Dollar Store Dinners – Spam Stir Fry Noodles

$5.00 recipe / $2.50 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 7 votes
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I know Spam is a polarizing ingredient, but the whole idea behind this Dollar Store Dinners series is making the most of what’s available, and there isn’t a whole lot to work with, food-wise, in a dollar store. So today I’m taking advantage of one of the few meat products at the dollar store: canned luncheon meat, or a generic version of Spam. This Spam Stir Fry may not be for everyone, but it’s a quick and easy meal that you can make with just a handful of ingredients, and sometimes that’s enough to be thankful for!

Dollar Store Dinners

Welcome to the Dollar Store Dinners series on Budget Bytes. We’re making quick and simple meals using only ingredients found at the dollar store. While the availability of ingredients will vary from store to store, hopefully these easy recipes will give you some inspiration for when money is tight and access to groceries is limited!

Overhead view of a plate full of spam stir fry with a fork.

What’s in This Meal?

This is a super quick and easy stir fry with noodles that is made simply with a can of luncheon meat, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, and a pack of ramen noodles. It’s simple, filling, and inexpensive!

Here’s what I bought at the dollar store for this recipe:

  • Luncheon meat $1.25
  • Frozen stir fry vegetables $1.25
  • Instant ramen noodles (pack of 6) $1.25
  • Cooking oil $1.25

Total: $5.00

And there’s plenty of leftover ramen noodles and cooking oil to use in other recipes!

Dollar store stir fry ingredients.
(Ignore the fact that the luncheon meat is open. I almost forgot to take this photo and accidentally opened it first)

What is Luncheon Meat?

Luncheon meat is a term used for processed, cooked, ready to eat meat that is available fresh, like deli meat, or canned, like Spam. Luncheon meat is usually either sliced or chopped and can be served cold or cooked and added to other recipes. Luncheon meat does tend to be high in fat, sodium, and nitrates, which are added to keep costs low and to increase the shelf life of the meat.

Luncheon Meat Vs. Spam

The type of luncheon meat used in this recipe is canned luncheon meat, similar to Spam, but a generic version. After comparing the ingredient list on the luncheon meat I purchased at the dollar store to the ingredient list on a can of Spam, I would definitely recommend the brand name Spam for this recipe if you have it available. But again, this series is all about using what you’ve got! And in this case, it’s generic canned luncheon meat.

Alternate Options

So look, if Spam isn’t your jam (I swear I didn’t plan that rhyme), you’ve got other options! Try using plain ground pork, chicken, or beef instead. Or, cube up some tofu and fry it up in the skillet first. The beauty of a stir fry is that you can put just about anything in them and they still taste great.

Not into ramen noodles? No problem! This stir fry would be great over a bed of rice, too. If you’re not using the ramen you’ll need a little something to season up the dish, in lieu of the seasoning packet from the ramen. You can make a really quick and easy sauce by combining ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup chili garlic sauce (or sriracha), and ¼ cup brown sugar.

Spam stir fry noodles in a skillet, being lifted by tongs.
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Spam Stir Fry Noodles

5 from 7 votes
This quick Spam stir fry is a dollar store dinner that only requires a few simple ingredients: ramen noodles, frozen vegetables, and luncheon meat.
Overhead view of a bowl of spam stir fry noodles with a fork.
Servings 2
Prep 5 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. luncheon meat ($1.25)
  • 12 oz. frozen stir fry vegetables ($1.25)
  • 3 oz. package instant ramen ($1.25)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($1.25)

Instructions 

  • Slice the luncheon meat into strips.
  • Add about a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the sliced luncheon meat and fry until brown and crispy.
  • Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil for the ramen noodles. Add the noodles (without the seasoning packet) and boil for about 3 minutes, or just until tender. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
  • Once the luncheon meat is crispy, turn the heat under the skillet up to medium-high and add the frozen vegetables. Continue to stir and cook until the vegetables are heated through.
  • Add the drained noodles and about half of the ramen seasoning packet to the skillet. Toss until everything is combined and coated in seasoning. Taste and add more seasoning if desired. Serve hot.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

The price calculation for Dollar Store Dinners includes the total package cost of the ingredients, rather than the cost for the portion used. The prices listed above reflect a six-pack of instant ramen and an entire bottle of cooking oil.
The nutrition facts below reflect the entire seasoning packet for the ramen, while we only used about half.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 669kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 23gFat: 41gSodium: 2345mgFiber: 8g
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Side view of a bowl of spam stir fry noodles being lifted by a fork.

How to Make Spam Stir Fry Noodles – Step by Step Photos

Dollar store stir fry ingredients.

You only need a few ingredients for this meal: canned luncheon meat (like Spam), a packet of instant ramen, a bag of frozen vegetables, and a little cooking oil to help the Spam crisp up (you might not even need this if your luncheon meat is high enough fat and you’re using a non-stick skillet).

Spam being cut into pieces.

Slice one 7 oz. can of luncheon meat into pieces.

Fried luncheon meat in a skillet.

Add a little oil to a skillet and heat over medium. Add the sliced luncheon meat to the skillet and fry until browned and crispy (3-5 minutes).

Boiled ramen noodles in a pot, drained.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the ramen noodles, without the seasoning packet, and boil until tender (about 3 minutes). Drain the noodles.

Frozen vegetables added to the skillet.

Turn the heat in the skillet up to medium-high and add one 12oz. bag of frozen stir fry vegetables. Stir and cook until the vegetables are heated through.

Noodles and seasoning added to the skillet.

Add the cooked and drained noodles to the skillet along with about half of the seasoning packet from the ramen noodles.

Finished Spam stir fry noodles in the skillet.

Toss the noodles together with the meat, vegetables, and seasoning. Taste and add more seasoning to your liking. Since the luncheon meat is pretty salty, I only used about half of the seasoning packet total.

Overhead view of a bowl of spam stir fry noodles with a fork.

Serve the easy Spam stir fry and enjoy!

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  1. As long as you’re introducing spam to the repertoire, may I recommend spam musubi? Very easy and budget friendly.

  2. Can we have a whole post on how to work with frozen vegetables?

    This recipe is interesting but I’ve never tried frozen vegetables in a stir-fry and now you’ve got me wondering why not?

    1. I second this request. I definitely have frozen veggies I use on repeat. For me, that’s spinach, peas, edamame, and corn. Onions would probably be another example for many, we just have a serious onion aversion in our house so we don’t cook with them at all. I think awhile ago you posted a recipe on roasting frozen broccoli, which I tried and it just didn’t work out for me. But would love some more ideas because I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of time and money saving opportunities by not using frozen veggies.

  3. This recipie is a hoot. Just like the rest of the Dollar Store Dinner series.
    Please keep this up.

  4. I think these Dollar Store Dinners are a great feature! Not everyone has access to big grocery stores and it’s hard to find simple, good recipes that don’t have a long ingredient list and are inexpensive. Thanks for this, Beth!

  5. I once heard Martha Stewart on the NPR show “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.” The host asked her what she would do with a can of Spam. She didn’t even hesitate – she said she would thinly slice it, fry it in butter, and serve it with a crusty baguette!
    My dad grew up dirt poor and still had a taste for Spam (and potted meat) long after he could afford to eat whatever he wanted. He fried his Spam and ate it with fried eggs and toast.

    1. My first boss (who I absolutely adored and was such a mentor to me) grew up dirt poor on a tobacco farm in eastern NC. He was very financially secure by the time I knew him, yet his go-to weekday lunch was tinned sardines and saltine crackers.

  6. I like simple cooking with food you have in your cupboards not fancy food you only use once in a blue moon

  7. I WISH Spam was still a dollar! :D
    I do a ghetto version of this more often than I’d like:
    Microwave the noodles in a bowl with water for 3 minutes
    Throw in some frozen veggies while the water is cooling and the Spam is getting crispy on the stove
    Drain the noodles/veggies and add my own sauce (I keep jars of peanut butter/dan dan sauce, yakisoba sauce and pad thai sauce that I pre-make)
    Top with the Spam.
    And just a tip: the thinner you slice the Spam, the more crispy and delicious it gets! Better than bacon! :D

    1. Cindy do you have recipes for peanut butter/dan dan sauce, yakisoba sauce and pad thai sauce that you would be able to share?

      1. Hello, Jamie- I just dig them up online and simplify/modify the more exotic ingredients (like peanut butter for sesame paste), and leave out stuff that I don’t like (like 5 spice mix). I usually leave out the meat too. Beth has a great recipe for yakisoba sauce – that’s been my go-to for years!
        The main reason I make my own sauces is to control the ingredients and lower sodium content (like Wok Mei oyster sauce has about 1/3 the sodium of what they usually have, and lower sodium soy sauce is everywhere). I love Asian food (I’m Asian), but can’t handle all the sodium.

  8. I recently had to live somewhere for a full year where the only grocery store I could reach was a Five Below. There was no public transportation option for me to get to a store with fresh food, and I didn’t have a car. Though I’m no longer in that situation, I’m still happy to see recipes that could have helped there, because it was pretty awful. Thank you for making this series of posts!