One slice of prosciutto (about 1 ounce or 28 grams) contains around 40 calories. The exact calorie count can vary slightly depending on factors like the brand, curing process, and exact size of the slice. But in general, a typical slice of prosciutto ranges from 30-50 calories.
Calories in Prosciutto
Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that is usually sliced very thin and eaten raw as an antipasto or appetizer.
A 1 ounce serving of prosciutto (about 1 slice) provides:
As you can see, a 1 ounce slice of prosciutto is relatively low in calories and fat. The majority of the calories come from protein.
Prosciutto gets its flavor from the dry-curing process which involves salting, air-drying, and aging the ham for months or even years. This removes much of the water content, concentrating the flavor and making prosciutto more calorie dense than fresh ham.
Calories Per Gram
Prosciutto contains about 2.8 calories per gram. One slice of prosciutto weighs around 28 grams, so 28 grams x 2.8 calories per gram equals approximately 40 calories per slice.
This calorie concentration can vary slightly depending on factors like:
- Brand – Different manufacturers may use slightly different curing and aging processes that affect moisture content.
- Slice thickness – Thicker slices will have more calories than very thin slices.
- Fat content – Slices cut from the fattier ends will have more calories than slices from the leaner areas.
- Added ingredients – Some prosciutto may be coated in spices or oils that add additional calories.
But on average, a standard 1 ounce slice of prosciutto from most brands will contain 30-50 calories.
The nutrition information on prosciutto packaging can provide an exact calorie count for that specific product.
Here are some examples of nutrition facts labels for popular brands of prosciutto:
A 1 ounce slice of Volpi prosciutto contains:
- 35 calories
- 2.5g fat
- 1g saturated fat
- 6g protein
A 1 ounce slice of Columbus prosciutto contains:
- 40 calories
- 2g fat
- 0.5g saturated fat
- 7g protein
De Parma Prosciutto
A 1 ounce slice of De Parma prosciutto contains:
- 30 calories
- 1g fat
- 0g saturated fat
- 6g protein
As you can see, the calories per slice ranges from 30-40 depending on the brand, with fat, saturated fat, sodium, and protein varying slightly too.
When determining the calories for a certain brand or product, check the nutrition facts label for the exact numbers.
Calories in Thinner vs Thicker Slices
Because prosciutto is so thin, the calories can vary significantly depending on slice thickness.
Here is a comparison of calories in different thicknesses of prosciutto slices:
As shown, a very thin, see-through “paper slice” of prosciutto may provide only 20 calories, while a thick hearty slice could provide 60 calories or more.
When enjoying prosciutto, pay attention to slice sizes to determine calorie intake. If controlling portions, select thinner slices from the deli counter.
Ways to Enjoy Prosciutto
Prosciutto is low in fat and calories, while providing protein and flavor. Here are some healthy and delicious ways to enjoy prosciutto:
Add thin slices of prosciutto to any green, grain, or fruit-based salad for a savory, crunchy topping. The saltiness pairs well with sweet and bitter salad ingredients.
Wrapped Around Melon or Peaches
Wrap paper-thin slices of prosciutto around wedges of melon, peaches, pears or figs for an elegant appetizer. The sweet fruit and salty ham provide contrasting flavors.
On Pizzas or Flatbreads
Place thinly sliced prosciutto on top of a Margherita pizza, white pizza, or flatbread for a fancier take on a classic. The crisp prosciutto provides a nice texture.
In Sandwiches or Paninis
Add a few thin slices of prosciutto to sandwiches and paninis. It goes well with bread, cheese, mustard, vegetables, and other sandwich fillings.
In Omelets or Frittatas
Use diced or thinly sliced prosciutto in omelets, frittatas, or egg bakes. It adds a savory, smoky flavor.
On Crackers or Crostini
Place folded or spiral sliced prosciutto on top of crackers or toasted crostini for easy appetizers. Top with figs or fresh mozzarella for extra flavor.
In Pasta Dishes
Add some diced prosciutto to pasta sauces, baked ziti, lasagna, or gnocchi for a salty, meaty flavor. Or use thin slices on top of pasta.
In Risotto or Polenta
Stir diced prosciutto into risotto or polenta dishes. The prosciutto gives a nice savory flavor to the creamy grains.
As a Pizza Topping
Crisp up diced prosciutto in a skillet, then use it as a low-fat alternative to pepperoni or sausage on your next homemade pizza.
Uncooked prosciutto has a shelf life of 2-3 months when stored properly in the fridge. An opened package will last about 3 weeks.
For best quality, store prosciutto in the original packaging until ready to use. Once opened, wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place slices in a resealable plastic bag.
Prosciutto will last longer when stored in the coldest part of the refrigerator, away from light. Avoid repeated openings of the package, which allows air exposure.
Don’t freeze prosciutto, as this alters the texture. Simply keep refrigerated and use within a few weeks for the best taste and texture.
Cooking with Prosciutto
Prosciutto can be added to recipes without cooking for maximum flavor. But it can also be cooked for a different texture and taste.
Here are some tips for cooking prosciutto:
- Pan fry – Lightly fry thin slices of prosciutto over medium heat until crispy, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Bake – Place slices or diced prosciutto on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until crispy.
- Broil – Broil prosciutto 4-5 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes until browned and crispy.
- Add at the end of cooking – For pasta, pizza, risotto, etc. add just before serving so prosciutto is warmed but not entirely crispy.
- Use leftover cooked prosciutto within a week and store in the refrigerator.
The cooking method you use will impact the fat and calorie content. Pan frying in oil, for example, will add some additional fat and calories.
For a lower calorie option, bake prosciutto in the oven or broil it until crisp. This removes additional moisture without added fat.
Aside from being low in calories and fat, prosciutto provides essential vitamins and nutrients, including:
- Protein – Quality source of protein for building muscle, bone, and skin health. About 6-8g per ounce.
- Iron – Important for oxygen transport in the blood and energy metabolism. 1 slice provides about 6% DV.
- Zinc – Crucial for immune function, DNA, and growth. 1 slice provides 5% DV.
- Vitamin B12 – Necessary for nerve tissue health and red blood cell production. 1 slice has about 8% DV.
- Phosphorus – Key for bone health, cell membranes, and energy production. 1 slice has around 5% DV.
- Potassium – Helps lower blood pressure by balancing fluid levels. 1 slice has 3% DV.
Prosciutto is also very low in carbohydrates, with less than 1g per serving.
Additionally, the dry curing process boosts the levels of beneficial compounds like polyphenols and oleic acid compared to fresh pork. These may provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Overall, prosciutto provides a nutritious package of protein, vitamins, and minerals with relatively few calories when enjoyed in moderation.
Risks and Precautions with Prosciutto
Prosciutto is considered very safe to eat, but there are some health precautions to keep in mind:
- High in sodium – Prosciutto contains about 600-800mg sodium per ounce, so limit intake if on a low-sodium diet.
- Increased cancer risk – The World Health Organization says processed meats like prosciutto are “carcinogenic to humans.” Eat in moderation.
- Foodborne illness – Rarely, prosciutto can cause salmonella if it becomes contaminated during processing. Buy reputable brands.
- Nitrates – Many prosciutto products use nitrates or nitrites during curing, which may have health risks when eaten in excess.
- Parasites – Pork can contain parasites like trichinella. Ensure prosciutto is properly cured to kill any parasites before eating.
Pregnant women, young children, the elderly, or people with certain medical conditions may want to avoid prosciutto due to the increased risk of foodborne illnesses.
For healthy individuals, enjoying prosciutto in moderation as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to pose any significant health risks. But be sure to buy quality products from reputable producers.
One slice of prosciutto (1 ounce) contains approximately 30-50 calories, depending on the thickness. Very thin slices may have as little as 20 calories, while thick cuts can have 60 calories or more.
To reduce calorie intake, select thinner slices of prosciutto and track your portion sizes. Enjoy this Italian dry-cured ham on salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and antipasto platters for a savory flavor with a minimal impact on your daily calories. Store properly in the refrigerator and integrate into a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Limit intake if you have high blood pressure or are at risk for cancer or foodborne illnesses. Overall, when enjoyed regularly in moderation, prosciutto can be part of a healthy lifestyle.