Canned tuna is a staple in most American households and for good reason. A 3-ounce serving contains about 20 grams of protein, plus it’s incredibly versatile. You can eat it on its own; add it to your favorite dishes like sandwiches and salads, or use it as a high-protein ingredient in things like omelets and casseroles.
You don’t necessarily need to buy the most expensive tuna brands either — some of the best-canned tuna is sold at grocery stores that aren’t exactly known for having the highest quality products. That said, there are many canned tuna brands out there, so choosing between them can be difficult without knowing what to look for.
To help you make an informed decision at the supermarket next time you’re stocking up on tuna, we researched some of the most popular brands and compared them to see which ones came out on top.
But first, let’s dive deeper into the details before jumping to the brand list.
Light vs White Tuna: Which One Should You Choose?
Traditionally, the two types of tuna sold in cans are been labeled as “white” and “light.” The main difference between the two is that light tuna usually has a pink color, while white tuna has a more pale, yellowish color.
White tuna also does not have any added flavor or color from artificial sources. Light tuna is often richer in flavor.
In other words, when you’re shopping for canned tunas make sure to pay attention to the labels – they’ll let you know which parts of the fish were used in canning your favorite kind.
Albacore is America’s favorite type of canned tunas and it’s also considered healthier due to its darker meat that contains less mercury than skipjack and yellowfin tuna.
Albacore tuna is less common in grocery stores, but it’s usually the most expensive of all canned tunas. White tuna also contains more vitamins and minerals than light tuna – 100 g of white is equivalent to 8% of daily recommended values for calcium, 7% iron, 5% magnesium, 4% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. It’s also rich in B-complex vitamins that are vital for healthy brain function.
White or light albacore? Both types have their pros and cons so it really is up to your personal preferences when choosing between them. Your best bet would be to ask yourself your favorite parts of the fish – if you prefer meat over flavor then try opting for white albacore, if you favor flavor then get light tuna.
What About Packaging: Oil or Water?
If you’re going to go for oil-packed tuna, olive oil packs more nutrients and is a better option. On the other hand, if you’re watching fat intake, oil-packed will be higher in calories than water-packed (but it’ll also taste, less dry).
Is The Way The Fish Is Caught Important?
Yes, the method of catching fish matters tremendously in terms of sustainability. Pole and line fishing, and trolling are two highly-rated methods that make sure other species don’t get caught in the mix.
Poll and line mean exactly what you think fishing means: one person with a pole and a fishing line. Trolling uses a boat with a few poles. But make sure to avoid the term “line caught” which can mean other methods that sound ‘safe’ but are really not (like longline fishing).
What Safety Measures To Take When Buying Canned Tuna?
The first safety measure to look for on the can is if it is BPA-free. This will help you to ensure that there are not any harmful chemicals in the can and that the metal won’t leach into the contents of the can.
Avoid buying cans with dents or bulging as this could indicate a food safety issue. You should also pick brands that follow responsible fishing practices and those that go beyond “dolphin-safe.”
When you’re grocery shopping, don’t fall for vague greenwashing terms such as ‘line-caught. Stick to brands that have clear paperwork about their fishing practices.
Always read the ingredient list to see what oils and broth have been used.
What Mercury Levels Are safe?
Mercury is often found in high levels in many fish including tuna. According to the EPA, it’s safe to consume up to 2-3 cans of light tuna per week without getting too much mercury. But it’s best to completely avoid seafood during pregnancy.
Related: Best Vegan Substitute For Tuna
Our Top 15 Picks for Best Canned Tuna Brands of 2021
1) Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna
If you’re looking to add delicious and sustainable wild fish into your salads, Wild Planet canned Albacore tuna is the ideal option. Every 5-ounce can include pure wild-caught Albacore tuna with just a hint of salt, giving it a unique flavor that comes straight from the sea.
Since the tuna is cooked in its natural juices with no extender, it’s already incredibly flavorful just out of the can for a quick boost of energy. This nutritious food is excellent for adding extra protein and omega 3 to your health-conscious diet, as it has very little mercury content.
But the best part is that this brand of tuna is caught in a sustainable way, so you can enjoy it on a weekly basis without worrying about the fish populations being negatively affected.
- Completely environmentally friendly
- Sustainable fishing practices
- Packed in its own juices with no extenders
- Added omega 3’s from the fish itself
- Low in mercury
- Supports the wild fish population positively
- A bit pricier than other brands
2) Starkist Tuna Creations
This inexpensive option includes an impressive 7 ounces inside every can. With its vibrant blend of spices and herbs added to the tuna, they create a tasty rub that’s perfect for salads or pasta dishes.
These are ideal for when you’re short on time since there’s no cooking involved – simply open up the can and add your tuna with whatever else is present in your meal.
Starkist ensures all their products are fully cooked for safety purposes, but they still maintain the quality taste by preserving natural juices in each can. It even has a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids, so your heart and brain are being taken care of at the same time.
- Includes a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids
- Quick and easy meal solution without cooking
- Gives a unique flavor to salads or pasta dishes
- Perfect for those short on time
- Sodium content is on the high end
- Can shrink after opening, so be careful when storing it in the fridge for longer periods
3) American Pole Caught Wild Tuna
If you’re the type that cares about sustainability and traceable sourcing, this is a good option for you. American Pole Caught Wild Tuna only uses pole-and-line fishing methods which allow them to achieve minimal bycatch rates compared to other big brands.
They even have a nice white albacore tuna option as well if you want a more classic taste.
Their tuna cans come in at roughly 5 ounces each, making it ideal for those who want an average-sized can of tuna or those who are conscious about their portions. You’ll find it as a perfect addition to salads as its higher-end competitors.
- Sustainably caught with minimal bycatch rates
- Provides, traditional flavors
- Gives you an average-sized can of tuna
- Does not include any additional spices or flavorings, so it may be bland for some people
4) Bumble Bee Solid Wild Albacore Tuna
The best option for canned tuna lovers on the keto diet is Bumble Bee White Albacore in a can. You’ll discover huge and firm solids from the first moment, ensuring a tasty mouth-filling taste that will satisfy picky eaters.
With this convenient canned fish on hand, creating an energy-boosting pick-me-up snack is as simple as pressing a button. It combines well with a wide range of foods, including pasta, salads, and casseroles owing to its delicious and mild flavor.
They use pole and line or troll fishing methods to obtain their tuna, so you know it’s responsible. They even have a 5-ounce can version if you’re looking for lower calories and carbs.
- Improves energy levels thanks to its protein content
- Gives a delicious mild flavor that your family will love
- Perfect for salads, pasta dishes, and casseroles
- Provides firm solids from the first moment
- Responsibly caught using pole-and-line or trolling fishing methods
- Includes Bumble Bee’s Smart Catch method of harvesting only younger tunas with higher nutritional value to the consumer
- Ketogenic friendly option
- The can is solid and can only be opened with a can opener
- Has a strong fishy odor
5) Genova Yellowfin Canned Tuna
If you’re looking for both culinary experience and a good source of nutrition, this Genova Yellowfin canned tuna will be your new pantry staple.
You can use it in various recipes or serve it straight from the can with no cooking. You’ll discover moist and meaty chunks that are perfect for salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, appetizers, and more! It’s also gluten-free to enjoy without worry.
Their tuna is caught from the waters of Thailand, so you can enjoy it with ease of mind. They offer 5-ounce cans which are perfect for dinners.
But keep in mind that there’re 130 calories in one serving, which is higher than that of water-packed tuna.
- Provides moist and meaty chunks for a culinary experience
- Offers 5-ounce cans perfect for dinners
- Caught from the waters of Thailand
- Gluten-free to use without worry
- A perfectly balanced flavor that children will love
- Has a natural health benefit by being low in mercury
- Perfect for salads and other recipes
- Has strong fresh seafood taste
- 130 calories per can, higher than that of water-packed tuna
- High in sodium content
6) Safe Catch Wild Albacore Tuna
Safe catch tuna cans are made with fresh-caught albacore tuna that’s tested for mercury, so you can feel good about snacking! The company also uses pole-and-line or troll-caught fish.
This product carries a mild flavor which makes it perfect for salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, appetizers, and more! Its meaty texture provides the filling flakiness of fresh tuna.
Their tuna is free from all additives including water or oil, making it 100% pure nutritious goodness without the worry! And thanks to their patented canning process it flaunts a 5 times better taste than other canned tunas on the market.
Plus, there are no GMO ingredients, artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, or tartrazine to make it safe for everyone.
- Has a mild flavor that’s perfect for many dishes
- Comes with pole-and-line or troll-caught fish
- 100% pure nutritious goodness
- No additives, colorings, GMOs, artificial preservatives, or tartrazine
- Provides firm flesh with subtle sweetness and flaking texture
- A larger can opening allows you to enjoy tuna whole
- Price is high compared to other brands
- A bit salty
7) Chicken Of The Sea Chunk Light Canned Tuna
These are tasty, tasty chunks of albacore tuna. A bit more expensive than the solid white but very nice. The best part is that it has 90 mg sodium per serving.
Shake well before opening and store in the refrigerator after opening until use. You can eat this straight out of the can or turn it into other delicious dishes to jazz up your menu. It’s also suitable for picky eaters who can’t tolerate fishy flavors.
Its preserved in water and vegetable broth to enhance its flavor. It also has a generous supply of critical nutrients that may be beneficial to your heart, eyesight, and sleep quality.
The cans come in a pack of 24, 5-ounce cans. So you can keep enough on hand to make your meals as easy as possible, whether at home or on your outdoor adventures.
- Meaty texture
- Great for heart-friendly diets
- Comes in 24, 5-ounce cans
- The chunks make it easy to chew
- Perfect for quick snakes
- Low in sodium
- The vegetable broth contains soy
8) Freshe Canned Tuna
This is a great option if you want to eat something healthy instead of processed meals. It comes in 3-ounce cans, with each can containing approximately 2 servings.
It is a lean, delicious source of quality protein and essential vitamins and nutrients. It’s also high in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids from sustainably caught wild tuna and fresh vegetables such as juicy corn, jalapeño, sliced olives, zesty herbs, and sweet red peppers.
It has no added salt or sugar either. Instead, it’s flavored only by the fresh ingredients in its recipe which is why it needs proper storage in the fridge after opening to preserve its taste and texture.
- Comes in packs of 3-ounce cans
- No added salt or sugar
- Succulent chunks of meaty tuna
- Fresh ingredients for an energy boost
- Healthy and portable lunches at work or on the go
- The meat can be a bit dry if not stored properly
- You have to eat it cold since it does not come with heating instructions
9) Tonnino Tuna Fillets In Olive Oil
This Costa Rican brand offers an even more premium product with the Tonnino Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil. These are not your regular canned tuna.
The condiment is available in glass jars packed in water or olive oil and includes a range of tastes including garlic, capers, and jalapeño.
Only vessels registered with CIATT, a group that promotes resource conservation and on-board monitors who guarantee only tuna are caught in the mix, are used.
They utilize sustainable fishing techniques and contribute to their local communities. While this brand has somewhat higher sodium levels than others, it shouldn’t be an issue if you’re limiting your intake to one serving per day.
It requires refrigeration after opening for quality preservation (tuna fillets are naturally more moist than solid loins).
- Packed in water or olive oil
- Succulent chunks of meaty tuna
- Variety of flavors to choose from
- Comes in glass jars
- No added salt or sugar
- Low in mercury
- Higher sodium levels than regular tuna cans
10) Sophie’s Kitchen Best Vegan Canned Tuna
If you’re looking for a vegan alternative, this is the best-canned vegan substitute for tuna. It is a plant-based alternative that even surpasses some of the regular tuna in terms of safety.
Each serving is loaded with protein, iron, and calcium. It’s also free of allergens and mercury, whereby it doesn’t cause any allergies. Even though it doesn’t carry real tuna fish, it is still a great dinner option.
It is made up of ingredients that are 100% natural, non-GMO plants, and seaweed. It is also gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free, cholesterol-free and has no mercury.
This vegan substitute is certified by the Vegetarian Society of UK (VSUK) which means it doesn’t contain any animal products but instead, all-natural, alternative plant-based ingredients.
- 100% plant-based food
- Non-GMO plants and seaweed
- Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, egg-free & cholesterol-free
- Certified by Vegetarian Society UK (VSUK)
- Vegan tuna alternative without mercury
- Low in salt content (best for those on a sodium-restricted diet)
- The minced texture might be a big downside for some people
11) Sustainable Seas Chunk Light Canned Tuna
Tuna chunks are a pantry classic for canned tuna enthusiasts all over the world, for the ease they offer. Just combine flaky cubed fish with celery, tomatoes, and/or other fresh veggies to create a fast and healthy filling dinner in minutes.
This brand offers both water-packed tuna loins, but you need to drain it before use.
All of the fish are pulled in using pole-and-line gear, so you can rest easy knowing that this tasty meal does no damage to the sea.
Additionally, there are no added colors or flavors here, only real tuna fish. However, because of their packing process, some individuals might find them overly salty. It is, nevertheless, simpler to reduce your sodium consumption as soon as you can see it on the label.
Finally, the nutrients present in this tuna are beneficial for bodily development, immunity, and heart disease prevention. However, because it is packed in water, you should carefully drain the can before combining it with other items, especially while preparing recipes that require less liquid.
- Delicious taste
- Perfect texture for sandwiches and salads
- Great for weight loss diets
- No odd fishy odor
- Needs to be drained before use
- Slightly salty taste
12) Crown Prince Natural Canned Tuna
The fresh taste of tuna is a delight to some while a nightmare to others, but it’s a sensation you can only seek if eating the fish right after catching it.
Canned tuna offers an alternative version of this sea treat with no fishing involved.
In addition, Crown Prince Natural Canned Tuna have been made under strict inspection by FDA and USDA inspectors, so there won’t be any mercury or other harmful contaminants present in them.
And since they are packed in water instead of oil, all the nutrients get locked inside the can, making them more nutritious than their counterparts on the market.
The manufacturers have skipped out on adding flavors and preservatives here, so you might find this product slightly less tasty than similar options, especially if you’re not a fan of fish.
- Packed in water only, so they are healthier than other canned tuna
- A strong fresh taste of raw tuna
- Omega-3s supercharge your health and body functions
- No mercury residues present
- No added flavors or preservatives
- A suitable option for the paleo diet
- Easily accessible pull top lids
- Taste is not as good as with oil-packed counterparts (but still delicious)
- Slightly high in calories
- Some people might not like the fishy smell
13) Ortiz Bonito Del Norte Canned Tuna
This Spanish company is not a newcomer to the canned fish business.
Their specialty has always been the highest quality raw fish they can get their hands on, and they do their best to process it as quickly as possible in order to preserve its appearance and taste just as if it was still fresh from the sea.
The tuna chunks here are made from 100% freshly caught fish that have been cooked carefully using only olive oil, so you won’t have any low-quality oils or other ingredients harming your health.
And since this product is packed in water instead of oil, all of the Tuna’s nutrients stay intact. To make things even better – there are no artificial flavors or preservatives added, so you can always enjoy a pristine, fresh taste.
Plus, the can is BPA-free, so this product will be safe to use even in the long term. So feel free to store some in your pantry.
- The best quality canned tuna you can get
- 100% pure tuna fillets (no deriving from other species)
- Packed in water only without any additional ingredients or preservatives for extra freshness and nutritional value
- BPA-free components used to avoid toxic residues
- Packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, B12, selenium, and potassium
- A premium Spanish product
- No cooking required
- Pricier than other canned options
14) Portofino Yellowfin Canned Tuna In Virgin Olive Oil
Solid yellowfin tuna packed in virgin olive oil is what makes this product stand out. A top-quality product full of nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart, brain function, eye health, and much more plus it tastes amazing offering you the perfect pre or post-workout snack.
It’s free from pesticides contaminants due to being wild-caught – so no worries about mercury poisoning here.
After opening the can, use it immediately or freeze it for up to six months. You can enjoy these Tuna steaks with pasta or even make tuna burgers along with home fries if you wish.
It’s an Italian-inspired recipe, mixing fresh tuna with virgin olive oil and sea salt to give it that amazing flavor.
It’s a healthy choice as it’s free from soy, gluten, and GMOs so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing what you eat is safe for consumption.
In addition, it only contains 110 calories with each can containing 29g of protein and 25% of your daily calcium.
The best thing is that you can save even more by buying the bulk pack of 12 Portofino yellowfin tuna cans for a discounted price.
- Great for snacking on when you’re in a hurry
- Its mild and slightly buttery flavor goes well with any cuisine, especially Italian food
- Comes in 5 oz cans to make it easy for your daily consumption
- High amounts of natural protein
- Premium yellowfin tuna meat
- Has a strong fishy odor which can be a bit unpleasant for some people
15) Star Kist Chunk Light Canned Tuna
The star kist tuna is one of the best quality canned tuna brands that are currently available on the market. If you are looking for a good-quality low-price option, then this brand may be exactly what you need.
It contains natural omega 3 fats, making it a great option. It’s often compared to others like Bumblebee or Chicken of The Sea, but it wins by miles because of its delicious taste and high protein content which makes it an ideal choice if you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle.
The star kist chunk light tuna has 20 grams of protein per serving (3 ounces) making it more than just your average can of tuna fish. It’s also packed with vitamin D, which is essential for your skin health and immune system.
The star kist tuna is very affordable – the perfect choice if you are looking to save money without compromising on quality.
It is packed in water and oil, you can choose which is more suitable for your needs. The star kist tuna offers a healthy alternative that will allow you to have the perfect meal even if you are on the go.
People enjoy it because it tastes great and is very affordable.
- Affordable price tag
- Great for weight loss as it’s low in calories but high in protein
- No preservatives or additives added
- Safe for weekly consumption
- Low in mercury
- Ready to serve
- The meat chunks are not sized evenly