Spam flavors ranked from worst to first

Many people think of Spam as something you buy to stash in your fallout shelter in case disaster strikes. While it does have a shelf life that is measured in years, this canned meat isn't just for emergencies. There are more than a dozen flavors of Spam, some of which are legitimately delicious.

Spam was invented in Minnesota in 1937 and was marketed as a spiced ham that was convenient to store and eat. Since then, it played a vital role in World War II and there have been more than eight billion cans of Spam sold. In the United States, it's most popular in Hawaii, where approximately seven million cans are purchased each year. It's also a staple food in the American territory of Guam.

Instead of purchasing each flavor of Spam and doing a taste test to figure out which flavors of Spam are good and which flavors are gross, just read through this definitive list. We've ranked all the current flavors of Spam, starting with the worst and working up to the best.

Oven Roasted Turkey Spam

Everything about Spam's Oven Roasted Turkey flavor is utterly disgusting. When you first crack open the can, the smell of stale cat food will spread throughout the room. While Mittens might be intrigued, you will undoubtedly already be second-guessing your decision to purchase this turkey version of Spam. Do yourself a favor and open the can outside so that your house doesn't stink for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, things only get worse from there. The consistency of this stuff is somewhere between a hot dog and bacon fat. If you dare to eat Oven Roasted Turkey Spam, you will find there's a greasy component that just adds to the misery. Thankfully, there's enough salt to mask most of the flavor but the little you can taste of the turkey is unpleasant, to put it kindly.

If you have a can of this turkey-based abomination, the best idea is to go ahead and feed it to your cat. Then again, don't be surprised if Mittens refuses to eat it. It's that gross.

Spam Lite

The good news is that Spam Lite has half the fat of Spam Classic, along with 33 percent fewer calories and 25 percent less sodium. That news can be celebrated by your waistline. The bad news is that Spam Lite, when compared to Spam Classic, is missing 90 percent of the taste. That is terrible news for your taste buds and it easily overshadows any nutritional benefits.

What makes matters worse is the fact that the missing flavor is replaced by a notably off-putting taste and a gag-inducing texture. The taste is reminiscent of that low-grade Salisbury steak you had back in elementary school, while the texture is much more rubbery than Spam Classic. As a result, this stuff ruins most recipes that call for Spam, including Spam casseroles and Spam tacos.

While Spam Classic isn't exactly classified as a health food, it's not so terrible for you that you should sacrifice flavor and texture in a trade for a reduction in calories, fat, and sodium. 

Spam Garlic

If you like to cook your Spam, you should avoid Spam Garlic. Unlike all the other varieties of Spam, this version doesn't hold up well at all when you heat it — it turns into a soupy, garlicky mess. Another Spam Garlic drawback is that it does irreparable damage to your breath. After you eat this stuff, your breath will reek of garlic for days on end. That holds true no matter how many times you brush your teeth after eating it. If you have a big date coming up in the next week — or you still enjoy the company of your significant other — it's highly advisable to avoid Spam Garlic at all costs.

If you enjoy solitude and you eat Spam right out of the can, Spam Garlic isn't a bad choice. While it definitely compromises your breath, the actual garlic taste is subtle enough to enjoy. The texture, as long as you don't heat it, is different from Spam Classic's texture but it's totally fine.

Spam Less Sodium

If you inhale a 12-ounce can of Spam Classic, you'd consume an unholy 4,740 milligrams of sodium — more than double the recommended daily intake. That's a whole lot of sodium. However, once you taste Spam Less Sodium, you'll understand that the high amount of sodium is a vital part of the recipe.

A can of Spam Less Sodium still has 3,480 milligrams of sodium but it's noticeably less tasty than the original. Considering that even this version still has a lot of sodium in it, why would you willfully give away some of the flavor? It doesn't make any sense. A lot of salt is entering your body either way — you might as well enjoy it.

Spam Less Sodium has the same amount of sodium as Spam Lite. Thankfully, though, it's not as putrid. If your doctor is demanding that you lower your sodium intake and you are unable to shake your Spam habit, go with Spam Less Sodium. Otherwise, opt for one of the better versions.

Spam with Cheese

Spam and cheese is a match made in heaven. It's a combination that's especially great in omelets and Spam pasta. Spam with Cheese in theory sounds like it'd be a no-brainer to purchase. Unfortunately, you will be asking yourself one question after you open the can: Where did all the cheese go?

While there are little balls of cheese mixed into the Spam, the pieces of cheese are few and far between. Instead of being half cheese and half Spam, it's about two percent cheese and 98 percent Spam. Furthermore, it's not the gooey American cheese that you're imagining. The cheese pieces don't melt easily and even when they do melt, it becomes watery instead of gooey.

If you are cooking a meal that's mixing cheese with Spam, you won't hurt anything if you buy Spam with Cheese. However, you will still need to add cheese to it to get a satisfactory amount of cheesiness.

Spam with Chorizo Seasoning

Spam with Chorizo Seasoning is a middle of the road Spam flavor. While it doesn't taste bad, it also doesn't taste anything like the chorizo your abuela makes from scratch. Don't go into it thinking this is a spicy variety because there's absolutely no spiciness. That said, there's a little bit of seasoning that makes it taste more like a sausage than Spam Classic, especially if you cut it into cubes and fry it in a pan.

If you like your Spam mixed with eggs, this is one of the better flavors. Eat it for breakfast and you'll be starting your day off on the right foot. Add some hot sauce on top and you'll really have something worth eating.

On the can of Spam with Chorizo Seasoning, you see a picture of a Spam burrito. Don't get the idea that you should use this stuff to make Mexican food, because you'll be completely disappointed. Despite the name and despite the image, this Spam variety has no ethnic flavors to it at all.

Spam with Real Hormel Bacon

Spam with Real Hormel Bacon can either be a home run or a disappointment. The worst part is that you don't know what to expect from can to can. Sometimes, there's a yummy bacon flavor that meshes perfectly with the Spam. Other times, it's missing the bacon flavor completely and it tastes like a more muted version of Spam Classic. To compound the mystery, you won't even be able to tell by looking at it after you get it out of the can because there are no visiable bits of bacon either way.

There's only one way to eat Spam with Real Hormel Bacon. First, slice the Spam lengthwise and make the slices as thin as possible. Then fry both sides on medium-high heat for a couple minutes until it's brown. It tastes best when it's still hot so grab a fork and dig. On your first bite you'll be able to tell right away if you were lucky and got a can with a sufficient amount of bacon flavoring. Even if you get unlucky, it'll taste good enough to eat — but you will definitely be disappointed.

Spam Teriyaki

Your sweet tooth will be happy if you choose Spam Teriyaki. Be warned, though, that it doesn't actually taste like teriyaki. Instead, it tastes like Spam Classic with sugar added to it and a tiny sprinkle of soy sauce. It's not bad, mind you, but it's not anything like teriyaki.

Spam Teriyaki doesn't fry well. If you try to fry it, it will crumble and be too greasy. That said, this version might be the best option if you are looking to make Spam Musubi. If you've never had or even heard of Spam Musubi, it's basically a Hawaiian dish that looks like sushi but uses Spam instead of seafood. It might sound odd but it tastes really good if done right.

If you're limiting your carbohydrates, you should know that Spam Teriyaki has five grams of carbs per serving, including four grams of added sugar. That's a big difference from Spam Classic, which has one carb per serving.

Spam Jalapeno

Spam Jalapeno is exactly what the name suggests: Spam mixed with chunks of jalapeno peppers. In fact, it has the six ingredients found in Spam Classic (pork with ham, salt, potato starch, sodium nitrate, sugar, and water) along with jalapeno peppers. While it doesn't sound like a huge change, you will only like this flavor if you enjoy spicy food. There's no beating around the bush, this stuff will add a significant amount of heat to your meal.

If you want to make a Spam burrito inspired by Mexican cuisine, this is a good choice. Wrap Spam Jalapeno in a tortilla along with scrambled eggs, bell pepper, cheddar cheese, and green salsa and you'll be ready for a fiesta.

Even if you like spicy food, this isn't a flavor that is too enjoyable to eat by itself. After two or three bites, you'll realize that you should have used Spam Jalapeno as part of a larger meal.

Spam Black Pepper

A lot of people add black pepper to their Spam after they fry it. With Spam Black Pepper, you can skip that step. This stuff has black pepper mixed into the Spam and it's quite yummy. The only issue you will run into is the fact that each bite will have a slightly different amount of black pepper. As a result, the taste ranges from mild to really, really peppery.

Since the black pepper isn't equally distributed throughout the can, the best use of Spam Black Pepper is to turn it into a soup. Spam soup might not sound appetizing but don't be surprised if it ends up being your favorite way to prepare it.

It should also be noted that there is slightly less sodium in Spam Black Pepper than Spam Classic. Thus, if you love Spam for its salty taste, you're better off purchasing Spam Classic and adding your own black pepper.

Spam Mezclita

Puerto Rico and Spam have a long history. It all started shortly after World War II, when a lack of refrigeration in the rural parts of the island made canned foods like Spam coveted. Since then, even though Puerto Rico is much more developed these days, they still love their Spam and it can be found in many of their dishes.

Spam Mezclita was created specifically for Puerto Ricans and it's meant to be spread on bread for a sandwich. This version of spam has cheddar cheese, cream cheese, red peppers, vinegar, garlic, tamarind, paprika, and more added to it. You should avoid heating it at all because the texture will suffer almost immediately.

Truth be told, Spam Mezclita is an acquired taste. It might take three or four sandwiches before you can really learn to enjoy it. Once you do, it may very well become your go-to Spam flavor.

SPAM with Tocino Seasoning

While Spam Mezclita was made for Puerto Ricans, Spam with Tocino Seasoning was made for people in the Philippines. Spam became a popular part of Filipino cuisine ever since Americans brought it there during World War II. If you travel to the Philippines, you'll almost always find that they serve Spam alongside rice and often with an egg that has either been hard boiled or fried.

When you get Spam with Tocino Seasoning out of the can, you may be surprised by the fact that it's red. Don't think the red coloring means this version of Spam is extra spicy — it's actually from the generous amount of paprika that has been added. You'll find that it's not spicy at all. In fact, Spam with Tocino Seasoning actually has a lot of sugar in it — even more sugar than is found in Spam Teriyaki.

All you need to do is fry it up, put it on top of a bed of rice, and consider adding an egg. The sweetness will catch your attention and try to tempt you into having seconds.

Spam Hot and Spicy

There's something magically good about Spam Hot and Spicy. To create this flavor, the makers of Spam adds genuine Tabasco sauce to mix. While it might be too hot and too spicy for those with a cowardly palate, everyone else will agree that the perfect amount of Tabasco sauce was added.

Interestingly, Spam Hot and Spicy also contains chicken. Mechanically separated chicken, to be exact. It's not clear why some versions of Spam contain chicken and some don't, but the chicken taste stands out in this flavor. You will also notice a slight improvement in the texture, and you can fry until it's golden brown without worrying about your Spam slice falling apart in the pan.

The only reason Spam Hot and Spicy isn't higher on this list is the fact that it's difficult to eat more than a slice or two at one sitting. You would need a six-pack of beer — or a gallon of milk — at your side to get through an entire can.

Spam Classic

If you have a can of Spam Classic in the back of your pantry, you shouldn't neglect it. Even if you don't think you like Spam, that's only because you haven't tried all the yummy recipes you can make with Spam. Keep experimenting and you will eventually find something you love.

If you grab that can of Spam Classic that has been in your pantry for eons and the date on it indicates that it has expired, don't fret. It's probably fine to eat the Spam up to five years after the date you see on the can.

If you've never tried this American invention before, the best way to introduce your taste buds to Spam is to fry it and then add a slice of American cheese on top. That cheese slice will help bring out all the best flavors in the Spam and will make it easier to deal with the initial shock of the saltiness.

Spam with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning

If you want a variety of Spam to add to eggs or rice, Spam with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning is the flavor you should grab. Known as Spam P.S. in many parts of the world, particularly in Hawaii, this stuff is amazing. Compared to Spam Classic, it has a richer flavor profile that adds a wonderful burst to any meal that you're cooking up.

Since Spam with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning is so flavorful, you should always cut it into cubes and mix it with something else — namely rice or eggs. The strong flavor could actually be overwhelming if you eat it as one big slice.

If you're new to the world of Spam, you should probably start with another flavor. But if you think you're a Spam aficionado, you haven't yet lived until you give Spam with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning a whirl. It will change everything you thought you knew about Spam.

Spam Hickory Smoke

If you're looking for a type of Spam that you can enjoy by itself, Spam Hickory Smoke is the clear choice. It's not even close. Spam Hickory Smoke tastes unbelievably good straight out of the can. You don't even need to slice it. Simply open the can, grab it with two hands, and start shoving it into your face. You won't be able to stop until it's all gone, as there's something about the hickory smoke that makes this stuff irresistible.

Spam Hickory Smoke is also fantastic if you slice it and fry it. None of the hickory smoke flavoring is lost in the frying. If anything, the smokiness is enhanced.

You could mix Spam Hickory Smoke with other ingredients like eggs, rice, or cheese, but there's no reason to do that. Eat it by itself — either cold straight out of the can or hot right off the stovetop — and you'll be completely satisfied.