How Long Is Spam Good For After Opening It?

If there's one thing most people know about Spam, it's the years-long shelf life of the iconic canned meat product. But, like many types of food, the timeline changes dramatically once you pop open that lid. So, how long do home cooks have before it's time to toss that leftover Spam?

The most definitive advice comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which says canned meat can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to four days after opening. While the USDA says keeping the Spam in its original can is fine, swapping it out for an airtight plastic or glass container can improve flavor and better preserve quality. Since Spam is already fully cooked, there's not a substantial difference between Spam that's been sitting by itself in your fridge and Spam that's already integrated into another prepared dish.

Naturally, Spam's lifespan is dramatically shorter when opened and kept outside of the fridge. Health experts typically recommend leaving perishable foods out at room temperature for two hours at most. 

When to lose it, how to use it

Spam remains among the top choices for those looking to stock up on long-lasting, shelf-stable protein. That's because they know how long canned meat really lasts on your shelf when unopened — at least two to five years in most cases. So, even if you have to toss out some leftover Spam after a few days in the fridge, it's easy to be sure you have another waiting in the pantry.

When in doubt, look for the telltale signs of spoiled food. These include unpleasant smells, visible mold, and a slimy or unpleasant texture.

Fortunately, creative cooks will rarely find themselves wasting this versatile product. Some amazing, unexpected ways to use Spam include frying slices for breakfast sandwiches, making homemade hash, incorporating it into pasta or mac and cheese, using it in fried rice, or even for topping pizzas! Now, all that's left to do is avoid making any mistakes while cooking Spam, and you'll be chowing down on a delicious (and safe) meal in no time!