How Long Does Spam Last

SPAM is a well-known canned food product that is widely distributed all around the world. It can be regarded as one of best canned foods to be stockpiled at home due to its affordability, accessibility and versatility, not to mention the taste that some people love (while others, not so much.. But before you stock up and build a pile of SPAM, you should first learn everything there is to know about its shelf life.


In this quick post, we will first talk about a little history of SPAM and then we will answer the question of how long SPAM lasts. We will as well include a list of a few easy SPAM recipes that you can prepare at home. Preppers need to be frugal, after all. 

History of Spam

Spam is a brand of canned pork product which was first introduced by Hormel Foods Corporation in 1937. Its name conspired a belief among many as to SPAM is only the shortened version of ‘spiced ham’, however Hormel claimed that the meaning behind its name is ‘is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives’. In any case, SPAM was significantly used by the military during World War II since there were some teething troubles of getting fresh meat delivered on their front—which is why SPAM became a part of their diet. Since then, SPAM has gained popularity all across the world.

How Long Does Spam Last?

SPAM does not have an expiration date, instead it has a best-by date, but just like any other canned food products, SPAM doesn’t last forever. As Hormel suggests, SPAM should be consumed before the best-by date which is approximately 3 years after its manufacturing date. Nonetheless, it will most likely remain edible past its best-by date as long as the can does not have any damages such as dents, punctures or bulges. But you have to keep in mind that over time, it will lose its flavor quality and nutritional value. Simply put, SPAM should be eaten no longer than 2 or 3 years past its best-by date.

How Long Can Spam Last at Room Temperature?

If you are planning to sit the unopened SPAM at room temperature, keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct heat or sunlight and make sure that the can has no damage. Consequently, SPAM can have an approximate shelf life of 3 to 5 years at room temperature.

If the can seems to have bloated, throw it away as it is an indication that it has gone bad already due to microbial contamination in which the gasses were produced, causing the can to bloat.

How Long Can Spam Last in the Fridge?

If you are planning to refrigerate an opened SPAM, you should first take it out of the can and store it in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. The cold temperature (40 degrees F or below) will help to decrease the rate of the spreading bacterial growth on the SPAM but then again, its quality will degrade over time. Refrigerated SPAM can have an approximate shelf life of 2 to 5 years.


If by any chance you left an opened SPAM in your kitchen pantry for more than 2 hours, you should no longer eat it and just throw it away. Bacteria grow at a faster rate when a room temperature is set to 40 to 140 degrees F. By the time you notice the SPAM after 2 hours or more, there are greater chances that it is already contaminated with bacteria.

What Happens if You Eat Old Spam?

You do not have to worry if you happen to eat an old SPAM or way past its best-by date since in most cases, there are no major side-effects. Just make sure the can is perfectly intact and has no dents or bloated spots. But you will be able to recognize that distinct unpleasant smell & taste if the SPAM has spoiled. But so long as it’s stored correctly, you will notice the change in appearance, color and texture, followed by a smell that isn’t super appetizing. Other than that, it’s fine to eat.

SPAM Recipes

Aside from the traditional method of cooking SPAM, have you ever tried it out in a different approach? Well, SPAM can definitely be prepared and turned into something unique of a dish or be simply added to other recipes in your cookbook. By performing such cooking experiments with SPAM, not only will you learn a couple of good recipes SPAM can go with but also you will be able to display extensive usage of SPAM, presenting its versatility while further complementing the overall taste of the original dish.

Here’s a list of a few recipes which you can use SPAM with, these might come in handy when SHTF and you find yourself with SPAM as part of your diet.


Spam Sandwich

Perhaps, the easiest kind of food you can reinvent with SPAM is sandwiches. You can stuff the SPAM straight out of the can between the two sliced breads and you can start to enjoy eating it. But of course, some might prefer eating a SPAM sandwich that looks rather delightful than just plain ordinary. If you are one, then you can begin with frying and then add grilled cheese or sauce on the top and whatever dressings that you find pleasing to your taste.


Spam Burger

Just like sandwiches, you can also reinvent burgers with the use of SPAM. You can apply the same methods how old-style burgers are made but instead of beef patties, you will be using SPAM. You can begin with throwing in some strips of bacon, fresh lettuce leaves, thin-sliced tomatoes and red onions and sauces like mayonnaise and tomato ketchup—grilled pineapple will definitely expand your SPAM burger’s flavor profile, making it a Hawaiian version.


Spam “Musubi”

SPAM can be squeezed in as a filling if you are ever familiar with some Asian dishes such as Japanese onigiri or Korean budae jjigae. Musubi on the other hand, is a popular snack in Hawaii, taking the form of traditional sushi. You can begin with slicing the SPAM, whether fried or not, lengthwise into strips and you can proceed rolling them in a dry seaweed or “nori” as some would call it.


Spam Tacos

SPAM can be a perfect alternative to a pound of ground lean pork or beef when it comes to tacos. Begin with cutting the SPAM into small cubes and sprinkle them over your tortilla corn shells with some freshly chopped onions and tomatoes, shredded lettuce leaves and cheddar cheese and that’s it. We are not including salsa sauce in making this dish since it does not go well with SPAM in terms of taste, unlike with ground pork or beef.


Spam Mac & Cheese

Do you imagine pairing SPAM with mac & cheese? If you don’t think they will work out, you’re wrong. Additionally, this is a much easier and quicker recipe than most homemade mac & cheese recipes we’ve ever known.  You only need to cut the fried SPAM into small cubes and sprinkle them over your mac & cheese.


Fried Rice & Spam

Fried rice is a common dish which you can definitely blend your SPAM into, supplementing an appropriate level of saltiness to your rice—a perfect alternative to bacon strips. Begin with cutting your fried SPAM into cubes and you can sprinkle them along with minced garlic, diced carrots, eggs, corn, peas, and soy sauce on your rice. Some prefer including kimchi to their SPAM fried rice, adding a mild spicy kick to the flavor. 

Wrapping Up Our Lessons about SPAM

As we have learned, SPAM is a staple canned food product to be stockpiled in our household, bearing its affordability, accessibility and versatility in mind. Preppers shouldn’t ignore SPAM when stocking up on an emergency food supply- there’s lots of marketing out there, but SPAM is a favorite that we’ve all known about for years. And for good reason. 


And aside from the short list of SPAM recipes we have included here, there are plenty of other recipes with SPAM out there which are all definitely worth trying out.