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Italian Porchetta-Style Pork Shoulder Roast Recipe

This is an ultra-juicy recipe for porchetta roast stuffed with a generous layer of herbs, garlic, and lemon. The recipe is an easier porchetta-style pork shoulder with all the flavor of a more traditional roast but half the work.

A porchetta-style pork roast on a wood cutting board

Right after graduate school Armando and I traveled to Italy on a post-graduation trip abroad.

We arrived tired and weary in Rome and out of idiocy and financial desperation we happened to be staying at what turned out to be a campground in the suburbs of Rome in a town I have diligently tried to erase from my memory.

We fell into what only can be described as our cots that night and arose the next morning starving and disoriented and decided to head out on foot to search for something to eat.

This was not the beautiful Italy we had dreamed about, but rather a town built around The Autostrada—groupings of cinderblock structures basically huddled under the towering roadways

The one golden moment on that dreadful first day was a lunch truck with a beautiful crackly-skinned stuffed pig rotating on a spit. Miraculously, in my horrendous Italian, I was able to order two panini stuffed to overflowing with the juicy, fennel-studded meat.

I think the sandwiches cost something like 2 Euros and I remember handing the guy 20 Euro. He looked at me like I was insane and then while grumbling under his breath had to dig through his own pockets to find enough change, but I didn’t care, by that time I was enveloped in this incredible sandwich.

We went on to have many unbelievably good meals that have inspired my cooking like artichoke angle hair pasta and sausage-stuffed peppers, but I will never forget my first—that crippling good porchetta sandwich.

Recreating this Italian masterpiece at home often feels like deciphering an ancient scroll but fear not, passionate home cooks! I’ve got a simplified recipe that ditches the complexities and uses readily available ingredients, allowing you to bring a taste of Italy to your own table.

So, are you ready to unveil the secrets to a succulent and delightful porchetta roast?

What Is Porchetta?

porchetta roast stuffed with herbs next to rosemary sprigs.

Porchetta (pronounced por-KET-ta) is a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast from Central Italy. It’s a traditional dish that has been enjoyed for centuries, with its origins likely dating back to ancient Roman times.

My recipe streamlines the traditional porchetta by using a boneless pork shoulder roast instead of a whole pig skin. This readily available cut is just as flavorful and easier to find at your local grocery store. We’ve also opted for a rub that captures the essence of Italian flavors – garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes – without requiring hours of marinating.

The process is surprisingly straightforward: butterfly the boneless roast, roll it with aromatics, and roast at a low temperature to juicy perfection.

While this version offers a simplified approach, adventurous foodies can easily customize the recipe. Craving a bolder garlic flavor? Increase the amount in the rub. Want more herbs? Add fresh thyme and fresh sage.

The possibilities are endless, allowing you to tailor this recipe to your personal preferences and explore the world of porchetta flavors.

Here’s What To Expect From This Recipe For Porchetta Roast

Slices of porchetta roast on a pink plate with a fork next to it.
  • Simplified Approach: This recipe uses a readily available boneless pork shoulder roast instead of the traditional whole suckling pig, making it easier to find and prepare.
  • Easy-to-Source Ingredients: Forget scouring specialty stores! This recipe uses common ingredients you can find at most grocery stores.
  • Flavorful Marinade: Capture the essence of Italy with a simple rub packed with garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, and a touch of heat.
  • Customizable: Feeling adventurous? Easily adjust the spice mix to your preferences by adding more garlic or other fresh herbs.
  • Straightforward Process: Butterfly, roll, and roast – achieve juicy perfection with minimal hassle.
  • Taste of Italy: Enjoy a delicious and authentic Italian experience right in your own kitchen.


All the ingredients to make porchetta roast including pork
  • Boneless pork shoulder. Classic porchetta roast has a crispy skin on the outside either from using whole suckling pig or pork belly but we are going with a much easier (but still tasty) cut of pork. You can also use pork butt. Look for one that has a nice layer of fat.
  • Olive oil. Yes this is an Italian dish but I always use California olive oil because it is usually fresher than imported olive oils.
  • Fresh rosemary. Adds authentic Italian flavor, you can used dried rosemary in a pinch.
  • Fresh basil. Add aromatic floral notes and the leaves add moisture to the rub making it easier to spread.
  • Lemon zest. From 2 whole lemons.
  • Garlic cloves. Because it gets blended in the food processor just peel the cloves and smash them.
  • Kosher salt. I always use Morton kosher salt unless otherwise noted.
  • Fennel seeds. A natural with pork.
  • Red pepper flakes. For a tiny touch of heat. Use Calabrian chile flakes for true Italian flavor.
  • Black peppercorns. Freshly ground for seasoning.

When you’re done making this porchetta recipe, try my Vinegar and Spice Baked Baby Back Ribs!

How To Make This Recipe

step one

Butterfly the roast. Prep the pork by making a slice with a sharp knife down the length of the roast but not all the way through. (You can ask your butcher to butterfly the roast for you if you are nervous about this part). Pat dry with paper towels. Cut off additional fat. Place the meat scraps in a small bowl.

The pork roast on a cutting board with a knife next to it.

step two

Make the stuffing. Combine the tablespoon lemon zest, tbsp chopped garlic, tsp salt, and all the stuffing ingredients in a food processor. Grind until it resembles sausage.

The stuffing in the food processor.

step three

Stuff the pork loin. Flip the roast so the fat side is down. Evenly distribute the stuffing on top of the pork, leaving about a 1-inch border.

Pork roast with herb stuffing on top of it

step four

Roll it up. Roll the meat up into a tight cylinder. Wrap with kitchen twine to secure. Rub the outside with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Hands rolling up the pork roast on a wood cutting board

step five

Roast pork. Place the roast on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack or roasting pan. Slow roast until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees f on an instant read thermometer, about 2-3 hr.

pork roast on a wire rack over a roasting pan.

step six.

Slice. Transfer to a large cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let the porchetta rest for 10-15 minutes then cut the tender meat into thin slices.

A pork roast sliced on a wood cutting board

Porchetta-Style Pork Roast FAQ’s

Can I make this ahead? Yes! You can stuff and roll it up to 3 days in advance. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The next day, let the pork shoulder come to room temperature before roasting.

How do I know when it is done? According to the National Pork Board, a pork shoulder roast is ready when the internal temperature is between 140°F-180°F. I like it right in between the two at 160°F so it is nice and juicy but also tender.

What to serve with pork porchetta? It is traditionally served tucked inside a soft roll as a porchetta panino but this Italian pork roast makes a lovely main course for a special dinner, like Easter. Serve with one of my favorite side dishes like lemon-oregano roasted potatoes, easy broccolini, rosemary-fennel focaccia. If you’re looking for a nice cocktail to serve alongside for a festive Easter celebration, check out these 15 Easter cocktails from my sister site, ¡Hola! Jalapeño.

Looking for dessert to round out the meal? Make my Old Fashioned Apple Pie!

Top 5 Most Popular Meaty Mains

  1. Vinegar and Spice Baked Baby Back Ribs
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  4. Double Pork Pork Burgers
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Trust Me You Will Love This Porchetta Recipe

When you make it, let me know what you think. Leave a comment below and share a photo tagging me on Instagram using @katesbestrecipes so that I can see (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating)! Also, sign up for my weekly recipe newsletter so you never miss a thing.

Slices of porchetta roast on a pink plate with a fork next to it.

Porchetta-Style Pork Roast Recipe

Author: Kate
This is ultra-juicy recipe for porchetta roast stuffed with a generous layer of herbs, garlic, and lemon. The recipe is an easier porchetta-style pork shoulder with all the flavor of a more traditional roast with half the work.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 188kcal



  • Butterfly open the pork shoulder, making any additional cuts until the roast is of an even thickness. Trim off the thin pieces of meat on the ends of the pork shoulder and any excess fat to create a rectangular-shaped piece of meat. Ideally you will have about 8 to 10 ounces of meat and fat that you have trimmed off the roast. Cut this trimmed meat into 1-inch pieces.
  • In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the 1/2 cup olive oil, the leaves from 3 sprigs rosemary, the 16 basil leaves, the tablespoon lemon zest, the 3 cloves garlic, the 1 teaspoon salt, the 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, and the 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes. Process to a smooth puree. Add the trimmed meat and pulse until the mixture resembles ground sausage.
  • Place the roast fat-side down on a work surface and evenly distribute the filling over the pork, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides so the filling doesn't fall out when you roll the meat. Press filling into any grooves.
  • Roll up the meat working from one short end to the other, creating a compact cylinder. Using several pieces of butcher's twine, tie the roast both crosswise and lengthwise to secure closed. Rub roast on all sides with the extra 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with the 3 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Push any filling that might have fallen out back into the roast. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while the oven heats.
  • Heat oven to 300°F and place roast on a rack inside a roasting pan or over a baking sheet. Roast until the internal temperature reaches 160°F, about 2 to 3 hours. For extra crispy skin, increase the oven temperature to 450°F for the last 10-15 minutes of roasting, watching closely to prevent burning.
  • Transfer roast to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil. Let rest 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Remove twine and carve into thin slices.


  1. Pork roast: Look for a boneless pork roast that is all one piece with a nice fat layer on the outside. Tell your butcher what you’re making and ask her to cut a new roast if they don’t have one that looks good. 
  2. Tying the roast: You will need 6 long (1 1/2 ft-2 ft) pieces of kitchen twine to tie up the roast. I always go for longer and then trim after it’s been tied. Tie 4 pieces horizontally around the roast to keep tight and one or two vertically to hold all together. 
  3. Make ahead: Assemble the porchetta roast up to 3 days in advance. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  4. Doneness: Use an instant-read thermometer for accurate temperature readings. The porchetta is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.


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