Perhaps when you think about canned fish, you think of making something like tuna salad or the viral tinned fish board. Yet there are so many different ways to use canned fish that offer a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients. Tinned fish is an underrated, budget-friendly way to expand your palate.
The benefits of canned fish range from offering a convenient, portable protein source to delivering heart-healthy fats. Whether you are making a fish board, tuna salad, or just experimenting in the kitchen, you’ll want to consider these tips for finding the best canned fish brands:
To learn about some of the best canned fish brands out there, we spoke to dietitians and nutrition experts to find out exactly which brands they recommend and why. And, if you’re looking for fish to help you with your weight loss goals, check out The Best Fish To Eat for Weight Loss.
Tiny Fish Co. offers an array of tinned fish options that you can add directly to your meal. We especially loved the clams, or the Smoked Geoduck with Black Pepper, in a homemade seafood spaghetti.
They’re other delicious options like the Rockfish in Soy Sauce, Octopus in Dill and Lemon Sauce, and Smoked Mussels. Choosing a variety of seafood and shellfish brings a boost to your vitamin and mineral levels like iron, calcium, vitamin C, B vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
“I love the wild-caught Season Brand Skinless & Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil,” shares Dani Lebovitz, MS, RDN, kids food and body positivity expert based in Franklin, TN and founder of Kid Food Explorers. “Tinned fish like sardines are a nutritional powerhouse high in brain and mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, bone-building calcium and vitamin D, and the essential vitamin responsible for healthy red blood cell formation and energy levels, B12.”
“Smaller fish, by nature, is a more sustainable option than larger fish like salmon and tuna. Also, the Season brand has received many sustainability certifications for its eco-friendly fishing practices. My kids prefer this brand of tinned fish for its mild flavor and soft texture, which makes it easy for me to maximize flavor diversity and shape their lifelong food preferences to include heart-healthy fish in their diet. We eat it straight out of the tin for a quick, easy lunch served with crackers, raw veggies, and fresh fruit,” Lebovitz tells us.
Cento is a household name with a strong reputation—and for good reason! We love their Rolled Anchovies with Capers in Olive Oil for a fun addition to any salad or pasta dish. If you’re feeling really adventurous, consider mashing them into butter for a rich, tangy sauce to put on top of a pasta or fish-based meal.
Aside from the burst of flavor, another benefit of anchovies is that one can contains 100 calories and 16 grams of protein! Talk about a small, but mighty protein source.
Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD shares her favorite canned fish brand with us. “My go-to choice for tinned fish is Safe Catch,” she says. Every can of their tuna is tested for mercury levels, and the tuna that is in their cans consistently has a lower mercury content than the max safe level set by the FDA. Safe Catch Elite Tuna also never adds water or oil fillers, and they follow the recommendations of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. All Safe Catch seafood is wild-caught, only using sustainable fishing practices.”
“I love the convenience of canned salmon to help meet the recommended two servings of fatty fish per week, and Cole’s Smoked Salmon is a great choice because it’s ASC Certified for responsible practices and sourced from Chile, making it particularly high in powerful omega-3 fats and low-mercury,” says Bianca Tamburello, RDN on behalf of FRESH Communications and Chilean Salmon Marketing Council. “Plus, Cole’s has a simple ingredient list and is delicious.”