Genoa Salami vs Hard Salami – Which Do I Want?

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Last updated on August 12, 2022


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There are a lot of salami products out there–

what’s the difference between them all? Maybe you usually pick up whatever’s at your local grocery store. But then again maybe you’re hosting a charcuterie night and you want to show off your salami knowledge. 

In case you’re the type to get overwhelmed by too many options, we’ve got all the info you need to make an informed decision about your cured meat selection. 

Let’s look at the differences between Genoa Salami and Hard Salami.

What is Salami?


Salami is an Italian cured sausage that is traditionally made out of pork. It comes in many varieties, but in its most basic form it's sausage made from fermented or air-dried meat.

What is Genoa Salami?

Genoa salami is a type of sausage originating from Genoa, Italy, that has notes of garlic and is typically made with pork and veal, though sometimes with pork and beef. It’s a softer salami with an acidic profile. Typically it’s air-dried for a couple of months before being consumed. 

What is Hard Salami?


Hard salami is a milder type of salami originating from Central Europe. It is smoked after the curing process and has a firmer texture than other types of salami. It’s also drier and darker in appearance. 

Main Differences Between Genoa and Hard Salami

Which is Better? Genoa or Hard Salami?


Both types of salami are good for different reasons. Depending on your flavor and meat preference, as well as what you’re pairing them with, one or the other might be better. It’s all circumstantial.

If you want a salami to pair with veggies or a more complex meal or snack, then hard salami will work better. The same goes for if you’re craving a salami with a darker color, milder taste, or less fatty texture – hard salami is the winner.

Conversely, if you want the salami to be the standout component, Genoa will offer a more intense, deep flavor that will pair well with soft cheese or crackers. Furthermore, if you’re going for a lighter colored salami with an extra punch of flavor and a higher fat content, Genoa is your best pick.

If you want a mix of these characteristics, try both! 

In the end, neither salami is necessarily better than the other. They are fairly similar nutritionally. Their main difference is taste and texture. The best salami will be the one you think is the tastiest! 

Genoa Salami vs Hard Salami Nutrition


The nutritional value of these two meats is fairly similar. Hard salami has slightly more calories, fat, protein, and potassium, but the difference is negligible. The sodium content of the two salamis is high; both can contain anywhere from 500 to 800 mg of sodium per serving (27-30 g).

They also contain a high amount of cholesterol. Thus, in terms of health, it’s best to balance consumption of such sausages by pairing them with other nutritional foods when possible. But it’s also okay to just have salami. Maybe just not for breakfast, lunch, and dinner five days in a row. Do what feels best for your body. 

Genoa Salami vs Soppressata

Soppressata is a drier salami with larger sections of fat. Some varieties are spicy. Compared to Genoa, it is drier and more uneven. It’s not as greasy as Genoa salami, plus it’s roughly pressed rather than tightly packed into a casing.

Genoa Salami vs Cooked Salami

Cooked salami, or cotto salami, is a type of sausage that especially has to be refrigerated given that it’s not cured. It’s usually softer and wetter than Genoa salami. In many ways, it more closely resembles lunch meat rather than other salamis. 

Genoa Salami vs Italian Dry Salami


Italian dry salami is a broader name for various dry salamis. Genoa salami, though more greasy than some, is technically a dry Italian salami. 

Genoa Salami vs Calabrese

Calabrese is a medium ground pork salami that often contains paprika and red wine. It can be spicier than Genoa salami due to the addition of red pepper flakes. Spicy calabrese has been compared to pepperoni due to its spice level.

Genoa Salami vs Capicola


Capicola is a dry-cured meat that is made from the neck and shoulder of the pig. It is traditionally wrapped in fennel seed, coriander, black pepper, and anise. It’s not ground up like Genoa salami, it’s sliced.

Genoa Salami vs Finocchiona Salami

Finocchiona, or fennel salami, is just that! It’s characterized by its strong fennel flavor profile, which differs from Genoa’s garlic-forward flavor.


Whether you prefer a tangier salami that packs a punch, such as Genoa, or a milder salami that goes nicely on a sandwich, such as hard salami, both types of salami can be used in different situations.

Now that you know the difference between the two, you can experiment with adding them to your snack or meal rotation. However you want to use them, they’re both great options to satisfy any hankering you have for salami.

What’s your favorite salami? What do you like to eat salami with? Let us know down below!


About the author, Claire

Claire is a writer with a passion for all things food and travel. Based in Brooklyn, New York, she loves to explore and try all the different cuisines the city has to offer. She’s always open to try something new! When she’s not writing or sampling new restaurants, she enjoys streaming the newest TV shows, staying active, and daydreaming about her next trip by scrolling through AirBnB listings.