They’re not the same thing.

Though ham and Canadian bacon look and taste remarkably similar, they’re not the same thing. Here’s how to tell the difference:

Ham vs. Canadian Bacon

When we talk about Canadian bacon (also known as back bacon, Irish bacon, English bacon, or rashers), we’re talking about this:

Canadian Bacon Getty 12/26/19
Credit: Juanmonino/Getty Images

Juanmonino/Getty Images

If you’re at all familiar with cuts of pork, you’ll notice that this looks suspiciously like ham—but not that much like American bacon (also called streaky bacon).

The main thing that separates these breakfast staples is where they come from on a pig: Ham comes from the back legs, specifically the thighs and rear end, while Canadian bacon comes from the back.

There are many different types of ham, while there is only one type of Canadian bacon. It’s usually cured, smoked, and sliced into rounds.

Though American bacon is more popular in the U.S., Canadian bacon commonly shows up on breakfast plates around the world.

Juicy and tender, Canadian bacon is typically reserved for breakfast or brunch. Ham, meanwhile, is just as likely to show up at lunch or dinner as it is at breakfast.

Canadian Bacon 101

Canadian Bacon vs Ham
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What Do You Do With It?

Canadian bacon is usually sold as ready-to-eat circular discs. Though it’s technically considered a breakfast food, the sky’s the limit when it comes to this salty meat: Top your pizza with it (it’s essential to making a sweet-and-savory Hawaiian pie), fry it and serve it alongside scrambled eggs, cook it in a quiche or frittata, or use it to elevate your next grilled cheese sandwich.

Canadian Bacon Recipes

Ham 101

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What Do You Do With It?

Different types of ham are used to prepare different types of dishes. For a quick, easy, and classic lunch, just slap a slice of deli ham between to two pieces of white bread.

You could also eat an intensely salty country ham, toss leftover holiday ham into a comforting soup, or, if you’re feeling really fancy, enjoy thinly sliced Jamón Ibérico with a glass of wine.

Ham Recipes