Guisado de Spam con Plátano Maduros


A Puerto Rican comfort food of spam, plantains
and herbs with a complex history



In my series, “How the World Eats Spam,” I was happy to include this nutritious Puerto Rican dish consisting of stewed spam with plantains. Spam is sometimes associated with unhealthy meals, but guisado de spam con plátano maduros is a meal filled with vegetables, herbs, and potatoes. It is a wholesome example of spam in cuisine around the world!

This recipe comes from Giselle, who is originally from New York but currently lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Giselle is a first-generation mainlander with parents from Puerto Rico, and she ate guisado de spam con plátano maduros often during childhood. Spam was useful in households that had fallen on hard times, and Giselle’s mom made sure to stretch the dollar. Widowed at a young age with a rambunctious daughter, she turned to spam and made guisado de spam con plátano maduros constantly for Giselle. Despite their situation, Giselle tells us she never felt any lack growing up. What wonderful memories with which to associate this dish.

In the fifties and sixties, it was common to see canned meats in Puerto Rico. Mountain towns didn’t have refrigeration, so spam was revered for its’ long shelf-life, along with corned beef and Vienna sausages. Although the history of spam is closely bonded with American occupation abroad, many have reimagined and adapted it into their cultures and foods. And today, I am happy to share that guisado de spam con plátano maduros exists!

This dish is a hug on a plate. Although it may be the most complex spam dish in this episode due to the sofrito preparation, the Puerto Rican flavors are well worth it. Consuming the spam, plantains, onion, sweet peppers, garlic, cilantro, tomato pasta, and white rice together is an otherworldly experience. 

This sweet, tangy, calorically dense meal is something to write home about. I hope you’ll practice patience during the cooking process and enjoy your final product with triumph!

Watch the Video

Guisado de Spam con Plátano Maduros


  • 1 can spam
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 sweet plantain (yellow or black)


  • Cut spam into large cubes and set aside.
  • In a saucepan add oil, heat up then add the onion, garlic, and pepper. Cook down until onion is translucent.
  • Add the tomato paste and a little water to loosen it up.
  • Then add the spam and a little more water to make sure spam is in sauce. Lower heat to continue cooking.
  • Separately, slice up the plantain (cut diagonal slices) and in another pan fry them up until golden on both sides.
  • Add plantains to the stew and adjust seasoning as needed. Let stew for about 10 minutes.
  • Serve over rice.
Course: Dinner
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: Comfort food, Weeknight-dinner


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While it may look simple, this dish is nothing like you’ve ever experienced