Everything you need to know on how to Make COPPA: A Step-by-Step Guide

Coppa, a traditional Italian charcuterie, is a delicious cured meat that can be made at home with the right ingredients and equipment. Coppa is a triangular cut of pork shoulder that is seasoned with a blend of spices, cured, and then air-dried for several weeks. Making coppa at home can be a fun and rewarding experience for those who enjoy the art of charcuterie.

To make coppa, one must first understand the cut of meat and how to properly trim it. After trimming, the meat is seasoned with a blend of spices that typically includes salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, and pink curing salt. The meat is then cured in a cool, ventilated space for several days before being air-dried for several weeks.

Making coppa requires a few key ingredients and equipment, including pork shoulder, curing salt, spices, and a meat grinder. A spice grinder or mortar and pestle can be used to grind the spices, and a cool, ventilated space is needed for the curing and drying process. With the right ingredients and equipment, anyone can make delicious coppa at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Coppa is a traditional Italian charcuterie that can be made at home with the right ingredients and equipment.
  • Properly trimming the pork shoulder and seasoning it with a blend of spices is essential to making delicious coppa.
  • Making coppa requires key ingredients such as pork shoulder, curing salt, and spices, as well as equipment such as a meat grinder and a cool, ventilated space for curing and drying.

Piero’s Recipe from the video:

  • Ingredients To start the cure:
  • 27g per kilo Sea Salt
  • 2g per kilo of Black Pepper
  • 2g per kilo of fennel powder
  • 1g per kilo of garlic powder
  • 2 leafs of bay leaves
  • A few Juniper Berries
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bulb Fresh Garlic
  • Coppa (Muscle from the pork shoulder)
  • After two weeks:
  • Wash the Coppa down with some beer
  • 1 teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of Fennel powder
  • Some Cracked Black Pepper over the Coppa
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Understanding Coppa

Coppa is a traditional Italian charcuterie made from the neck of the pig, also known as capicola or capocollo. It is a highly prized cut of meat that is cured and aged to perfection, resulting in a rich, complex flavor and tender texture.

To make coppa, the meat is first trimmed from the pork shoulder and then salt-cured with a mixture of sea salt, peppercorns, and fennel seeds. Instacure #2 is also added to the cure to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and ensure the meat is safe to eat.

After the curing process, the meat is hung to dry and age for several months, allowing the flavors to develop and intensify. The result is a beautifully marbled piece of meat with a deep red color and a rich, savory flavor.

Coppa is often sliced thin and served as a centerpiece for an antipasto platter or used as a flavorful addition to sandwiches and salads. It pairs well with a variety of cheeses, olives, and other cured meats.

Overall, coppa is a delicious and versatile addition to any charcuterie board or meal. With a little patience and the right ingredients, anyone can make their own homemade coppa and experience the delicious flavors of this traditional Italian delicacy.

Ingredients Needed

To make coppa, one will need a few key ingredients. These include pork shoulder, salt, sugar, and pepper. Fennel seeds, garlic, and wine are also commonly used in the spice mix. Additionally, cure #2, bay leaves, beef bung, sea salt, thyme, peppercorns, paprika, juniper berries, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, anise seeds, and mace can be used to add flavor to the meat.

It is important to use high-quality pork for the best results. Pork shoulder is the most commonly used cut of meat for making coppa. The meat is cured with a mixture of salt, sugar, and other spices to help preserve it and add flavor.

Curing is a crucial step in making coppa. The meat is coated in the spice mix and then wrapped tightly in beef bung or another natural casing. The meat is then hung to dry for several weeks to several months, depending on the desired level of flavor and texture.

In addition to the spices listed above, some recipes may call for the use of prosciutto or other types of cured meat. Wine can also be used to add additional flavor to the spice mix.

Overall, the key to making delicious coppa is to use high-quality ingredients and to follow the curing process carefully. With the right combination of spices and proper curing techniques, anyone can make their own delicious coppa at home.

Equipment Required

To make a delicious coppa, one needs to have the right equipment. Here are some of the essential tools required to make coppa at home:

Meat Netting

Meat netting is a vital tool for making coppa. It helps to hold the meat together and maintain its shape during the curing process. It also allows the meat to breathe, which is essential for the curing process.

Spice Grinder/Mortar

To make the spice blend for the coppa, one needs a spice grinder or mortar. It is best to use whole spices and grind them yourself for maximum flavor. However, pre-ground spices can also be used.

Sausage Casings

Coppa is matured in beef butt, which is then wrapped in a sausage casing. The casing helps to maintain the shape of the meat during the curing process and also provides a barrier against bacteria.

Vacuum Sealer

A vacuum sealer is not essential but can help for storing it when making coppa. It helps to remove air from the packaging, which prevents the growth of bacteria and mold.

Airtight Container

Once the coppa is cured, it needs to be stored in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out or becoming too moist. A plastic container with a tight-fitting lid is ideal for this purpose.


After the coppa is cured, it needs to be stored in a refrigerator. The temperature should be kept between 35-40°F to prevent spoilage.

Meat Slicer

To slice the coppa, one needs a meat slicer. A good quality meat slicer will help to achieve even slices, which is essential for a good presentation.


Twine is used to tie the meat netting around the coppa. It is essential to ensure that the meat stays in place during the curing process.


An oven is not necessary or needed to make Coppa, do not dry it out in an Oven, let it dry naturally so you don’t alter the flavor.


A bag can be used to store the coppa during the curing process. A paper bag is ideal as it allows the meat to breathe while protecting it from dust and insects.

Overall, making coppa requires a few essential pieces of equipment, but the results are well worth the effort. With the right tools and a little patience, anyone can make delicious coppa at home.

Preparation Process

To make homemade coppa, the first step is to obtain a pork coppa, which is the triangular muscle located at the top of the pork shoulder. The butcher can trim it from the pork shoulder or pork neck. Once the coppa is trimmed, rinse it with cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Next, the coppa needs to be seasoned with a spice rub. A mixture of fine salt, ground fennel, and cloves can be used to season the coppa. The spice rub should be applied generously to ensure that the coppa is evenly coated. After seasoning, the coppa should be placed in a zip-top bag and refrigerated for 24 hours to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

After the resting period, the coppa needs to be ground and mixed with lean pork loin to create a blend that is approximately 30% fat. This mixture should be stuffed into a sausage casing and tied with butcher’s twine. The coppa should then be hung in a cool, ventilated area to dry-cure for at least two months. During this time, the coppa will lose weight and develop a mature flavor.

To ensure that the coppa is safe to eat, it is important to monitor the internal temperature and curing time. The coppa should reach an internal temperature of 150°F (65°C) before it is considered cooked. Additionally, the curing time should be at least two months to allow the coppa to mature and develop the desired flavor.

Once the coppa is mature, it can be sliced thinly and used in a variety of dishes, including sandwiches, pizza, and pasta. The marbled texture and rich flavor of the coppa make it a popular ingredient in homemade salumi.

Drying and Curing

To dry and cure the coppa, the first step is to remove it from the curing bag and rinse it with cold water. After rinsing, dry the coppa with a clean towel. The next step is to hang the coppa in a humidity-controlled environment. The ideal humidity for drying coppa is between 60% to 70%.

It is essential to dry the coppa slowly to prevent spoilage. The drying process takes about 3 to 4 months, depending on the size of the coppa. During this time, the coppa will lose about 30% of its weight.

The drying environment should have a constant temperature of around 50°F to 60°F. It is crucial to maintain this temperature throughout the drying process. A fluctuation in temperature can cause the coppa to spoil.

It is also essential to ensure that the drying environment is free from any contaminants that can affect the quality of the coppa. The area should be clean, and there should be no insects or pests around.

To check if the coppa is ready, press it with your finger. If it feels firm, it is ready. The coppa should have a deep red color and a slightly sweet aroma. If there is any mold on the surface, it can be removed by wiping it with a clean cloth soaked in vinegar.

In summary, drying and curing coppa is a slow and delicate process that requires a humidity-controlled environment and constant temperature. With proper care and attention, homemade coppa can be a delicious and rewarding culinary experience.


Troubleshooting: Common Coppa-Making Challenges

Embarking on the journey of making coppa at home can be a gratifying and fulfilling experience, but like any culinary endeavor, it comes with its own set of challenges. Throughout the curing and aging process, various factors can influence the outcome of your homemade coppa. Understanding these potential pitfalls and knowing how to troubleshoot them will help you achieve the perfect slice of flavorful, tender coppa you desire.

Understanding Potential Risks and Pitfalls

  1. Spoilage: One of the primary concerns during the curing and aging process is the risk of spoilage. While coppa-making involves controlled preservation techniques, it is crucial to maintain proper hygiene and sanitation throughout the process to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that could ruin the meat.
  2. Mold Growth: Mold development is a natural part of the aging process for dry-cured coppa, especially during the initial stages. While certain molds are harmless and even contribute to the flavor, it is essential to differentiate between beneficial and harmful mold. White, powdery mold is generally safe, but any other mold colors or an off smell may indicate spoilage.
  3. Uneven Flavor Distribution: Achieving a consistently flavored coppa requires a well-distributed seasoning blend. Unevenly spread spices can lead to areas of overly intense flavor, while other parts may taste bland.

Preventing Mold and Unwanted Bacteria Growth

  1. Cleanliness is Key: Before starting the curing process, ensure that all equipment, utensils, and the working area are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Regularly wash your hands while handling the pork and avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
  2. Proper Humidity and Temperature Control: For dry-curing, maintain the curing chamber’s humidity between 60% and 70% and the temperature between 50°F and 60°F (10°C to 15°C). Consistent humidity and temperature prevent excessive drying or spoilage.
  3. Apply Mold Inhibitors: Some recipes call for the application of mold inhibitors, such as vinegar or wine, on the meat’s surface before wrapping it in cloth. These natural solutions can help inhibit mold growth during the initial stages of curing.
  4. Utilize Curing Salt: If you’re struggling Pieros way you can try using another dry-curing method, Consider adding curing salts like pink curing salt (Prague powder #2). These salts contain nitrites, which help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria while giving the coppa its characteristic color and flavor.

Addressing Texture and Taste Issues

  1. Adjusting Salt Levels: If your coppa turns out overly salty, you can soak it in cold water for a short period to draw out some of the excess salt. Alternatively, when using wet curing, you can adjust the salt-to-water ratio in the brine solution for milder flavoring.
  2. Improving Texture: If the coppa turns out too dry, the aging conditions might have been too harsh, causing excessive moisture loss. In such cases, you can try aging the meat for a shorter period or adjusting the humidity levels during aging.
  3. Enhancing Flavor: Achieving a well-balanced flavor profile is an art. If you find your coppa lacks depth in taste, consider experimenting with different combinations of herbs, spices, and aromatics during the seasoning process.

Remember, making coppa at home is a journey that involves trial and error. Each attempt will provide valuable insights, allowing you to fine-tune your techniques and methods. Don’t be discouraged by initial challenges; with practice and dedication, you’ll master the craft of homemade coppa and delight in the satisfaction of enjoying your artisanal creation. Troubleshooting is an integral part of the learning process, and as you gain experience, you’ll develop the expertise needed to produce consistently outstanding coppa that rivals the best charcuterie offerings in Italy and beyond.

Coppa Variations and Innovations

Italian charcuterie is a treasure trove of regional specialties, and coppa is no exception. Throughout different regions of Italy, variations of coppa have emerged, each showcasing unique flavors, seasonings, and preparation methods. Additionally, modern culinary enthusiasts have introduced innovative twists to this traditional delicacy. Embracing these variations and innovations allows you to explore a world of diverse tastes and create coppa experiences tailored to your preferences.

Exploring Regional Coppa Styles

  1. Lombardian Coppa: Hailing from Lombardy, this style of coppa is known for its generous use of garlic and black pepper, imparting a robust and aromatic flavor to the meat. Lombardian coppa is typically aged for an extended period, resulting in an intense and complex taste.
  2. Calabrian Coppa: Originating from the southern region of Calabria, this coppa variation is renowned for its spicy kick. The seasoning blend often includes hot chili peppers or Calabrian chili paste, elevating the flavor profile with a delightful heat that lingers on the palate.
  3. Sicilian Coppa: Sicilian coppa incorporates Mediterranean influences, featuring ingredients like fennel seeds, citrus zest, and even a splash of wine. This style results in a coppa with refreshing and vibrant flavors, evoking the sunny essence of the island.

Experimenting with Unique Seasonings and Flavors

  1. Herbs and Spices: Get creative with the seasonings by experimenting with various herbs and spices. Try infusing the coppa with thyme, oregano, or bay leaves for an earthy taste. Alternatively, explore exotic spices like cumin, coriander, or cardamom for a unique twist.
  2. Sweet and Savory Blends: Play with the balance of sweet and savory by incorporating ingredients like brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup into the seasoning mix. These sweet notes can create a delightful contrast to the saltiness of the coppa.
  3. Boozy Infusions: Elevate the flavor profile by adding a splash of your favorite liquor or wine to the seasoning blend. The alcohol will impart complex undertones that develop during the aging process.

Infusing Modern Culinary Techniques into Traditional Coppa-Making

  1. Sous Vide Coppa: Modern cooking techniques like sous vide can be applied to coppa-making for precise temperature control during the curing process. Sous vide ensures even distribution of flavors while maintaining optimal conditions for curing.
  2. Cold Smoking: Enhance the coppa’s taste by cold smoking the meat before the curing process. The infusion of smoky flavors adds another layer of complexity to the final product.
  3. Flavorful Wrappings: Instead of using traditional cloth or cheesecloth, try wrapping the coppa in dried leaves like bay leaves, grape leaves, or even tea leaves. These alternative wrappings can impart subtle herbal or earthy notes to the meat.

As you venture into exploring these variations and innovations, keep a record of your experiments. Note the ingredients and quantities used, the curing time, and the aging conditions. This will allow you to refine your recipes based on your preferences and experiences.

Homemade coppa provides a canvas for culinary creativity, combining tradition and innovation in a single delicious product. Embrace the diversity of flavors and techniques, and let your taste buds guide you on a captivating journey through the vast world of coppa-making possibilities.

By combining the knowledge of traditional coppa-making methods with your own culinary inspirations, you’ll create personalized versions of this Italian charcuterie masterpiece. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and take risks, as it is through these creative endeavors that you’ll find the most delightful and uniquely satisfying coppa creations. Share your culinary triumphs with friends and family, and relish the joy of presenting them with artisanal coppa made with love and ingenuity. Whether you stick to the roots of regional variations or explore innovative twists, your homemade coppa will be a testament to the enduring charm and adaptability of Italian charcuterie.

Serving Suggestions

Coppa is a versatile cured meat that can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are a few serving suggestions to help you make the most of your homemade coppa:


Coppa can be sliced thinly and served on a charcuterie board alongside other cured meats, cheeses, and crackers. It pairs well with bold cheeses like gorgonzola or aged cheddar.


Coppa can also be used as a substitute for salami in recipes. Try adding it to your favorite pasta dish or pizza for an added depth of flavor.


Coppa is a great addition to any antipasto platter. Pair it with marinated vegetables, olives, and crusty bread for a delicious appetizer.


Coppa can be used as a pizza topping. Pair it with other Italian ingredients like mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil for a classic pizza flavor.


Coppa can also be used in sandwiches. Try pairing it with arugula, tomato, and a spicy mustard for a delicious sandwich.

No matter how you choose to enjoy your coppa, it is sure to bring a bold and unique flavor to any dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the traditional method for making coppa?

The traditional method for making coppa involves dry-curing the meat with a blend of salt, sugar, and spices. The cured meat is then hung to dry for several months until it develops a distinct aroma and flavor.

What is the difference between coppa and capicola?

Coppa and capicola are both cured pork products, but they come from different parts of the pig. Coppa is made from the neck muscle, while capicola is made from the shoulder. Coppa is also typically seasoned with garlic and black pepper, while capicola may include other spices like fennel seed.

What cut of meat is typically used for making coppa?

Coppa is typically made from the neck muscle of the pig, which is lean and flavorful. The meat is trimmed and then dry-cured with a blend of salt, sugar, and spices.

Can coppa be eaten raw?

Yes, coppa can be eaten raw. It is typically sliced thin and served as part of an antipasto platter or used as a topping for pizza or pasta dishes.

What are some common recipes that use coppa?

Coppa can be used in a variety of recipes, including pasta dishes, sandwiches, and salads. It pairs well with other cured meats, cheeses, and olives.

Is it necessary to cook coppa ham before eating?

No, coppa does not need to be cooked before eating. It is a cured meat that can be eaten raw or cooked, depending on the recipe.

Is coppa a salami?

No, coppa is not a salami. Salami is made from ground meat, while coppa is made from a whole muscle cut of pork.

What is the difference between Prosciutto and coppa?

Prosciutto and coppa are both cured pork products, but they come from different parts of the pig. Prosciutto is made from the hind leg, while coppa is made from the neck muscle. Prosciutto is typically sliced thin and served raw, while coppa can be eaten raw or cooked.

What is the English name for coppa meat?

Coppa is also known as capocollo or capicola in English.

Does coppa taste like prosciutto?

While both coppa and prosciutto are cured pork products, they have distinct flavors. Coppa is typically seasoned with garlic and black pepper, while prosciutto has a milder, nuttier flavor.

Do you have other Charcuterie Videos?

Yes! we do, here is a list:
Want To Make Guanciale? This is How You Do It (Step by Step)
Make Lardo: The Easiest and Best-Tasting Recipe EVER!
Step by Step Cured ROLLED PANCETTA

Do you have any other videos? Yes here are our latest ones:

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Cooking With An Italian

Ciao I am Piero coming all the way from Puglia Italy. I created this site to bring my love of food to all, hope you enjoy.