There’s nothing like a good can of tuna. It’s a protein-packed snack or meal that’s versatile enough to be eaten on its own or incorporated into a variety of meals. When it comes to the best canned tuna, most of us are looking for something that tastes great, has all of the nutrients that we expect, and is sourced in a responsible and sustainable manner.
We can help you find exactly that! Here are our 12 favorite tuna options as well as a guide on how to choose the right tuna for you and your family, along with some tips for how to use it in a delicious recipe.
The Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil from Genova is the best option for sustainably sourced seafood that isn’t lacking in nutrition and flavor. It’s so good you can eat it directly out of the can!
We also love how sustainable Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna is. The tuna is caught just off the coast of New Zealand and is third-party tested to ensure low mercury levels.
Quick Comparison: The 12 Best Canned Tuna
1. Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Pure Olive Oil
The yellowfin tuna fillets that are used in this canned tuna product are hand-selected to ensure the finest quality. Not only that, but they're also sourced in a safe and sustainable way that means that dolphins aren't harmed.
Genova also provides incredible taste with their yellowfin tuna, unlike what you’d get with albacore or light tuna. We’ve been enjoying their recipe for Healthy Layered Tuna Salad Jars for lunch recently, and they’ve become a quick and easy favorite to pack for work. And with white beans, tuna, and a hard-boiled egg, we feel confident that we’re getting enough protein throughout the day.
Going beyond taste, Genova is also committed to ensure transparency throughout their entire supply chain, and they do what they can to give their workers a voice and make decisions that ensure the sustainability of their sourcing and manufacturing.
2. Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna
We always try to ensure the best for our friends and family, which is why we feel great about this tuna from Wild Planet. It contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA. With 600 mg of both, we feel good about eating something that’s supporting our heart and brain health.
Plus, this tuna is everything it should be—there’s no oil, water, or fillers added. We love sprinkling on some fresh chives or cherry tomatoes and eating it straight out of the can.
We can also feel good about this tuna for the positive impact that it’s having on our planet. Wild Planet is conscious about sustainability, which is why their tuna is pole and line caught in the Pacific Ocean—just off the coast of New Zealand. This means that they don’t harm any other species and help to preserve the natural ecosystem.
3. BUMBLE BEE Solid White Albacore Tuna Fish in Water
If you’re looking for lean protein, you can’t go wrong with this canned albacore from Bumble Bee. There’s a reason that they’ve been in business for more than a century—they know how to provide us with the most delicious tuna products. We love adding their tuna with some tzatziki and cucumber to make a Greek tuna wrap, or simply having it with just crackers.
Additionally, Bumble Bee was a founder of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, which demonstrates their commitment to responsibly harvested tuna. You can even use their website to track your tuna product to the exact boat that caught it!
4. Safe Catch Elite Wild Tuna
This tuna is for everyone—because Safe Catch can ensure that their Elite tuna contains the lowest levels of mercury, we can feel safe serving it to anyone: pregnant women, athletes, or kids. We feel confident with Safe Catch because they’re the only brand to test every fish for mercury.
Not only are we satisfied by the mercury content of Safe Catch tuna, but we’re also satisfied with how healthy it is. They don’t pre-cook their tuna (most brands do), which means that it contains more nutrients and flavor than other brands, like naturally occurring fish oils and juices that are a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Kirkland Albacore Solid White Tuna in Water
More and more people are interested in responsibly caught seafood these days. That’s why Costco (the company behind the Kirkland brand) uses circle hooks and monofilament leaders when they catch their albacore tuna. This helps them prevent by-catch of sharks and sea turtles.
You also get a fresh aroma and flavor when you open a can of this tuna. They freeze it as soon as it’s caught, so you get all of the flavor and texture of fresh-caught tuna. We like to buy it because of how firm it is and how it looks like it should. It’s great on sandwiches, in salads, or just on its own.
6. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water
For years, StarKist has been known as America's favorite tuna. It's safe to say that they are a brand that people trust and turn to for quality tasting tuna products. This product is great value for money and is an excellent way to add some protein to meals without breaking the bank.
StarKist is also a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and is passionate about the long-term sustainability and conservation of marine habitats. Going beyond that, StarKist is also committed to supporting their employees and the communities they work in.
7. Chicken of the Sea Tuna Chunk Light in Water
Sometimes, we want something quick, affordable, tasty, and nutritious. With this tuna from Chicken of the Sea, we can get all of that. This tuna is 99% fat free and an excellent source of protein. It’s an inexpensive way to add calcium and omega-3 fatty acids to our diet, and it’s easy to incorporate into a range of snacks and meals.
We also like to incorporate this canned tuna into meals for our whole family—especially those who suffer from cardiovascular issues. The EPA and DHA (omega-3’s) contained in this canned tuna may support a healthy heart and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Each can contains 80 mg of both, and is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
8. Raincoast Trading Solid White Albacore Tuna
We like that Raincoast Trading is serious about being as sustainable as they can when catching, packing, and processing their tuna. Because they only cook it once (most tuna is cooked twice), the tuna retains as much flavor and nutrition as possible. They use hook and line fisheries, which means that they can preserve the ecosystems in which they catch their tuna.
Also, because Raincoast Trading uses small and young albacore tuna, we can feel safer about eating their products. Albacore are considered to be the lowest in the world in terms of mercury, so we feel confident about feeding it to the whole family.
Plus, it’s got an awesome flavor and texture that is about as close to fresh tuna as you can get. We like it so much, we can just eat it straight out of the can! If you do want to add it to a meal, we recommend smashing some avocado and mixing the tuna in with a splash of fresh lemon juice. Add that to fresh bread or toast and you have a tasty and nutritious sandwich!
9. Freshé Gourmet Canned Tuna Variety Pack
If you want to access all of the health benefits of tuna but can’t stand how bland it sometimes tastes, this is the tuna product for you. Freshé does a great job of incorporating global flavors to spice up their tuna. And with four distinct flavors, every member of your family is sure to find something they love.
We love having these pocket-sized tins ready for lunches, on the go snacks, or even incorporated into a meal. We also love taking them on camping trips because they provide savory flavor without requiring us to pack a few jars of spices or a bottle of olive oil.
We’re also very impressed with how the tuna is sourced. Each can contains sustainably caught wild skipjack tuna that is certified sustainable by Friend of the Sea. For people who don’t like tuna that’s been caught in the Pacific, you’ll appreciate that this tuna has been caught off the coast of Spain and Portugal.
10. Crown Prince Natural Chunk Light Tongol Tuna in Spring Water
For anyone who’s curious, tongol tuna is a type of tuna that is found off the shore of Indonesia, Thailand, Iran, and Malaysia in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. It may not be as common as some of the other types of tuna—like blackfin, albacore, and bluefin—but it’s also not responsible for a decrease in fish numbers due to overfishing.
Tongol tuna is more than just a responsibly-sourced type of tuna, it’s also considered to be one of the best tuna species for its low mercury content! It also tends to have a lighter smell and taste, making it a great choice for those of us who don’t like our tuna to be too “fishy.”
11. WILD SELECTIONS Solid Light Tuna in Olive Oil
We always have a can of Wild Selections tuna in our pantry because it’s a company that’s committed to keeping things “wild.” A portion of each sale goes towards supporting World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conservation programs, including those that protect marine habitats.
Helping out even more, Wild Selections is also a member of 1% of the Planet, which means that one percent of their annual proceeds gets donated to a range of sustainability initiatives. Wild Selections doesn’t just do good, they taste good too! Their tuna pieces are big and firm—you won’t find a can of mush here!
12. American Tuna Wild Albacore Tuna
We happen to think that this is as close as you can get to fresh tuna. Each can is packed with just one albacore tuna steak, you won’t find mush from multiple albacore tuna. Also, this is one of the few types of tuna that you can find that is sourced from American waters. The tuna is caught in the North Pacific and hand-packed in Oregon.
Plys, you’re really getting what you pay for here. Each can contains very minimal water and nearly two servings of tuna. If you want to stretch your dollar with good quality and sustainable products, you should order a can or two of American Tuna. It tastes great in salads, mixed into cold pasta salad, or baked on toast with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese.
Things to Consider When Buying Best Canned Tuna
Whether we’re in the grocery store or shopping online, choosing a food product can sometimes feel overwhelming. There are just so many choices these days! Plus, with confusing ingredient lists and nutrition labels, it’s hard to know which products are the best.
That’s why we’re going to help you out with your decision. We’ll let you know about some of the health benefits of tuna as well as how to pick the best brand. Then, we’ll help you with the next step of your canned tuna journey: eating it!
What Exactly is Canned Tuna?
So, when we think about it, there’s possibly nothing that sounds less appetizing than fish that’s several months or years old. So how exactly does canned tuna still taste so great—even after we know that it’s been fished a long time ago?
To answer that question, we should explore the process canned tuna goes through before it ends up in your kitchen pantry:
- You've probably never thought about it before, but canned tuna comes from the same place that real tuna does—from the ocean. Most of the canned tuna that we see on the shelves of our local supermarkets come from the Pacific Ocean.
- So, what happens after the tuna is caught? Well, once it's been fished or sourced from the farm, it is loaded on fishing boats as quickly as possible. This typically involves it being frozen, and there are two main ways this happens. First, producers may use blast freezing, which means that the tuna is placed directly into a large freezer. Alternatively, brine freezing may also be used, which incorporates placing the tuna in a chilled salt water brine located on the boat.
- Then, we get to the production process. After the tuna has been frozen, it gets taken back to the port so that it can be transported to the plant. Typically, this is an extremely quick process that involves the manufacturers thawing, inspecting, and cleaning the tuna. At this stage, any tuna that doesn't meet quality specifications is removed. everything else is passed through a large steamer basket, the skin and bones are removed, and the meat is either chunked or sliced depending on what it's being used for.
- At this stage, tuna may also be cooked. Some brands will use still frozen tuna, while others will cook it. The benefits of the tuna being still frozen when it’s inserted into the pouch or the can is that it retains more of its natural nutritional value and flavor as the cooking process typically results in a reduction of nutrients and flavor.
- Lastly, the cans or pouches are prepared and the tuna is inserted. This is also where things are added to the canned or pouch tuna. In some cases, the tuna may just be salted and added to water, and other cases, vegetable broth, oil, or any other flavors may be added.
- Canned tuna will then go through another step to ensure its shelf-stable qualities. It’ll be placed in a special cooker that uses extremely high temperatures and pressure to sterilize and seal the cans so that they’re safe to eat for years to come.
Is Canned Tuna Healthy?
You're probably familiar with the fact that canned tuna is very healthy. Surprisingly, canned tuna has nearly as many nutritional benefits as fresh tuna does—at a fraction of the cost.
Canned tuna is a great source of many essential nutrients, including vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, and protein. Additionally, it's a great source of iodine, which is an important mineral for expecting and new mothers.
Another nutrient that we can all use more of is omega-3 fatty acids. Many Americans are deficient in this nutrient, which is essential for brain, heart, and eye health. Fortunately, canned tuna is an extremely easy way to get these Omega-3s, especially EPA and DHA.
Canned Tuna Nutrition Facts
Every brand of canned tuna will have slightly different nutritional facts, but here's a general overview of what you can expect from a light can of tuna that's been packed in water:
- Source of omega-3 fatty acids
- Source of protein
- Source of vitamin B12
- >40 grams of protein
- Around 1.5 grams of fat
- Around 200 calories
- Free of carbs
- 0 grams of fiber
- Around 80 mg of sodium
- Source of minerals and vitamins like: calcium, potassium, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and choline
The combination of these vitamins and minerals means that canned tuna may be helpful in preventing anemia, promoting heart health, reducing the risk of dimension, reducing muscle loss, and supporting a healthy blood sugar level.
How Do You Find the Healthiest Canned Tuna?
So, are there any health concerns with canned tuna, and how do you choose the best one for you and your family?
One of the biggest concerns that people have with fish in general, including tuna, is mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is the result of natural processes like volcanic eruptions, as well as industrial processes like coal-burning.
In high concentrations, mercury has been linked to severe health issues including anxiety and depression, heart disease, and impaired memory and focus.
The FDA recommends that American adults eat about 3 to 5 oz of fish at least two to three times a week. If you're interested in eating tuna to meet some of these recommendations, it's a good idea to choose smaller tuna fish.
As we go up the food chain, and marine animals get larger and larger they typically also contain higher levels of mercury. That said, smaller tuna fish like skipjack tuna or light tuna typically contain less mercury than larger tuna species like yellowfin, ahi, albacore, and bigeye.
Another health concern that's commonly linked with all types of canned food is BPA. BPA, or Bisphenol-A, is an industrially-made chemical used as a protective lining. In recent years, BPA has been linked to a range of negative health effects—ranging from cancer and heart problems to destruction and hormone levels and behavior problems.
So, when looking for the best canned tuna for you and your family make sure you look for cans that are labeled to be BPA-free.
How to Eat Canned Tuna
Eating canned tuna is easy. It doesn't require heating or preparation. In fact, you can eat it straight out of the can. If you're in a time crunch, you can simply have some crackers on hand to go along with your tuna. If you feel like adding a bit of extra flavor, you can use either freshly squeezed lemon juice, mayonnaise, or pickle relish.
Canned tuna is also a great way to add some protein to any meal. Whether you've got pasta, a sandwich, or a salad, adding a can of tuna is a quick and easy way to pack a meal full of protein.
To give you some more meal inspiration, we've come up with a few of our favorite recipes that use canned tuna.
Canned Tuna Recipes
If you're looking for something that's light, healthy, and super nutritious, you've got to try this recipe for Tuna & Cucumber Quinoa Salad from the Kitchn. You'll get protein from the tuna, fiber and antioxidants from the quinoa and vegetables, and a splash of delicious flavor from the honey mustard vinaigrette dressing.
If you're looking for something heartier, you can't go wrong with one of America's favorite comfort foods: tuna noodle casserole. We like this recipe from food.com. It only takes about 55 minutes to prepare and serves four to six people. Filled with delicious cheese and egg noodles, this will leave everyone—kid and adult alike—feeling satisfied.
Sometimes, we're looking for a meal that's not only quick and easy, but also a bit different. And for that, we would recommend these quick and easy canned tuna fish tacos from The Spruce Eats. If you've got just 10 minutes, some corn tortilla, and some mayonnaise, sour cream, and a few other ingredients, you're ready to make this tasty taco dinner.
Canned tuna is one of those foods that most people love to have. It’s shelf-stable and great for a last minute meal. It’s also a quick, easy, and affordable source of protein and with a variety of options, everyone is sure to find the best canned tuna for them and their families.We hope that this guide was helpful and that you now feel inspired to try a new tuna brand or incorporate your favorite tuna into a tasty recipe. We’d love to know what your favorite thing about tuna is, or how you like to eat it. Please share a tip or recipe in the comments below!