slices of raw peameal bacon on a cutting board


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Peameal Bacon is a Canadian treasure that is delicious, lean, and IMHO, something that everyone should try! It’s the perfect breakfast food, goes great with eggs, or in a sandwich and the best part is that it’s pretty dang easy to make yourself at home!

Alright, y’all. I have a bit of a confession to make. So, as you may already know by reading some of my blog posts, I moved from Toronto to BC just about 3 and a half years ago now. It’s no secret that I absolutely love it here and that it’s much more my vibe than Toronto ever was.

So much so that I kid you not, the boyfriend and I have to literally pinch ourselves just driving down the street sometimes because of how beautiful it is. I really do love everything about Vancouver Island. Well, almost everything. And here’s where the confession comes in.

raw slices of peameal bacon on a plate, more in the background with buns

You see, there is ONE thing I really don’t like about living here. And that one thing?! I can’t find a lot of the food I grew up eating in Toronto here in BC! That means no beef patties or jerk chicken. Barely any good Chinese food. Heck, hardly any Ethnic food at all… and, surprisingly, no peameal bacon! I mean, WHAT?! No peameal bacon on this side of Canada?! Sometimes it feels like I moved to another country, not province!

Having worked right across the street from the iconic St. Lawrence Market in the heart of downtown Toronto for several years, the good ol’ peameal bacon sandwich just kinda became my jam. We had good food at the restaurant I worked at, don’t get me wrong, but I just had to make it a point to personally inform every tourist I’ve ever served that one of the greatest sandwiches of all time lives directly across the street.

The funny part about the iconic peameal bacon sandwich, though, is that it’s literally just peameal bacon and bread. Well, specifically a kaiser (ok, now we’re talkin’). You can add cheese if you want and you definitely can’t go wrong with just hot sauce and mustard. But my point is that you don’t need to pile it high with every topping under the sun in order for it to be a sandwich you dream about for days. I know, weird coming from me.

That’s just the thing about peameal bacon. It’s so simple to both eat and make and once you try it, you’re going to wonder why it’s not more of a worldwide thing. Like, come on people!!!


Peameal bacon, also known as “Canadian bacon” in some regions, is a type of bacon that comes from pork loin, a lean cut of meat. Although, coming from a Canadian, I’ve never actually called it Canadian bacon. I think the people who are unfamiliar with it are the ones who really call it that, lol.

The distinguishing feature of peameal bacon is its coating, which is traditionally made from ground yellow peas or, more commonly, cornmeal. The name “peameal” originated from the historical practice of rolling the cured pork loin in ground yellow peas for preservation. Cool, huh? However, over time, the use of cornmeal became more prevalent and that’s what you’ll see on most slices of peameal bacon today.

hand holding a slice of cooked peameal bacon


ingredients for peameal bacon - pork loin, yellow cornmeal, water, salt, star anise, mustard seed, prague powder#1, galic, lemon, maple syrup, bay leaves, whole cloves
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Most of the ingredients you see here make up the brine for the peameal bacon giving it the perfect infusion of flavour. There might be some you’ve never seen or heard of before (I’m looking at you, prague powder #1). But don’t worry, they’re all easy to find and should be available at most local grocery stores. Let’s discuss them in a little bit more detail down below.

hand stirring liquid in a pot with peppercorns, lemon wedges and bay leaves
  • Pork Loin: The main ingredient, usually a lean cut from the pork loin. You can cut your own 4 pound piece out of a whole piece of pork loin, ask your butcher to do it for you, or buy one already precut in a package in the meat department at the grocery store. It’s the meat that will be cured and then coated in cornmeal.

  • Water: Used in the curing process to create a brine. This helps to preserve the meat and infuse it with flavour.

  • Maple Syrup: Adds sweetness to the brine and contributes to the flavour profile of the bacon. Maple syrup imparts a distinctive Canadian touch but feel free to use brown sugar instead if you prefer.

  • Pickling Salt: A pure salt without additives like iodine or anti-caking agents. It’s used in curing to draw moisture out of the meat, which helps with preservation. You can find pickling salt in the spice isle of most grocery stores.

  • Prague Powder #1: Also known as pink curing salt or Instacure #1. It contains sodium nitrite, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria and gives the bacon its characteristic pink color. This one might be a little hard to find depending on where you live. I found mine at a sporting goods/camping store. However, my butcher also had some. Don’t skip it.

  • Mustard Seed: Adds a mild, slightly tangy flavour to the bacon. It’s a common spice in traditional bacon recipes.

  • Whole Cloves: These aromatic flower buds add a warm, sweet, and slightly bitter flavour to the bacon.

  • Garlic: Provides a savoury and pungent flavour to the bacon. It’s a common ingredient in cured meat recipes for its aromatic qualities. Therefore, fresh garlic works best in this recipe. We keep the cloves whole and smash them to infuse their flavour into the brine.

  • Star Anise: Imparts a licorice-like flavour to the bacon, adding complexity to the taste.

  • Black Peppercorns: Contribute a bit of heat and a peppery flavour to this peameal bacon recipe. Peppercorns are a classic spice in bacon recipes such as this one.

  • Bay Leaves: Add a subtle, earthy flavour to the brine.

  • Lemon: The acidity of lemon juice can help balance the sweetness and richness of the other ingredients. It also adds a bright, citrusy note to the bacon.

  • Yellow Cornmeal: Used as a coating for the bacon. After cooking the bacon, it adds a crispy texture. The cornmeal also contributes to the unique appearance and iconic look of peameal bacon. It really sets it apart from other styles of bacon!
whole slab of peameal bacon on a cutting board


hand holding a raw slice of peameal bacon on its side over a plate with more

You can find full instructions for how to make your own homemade peameal bacon in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Use fresh and good quality ingredients. Start with a high-quality pork loin. Choose pure and fresh spices for the best flavour.

  • Use accurate measurements. Follow the recipe and measure ingredients accurately, especially when it comes to curing agents like Prague Powder #1. Precision is crucial for both safety and flavour. EXTRA TIP: Follow food safety guidelines, especially when working with curing agents. Be aware of the risks with handling Prague Powder #1 and ensure you use it in the correct way.

  • Try to get a pork loin with an even thickness. This ensures that the bacon cures evenly and cooks uniformly. EXTRA TIP: Be sure to trim off any excess or unneeded fat before beginning.

  • Don’t rush the curing process. Follow the recommended curing time in the recipe (5 whole days). This allows the flavours to develop and ensures proper preservation of the meat. EXTRA TIP: During the curing process, keep the pork loin in a cold environment, preferably in the refrigerator. This helps maintain food safety and slow down the curing process.

  • While curing, turn the pork loin regularly to ensure even distribution of the brine. Massaging the meat can help the flavors penetrate more effectively. EXTRA TIP: Make sure the pork loin is submerged in the brine AT ALL TIMES.

  • After brining, be sure to pat the pork loin dry with clean paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This contributes to both the quality and texture of your homemade peameal bacon.

  • When rolling the cured pork loin in cornmeal, make sure it’s well and evenly coated on all sides. Use your hands to press it into the meat. The cornmeal provides a unique texture and helps create a flavourful crust when cooked. EXTRA TIP: The best way to coat the pork loin, I find, is by spreading some cornmeal out into the bottom of a dish big enough to fit it. Pouring some more cornmeal on top and then using my hands to spread it all over the surface and sides of the loin.

  • After the curing and coating process is complete, chill the bacon for at least an hour before slicing. This makes it easier to achieve thin, even slices. EXTRA TIP: You can control how thick or thin you want your slices. However, aim for slices that are approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch for best results. They will cook more quickly and evenly, allowing the cornmeal coating to become crispy without overcooking the interior.

    EXTRA EXTRA TIP: Do yourself a favour and use a sharp knife for your best chance at getting clean and consistent slices.
4 slices of cooked peameal bacon on a plate, more stacked on a cutting board in the background

The term “peameal” in peameal bacon refers to the historical practice of rolling the cured pork loin in ground yellow peas. Originally, the pork loin was coated in a mixture of ground yellow peas to help preserve the meat and enhance its shelf life. This method of preservation was particularly common in 19th-century England.

Over time, as people migrated to different regions, culinary traditions evolved. In Canada, specifically in Toronto, peameal bacon became associated with a unique preparation method. Instead of using ground peas, the practice of rolling the cured pork loin in cornmeal became prevalent. The cornmeal served a similar purpose, providing a protective coating for the meat and adding a distinct texture and flavour when cooked.


The terms “Peameal Bacon” and “Canadian Bacon” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there can be some subtle differences in meaning. In general, both terms refer to a type of bacon that comes from pork loin, but the preparation and curing process can vary.

Peameal bacon specifically refers to pork loin that is wet-cured and typically rolled in cornmeal. While Canadian bacon may be wet-cured, dry-cured, or even smoked. In some regions, Canadian bacon is the same thing as peameal bacon. However, in other areas, it might refer to a lean, smoked pork loin that is more similar to back bacon.


Generally, peameal bacon tends to be leaner than traditional streaky bacon. Pork loin, the primary cut used in peameal bacon, is naturally lower in fat compared to pork belly, which is used to make traditional bacon. Traditional bacon is known for its higher fat content. Due to its leaner nature, peameal bacon may have fewer calories than traditional bacon. However, you can totally enjoy both peameal bacon and regular bacon as part of a good balanced diet!


Yes, you need to cook peameal bacon before you eat it. While it undergoes a curing process that helps preserve the meat, it is not fully cooked during this stage. Cooking is necessary to ensure the bacon reaches a safe internal temperature and to achieve the desired texture and flavour.


Homemade peameal bacon can typically last for about 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator when stored properly in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If you want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze it for up to 1 to 2 months. Just make sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating or consuming. Always use your best judgment and discard it if you notice any signs of spoilage such as an off smell or slimy texture.

4 slices of raw peameal bacon on a plate











slices of raw peameal bacon on a cutting board


Yield: ~20 Slices
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Brine Time: 5 days
Total Time: 5 days 1 hour 45 minutes

Peameal Bacon is a Canadian treasure that is delicious, lean and IMHO, should be tried by all! It's the perfect breakfast food, goes great with eggs or in a sandwich and the best part is that it's pretty dang easy to make yourself at home!


  • 1 Whole Pork Loin, ~4 lbs, excess fat trimmed
  • 12 cups Cold Water
  • 1 cup Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Pickling Salt
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, smashed
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 2 tbsp Mustard Seed
  • 2 tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 2 tsp Prague Powder #1 Cure
  • 1 Lemon, sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup Yellow Cornmeal


  1. Pour half the water into a pot and then add all of the remaining ingredients (except the other half of the water). Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat, pour in the remaining water, and stir thoroughly to blend. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
    black peppercorn, bay leaves, lemon, mustard seed broth in a pot
    pot of liquid with star anise, lemon wedges, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves
    liquid in a pot with lemon wedges, peppercorns, bay leaves and star anise
  2. Place the pork loin into an extra large ziploc bag and then pour in the cooled brine. Seal the bag (be sure to push out any air), put it in a large dish (in case of any potential leaks) and then into the fridge. Make sure the pork loin is fully submerged in the brine at all times. Brine it there for 5 days, going in each day to turn the bag to ensure even distribution of the brine.
    raw whole pork loin in a ziploc bag
    raw whole pork loin in brine in a ziploc bag
    raw whole pork loin in brine in a ziploc bag
  3. After 5 days, discard the brine. Rinse the pork loin with cold water to ensure there are no remaining seeds or peppercorns stuck to it. Then, use clean paper towel to it pat dry and remove any excess moisture.
    hand with a paper towel patting a pork loin down
  4. Pour half the cornmeal onto a baking sheet or a dish big enough to fit the pork loin. Roll it in the cornmeal, using your hands to press it down and evenly coat it on all sides. Carefully wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up before slicing and cooking.
    pork loin covered in yellow cornmeal on a baking sheet
    pork loin wrapped in yellow cornmeal wrapped in siran wrap
    peameal bacon slices and whole loin on a cutting board
  5. There are several delicious ways to cook peameal bacon. One of my favourites is simply searing it in a pan with some oil over medium heat until browned on both sides and cooked through.
    two slices of raw peameal bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet
    2 slices of peameal bacon cooking in a cast iron skillet


You can freeze peameal bacon slices for up to 4 months.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 114Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 7g

Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.

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