best spam recipe ideas
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Spam! Spreadable meat in a can. Spoonable ham? Whatever it stands for, we love it, and there’s always at least one can in the pantry. These are some of the best Spam recipe ideas to convert skeptics, or in case you’re not sure how to use it (there’s not really a wrong way).

What Is Spam, Anyway?

While some say Spam stands for “Special Processed American Meat,” the name is actually a simple contraction of spiced ham.

Spam contains just six ingredients: pork shoulder, ham, salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate (a common preservative also found in hot dogs, bacon, salami, and beef jerky). No, it’s not a health food, but once in a while, even processed foods deserve their time to shine.

Spam Classic (2-pack), $5.46 from Walmart

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A classic ingredient in many Hawaiian and Asian dishes, it’s a fail-safe when you’ve got nothing in the fridge.

These days, it’s available in countless flavors (though Pumpkin Spice Spam hasn’t come back for 2020), but we say keep the classic in your cupboard for maximum versatility. Lower sodium is probably best.

The Best Spam Recipes

Check out these nine recipes for Spam that you didn’t know would actually be as mouthwatering as they are easy to get on the table.

1. Spam and Pineapple Fried Rice

Cold rice (preferably day-old) works best for this recipe, and for fried rice in general. Sear the Spam cubes over medium-high heat until slightly caramelized. Make sure not to overcook the eggs and throw in any seasonably appropriate vegetables you have on hand. Get the Spam and Pineapple Fried Rice recipe.

2. Bacon Wrapped Spam Bites

Pork wrapped in pork? Sounds good to me. These bacon-wrapped Spam bites are easy to make on the grill and a quick protein hit that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Get the Bacon Wrapped Spam Bites recipe.

3. Spam Musubi

Spam musubi means serious business. Slice the Spam in thick slices (only 7-8 per can) and sear in the soy sauce-sugar mix over medium heat. Fry until crisp, then wrap up in nori with perfectly seasoned suhsi rice. Close your eyes when you take a bite and you could be in Hawaii. Get the Spam Musubi recipe.

Luncheon Meat Slicer and Musubi Maker Press Set, $21.90 from Amazon

If you make a lot of musubi, these tools make it easier.
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4. Spam Fries

While it sounds like a truly bizarre combination, Spam fries with key lime dip depends on the flavor juxtaposition of the key lime-based aioli mixed with the expertly fried slices of salty, savory Spam. But they’re equally delicious with simple Sriracha mayo or whatever other dipping sauce you love. And for extra crunch, bread your Spam strips before frying them!

5. Hong Kong Style Spam and Egg Macaroni Soup

This soup is so simple and delicious you can hardly call it a recipe. Pan fry cubes of Spam, fry an egg, and boil cooked macaroni, peas, corn, chicken broth, soy sauce, and Spam together. Season with sesame oil and top with a fried egg. Get the Hong Kong Style Spam and Egg Macaroni Soup recipe.

6. Spicy Caramelized Spam and Scallion Pasta

Seared cubes of Spam make a fine mix-in for your favorite mac and cheese recipe, but when you when to get more refined, try this Spicy Caramelized Spam and Scallion Pasta recipe. Spam, sugar, chile flakes, and sesame oil are cooked together and then added to perfectly cooked al dente pasta, seasoned with butter, salt, pepper, and scallions.

7. Spam Ramen

Spam ramen is a great improvisation that you can make when you only have a few ingredients on hand. Supplement with fresh vegetables, aromatics like ginger, thyme, and sesame oil, and let your imagination go wild. Get the Spam Ramen recipe.

Related Reading: 9 Ways to Upgrade Instant Ramen

8. Spam Breakfast Sandwich

This is not one recipe, this is a delicious idea you can apply to many recipes: Replace your bacon, Canadian bacon, ham, or other breakfast meat with Spam that you’ve fried in a pan. Check out our breakfast sandwich recipe ideas for some starting points, or just pile on whatever you want, from cheese to onions and peppers—but don’t forget the egg (scrambled or fried)! The choice of bread is also up to you: biscuit, brioche, English muffin, waffles

9. Kimchi and Spam Bokkeumbap

kimchi fried rice recipe with bacon

Hana Asbrink

Cooked rice, kimchi, fresh vegetables, and Spam come together for this delicious Korean take on fried rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and top with a fried egg (in case you couldn’t tell, Spam and eggs are perfect partners in pretty much any dish). Get the Kimchi and Spam Bokkeumbap recipe.

What Else to Keep on Hand

The Ultimate Guide to Keeping a Pantry Like a Pro

Caitlin M. O’Shaughnessy wrote the original version of this story in 2015. It has been updated with additional images, links, and text.

Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy is a New York City–based food writer and editor at Penguin who has worked on and recipe-tested several cookbooks. She is currently in search of NYC’s best ramen, and is one of the few people who admit to disliking brunch.
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