Here’s a real talk: we all love freshly processed tomatoes, packed in a can, ready to go into our favorite dish. Canned tomatoes are an excellent alternative for people who want to avoid the hassle of peeling and processing tomatoes every day. They are available throughout the year so that you can meet your tomato salsa cravings even on a cold winter night.
Canned tomatoes are highly versatile in their offerings. Whether you want your tomatoes chopped or diced, or whole tomatoes - just peeled, canned tomatoes have a range of options for you.Wondering how you can pick the best canned tomatoes from the large pool of choices in the market? We have tried and tested several products to bring you the best ones. Here’s what we thought.
Our best pick is the Muir Glen Organic Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes as it offers pure freshness with a hint of smoky flavor.
Cento San Marzano Organic Peeled Tomatoes offers incredible value for your money. Its robust flavor and smooth texture stand as a league of its own.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Canned Tomatoes
1. Muir Glen Organic Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Ever since its inception, Muir Glen has been a trusted name for organic canned tomatoes. The 14.5 ounces can is packed with whole peeled tomatoes, diced and seasoned with sea salt.
The tomatoes used in this product are harvested in rich Californian soil. They are similar to the San Marzano tomatoes in flavor and texture. The product has a perfect amount of sweetness with low acidity. Moreover, it contains zero cholesterol and saturated fats making it a healthy choice.
Harvested in late summer, the tomatoes are picked and processed when they are at their ripeness peak. And within eight hours, they are packed into the can and ready to deliver.
Tomatoes are grilled over an open fire before they are processed. As a result, they add a subtle smoky flavor to your dish. They also offer an enhanced natural sweetness.The Muir Glen Organic Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes makes an ideal choice sauteing. They blend well with homemade sauce, soups, and stews. They are so perfectly seasoned that tomato lovers will enjoy a bite right out of the can.
2. Cento San Marzano Organic Peeled Tomatoes
Cento San Marzano Organic Peeled Tomatoes are a pack of juicy whole tomatoes with tomato puree and basil for added flavor. They are made of certified, premium quality Italian San Marzano tomatoes. You can expect nothing but rich flavor and smooth texture from these cans.
This canned tomato was among the most balanced products that we tasted. Moreover, it is free of artificial flavors and preservatives, which makes it an ideal choice for your dish’s base. And it should be your top pick if you’re trying to achieve an authentic Italian flavor in your recipe.The 28 oz can is filled with rich non-GMO tomato, a great source of vitamin A and C, iron, and calcium. The BPA-free cans make a healthy addition to your kitchen pantry. You can add the Cento canned tomato to your casseroles, soups, and sauces.
3. Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes
With a rich texture and all-natural flavor, Hunt’s Diced Canned Tomatoes easily secures its place in our list of the best canned tomatoes. It complements pasta, casseroles, soups, sauces, and whatnot.
The diced tomatoes are stored along with the tomato juice extracted from it. This is a highly efficient preservation process that helps keep the natural taste intact for a long time. The product contains both naturally derived calcium chloride and citric acid as preservatives. This translates to optimal sweetness and thick texture for your home recipes.
Hunt’s canned tomatoes are made of vine-ripened tomatoes from California. They are picked when at the peak of ripeness and are canned within ten hours. This means that you can expect a garden-fresh taste right out of the cans.Each pack contains 14.5 oz tomatoes, and each serving delivers 30 calories. The ingredients packed in this can is keto diet-friendly. Each serving provides 4 grams of net carbs and no added sugar.
4. Sclafani Whole Peeled Tomatoes
Sclafani is a reliable name in the canned tomatoes industry. Delivering top-notch quality to homemade recipes, they have won over millions of customers across the world. We were quite impressed with the superb flavor their vine-ripened tomatoes had to offer.
Each Sclafani can weigh 25 ounces and contain high-quality whole peeled tomatoes. They are rich in vitamin and mineral content. Each serving contains 1 gram of protein as well.
The canned tomatoes are preserved with calcium chloride and citric acid. They can withstand intense cooking for several hours and still retain their shape. Without a doubt, the product is one of the best canned tomatoes you can buy at an affordable price. From soup to lasagna, they can help you prepare a champion level dish with ease.The tomatoes are perfectly peeled and make a wonderful sauce. The cans contain rich tomato juice, not water. You can simply crush them with your hand or put them in a blender if you need a paste. Do not liquify these canned tomatoes. The juice it contains will serve the purpose perfectly well.
5. Rega San Marzano Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes
In terms of sweetness and acidity, the Rega San Marzano Whole Peeled Canned Tomatoes is one of the most balanced products we’ve tested so far. Its flawless manufacturing process allows you to serve it straight out of the can. If you’re looking for some tomato to put on a sandwich right from the box, your search is about to end.
Made of authentic San Marzano tomatoes, the product is DOP marked. The sweet Italian flavor that each can bring to your kitchen is truly unforgettable. With fleshy bodies and fewer seeds, the canned tomatoes are prepared to make any dish lucrative.You can use the canned tomatoes for making sauce or pizza from scratch. Delicious San Marzano sweetness offers an authentic Italian flavor to your homemade recipes. However, we found the juice to be somewhat sour. You might need to add extra sugar to cover that up.
6. Bianco DiNapoli Organic Crushed Tomatoes
Bianco DiNapoli is a comfortable choice for home cookers and professional chefs alike. They have been our go-to canned tomatoes whenever we needed a dose of delicious tomatoes in our pizza, pasta, sauces, casseroles, and whatnot. Ensuring the best quality, carefully harvested and handpicked Californian tomatoes are used to produce Bianco DiNapoli.
Once picked, the tomatoes are washed and steam-peeled before packing them with organic basil and a hint of sea salt. And as the perfect finishing touch, the product is topped in its own juice. All of these are done efficiently in a matter of hours, so they are ready to go within hours of harvest.Each of the 28 oz cans comes with an abundance of canned tomatoes. You can choose to purchase them in single or multiple packs. So regardless of season and month, you will always have fresh tomatoes at your disposal.
7. Tuttorosso Crushed Tomatoes
Boasting its all-natural production on the can’s label, Tuttorosso is one of the best crushed canned tomatoes that money can buy. We have been quite satisfied with the taste it had to offer, and we believe that you will too.
The product is made from freshly ripened tomatoes on the vine. The tomatoes are picked at their peak, later processed, and canned within hours. As a result, the true essence of tomatoes is captured. They deliver the fresh-out-of-garden taste throughout the year, wherever you are in the world. You will almost forget that they came out of a can.Not only in taste, but the product is also rich in nutritional values. It offers a significant amount of vitamins A and C, iron, and fiber. Moreover, it is free of any trans or saturated fat. All in all, Tuttorosso bears good news for your taste bud and health.
8. Mutti Cherry Tomatoes
Mutti is among the most prestigious tomato brands from Italy, so we decided to try them out. And we have to say, we were quite impressed. The product is made of only two ingredients: Italian cherry tomatoes and their juice. There are no additives or preservatives in the can, which makes it an incredibly healthy choice.
A lot of effort is put into delivering the perfect tomato flavor. The tomatoes are harvested sustainably in warm and sunny regions of Puglia and Campania, Italy. They are sun-ripened, hand-picked, and processed in a matter of hours.Mutti is a reliable choice for families, catering services, and restaurants. The finely chopped tomatoes blend easily in a range of dishes. You can even use them as a substitute for crushed tomatoes.
9. Stanislaus Alta Cucina Whole Tomatoes
Need canned tomatoes in large volumes? You may enjoy these delicious offerings by Alta Cucina. Each can contains 6.43 pounds of canned tomatoes. You can choose to purchase them in single or multiple packs.The company has managed to achieve the classic Italian tomato flavor in the USA. As a result, the home growers largely benefit from the production of these canned tomatoes. The vine-ripened plum tomatoes are topped in tomato juice and seasoned with fresh basil leaves to add a delicious flavor.
10. Hunt’s Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes
Hunt’s presents a wonderful alternative to diced and crushed tomatoes. They are particularly useful when you’re trying to achieve a thick texture in your sauce or curry. The tomatoes are vine-ripened and offer superior quality flavor in every bite you take.
To keep the natural flavor intact, Hunt’s tomatoes are carefully peeled with hot water. From vine to cans in hours - no artificial ingredients have been used in the process. The company advertises to have a 100% natural manufacturing process, and we have no reason to believe otherwise.The robust tomatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals as well. They deliver one gram of protein and 30 calories per serving. All in all, the whole peeled canned tomatoes are wholesome - both in taste and nutritional values.
Things to Consider Before Buying Canned Tomatoes
Why Should You Buy Canned Tomatoes?
We would choose canned tomatoes over the ripe ones, any day of the year. Here’s why.
They save you tons of time on peeling and processing. Canned tomatoes come prepared in a pot, generally seasoned. So if you want to prepare a quick sandwich before heading to work in the morning, canned tomatoes are the stuff.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you had something that instantly elevates any dish? You can largely benefit from the natural flavor and seasoning of canned tomatoes. They are mostly topped in sea salt, organic basil, and other flavorful herbs to offer pure delicacy in every bite.
And if you’re like us, you will enjoy the fresh bite of a tomato straight from the can. That’s right, canned tomatoes can work as a snack as well. They are generally pre-cooked before being put into the can. Not only that, but they also offer additional flavor than any fresh tomato would.
Canned tomatoes are consistent. You will always know what you’re going to get out of the box. They are preserved in peak tomato season, so the flavor remains intact year-round. In contrast, if you walk into a supermarket vegetable aisle in August, the chances are that most of the tomatoes you touch will be overripe. This makes canned tomatoes a safe choice.
Moreover, canned tomatoes offer variation. They come in several forms: crushed, sauced, pureed, diced, whole tomatoes - seasoned and unseasoned. Depending on what dish you’re preparing, you can pick any can that suits your needs. There’s something for everyone.
Types of Canned Tomatoes
- Whole Peeled Tomatoes
These types of canned tomatoes are steamed and peeled before treating them with lye. They are then packed with tomato juice and put in a can. Whole tomatoes go through minimal heating, just enough to remove the skins off the tomato.
Whole tomatoes offer much flexibility in the kitchen. You can crush, dice or chop them into any size your dish demands. In short, they can be used in the broadest range of ways. These canned tomatoes make an ideal choice for classic tomato soup or marinara sauce.
- Crushed Tomatoes
Crushed tomatoes are pasted into a thick texture and offer a sweet flavor. You can easily place them somewhere diced canned tomatoes and tomato pastes. As added texture, some brands contain small chunks as well. They are ideally used for making sauces and soups.
- Diced Tomatoes
Diced canned tomatoes are cut into fine small to medium pieces. They are basically uncooked and contain seeds. These types of canned tomatoes add a bright flavor, coarse consistency, and chunky texture to dishes. Diced tomatoes can be combined with crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce to achieve the perfect Italian consistency.
- Stewed Tomatoes
If you enjoy bigger bites of tomatoes in your dish, then this is it. Stewed tomatoes are precooked, seasoned tomatoes, and come in thick round slices. They are commonly canned with salt, sugar, and spice.
They have a very particular taste and a variation to your dish. Stewed tomatoes can potentially spice up any bland dish in an instant.
- Tomato Puree
Tomato sauce with a texture - that’s what tomato puree is. They are cooked down and reduced before they’re put into a can. As a result, it is chunk-free and smoother than crushed tomatoes. There are no seeds in the can.
Since they are cooked and reduced to such an extent, tomato puree does not bring the fresh tomato flavor. However, if you’re preparing a slow-cooking dish, tomato puree should be the can you pick.
- Tomato Paste
Tomato paste takes the most extensive preservation process. They are cooked and reduced before being strained. And reduced again. As you open a can of tomato paste, you will find a thick and concentrated texture in dark red color.
- Tomato Sauce
A little more liquid than tomato puree, tomato sauce comes with a pourable texture. The cans generally contain seasoning. Check the label carefully before confirming your purchase. Tomato sauce blends well with any dish or sauce.
Consider the Manufacturing Process
Are you wondering how canning works? Generally, tomatoes are picked from the vine or farm when they are at the peak of their ripeness. This ensures perfect flavor and freshness. They are immediately sent to the canning facility for further processing.
At first, the skins are removed from the tomatoes. This may be done using steam, hot water, hand, or artificial equipment. Tomatoes are then sliced or chopped as per requirement and topped in their juice or tomato puree. Most canned tomatoes are seasoned with salt and some sugar as well.
Once that is done, the cans are sealed and heated at a temperature in order to sterilize the product. As a result, the tomatoes get cooked in the can. This further enhances the flavor and prepares the canned tomatoes to be served instantly.
And the best part is, the entire process is done within a day. The tomatoes go from the vine to cans in a matter of hours. As a result, their natural taste is preserved.
Looking at the types of canned tomatoes, you may have already realized the importance of different manufacturing processes. Every type of canned tomato is treated and processed differently. It is a vital consideration, especially if you want to achieve a particular texture in your dish.
You will also find many organic canned tomatoes if that’s what you’re looking for.
San Marzano and Roma are two of the most popular varieties of tomatoes that are used for canning. San Marzano tomatoes grow only in Italy’s rich volcanic region and bear the DOP mark to confirm authenticity. On the other hand, Roma tomatoes grow worldwide. San Marzano tomatoes have thick flesh with a sweeter flavor. In contrast, Roma tomatoes have more chewy flesh and lower water content.
San Marzano are plum tomatoes, generally preferable for Italian recipes. They offer a thick texture along with firm pulp. The seed count in the tomatoes is also lower than Roma tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes come in a velvety red hue, delivering a brilliant color to your dish. However, the tomatoes are only harvested from August to September. Needless to say, the rarity of this wonderful breed of tomato makes them more expensive than their alternatives.
San Marzano tomatoes have a rich history of being the best tomatoes in the world. However, with time, they are now being replaced with delicious alternatives.
Roma tomatoes are easier to cook down to a fine sauce. They are more oval in size and have more flesh and less juice in their body. Roma tomatoes are grown in abundance in the USA, which makes them an available choice. They are relatively affordable; you can purchase large volumes without breaking your bank account.
Are there Seasonings in Canned Tomatoes?
Canned tomatoes generally contain some level of seasoning. Be sure to check the food label to see if the can comes with added salt, sugar, or herbs. You will also find tons of unseasoned options.
Note that sugar or natural flavor like herbs can impact the taste of your dish. Carefully check the seasoning content on the label and prepare your dish accordingly. You don’t want to ruin your dish by over-salting.
Pay Attention to Preservatives
Two of the most common preservatives for canned tomatoes are calcium chloride and citric acid.
Calcium chloride is used to preserve the shape of tomatoes. It makes the tomatoes harder to cook down and maintains a chunky texture in your dish. On the other hand, citric acid is used in canned tomatoes to enhance its flavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long can you store canned tomatoes in your pantry?
Canned tomatoes can sustain for up to 18 months at room temperature. However, their flavor will be lost over time. So it's best not to pile up large volumes if they’re going to sit in your pantry.
What kind of canned tomatoes do you use for sauce?
You can use whole, crushed, diced, or stewed tomatoes for your sauce. It depends mostly on what texture you’re trying to achieve. If you want a slightly thick texture with a hint of chunks in your sauce, we suggest you go for diced tomatoes.
However, avoid diced tomatoes if you want a smoother sauce. You can pick whole tomatoes and put them in an immersion blender in that case.
How can you substitute canned tomatoes for tomato sauce?
You can blend a cup of stewed canned tomato with water. Wait until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Add a dash of salt and sugar. This can be an excellent last-minute solution, and your save dish any day.
Can canned tomatoes be frozen?
Yes. In fact, freezing is the best way to store leftover canned tomatoes. Make sure to put the opened can in a zip-lock bag or container. Canned tomatoes will remain in good condition in a freezer for up to six months. You can simply defrost the can in a microwave and add to your dish when necessary.
If not frozen, canned tomatoes will last from 5 to 7 days once opened.
How to get the tin taste out of canned tomatoes?
Canned tomatoes may sometimes acquire a metallic taste when skins remain in the can. This also happens as a result of tannins in the tomato pomace. Simply add a pinch of baking soda to get rid of the metallic taste.
Canned tomatoes have become a pantry staple. Due to their year-round availability and fresh flavor, they have become an incredible substitute for fresh tomatoes. They’re sometimes even preferable over ripe ones. Besides, canned tomatoes offer rich nutritional values and incredible versatility.
Whether you need whole tomatoes or tomato paste, there’s a can for everyone. In an effort to nudge you toward the right purchase, we have assembled some of the best canned tomatoes backed by a comprehensive buying guide.