Does Spam Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 23rd, 2023

The humble can of Spam has a revered place in pantries across the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Its long shelf life and versatility make it a go-to for quick meals and emergency food supplies. But how long does it actually last? And how can you tell when it’s time to ditch that can? Here’s a comprehensive look at what you need to know about the lifespan of this iconic canned meat.

Does Spam Go Bad?

Yes, even the seemingly invincible Spam does have an expiration limit. Although it’s designed to last a long time, it’s not immune to spoilage. To know if your Spam has spoiled, examine the can for any leaks or swelling. This usually means the seal is compromised and the contents are unsafe for consumption. A funky odor is another red flag; if it smells off, it’s best to discard it. For optimal quality, it’s advised to consume your Spam within three years from the date labeled as “best by” on the bottom of the can.

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How Long Does Spam Last?

Contrary to the myth that Spam can last forever, its shelf life typically ranges between 2 to 5 years. This period reflects the “best-before” date rather than an expiration date. While it may be safe to eat beyond this period, the taste and texture will likely degrade. Proper storage conditions, like keeping it in a cool, dry place, can help extend its shelf life to the longer end of that 3-5 year spectrum. Note that minor can imperfections, such as dents or dings, don’t necessarily affect the quality of the Spam inside.

How Long Does Canned Spam Last?

Canned Spam comes with a “best-by” date to guide you on its quality period. After this date, the meat’s flavor, texture, and overall appeal may start to wane. However, as long as you’ve stored the can correctly, you could expect it to last between 2 to 5 years. So if you stumble upon a forgotten can of Spam in your pantry, chances are it’s still good to eat.

How Long Does Opened Spam Last?

Once you break the seal and open the can, different rules apply. An opened can of Spam should be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the fridge. There, it will maintain its best quality for around 3 to 5 days. Although it might still be safe to eat afterward, expect a decline in taste and texture. For the best culinary experience, aim to consume it within that 3-5 day window.

How Long Does Unopened Spam Last?

The beauty of unopened Spam is its impressive shelf life, spanning from 3 to 5 years under proper storage conditions. While it’s possible to consume it after this period, doing so within 2 to 5 years ensures you get the best quality. Once you open the can, the longevity drops to up to 7 days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer if properly stored.

Shelf Life of Spam

Spam’s longevity makes it a convenient and reliable pantry staple. It carries a “best-before” date rather than an expiration date, a detail that’s essential for those concerned about food waste. To enjoy Spam at its finest, stick to consuming it within the manufacturer’s recommended time frame.

Storage of Spam: Do’s and Don’ts

The longevity of Spam is highly influenced by how well you store it. Unopened cans thrive in a dark, dry cupboard. Once opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within 10 days for the best quality. Don’t leave it in the original can; transfer it to a sealed container or wrap it in plastic. Following these steps can help you prevent food-related illnesses and enjoy your Spam for a longer period.

How to Tell If Spam Has Gone Bad

Recognizing spoiled Spam is crucial for your health. Inspect the can’s top; a rounded, dome-shaped top often signals contamination. Visual cues like rust, bulges, or dents also indicate spoilage. And don’t underestimate your sense of smell. If the Spam emits a sour or rancid odor upon opening, it’s a sure sign it’s time to let go.

In summary, while Spam is celebrated for its long shelf life, it’s essential to know how and when to consume it to get the most out of its taste and nutritional value. Proper storage and timely consumption ensure you’ll enjoy this iconic food product at its best.


Editorial Staff

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