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Canadian Bacon vs Ham: How Do They Compare

Maria Foster
Last Updated on
by Maria Foster
Canadian Bacon
Canadian Bacon

When it comes to breakfast, Canadian bacon is one of our favorite side orders, but once evening arrives, we can’t help but go for a thick slice of ham. It’s true — Canadian bacon is usually served as a morning staple, whereas ham is typically eaten for dinner — and for a long time, this was the only difference we knew about them.


However, the main difference between ham and Canadian bacon is actually the fact that they’re cut from different areas of the pig. As such, the two have distinct tastes and nutritional values.

But this is only scratching the surface. So if you are keen to learn more, follow along as we sizzle your minds with some meaty knowledge.

Difference Between Canadian Bacon vs. Ham

These two meaty delicacies are cut from different parts of the same animal. Canadian bacon is a loin cut along the pig’s back, while ham is made from the primal cut of the pig, which includes the leg, butt, and shank.

Here are some additional differences between the two.

Preservation Method

Curing or smoking is the most common way to make these kinds of meat — but the brining process is what makes them unique. The Canadian bacon brine is made of salt and maple syrup. The ham brine includes herbs, spices, vinegar, and a sweet ingredient like caramel, honey, or maple syrup.

You might skip the brining when preserving ham, but it’s simply a must with Canadian bacon.


Both Canadian bacon and ham are available in thick or thin slices, with the thinner ones being the more favorable choice.

Canadian bacon is cylindrical and often sold rolled in cornmeal, also known as “cornmeal bacon.” Ham, on the other hand, comes in all shapes and sizes, from cubes and big chunks to bone-in and boneless cuts!

Flavor and Texture

Canadian bacon and ham are lean pork cuts with delicate marbling throughout.

Canadian bacon is sweet and juicy, with less salty aromas. While there is only one variety of Canadian bacon, there are many different types of ham. Each type has a distinctive traditional taste, but in general, ham is salty, mildly sweet, and somewhat smoky.

Eating Time

Typically, Canadian bacon is for the “early birds,” whereas ham is for the “night owls.”

Canadian bacon has been a breakfast staple since the 1920s. It was then that the general population was advised to eat bacon and eggs as a filling breakfast. We all loved it so much that we’ve kept it on our breakfast menus ever since.

In contrast, people usually eat ham at lunch or dinner time. One theory about this is that ham is usually served during Easter lunch and supper, and as such, many people continue to eat it around that time.

Way of Serving

While ham is more frequently consumed fresh, Canadian bacon is typically cooked.

Canadian bacon can be roasted, grilled, sauteed, or straight from the packet. The most popular breakfast dish that includes Canadian bacon is an egg McMuffin. Some also like to sprinkle it on top of spaghetti, pizza, soups, and stews, as well as on casseroles, fried rice, salads, and roasted vegetables.

Ham often doesn’t require any further cooking, but you can certainly pan-fry it or roast it if you like. It frequently appears piled in sandwiches and antipasto dishes and goes well with mashed potatoes and cornmeal. You can also throw in a few cubes on top of mac n’ cheese or your preferred pizza dish.

Canadian Bacon vs. Ham Comparison Table

CategoryCanadian BaconHam
Type of meatPorkPork
Preservation methodCuring, smoking, briningCuring, smoking, brining
Brine mixtureSalt and maple syrupHoney, maple syrup, herbs, vinegar, spices, caramel
Type of cutPork loin’s centerButt, back legs, shank
ShapeOval shapeOval shape
SlicesThin or thick slicesCornmeal-wrappedThin or thick slicesCubesBone-in or boneless chunks
TextureLean meat with mild marblingLean meat with delicate marbling
FlavorSweet and mildly saltySalty, less sweet, and somewhat smoky
Serving timeBreakfast or brunchLunch or supper
CookingUsually cooked prior to eatingMostly enjoyed fresh straight from the box

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

In terms of nutritional value, Canadian bacon is typically leaner and has less fat and calories than ham per slice.

The salt level of these two foods likewise varies. Sodium levels in Canadian bacon are a little lower, unlike ham, which usually has a lot of sodium, depending on the brand.

Canadian bacon is therefore seen as the healthier option. It may be prepared similarly to ham, despite frequently being marketed as a morning meal. By doing this, you can reduce the amount of salt and fat in your meal.

Canadian Bacon vs. Ham: Nutritional Profile

Category (100g)Canadian BaconHam
Saturated fat0.9g1.81g
Cholesterol48 mg53 mg
Sodium751 mg1203 mg
Potassium683 mg287 mg
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin A0IU0IU
Vitamin B50.61 mg0.403 mg
Vitamin B60.241 mg0.4 mg
Vitamin E0.22 mg0.25 mg
Phosphorous240 mg196 mg
Copper0.053 mg0.079 mg
Vitamin C0 mg0 mg
Iron0.44 mg1.48 mg
Vitamin D6 IU32 IU
Vitamin B120.37 µg0.65 µg
Magnesium20 mg14 mg
Zinc1.23 mg2.88 mg

Can I Substitute Canadian Bacon for Ham & Vice Versa?

The butcher assured us that you could definitely swap out ham for Canadian bacon and vice versa. Fortunately, there are only two things you need to remember.

  1. Cook Canadian bacon for less time than ham. The meat will become too dry if you leave it to cook for too long. The best way is to add it last once every ingredient is fully cooked.
  2. The best ham cut in terms of flavor is the center cut. It’s a piece from the leg primal cut, so if you have the chance, pick this one since it’s the juiciest and most flavorful.

Have the meaty munchies hit you yet? Good! The Canadian bacon and ham recipes below are the ideal way to sate your appetite. Plus, this is the perfect chance to taste-test all the differences we just discussed!

Eggs Benedict Canadian Bacon Casserole

Eggs Benedict Canadian Bacon Casserole
Eggs Benedict Canadian Bacon Casserole

The ideal holiday breakfast is an egg-benedict casserole. It’s stuffed with protein-rich eggs, Canadian bacon, robust English muffins, and delectable hollandaise sauce (Bored of Hollandaise sauce? Why don’t you try Béarnaise Sauce for more of a challenge?).

You can prepare this decadent, warm breakfast the night before, so it has plenty of time to soak all the flavors! All you need to do in the morning is preheat the oven and bake it. A tasty meal that may be prepared ahead of time is always appreciated — especially first thing in the morning.

Homemade Ham & Cheese Pizza

Homemade Ham & Cheese Pizza
Homemade Ham & Cheese Pizza

If you like the ham and cheese combo in a sandwich, then you’ll adore them on a pizza, too! This dish calls for ham, mozzarella, mushrooms, olives, oregano, and basil — simple ingredients, yet refined taste.

If you got discouraged about making the batter, don’t be! You won’t believe how easy it is to make. Each step is explained in the recipe to stop you from buying that pre-made pizza dough from the store!

Canadian Bacon Egg Cups

Canadian Bacon Egg Cups
Canadian Bacon Egg Cups

The flavor of a recipe is crucial when it comes to its success, but it wouldn’t hurt if the meal is also extremely cute, like these egg cups!

How could anyone not fall in love with these adorable delights? The ingredients include cheese, pieces of Canadian bacon, and an egg with the yolk still runny. Since the flavor is the most crucial aspect, it goes without saying that these cups taste fantastic. Plus, they’re done in literally 20 minutes. Perfect!


Congratulations, now you own a piece — or should we say, a slice — of valuable knowledge from the world of meat!

Remember: Ham is created from the pig’s back legs, as opposed to Canadian bacon, which is produced from the pig’s back. Despite being fattier than ham, Canadian bacon has less salt.

For the ham brine, sugar and honey are the main ingredients, whereas Canadian Bacon is brined with salt and maple syrup. Canadian bacon is typically cooked, unlike ham, which can be consumed right out of the box.

Now pick a recipe and go straight to test-testing!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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