What Does Spam Taste Like?

Spam, the meat that comes in a bright blue can. While especially popular in Hawaii, in other parts of the world, Spam is much less revered. 

A cooked pork product in a can, Spam mostly tastes like salty ham. It does have a slight spiciness to it as well. In addition to original Spam, there are multiple other flavors to enjoy if you dare.

One of the things people tend to find off putting about Spam is removing it from the can. When it comes out, it will be covered in a thin, gooey, gelatinous substance. It’s edible and flavorful, but somewhat unpleasant to look at and touch.

Already cooked in the tin, you can eat Spam directly out of the can. It will taste somewhat differently depending on whether you choose to heat or, or eat it cold.

Heated Spam

Spam is most commonly cooked in a frying pan. This adds nice crispy edges and a charred flavor. 

Spam has a smooth and somewhat spongy texture. This makes it easy to cut Spam into slices, dice it into cubes, or produce any shape you desire.

Common ways to eat it fried include on eggs, in fried rice, and as a burger.

Cold Spam

While it’s perfectly fine to eat Spam directly out of the can, it doesn’t taste quite as good cold. Cold Spam out of the can is a little slimy in texture. It’s also fairly soft and easy to dig a spoon into.

Without heating it up, Spam tastes more like a very salty, gelatinous soft ham. Its texture is fairly unappealing and often why people choose to heat their Spam.

Flavors of Spam

There are over a dozen different flavors of Spam. We won’t go over all of them, but let’s just discuss a few of the better flavors. And maybe a couple of the worst as well.


Tocino is supposed to have a sweet bacon flavor. However, it tends to taste more like glazed ham than bacon. 

That said, it’s a nice flavor that’s fairly sweet due to the caramelization after cooking. It’s not overly sweet, but just enough to be enjoyable.

Hickory Smoke

In this flavor, the Spam is somewhat sweeter than it is salty. In addition, it has a nice smoky flavor that blends well with the sweetness of the pork.

Black Pepper

Here, the Spam has a nice spicy bite to it. This is also good if you don’t like the taste of Spam because you taste more spicy pepper than pork. It’s a little overwhelming but in a good way.

One of the issues with this flavor though is that the pepper is not distributed evenly. Some bites are all pepper and others have much less. However, even the lightly peppered bites are still spicy.

Garlic Spam

While it sounds good in theory, this flavor is probably closer to the bottom part of the list. Even for garlic lovers, this is intense.

In addition to the overwhelming garlic flavor and smell, the texture does not really allow it to be heated up. It just kind of dissolves into a liquid. This doesn’t make it great for adding to other ingredients.

However, if you choose not to heat it up its texture stays together in the can. But it has a different texture than the original Spam, it’s much softer.

Spam With Cheese

Another potential miss is Spam with Cheese. Here small pieces of cheese are added to the pork. However, they are very small and very sparse.

In addition to the lack of cheese, the cheese that is used doesn’t melt well. So when the Spam is heated, the cheese turns watery and makes it difficult to crisp in the pan.

Spam Teriyaki

The problem with the Spam Teriyaki is that it’s good, but doesn’t taste much like teriyaki sauce. Mostly it just tastes like Spam glazed with a sugary soy sauce. It’s a good flavor, but it’s not teriyaki. Talking about teriyaki sauce, you can use the plum sauce as well.

Another problem is, similar to the Garlic Spam, it’s difficult to heat properly. When you try to fry it, it’s very greasy and tends to crumble and fall apart.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Spam is pork that tastes like ham and is very salty and slightly spicy. It has a somewhat spongy texture that is soft and easy to slice.

If you like the taste of Spam, you’ll want to get the original flavor. Fry it in a pan and enjoy the slightly charred flavor.

However, if you’re looking for something a little different, there are many flavors of Spam to choose from. If you want something sweeter, try Spam Teriyaki. For something spicier, look for Black Pepper Spam.