How Long Does Spam Last In The Fridge? [Opened & Unopened]

Believe it or not, spam is used in several recipes that can be found online. If you want to use spam for a recipe, you will want to know how long it will last when stored in the fridge. Let's take a look at the recommended storage times for spam.

Instead of having an expiration date, spam has a "best by" date. Spam can be stored in the fridge for three years or longer when unopened. When opened, spam can last for up to a week in the refrigerator when properly stored.

When storing spam or any meat, you want to ensure it's stored properly. In this article, we will take a closer look at how long spam lasts. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about spam, so read on!

How Long Does Spam Last When Refrigerated?

Open refrigerator full of juice and fresh vegetables in kitchen

Since spam is made with preservatives, it can last longer than fresh meats that can be bought at a deli. Nonetheless, you still need to be aware of the shelf life of spam to ensure what you are eating is safe.

When spam is purchased, it won't have an expiration date on the can. Instead, you will see a "best by" date, which means you should consume it by this date to get the best flavor. Typically, the "best by" date is three years after the manufactured date.

So, you can choose to put the unopened can of spam in the fridge so it will stay fresh. However, storing spam in a cool, dry place is sufficient. If the can has been stored for a few years, it's best to check the meat for spoilage before consuming it.

If you have opened the can and need to store it in the refrigerator, then it can last up to a week. However, you need to ensure that the spam is stored properly in an airtight container. If the spam isn't stored properly and the air is able to make contact with it, then it could spoil quicker.

After 3-4 days, it's worth checking the spam to see if there are any signs of spoilage. How it looks, smells, and tastes are all telltale signs of spoilage. If you notice a foul smell, see mold, or notice that the taste is off, then it's best to toss it.

If you don't plan on consuming the spam within a week, then freezing it is a viable option. Remove the spam from its original can and place it in an airtight freezer bag. When stored in the freezer, the spam should last 3 months or longer.

Why Does Spam Last So Long?

Shoppers hand holding a can of SPAM brand canned meat

One of the main preservatives in spam is sodium nitrate. Sodium nitrate helps keep bacteria from developing in the meat. This is why fresh meat has a short shelf life—it doesn't contain any preservatives.

While preservatives are great for extending the shelf life of food, they can cause health problems when consumed in large amounts. If you can, mitigate the amount of spam and other processed foods you consume, and opt for fresh, natural ingredients.

How Do You Know Spam Is Bad?

Hot sandwich with asparagus and luncheon meat, How Long Does Spam Last In The Fridge [Opened & Unopened]

We touched on the signs of spam spoilage earlier, but let's take a closer look at the warning signs that your spam is bad.

Slimy Texture

When spam spoils, it can develop a slimy texture which is a sign of bacteria growth. It's pretty easy to spot when you take it out of its container.


Mold is an obvious sign a food product has spoiled. It's common to spot, as you will see grey, green, or black spots. Some will cut off the moldy part and eat the rest, but it's best to throw it all away to avoid getting sick.

Foul Smells

If spam has been stored for too long, a foul smell will emit from the meat. Foul smells like this are a sure sign that your food is spoiled.

Odd Taste

If you have eaten spam enough to know what it tastes like out of the can, then you will be able to tell when it tastes off. An off taste can be a sign that the food is on its way out. While you may not get sick, it's still better to take caution and throw it away.

Is Spam Already Cooked?

Spam stands for "Specialized Processed American Meat" and is a combination of cooked meats that are pressed together. This means that spam takes minimal preparation in order to be consumed.

Consuming spam can be as easy as opening the can and taking a bite. However, there are a variety of recipes that call for spam. In Hawaii, spam is used in musubi, which is a Hawaiian-style sushi roll.

Even though spam is already cooked, it can be reheated and enjoyed. For example, you can grill spam on a barbecue or skillet to give it a crispy texture. You can then serve it will eggs and hashbrowns or put it in a sandwich.

Some would rather have spam cold with cheese and crackers. This is similar to using salami or another cured meat and is loved by many.

Homemade healthy musubi rice and meat sandwich

Can You Leave Spam Out Overnight?

No matter if meat has preservatives or not, it shouldn't be left out at room temperature for longer than two hours. After two hours, bacteria will begin to develop on the meat and cause spoilage.

If you forgot to store your spam in the fridge and hours have passed, it's best to throw it away. Spam is fairly inexpensive and isn't worth risking getting sick over.

Is Spam Healthy For You?

Spam snack kit nutritional facts

If you are looking for a quick and easy snack, then spam is a viable option. However, don't expect it to have a lot of nutrition.

Spam is high in sodium and saturated fat and doesn't have much in terms of vitamins and minerals. With that said, it's best to consume spam in moderation.

There are several healthy alternatives to spam that you can enjoy. For example, canned chicken breast and fish such as salmon are high in protein and nutrients.

These alternatives still contain preservatives but are a healthier option for consuming spam.

What Can You Do With Leftover Spam?

If you don't know what to do with your leftover spam, then don't worry because there are several options. Let's take a look at quick recipe ideas below.


Oh, sandwiches, aren't they delicious? The great thing about sandwiches is you can get creative with the ingredients on hand. You can make a spam melt by toasting the bread, melting cheese, and grilling onions.

You can also make a club sandwich using spam. If you have bacon on hand, you can add that with veggies of your choice.

Fried Rice

If you love fried rice, then you might be surprised how good it is with spam. Dice the spam and toss it in with your rice; add some pineapple, peas, and carrots, and you have a tasty meal.

You can also add an egg or two to the mix for some added protein!

Macaroni And Cheese

If you or your kids like hotdogs in their macaroni and cheese, then use your leftover spam instead. More than likely, your kids won't even notice the difference.

Pasta Salad

You can also mince or dice spam and toss it in a pasta salad. Spam goes well in pasta salads that have a creamy base, such as mayo or ranch.

Breakfast Bakes

While you can simply fry leftover spam and have it will eggs and toast, you can also add it to a breakfast bake. This is an easy way to use up leftover spam. If you don't have a lot to use, you can mix it with ham or breakfast sausage.

Homemade Spam Musubi

As mentioned earlier, Hawaii is known for making spam musubi. If you aren't making it to Hawaii anytime soon, you can make this dish at home!

You only need three ingredients to make musubi, sushi rice, spam, and nori (seaweed). Grill or fry the spam put it on top of a small block of sushi rice, and wrap it in nori. You can dip it in a chipotle mayo, soy sauce, or sauce of your choice.

As you can see, there are several ways to use leftover spam. Instead of letting it go to waste, experiment with recipes, and you might find something you like!

Freshly cooked Filipino food called Spamsilog or slices of spam, egg and fried rice

Final Thoughts

Like any food, it's important to know how long spam can be stored before it's time to toss it. When unopened, spam can last several years, but when opened, it's best to use it sooner rather than later. If you notice any of the signs of spoilage mentioned above, then play it safe and throw it away.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

Can You Freeze Hello Fresh Meat?

What Meat Grinder Plate Sizes Should I Have [Inc. Size For Hamburger, Sausage, & More]?

How Long To Freeze Meat Before Grinding Or Slicing

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