuse you, it can be made with either ham or Canadian bacon. It is a dish that can be made within minutes and it has a great taste. It is perfect for breakfast and healthy as well.

3. Hawaiian Pizza

The best topping for this dish is either ham or Canadian bacon. One interesting and distinctive thing about this meal is that it is made with pineapple. Tell me about the wonderful taste of pineapple in food. It is also easy to make.

4. Ham Sandwich

You can easily add a slice of Canadian bacon or ham to sandwiches to add to their taste. You can add them in sandwiches like grilled cheese sandwich or a deli sandwich.

5. Other Pizzas And Omelets

Canadian bacon and ham can be used on many varieties of pizzas and omelets. They are perfect and will give amazing taste.


There are differences between Canadian bacon and ham. They have almost similar appearance but their taste and flavor are different. Some areas of difference are in their methods of processing, preparation, nutritional value and taste. One major difference is that ham is cut from the leg and thigh of a pig while Canadian bacon is gotten from the back.

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