Canned Ham Brands Ranked From Worst To Best

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While some people prefer turkey on Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, other meat lovers will prefer something that comes from a pig. Pork comes in various forms, from pulled pork to deli sliced ham to crispy bacon to the spiral-cut ham you'll find at holiday dinners. Ham stands up on its own, and you can also incorporate it into other recipes, such as soup, salads, and omelets.

But cooking a traditional ham can be time-consuming. So, if you'd rather not go to all that trouble, then you might appreciate an easy canned version of this tender meat. Not only do they last longer than the stuff from the deli counter, but the best canned hams are also just as delicious as their counterparts that don't come out of a tin. There are many different brands of canned ham that you can find both online and in grocery stores. This list includes 11 common brands ranked from worst to best. We won't be including products that are made from multiple meats.

11. Bristol Hickory Smoked Ham

People have been smoking meats for centuries. The process preserves the meat and adds flavor, but it does take time. So, when you want the same great taste of smoked meat, but don't have the time to prepare it yourself, having a great-tasting smoked canned ham stocked in your pantry could be pretty useful. However, Bristol's Hickory Smoked Canned Ham shouldn't be the one you choose.

Most smoked meats are infused with the distinctive flavor of wood smoke, but this product lacked the hickory taste we were looking for. Though we don't expect the same level of flavor as, say, a Benton's country ham from a canned product, Bristol's ham was bland and tasted a lot more like Spam than canned ham, let alone fresh ham. It also had a spongy texture that we really didn't appreciate. This product was a huge disappointment, and we wouldn't recommend it.

10. Iberia Boneless and Skinless Cooked Ham

Before we get to the good canned hams, we have to work through some of the not-so-good products. Founded over 90 years ago, Iberia is a company that manufactures all sorts of different food products, including rice, beans, pastas, and meats. The company's products are available in over 12,000 stores in the U.S. (via Iberia). Its Iberia Cooked Ham comes in a 16-ounce black can with a hot, roasted sliced ham on the front graphic. The meat itself is branded as being without both skin and bones and is preserved in mostly water, salt, and sugar among other ingredients. This was one of the most unappealing canned hams on this list. Most ham is rich, salty, and full of many other incredible flavors. When it's glazed in honey, that makes the ham even better.

While we understand that a canned ham might not be as good as an actual slab of meat, we think that it should taste like something. Unfortunately, this didn't have anything in terms of taste. Iberia's cooked ham was pretty flavorless, and ham by itself should have some flavor. Bizarrely, it did have a strong smell despite its bland taste. Even if you wanted to spice up your canned ham on your own, Iberia's canned ham won't add anything but a strange stench to your ham pot pie recipe.

9. Royale Ham

When a food brand has the name "Royale," we assume that what we buy from them is good enough for Queen Elizabeth to eat. That being said, this Canadian ham brand is not something we would even feed to our dogs. Not only was Royale's Boneless Cooked Ham unfit for royalty, but it wasn't fit for any of us, either.

This canned ham falls under the "tastes like Spam instead of ham" category of canned hams on this list. It had a disturbingly soft texture. The meat easily fell apart and was a little mushy. Like other canned meat products, Royale's Ham can be served hot or cold, though we can't say we'd want it either way. Not only is it one of the lower quality hams on this list, but it's also rather expensive on Amazon. It's listed at about $20 for a pack of two cans. It's possible that it would be cheaper if you found it at a store, but even then, you probably shouldn't waste any money on this. We definitely wouldn't serve this to a member of the Royal Family, or to anyone else for that matter.

8. Goya Foods Cooked Ham

Goya makes an incredibly wide variety of products aimed at Latinx and Caribbean consumers. While the brand has courted some controversy in recent years, it's undeniable that Goya's foods are generally cheap and easy to use. In addition to rice, beans, oil, and many other products, the company has a line of canned meats. The brand's canned Cooked Ham is branded as easy to serve with salads, rice dishes, and soups, but the product isn't something we'd enjoy in any of these meals.

Like many of the lower-ranked hams on this list, Goya's canned ham tasted a lot like really salty, watery Spam instead of a decent, quality ham. It's made from chunks of meat that are fused together rather than a whole contiguous piece of pork. There are some people who like this product, but other reviewers online don't enjoy this meat. One reviewer on Amazon writes that "It wasn't a ham though, it was pieces and parts of something unrecognizable. It tasted fatty, greasy, overly salty, at least the one bite I tried did." We recommend that you avoid this canned meat because of its displeasing taste.

7. Tulip Jamonilla Classic Precooked Ham

Jamonilla Classic comes right from Denmark and is made by the brand Tulip. Tulip is a Danish-owned company that was founded in 1887 and is owned by Danish Crown Foods. The brand describes itself as one of the largest meat companies in Europe. The company's website has many different recipes you can make with its meat products, such as rice noodles and breakfast burritos. This meat gives off the impression that it's quite versatile, but we wouldn't put this on our burritos.

This is not a top-tier canned ham. Its flavor is lacking, and though it doesn't taste exactly like Spam, it also doesn't taste like good, quality ham, either. One shopper on Amazon even found that this product, though well before its expiration date, arrived super black, smelly, and eerily moldy. Even without the mold, this product doesn't have anything going for it, and we wouldn't use this in a sandwich, casserole, or any other satisfying dish.

6. Celebrity Boneless Cooked Ham with Natural Juices

Celebrity Boneless Cooked Ham is made with natural juices and is 96% fat-free. This ham is imported by the Atalanta Corporation in New Jersey, which has been importing meat products such as Celebrity's ham since 1945. Much like the Royale ham, the name of this product promises something fancier than the contents deliver.

Celebrity ham is made with gelatin, making it less meat-like in terms of texture, and more like a Jell-O meatloaf. If you can get past that, the meat itself tastes like a combination of jiggly ham and Spam, with the latter being the dominant flavor. We do appreciate the hint of ham flavor in this that is missing from the previous entries on this list. It's easier to slice and put on a sandwich than some other canned hams because of its strange texture, but the main question is whether we'd actually want this on our ham and cheese sandwich. For us, that answer is no, and if you have a choice, you might want to avoid this product as well.

5. Dutch Colony Cooked Ham

The next canned ham on this list wasn't horrible, but it wasn't out of this world either. Dutch Colony Cooked Ham comes in a black can with a smiling, blond-haired Dutch woman in a field of flowers. While the graphic is pretty, we can't say the same about the meat. The meat has a softer texture than we would like and is pretty salty. 

It's difficult to master canned ham, it seems, as the product needs to be preservable, but also taste like a quality ham. Reception for this product is rather mixed, as it has a higher rating than other canned meats, but a good number of critics who don't enjoy it. One reviewer on Amazon writes that "We purchased several of these hams during early weeks of the pandemic when supply of meat was uncertain. They are as advertised and relatively inexpensive but quite fatty, more like spam than canned ham." While this was better than other canned hams, and we'd eat this if we had to, it's not going to be our first choice.

4. Dak Premium Ham

Denmark seems to specialize in canned ham. Several of the brands on this list, including Celebrity and Royale, come from that country. Dak Premium Ham is another Danish entry in our ranking. Unlike some of the previous hams on this list that might be hard to find in stores, this product is available at Walmart and can also be purchased in bulk online. It comes in a red, white, and blue can. It's fully cooked and ready to eat hot or cold. Dak's ham isn't universally loved, but we were pleasantly surprised when we opened this can of meat.

When first looking at this product, we were hit with a somewhat strange aroma (though most canned products are like this), but the meat actually looked like ham. It also didn't remind us too much of Spam, and when cooked, tasted more like a nice juicy ham, as well. We could easily see ourselves roasting this canned meat whole or slicing it up to put in a salad or on a sandwich. This is something that we'd try again without too much complaint.

3. Great Value Original Luncheon Meat

What lies inside the walls of Walmart? Pretty much everything, actually. If you need something, it's more than likely you can find it at Walmart. It should come as no surprise by now that when we do food product rankings, there's a good chance one of the items will be a Walmart brand. In this case, it's Great Value Original Luncheon Meat. This meat is made from pork and has both a standard and lower sodium variant, both of which you can find online.

Great Value products can be a little hit-or-miss, but Walmart's luncheon meat was decent in both texture and flavor. While we wouldn't serve it as a Christmas centerpiece, it still tasted heavily of ham. A couple of reviews compare it to Spam, but most people have positive things to say about this meat. One reviewer on the Walmart site writes that "Bottom line, this generic ham is a winner. As for 'other' generic brands, those pale in comparison to both the big brand and Walmart's." While this is branded as more of a pork-based lunch meat than specifically as a ham, we'd gladly have this on a sandwich, fry it for breakfast, or have it with any good meal that needs a bit of protein.

2. Butterfield Farms Diced Ham

Butterfield Farms offers a wide variety of canned meats, including roast beef and white chickenButterfield Farms Diced Ham is certainly one of the best pig products on this list. It comes in a smaller, round blue can, so while we wish there was a bit more meat in a single can, we're pleased that the meat that was there tasted decent. This product is fully cooked, infused with smoke flavoring, and cut up into small chunks.

Not only is this product sold for a good price online, but it also tastes great. It isn't overly salty or watery, and it tastes like actual ham. It delivered on the smoke flavor as well, which we enjoyed. We could easily see ourselves putting this on a Hawaiian pizza or any other ham dish. One shopper on Amazon said this brand tasted better than Hormel, writing that "This product is actually more convenient, and for the price you can't beat it." If you find yourself putting this on pasta or salad, you won't be disappointed.

1. Hormel Smoked Ham

At the number one spot on this list, we have Hormel Canned Smoked Ham. We had low expectations for this ham but were shocked by its high quality. Hormel Smoked Ham comes in a round 5-ounce container, and unlike the brand's canned chicken, which did poorly in our canned chicken ranking, this product actually tastes pretty amazing. It is made with smoke flavoring and ground ham and is cured in the perfect amount of sugar and salt.

We've had a lot to say about the other canned hams on this list, but with Hormel's Ham, we'd rather stop talking and just eat it. This was the most flavorful canned meat on this list, and if we did a blind taste test, we wouldn't be able to tell this was canned. Reviews on Amazon for this product are overwhelmingly positive. One customer wrote that Hormel's ham is "Great for breakfast. Easy to break apart and use how much you want. Tasty and good quality with low fat content." This meat is not only simple to prepare, but also great to add in tacos, meat pies, or any recipes you want to try that require ham.