San Jacobo

San Jacobo
Rainer Zenz/Wikimedia CC 2.0
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
605 Calories
37g Fat
24g Carbs
43g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 605
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 48%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 207mg 69%
Sodium 1642mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 246mg 19%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 567mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A San Jacobo is a popular merienda (afternoon snack) or tapa in Spain. It's basically a fried breadless ham and cheese sandwich, or grilled cheese with ham instead of bread. It is made by placing a slice of cheese between two slices of cooked ham, and then breading and then frying the "sandwich." The outside becomes nice and crispy while the cheese inside melts between the slices of ham, making for an irresistible treat.

To create a San Jacobo, a slice of cheese is laid in between two pieces of ham, and this is dipped into flour, then beaten egg, and finally breadcrumbs. It is fried in oil until hot and crispy and the cheese is gooey. Although Spain is known for its jamón, any kind of good-quality ham will work. Gruyere cheese is commonly used but you can include a cheese you like best.

The name San Jacobo refers to Santiago-Jacobo-Yago, the patron of the city of Basel in Switzerland, which is why there is a similarity to the Swiss dish (with a French name) chicken cordon bleu. It is said the dish is named after him because the fried ham and cheese was served to pilgrims as they made their way to Santiago-Jacobo-Yago's resting place.

If eating as a snack, you can leave the San Jacobo whole. But if serving as a tapas, it will be easier to eat if each sandwich is cut into quarters before breading and frying.


  • 8 slices cooked ham, about 4 x 4 inches

  • 4 thin slices cheese, similar in size to the ham

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup olive oil, for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Lay out 4 slices of the ham separately on a clean work area or counter.

  3. Place a piece of cheese on each ham slice, then lay another slice of ham on top.

  4. Break the eggs into a medium-sized bowl. Add the water to the eggs and beat with a wire whisk.

  5. Place the flour on a plate and the breadcrumbs on another plate. Set up the breading station in the order of flour, egg, breadcrumbs.

  6. Pour enough oil into a medium frying pan to completely cover the bottom. Heat over medium heat until shimmering.

  7. When the oil is hot, bread one of the ham and cheese: Dip the "sandwiches" into the flour, then the beaten egg, and then dredge in the breadcrumbs.​​

  8. Fry the San Jacobo in the oil until golden brown; turn over and fry the other side.

  9. Remove it from the frying pan and place it on a paper towel to drain.

  10. Repeat the breading and frying with the other 3 San Jacobos.

  11. Serve hot and enjoy.