Last Updated: Oct 20, 2021 @ 7:17 pm.

What's the best jamon iberico (iberico ham)? And what makes jamon iberico so special? We taste-tested jamon iberico from several brands to find the best bets. Which had the best smoky flavor? Which paired best with wine? Here are the winners.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Best Jamon Iberico (Iberico Ham)

To find the best jamon iberico, we ordered in several brands of this famous Spanish ham and started tasting. (Yes, a tough job, but someday had to do it).

We tried jamon iberico with crackers and cheese . . . and a bottle of Spanish wine. Perhaps two bottles of wine.

Where were we? Oh, yes, the best jamon iberico.

First, let’s talk about what makes jamon iberico so special.

Acorns . . . and more acorns

Made in Spain and Portugal, jamon iberico is renowned for its smokey, rich flavor.

To be called jamon iberico, you first have to start with Black Iberian-bred pigs . . . which trace their history in Spain back to 12,000 BCE. 

There are several grades of jamon iberico—perhaps the most famous is jamon iberico de bellota. “Bellota” is acorn in Spanish—and as you might have guessed, these are pigs that are fed only acorns (at least during the last period of their lifespan).

Here are the four basic grades of jamon iberico:

• Black label: jamon iberico made from 100% iberico de bellota. This ham is made from pure-bred Black Iberian pigs fed acorns.

• Red-label: jamon iberico de bellota is produced from pigs that are NOT pure-bred. These free range pigs are still fed a diet of acorns, however.

• Green label: jamon iberico cebo de campo is ham from pastured pigs that are feed both grain and acorns. This imparts a different flavor profile.

• White label: jamon iberico de cebo is made from pigs that are fed only grain. 

Each type of jamon iberico is cured for a different length of time. White label jamon iberico is cured for 24 months, for example.

After trying out several types of iberico ham, here are the ones we’d recommend.

Best Smokey Flavor Iberico Ham

Great for cheese & crackers
This pork loin from La Alberca Spain is cured for 70 days with salt, garlic and olive oil—delicious! The shorter curing time gives this ham a richer, creamy mouth feel. Shelf life 14 months.

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Best Jamon Iberico Wine Pair

Mouth-watering!
Wow—now, this is an amazing ham! 100% Iberico de Bellota, this ham is cured for 48 months. Yes, 48. That melts much of the fat, giving this ham a sharp, salty flavor profile. Shelf life 24 months.

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Best Lean Jamon Iberico

4 ounces of ham heavan
This bellota iberico pork shoulder has a flavor profile that is perfect—not too salty, not too nutty. Made in Spain, this jamon iberico is cured for 18 months from free-range pigs.

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Best Bone-In Jamon Iberico

Cured for 36 months.
Yes, it is pricey . . . but wow. This whole bone-in ham is amazingly delicious. Cured for 36 months, this ham is acorn-fed, 100% iberico. Shelf life 24 months.

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Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing (with the exception of the bone-in ham recommended in this article)—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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