Spam Vs Pork Roll – What’s The Difference?

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Spam and pork roll are two popular types of pork products found in many households, and while it is easy to confuse them, they are two very different products.

When cooking in the kitchen, it helps to know the products you are using, to use them the best way, and to know exactly what it is that you are eating and feeding your family!

What is the difference between spam and pork roll? The difference between spam and pork roll is mostly to do with the type of pork used to make the products and the resultant taste and appearance that each has from that. Pork roll is made from coarsely ground pork shoulder, and spam is made from ground pork and processed ham.

Below is all you need to know on spam vs pork roll!

All About Pork Roll

Pork roll is a popular processed pork product that was created in the United States. It is most popular in New Jersey but is found in neighboring areas and further.

Pork roll is made using coarsely ground pork shoulder, which is then salt-cured using sodium nitrate. This salting process is what gives the pork roll the distinct pink color and the tell-tale flavor.

Pork roll tastes similar to a blend of regular bacon and Canadian bacon, but is less smoky and has less of a ham taste.

Most often, pork roll is sliced up and is cooked on the stove in a pan, much like you would fry up bacon. However, it can also be served sliced up and cold and placed in a sandwich or on a platter.

If you find yourself looking for pork roll in New Jersey, you might have to ask for it as Taylor ham, which was a famous brand of pork roll named after the founder of the company.

All About Spam

Spam is another popular processed pork product found in the United States, but it is also popular in the United Kingdom and South Korea.

Spam is made from ground pork and processed ham combined, which are then mixed with selective spices, sugar, salt, sodium nitrate, potato starch, and preservatives.

Once all of this is mixed, it is cooked together and is then canned and vacuum-sealed for long-lasting freshness. When canned, spam can be stored in the pantry, and it only needs to be refrigerated when opened.

Spam has a similar taste to normal ham, but it can be a little bit spicier and saltier, as it is preserved and cooked with different recipes.

You can either fry spam up like bacon, cook it in a meal, or serve it up sliced and cold.

The Difference Between Spam And Pork Roll

It isn’t necessarily easy to tell the difference between spam and pork roll when they are cooked and sliced, but there are some big differences between the two.


Most of the differences between spam and pork roll come from the ingredients each contains. Pork roll is made from coarsely ground pork shoulder, sugar, salt, and other preservatives.

Spam is made with processed ham, ground pork, salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, potato starch, and preservatives.


Pork roll is rolled up into a sausage-like shape. It can be sliced from there and put into a sandwich or fried up.

Spam is in a rectangular shape, as most of the spam cans are rectangular, but if a different shape is used, then it will be a different shape.


Spam tastes like ham, but it can be saltier and spicier. There are different spam options that involve different ingredients, such as peppers.

Pork roll tastes like a cross between Canadian bacon and regular bacon, but with less of a ham flavor and less smoky.

Similarities Between Pork Roll And Spam

Knowing the differences between the two is one thing, but it also helps to know how the two are similar!

Both pork roll and spam are made from pork and ham and have a similar texture to pork sausage.

Both are cured before being packaged, which means that both can be eaten straight away and cold. However, they can also be sliced and fried, or chopped up and cooked in a meal.

Spam and pork roll can be kept for longer than fresh meat if stored properly, which makes them a popular choice for families who always want to have some type of meat stored away without worrying about short expiration dates.

Related Questions

Now that we’ve looked at some of the differences between spam and pork roll, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Is Taylor ham just spam?

Taylor ham is not spam and is made from different ingredients. Taylor ham is more like pork roll than spam.

Does pork roll taste like ham?

Pork roll tastes more similar to a cross between bacon and Canadian bacon than it does to ham. It is less smoky and hammy than bacon though.

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One Comment

  1. Just a note on asking for it in NJ by Taylor Ham: Northern NJ calls it Taylor Ham; southern NJ refers to it as pork roll.

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