Fried Spam is a quintessential Hawaii food and one of our go-to breakfast and lunch recipes. It is versatile, delicious, and only takes a few minutes to make. We slice it the traditional way, pan fry it, and simmer it in our homemade teriyaki sauce.
If you're new to Spam, this is the best introduction! Give this recipe a try with all types of Spam: classic, less sodium, hot & spicy, jalapeño, or even turkey. This pan-frying method give the Spam the perfect crispiness and brings out its flavor.
About Fried Spam
- Taste - Fried spam is deliciously savory and with a hint of sweetness.
- Texture - The outside is crispy and inside is juicy and tender.
- Effort - All you need to do is mix the teriyaki sauce then fry the Spam. You can use our homemade recipe or store-bought teriyaki sauce.
- Time - It takes just a few minutes to make the teriyaki sauce then a few more minutes to fry the Spam.
What is Spam?
Spam stands for Special Processed American Meat. It was created in 1937 in Minnesota and slowly gained popularity throughout the U.S. Today, it is very popular in Hawaii and is a big part of local culture. It is often enjoyed in Spam musubis or breakfast fried rice.
Spam is made of pork (shoulder) and ham (buttock). When fried, it is perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. We simmer it in teriyaki sauce for extra flavor.
- Spam - Spam is a surprisingly delicious and flavorful meat. We use low sodium because it is slightly healthier without sacrificing flavor.
- Soy sauce - Soy sauce, or shoyu in Japanese, is an essential condiment in Japanese cooking and adds a rich umami flavor to the teriyaki sauce.
- Mirin - Mirin is Japanese sweet rice wine. It adds umami flavor and is the base for many Japanese sauces.
- Sake - Sake adds savoriness to the teriyaki sauce.
- Brown sugar - Brown sugar provides sweetness in the sauce.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Portuguese Sausage Spam - This special Spam combines two of Hawaii's favorite meats: Portuguese sausage and Spam. The combination is surprisngly delicious.
- Store-bought teriyaki sauce - You can replace our homemade teriyaki sauce with store-bought teriyaki sauce if you want to save time.
- No teriyaki sauce - If you don't like teriyaki sauce or don't want to take the time to make it, you can fry the spam without it.
- Gluten free - Shoyu (soy sauce) contains gluten. To enjoy this recipe gluten-free, replace traditional soy sauce with tamari or gluten-free shoyu.
- Spicy - Add sriracha or your favorite hot sauce to make this the Spam spicy.
- Furikake - Furikake is Japanese seaweed seasoning. It consists of dried nori, sesame seeds, and salt. Sprinkling furikake on any Spam dish adds a new flavorful dimension.
- Garlic powder - Garlic powder adds the quintessential aroma to the Spam.
- Kimchi - Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made of fermented and salted vegetables. Kimchi will add a pungent and pickled spice with pretty much any Spam dish.
- Make sauce - Add soy sauce, sake, mirin, and brown sugar to a bowl and whisk the ingredients. Then set aside. (Photo 1)
- Cut and fry - Cut the Spam lengthwise into 8 equal slices. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook Spam slices 3-5 minutes or until caramelized, flipping halfway through.
- Simmer in sauce - Add teriyaki sauce and cook for 2 minutes or until the slices are coated. Use for Spam musubi, breakfast fried rice, spam and eggs, and more. (Photos 2, 3, and 4)
Pro tip: Figure out what you want to make with the fried Spam ahead of time. That way you can prepare the other ingredients while the Spam is cooking.
What to Serve with Fried Spam
This fried spam is a savory and versatile meat that can be enjoyed with so many dishes! Whenever we make it, we make enough for for multiple meals over a few days. Check out a few of our favorites:
- Spam, Eggs, and Rice - Spam, Rice, and Eggs is a classic Hawaii breakfast featuring crispy Spam, Japanese rice, and a runny sunny side up egg. This Spam recipe will also be delicious with other types of eggs including a soft scramble, soft boiled eggs, eggs over easy, over medium eggs, or over hard eggs.
- Spam Musubi - Spam Musubi is another great Spam recipe from Hawaii. It features Spam and rice wrapped in nori. Add an egg for extra protein.
- Spam Fried Rice - Spam Breakfast Fried Rice is a flavor packed brunch and a great way to use leftover Spam and rice.
- Spam Ramen - Add Spam to ramen for a savory flavor burst.
Yes, fried Spam is uniquely delicious! When fried, Spam gets crispy and browned on the outside while staying juicy on the inside.
Spam was introduced to Hawaii during World War II. During World War II, the U.S. government served Spam to soldiers stationed in Hawaii since Spam was cheap and non-perishable (read more). There was so much Spam circulating that it ended up being sold in stores around Hawaii and eventually adopted into local culture.
Yes, Spam out of the can is pre-cooked so it can be eaten straight away. However, we highly recommend cooking it because both the taste and texture are much better!
Spam on its own has a similar taste to bacon, but we eat Spam with teriyaki sauce which creates a completely unique flavor. Spam is also thicker and heartier than bacon.
Frying Spam is the way to go! You can also bake or microwave it but it won't have the same perfect texture.
This recipe requires a few kitchen essentials. For the teriyaki sauce, you will need measuring spoons, a small saucepan, and a whisk. For the Spam, you will need a knife, cutting board, mixing bowl, non-stick pan or standard skillet, and silicone baking spatula or tongs.
Store leftover Spam in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. In order to reheat the Spam, heat over low heat on the stove or warm in the microwave. These ingredients do not stand up well to freezing.
- If you want your Spam a little thinner and crispier, you can cut it into 10 even slices instead of 8.
- Don't add the teriyaki sauce too early or it could burn.
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- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 4 tablespoon mirin
- 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 12 oz canned Low Sodium Spam cut into 8 even slices
- Add soy sauce, sake, mirin, and brown sugar to a bowl and whisk the ingredients. Set aside.3 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sake, 4 tablespoon mirin, 2 teaspoon brown sugar
- Cut the Spam lengthwise into 8 equal slices. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook Spam slices 3-5 minutes or until caramelized, flipping halfway through.1 12 oz canned Low Sodium Spam
- Add teriyaki sauce and cook for 2 minutes or until the slices are coated. Remove from heat. Use for Spam musubi, breakfast fried rice, spam and eggs, and more.
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. In order to reheat the Spam, heat it over low heat on the stove or warm in the microwave. Fried Spam do not stand up well to freezing.
- If you want your Spam a little thinner and crispier, you can cut the Spam into 10 even slices instead of 8. To make it thicker, cut it into 6 slices instead of 8.
- Be sure not to add the teriyaki sauce too early or it could burn.