What Does Spam Taste Like? Taste Profile, Flavors, And Recipes

Have you found a word for the taste of spam? If you don’t know the source meat of this canned product, you could mistake it for something else. This meat looks like sausages, but it doesn’t taste much like the popular types of sausages.

Spam has a unique taste that sets it apart from other lunch meats. Some people find this meat very delicious, and others do not find it appetizing. Moreover, there are about 15 different spam flavors and each has a unique taste from the rest.

Ahead, I’ll help you put a name to the taste of spam and the different flavors, how different it is from other types of meat, and the best spam recipes you should try.

What is spam?

spam - millenora

Spam is the brand name for a canned meat product commonly eaten in the United States. It is a rectangular can of meat made from pork shoulder, ham, salt, sugar, and water. In the can is a fatty and meaty block of meat and a gelatinous goop.

Different people give different meanings for spam. Hormel Foods Corporation says SPAM means Shoulder of Pork and Ham or Salty Processed Canned Pork and Ham. Some dictionaries say spam means spice and ham.

Spam was first introduced in 1937 by Hormel Foods Corporation. This was around the end of the Great Depression, and it spanned into the World War II era up until now. It gained popularity because it was inexpensive and had a long shelf life.

Today, spam is widely eaten across the world with Hawaii having the highest consumption. It is also seen on the menus of restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King.

Some people use it as a substitute for bacon or ham in sandwiches and some other dishes. In Asian cuisine, spam is eaten with rice or used in sushi rolls.

What does spam taste like?

Spam tastes sweet, salty, and savory. If you have tasted ham, you can compare it with spam. The taste of spam is a cross between ham and bacon.

However, its smooth texture is more comparable to bologna or salami. It is also okay to compare the texture of spam as spongy and moist. This is what makes it a perfect pair for dips.

What does fried spam taste like?

Frying spam makes it crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. These two textures complement each other and make the salty and savory taste more enjoyable. If you are trying spam for the first time, fried spam should be your first stop.

What does spam musubi taste like?

Spam musubi is delicious and does not have the original “spam” taste. This is because salty and savory spam is complemented with rice, seaweed, soy sauce, and the other ingredients that makeup musubi.

Does spam taste like pork?

Spam tastes like pork because it is pork and many other ingredients. Ham comes from the hind leg of a pig.

Spam flavors

Spam classic

This spam flavor is original spam without any other ingredients. The taste is purely a cross between ham and bacon but fattier. It is very salty and has a rich gelatinous goop around the block of meat.

Spam chorizo

This spam flavor is very delicious and one of the most preferred flavors. It tastes a lot like sausages and is best served fried. This spam flavor tastes great because of the chorizo seasoning. Other than that, it is a lot like the classic.

Spam hot & spicy

If you have never had the spam flavor, take a hint by imagining a kick of spice with the natural salty and fatty pork taste of spam classic. However, you may not like it if you are no fan of heat.

Also, the heat tends to overpower all other flavors in the block of meat. Not everyone has the nerve for this.

Spam teriyaki

Spam teriyaki has a rich flavor, the most flavorful of all flavors of spam. It is a sweet and savory block of moist meat.

This spam is good for making Asian meals such as spam musubi. You can also add it to rice, especially when you do not want to add extra sauce to your meal.

Spam less sodium

Spam less sodium is a healthier alternative to spam classic because it contains 25% less salt and inherently sodium. It retains all other spam flavors but the saltiness. If you love spam but cannot withstand the extreme saltiness, you can opt for this flavor.

Spam lite

On the list of healthy spam alternatives is spam lite. It contains less pork fat and sodium. Its taste is just like the spam classic but with a milder flavor because it also contains fewer ingredients.

Spam hickory smoke

This spam flavor tastes like smoked pork, and it is not as salty as the classic. It has a balance of ingredients – pork, smoke, and salt, which makes it taste like pork shoulder that has been left to slow cook on low heat in a smoker.

Many people love this flavor because it combines a natural smoky flavor, mild spiciness, and sharp tanginess.

Spam oven-roasted turkey

Here’s a unique spam flavor. It doesn’t contain any pork product, so it tastes nothing like pork. However, it uses every other typical spam ingredient to give it the signature spam texture and mouthfeel.

Spam turkey is the healthiest spam variety. Turkey is a low-fat poultry meat with less fat, cholesterol, and calories. This sets it apart from the other spam flavors.

Spam with real Hormel bacon

Spam with real Hormel bacon does not taste like bacon. The taste is more of a combination of spam and bacon, with the spam flavor being the dominant one.

You won’t taste bacon in it except you intentionally look for it. If you prefer ham to bacon, you will love this variety.

Spam maple flavored

Spam maple tastes like a combination of spam hickory smoke with sweet notes. The extra sweetness from maple syrup makes the salty, savory, and porky tastes feel better. There is a good balance between all tastes so neither the spam or maple tastes are lost.

Spam jalapeño

Spam jalapeño is a spicy spam flavor like Hot and Spicy spam, but it is spicier and more delicious.

The spicy taste is more dominant and is seen as little green speckles of fresh jalapeño peppers. The peppery and salty flavors of this spam are in a perfect blend to make it delicious.

Spam tocino

This is a combination of spam and Tocino seasoning. Spam Tocino tastes like jerky but still has the original soft and moist spam texture. It boasts a combination of sweet, smoky, and peppery flavors. It also has hints of brown sugar and paprika.

Spam black pepper

Spam black pepper is another spicy spam flavor. Think of it as spam bacon with black pepper for spice. It is also comparable to spam hickory smoke.

Spam with cheese

Most people think this spam with cheese flavor is unnecessary because you can create this by topping your slab of spam with melted cheese.

Perhaps it’s because they do not like the type of cheese used. If you don’t find this flavor delicious, you can recreate it with your choice of cheese.

Spam garlic

This is one of the weirdest spam flavors. Salt, pork, and garlic are not a great combination. It is even worse if you don’t like the smell of garlic. But if you do, you might like this.

Best spam recipes

Spam musubi

what does spam musubi taste like - millenora

Spam musubi is one of the most popular spam recipes. It is native to and popularly eaten in Hawaii as a snack. Cut the spam lengthwise and set it aside. Fill the empty spam cans with rice so it takes a cake-like shape.

Turn the rice can upside down on a nori sheet. Sprinkle furikake over the rice, top with spam, and brush with teriyaki sauce. Firmly wrap the sheet over the rice, dampen one end of the nori sheet, and seal.   

Pan-fried spam

pan-fried spam - millenora

This is easy to make for breakfast, a midday snack, a side, or just something to munch on. You can cut the spam into thin slices or not. Cook on both sides in a hot skillet until it is golden brown. Serve with toast for breakfast or rice for lunch.

If you do not want extra fat, you can grill spam instead. The char marks and smoky flavor can also enhance the flavor and taste of spam.

Spam breakfast tacos

spam tacos - millenora

Stir-fry spam in olive oil with taco seasoning and a spice-like cumin. Make the eggs and beans separately too. Fill the tortilla wraps with spam, eggs, and beans, and serve with your favorite hot sauce. This is perfect for a filling Saturday breakfast.

Fried rice with spam

fried rice with spam - millenora

Spam is a meat substitute and will work perfectly with fried rice. Cut it into cubes and add to the fried rice. Stir and cook to your desired temperature.

Spam omelet

spam and egg omelet - millenora

Spam in an omelet with shredded cheese is a perfect breakfast option. However, please do not make it a daily meal because of the high sodium content in spam. Also, the entire dish is loaded with calories. You don’t want to raise your calorie level with this.

Spam burger

spam burger - millenora

Just like in a hamburger, spam is the meat in a spam burger, and it is cut in a square shape instead of the round shape of a ham.

Place the slice of spam on a bun, top with cheese, and add the other bun on top. Serve for breakfast or midday snack.


Is spam healthy?

While spam is delicious and makes a great meat substitute, it is not a healthy meat choice. Spam is high in calories, sodium, and artificial sugars. They make it unhealthy and rather harmful to health when consumed in excess.

You do not have to stay off spam completely. Eat it in moderate portions every other day rather than make it a daily go-to.

What does spam turkey taste like?

Turkey spam is 100% white, lean turkey. It also contains other ingredients like turkey broth, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, and modified potato starch. It tastes like deli turkey, with a lot of similarities with the original pork-based spam – salty and savory.

Does spam taste like sausages?

Spam has a similar texture to bologna and sausage patties. Its sweet, salty, and savory, flavor is comparable with that of hot dog and bacon. But if you have had all three before, you will be able to tell the difference.  


Spam is worth trying for a culinary adventure or if you are not a pork stranger. If you also appreciate the taste of bacon, you may like spam.

Its texture is a lot like bologna. So, if you like this sausage, you might like spam. However, it is a matter of personal preference.

While you can eat spam raw, directly from the can, it will be best if you cook it, especially if you are eating spam for the first time. You can pan-fry or grill spam and eat it with rice or noodles. You can also make spam musubi if you eventually fall in love with it.

However, you must remember that it is not the best meat for your diet, and here’s why.

Thanks for reading.