San Jacobo

San Jacobo
Rainer Zenz/Wikimedia CC 2.0
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
863 Calories
75g Fat
28g Carbs
20g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 863
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 75g 97%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 154mg 51%
Sodium 1001mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 20g
Calcium 315mg 24%
*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 (about 4- by 4-inch) slices cooked ham
  • 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 three San Jacobos.

  11. Serve hot and enjoy.