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With so many options out there, we’ve broken down the best canned seafood in a variety of categories to help you find your match made in canned seafood protein heaven.
To test these varieties of canned seafood we rated flavor, nutrition, ingredients and customer feedback. We also considered price. Finally, we compared competitor quality.
How We Chose
To pick the best canned seafood in each variety, we looked at the following criteria:
- Flavors. Variety is the spice of life. We want canned seafood that offers fresh flavor.
- Nutritional makeup. We expect these canned seafood options to pack in the protein, but what other benefits do they bring to the table?
- Ingredients. If the ingredient list is as long as a CVS receipt, we don’t want it. We’re looking for short and sweet!
- Customer feedback. Lots of positive feedback from customer reviews means a bigger chance of being happy with your purchase and the product.
These are the best varieties of canned seafood you can buy in 2021:
- Best Canned Anchovies: Wild Planet Anchovies
- Best Canned Caviar: American Salmon Roe Pink Caviar Wild Caught
- Best Canned Cockles: Ramon Pena Cockles in Brine
- Best Canned Crab: Crown Prince, Fancy White Crab Meat
- Best Canned Escargo: Roland Escargot Extra Large Snails
- Best Canned Herring: Crown Prince Kipper Snacks
- Best Canned Lobster: Cuisinart SmartPowder Duet Blender/Food Processor
- Best Canned Mackerel: King Oscar Royal Fillets Skinless & Boneless Mackerel in Olive Oil
- Best Canned Mussels: Matiz Espana Organic Mussels
- Best Canned Octopus: Matiz Pulpo Wild-Caught Pulpo Spanish Octopus
- Best Canned Oyster: Crown Prince Natural Smoked Oysters in Pure Olive Oil
- Best Canned Salmon: Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon, Skinless & Boneless
- Best Canned Sardines: Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Best Canned Shrimp: Chicken of the Sea Tiny Shrimp
- Best Canned Tuna: Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna
Best Canned Anchovies
Simply canned in water or organic extra virgin olive oil, these anchovies resemble sardines and can be enjoyed as a snack. Unlike most other anchovies that are designed as a seasoning, these anchovies have delicious meaty portions with very mild flavor.
Crown Prince uses only the highest quality fresh anchovies available. These flat fillet anchovies are perfect for salads, casseroles, appetizers and pizza. They’re also kosher.
Best Canned Caviar
A light and easy appetizer or meal you can make in a snap. Pink Salmon Roe (Alaskan) caviar is commonly used in high end restaurants because of the richest taste and distinctly bigger, gorgeous, succulent roe. This delicacy is also rich in omega-3 fats.
Best Canned Cockles
Premium canned cockles are a splurge, but they’re worth it. They’re hard to harvest which makes them pricey. Cockles are tiny, milky white clams milky — they’re a delicate morsel of flesh that can be eaten raw, steamed or boiled. A member of the clam family, although cockles are a lot of work to source, they have a delicious salty flavor that needs to be treated gently.
Best Canned Crab
Crab meat is a very popular source of seafood protein in the U.S. These are the best canned crab products:
Crown Prince White Crab Meat is wild-caught and contains no bleaching or added preservatives. It has a delicate, sweet flavor and is gluten free. Salt is added so go light shaking extra salt while preparing your crab dishes.
This fancy white crab meat is not bleached and doesn’t contain any preservatives.
The ingredient list is as clean as possible and the calorie count is pleasantly Only 40 calories, and zero fat, in 60 grams of this fancy white lump crab meat.
Bumble Bee white crab meat is a best-seller among canned crab meats. There are a few reasons for this. It’s a very affordable option, has a great flavor, and this flaky white crab meat is ideal for dips.
This pasteurized crab meat is one of the best options you can find. It’s flavor packed in the jumbo lump pieces and is incredibly high quality. This is the most delicious jumbo lump crab meat on the market.
What does jumbo lump crab meat taste like?
Jumbo is white and has a delicate flavor. The jumbo lump crab meat of the blue crab is considered by many to be the sweetest and best tasting of all crabs. Claw meat is best in dishes requiring a bold crab taste, such as soups or bisques.
What is jumbo lump crab meat?
Jumbo lump meat is to the crab as breast is to the chicken: it’s bigger, more expensive and, to some, the best part of the animal. Many crabs are needed to produce a can of jumbo lump jumbo crab meat. This is what makes jumbo lump canned jumbo crab meat more expensive.
If you want your canned crab meat to provide you with fine dining experience, this premium lump crab meat by Handy Seafood is a great option.
This canned crab meat is a combination of large lump and body meat that you can use for a range of dishes. It will work especially well for crab cakes as well as for stuffing vegetables and seafood.
This crab meat is produced by steaming live crabs. This is done to get the ultimate flavor out of the crabs and achieve a nice texture.
The manufacturer also claims that this canned crab meat is completely shell-free, as they carry out a black light inspection to make sure you are getting purely delicous crab meat and nothing else.
For those who want to stock up on canned crab meat, MW Polar Seafood is a real find as you get 12 cans of meat for a very reasonable price.
The meat for this brand comes from 100% wild-caught crabs. It is then cooked and canned with water. However, don’t expect to see a few pieces of crab meat floating in a few inches of water. There is more meat in these cans than liquid.
So, if you are looking for white body crab meat at a reasonable price, the MW Polar crab meat in a can is a great option.
Reese Fancy 15% leg crab meat can be easily transformed into a protein-rich dinner within minutes.
A can of this crab meat contains 80 calories and 18 grams of protein. There is only 1 gram of fat in a can of the Reese crab meat. It also contains a small amount of vitamin D.
And with 15% of leg meat, this canned crab meat works well for salads and sushi rolls. Just in case you thought it could’t get any better.
The price is higher than some of the options above. However, if you have always wanted to try good-quality canned crab meat, you might as well start with this one.
The Geisha Wild Caught Fancy crab meat falls in the middle as far as the price range of canned crab meat is concerned.
This crab meat in a can represents white meat in combination with leg meat. The sweet and delicate flavor paired with the soft texture of the meat makes this crab meat ideal for dips and crab cakes.
There is zero fat in a can of Geisha crab meat. But it does contain vitamin C, calcium, and iron.
How To Choose The Best Canned Crab Meat
- Take a look at the fat and protein content of canned crab meat as it might differ from brand to brand and the particular type of meat. High-quality crab meat in a can, you can still manage to get some vitamins and minerals.
- The high-end canned crab meat brands put larger chunks of meat in the can. It should not have a puree consistency.
- The crab meat should have a fresh scent and smell as good as if it has just been cooked.
- The classic ivory color is one of the most obvious indicators of high-quality canned crab meat. Note that the color shouldn’t be pure white as it indicates the use of bleach or other chemicals that brighten the meat to make it look more ‘presentable’.
- While finding a piece of shell in canned crab meat is not the end of the world and can be considered something nearly unavoidable, too much shell mixed with the meat is not okay.
Best Canned Escargot
They Are Carefully Cleaned, Well Cooked, And Tender With A Grayish Color. Packed Without Shells. There Are 72 Extra Large Snails Per Can. They Are Of Uniform Size. Snails Can Be Served In Their Shells, Snail Plates, Or Mushroom Caps.
Best Canned Herring
Herring from Crown Prince is the best tasting and cheapest canned herring you can buy. Crown Prince is best known for sardines and herring (aka kippers).
Best Canned Lobster
Certified Maine lobster has no artificial preservatives or msg. Whole Maine lobster tail, claw, and knuckle meat. Perfect for homemade lobster chowder or bisque.
Best Canned Mackerel
The filets are almost twice the size of a sardine, meaning you can make a full meal out of, say, one can of mackerel plus good buttered bread and half an avocado, all sprinkled with flaky salt and a squeeze of lemon—something I find myself doing fairly often in the stuffier late-summer evenings when turning on the stove is really not an option (although for some, summertime is oventime).
I Mackerel is a fatty fish, but we’re not just talking any fat: It has some of the highest concentrations of heart-healthy omega-3’s. In general, mackerel is considered an environmentally friendly seafood, particularly compared to tuna. Good for you, good for the environment.
Easy to swap in for tuna
Mackerel has a firm texture similar to canned tuna, so that it can be flaked without falling apart. Try swapping it in where’d you’d typically use chicken—like on a salad or sandwich.
[RELATED: Best Canned Mackerel Recipes]
Best Canned Mussels
Cultivated off the coast of Galicia, Matiz Espana Organic Mussels comes dipped in Extra Virgin Olive oil and Apple Cider vinegar. It’s got a sweet yet tangy taste to it and tastes amazing with a slice of white bread. You can also consume it straight from the can or incorporate it with other dishes to your liking. Apart from the Olive oil and Apple Cider vinegar, the product uses spices such as sweet paprika, cinnamon, and garlic to enhance the flavor as well.
But if you feel like it needs more smack, add a bit of lemon, parsley, and salt. Don’t overdo it though, you might end up ruining the taste all together. Matiz Espana Organic Mussels also claim to be free of gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and soy. Further, it is free of chemicals and preservatives as well, making it a tasty treat that can be enjoyed by most of us, even those having allergies. Polar Fancy Whole Smoked Mussels
The Polar Fancy Whole Smoked Mussels are some of the best-smoked mussels out there. Each bite pleases your taste buds with a rich smoky flavor complemented by the cottonseed oil and salt mix it’s dipped in.
Currently, it ranks at the third spot for the best Canned Mussels & Cockles. The rankings are based on sales, so it’s not just us telling that the product is simply amazing.
However, we suggest this to those who enjoy a fairly intense flavor because the smokiness can be overwhelming. Especially if you are only looking for mild hints of smokiness. You can also rinse the mussels to lessen their flavor, but we don’t recommend it as you might end up with a bunch of bland-tasting mussels. The mussels taste amazing with spaghetti or rice and also serve as a stand-alone snack.
Imported from Spain, Vigo Mussels are smothered in a delicious marinade sauce made of soybean oil, vinegar, red pepper, and spices. They taste great mixed with rice or made into sandwiches. The sauce alone makes the product a must-try for all “mussel” fans out there.
The packaging is quite compact and would fit right in your pocket. So, if you ever feel like having a bite of mussels on the go, the Vigo Mussels in Marinade sauce is the treat for you. Although things can get messy if you’re traveling on a bumpy road.
Sadly, however, a can does not hold enough for you to share or used as a complete meal despite the mussels being plump. But after a few bites, you would not want to share these flavourful mussels, anyway.
Ramona Pena exports some of the best-canned seafood products in the world. So it’s no surprise that its renowned Mussels in Pickle Sauce made this list. Found in the estuaries of Rias in Spain, the mussels used in this product are free of heavy metals and biotoxins. They are also plump and rich in flavor.
These mussels which are lightly fried come dipped in a rich pickled sauce made of olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and various spices. It goes amazingly well with butter rice and salads, but can also be eaten right out of the can.
Ekone Smoked Mussels is one of the best products available in the market. The quality is on par with some giants in the industry as well, and at times even better. Besides quality, the mussels have a perfectly balanced taste of smokiness. It is neither too intense nor too mild. This allows it to be enjoyed by most mussel fans out there and also be incorporated in other dishes without the overwhelming taste of smokiness.
Another product cultivated in the clear waters of Glacia, the Patagonia Provisions Mussels come in a broth infused with Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Onion, and Spices. Although it tastes tangy, the mixture of ingredients gives the broth a rich flavor. While most canned mussels lose their quality with time, Patagonia Provisions Mussels remain fresh despite having no artificial preservation’s added to them. Regardless, one bite of these mussels is guaranteed to give you a blissful experience.
Unlike the other products in this list, Parsons Welsh Pickled Mussels are jarred. Yet, the mussels are full of flavor and meat. One bite and you will be craving for more. We highly recommend this product for anyone looking to taste authentic pickled mussels. As a brand that’s been producing pickled cockles and pickled mussels for over 50 years, you can expect Parsons Welsh to know what they are doing.
Similar to the Lemon Herb version, this is Patagonia Provision’s take on Sofrito (a savory sauce popular in Spain) mussels. The sauce is made of Mussel Broth, Red Bell Peppers, Olive Oil, Onions, Sherry Wine, various Spices, and a few more ingredients. Unlike the lemon herb mussels, the sofrito mussels are spicy with hints of sweetness. But the mussels remain juicy and plump as ever.
The company boasts that every ingredient used is organic, making it an absolute treat for anyone looking for a healthy bite of goodness. Besides flavor, Sofrito Mussels are more forgiving than the Lemon-based version when it comes to experimenting. I tastes great with chips and buttered toast.
Tired of mussels so small that it dissolves in your mouth? Okay, maybe not dissolve, but we all hate it when a can of mussels is half packed with a bunch of tiny mussels. And the worst part is the mixed feeling you get once all of it disappears in the blink of an eye.
But you need not worry about all that with Ramon Francos Melijillones Gigantes (Giant Mussels). Just as the name suggests, you will get a can of MASSIVE mussels covered in a sauce made of olive oil, vinegar, and light seasoning. The product is great as an appetizer and also tastes great with a slice of French toast. Frankly, this is one of the most satisfying products on this list that you should at least try once.
Finally, on the list, we have Cole’s Smoked Mussels in Olive Oil. The product is quite simple compared to others but does not fall short in offering a delicious can of smoked mussels full of flavor. The mussels have hints of Applewood because of the smoking process and come dipped in a mixture of olive oil and salt. Harvested from the shores of Chile, the company also claims that the mussels are thoroughly cleaned before being smoked.
Best Canned Octopus
With so many canned octopus choices, both domestic & imported, where to begin? From humble to luxurious, these are the best canned octopus products from all over the globe to choose from, all varying in flavor & cost. Tinned seafood imported from Spain & Portugal, known as conservas, are seen as the crown jewel on tapas.
Tender and flavorful, Matiz Octopus actually comes from the Atlantic waters off the shores of Spain, Portugal and Morocco, areas renowned for rich marine life. Wild-caught in traditional octopus pots, this tasty octopus is hand-packed in Galicia, Spain with Spanish olive oil and a touch of sea salt.
Matiz Spicy Wild Sardines with Piri Piri Chilies was awarded the Sofi Silver Award 2020 for best in the meat/poultry/seafood category. The Sofi awards are considered one of the most prestigious honors given in the specialty food industry.
Matiz canned octopus provides extreme amounts of nutrition for all diets whether your paleo, gluten free, keto, dairy free, need a source of energy or health conscious.
Exceptionally Tender And Flavorful: All Matiz Seafood is produced using old master cannery know-how and then packed with the highest quality ingredients to produce a product that is moist, tender, & uncommonly flavorful.
Wild-Caught: In traditional octopus pots from the Atlantic waters off the shores of Spain, Portugal and Morocco, areas renowned for rich marine life.
Hand Packed: In Galicia, Spain using Spanish Olive oil and a touch of sea salt.
Serving Ideas: Enjoy fresh from the tin, or lightly sauteed with hot Spanish paprika (pimenton), olive oil and lemon.
All Natural: No added colors or preservatives.
Vigo octopus packed in oil, arranged attractively in little fingers standing upright in a glass jar, is a traditional European hand-packing technique to show off premium octopus. The Vigo octopus can be so good because of the 600-milligram dose of salt per serving, way more than other brands we tried.
These MSC-certified octopus are caught in dolphin-safe purse seines, a net-like contraption that draws tight at the top.
This is a premium octopus from Goya, specially imported from Spain. It’s extremely delicious and is enriched in olive oil and has a easy-to-open can. With the availability of premium jumbo squid octopus you can make tasty dishes such as authentic Spanish seafood paella are ready in minutes.
Portomar Spanish canned octopus is prepared at a seafood conservas that sits on the banks of the Ría de Vigo in Galicia in the northwest of Spain. With nearly a thousand miles of coastline dotted with fishing harbors, the region is renowned for the quality of seafood brought to shore daily by local fishermen.
The daily catch determines what is prepared and packed on any given day, to assure what goes into each tin is as fresh as possible; each one is representative of a tradition that dates back more than a century.
The Goya foods octopus is imported from Galicia in northern Spain, Goya octopus has a firm, meaty texture, adding seafood flavor to any salad or rice dish such as paella. The octopus can be pre-cut into bite-size chunks and ready to use. It’s an excellent source of protein and is low in carbohydrates.
It’s considered as the best poached seafood item in the market because it is packed with silver retort pouches. Also, unopened pouches last without refrigeration at least four years, according to manufacturers, so they’re great in emergency kits, and easier to carry on the road or in the backwoods than a can.
Best Canned Oysters
Crown Prince Natural provides quality, sustainable canned seafood without unnecessary additives or preservatives. The oysters are sustainably raised and harvested in South Korean coastal waters. Smoked Oysters are freshly shucked, smoked over oak and packed in Turkish olive oil. Whole Oysters are freshly shucked, fully cooked and ready for use in your favorite recipe.
Best Canned Sardines
Considered the best canned sardines by some, King Oscar sardines have a lightly smoked taste. The olive oil used to preserve them is of the highest quality that enhances and complements the taste. The sardines are caught in the waters near the Norwegian shore, and the company uses the smaller fish for better taste and texture.
Best Canned Salmon
Several species of salmon are available in cans. Of the two most popular varieties, sockeye and pink, sockeye has a better nutritional profile and more appealing orange-red color, so it’s your best choice, even though pink is less expensive.
Wild planet salmon is more than an emergency dinner when you don’t have any other protein in the house. Sustainable wild Alaskan salmon is sourced from the icy waters of Alaska, making it a healthy choice for your body and environment.
- Wild Smoked Sockeye Salmon has a shelf life of approximately four years, which make them perfect for camping trips, to pack in your RV, or for emergency kits.
- Wild Alaskan Sockeye Smoked Salmon that’s been alderwood smoked for extra flavor.
- CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Kosher, and Project NON-GMO Verified.
Canned Safe Catch salon is hard to beat as a source of affordable, convenient, and nutrient-dense seafood protein. And yes, it can even be tasty!
The big problem with salmon or seafood – especially salmon canned in plain water – is how to make it taste good. Some people are happy to eat it straight out of the can, with nothing or just with a little salt and pepper, but it’s perfectly reasonable to prefer something slightly more sophisticated.
Best Canned Sardines
Wild Planet Sardines are ranked best by those who prefer a stronger taste. They are lightly smoked and packed in organic olive. They are also firm and meaty. Wild Planet sardines are well cleaned and scale-free. Harvested in the North Pacific, Wild Planet Sardines are caught using sustainable methods that protect marine life and implement responsible fishing practices.
A product of Morocco, Crown Prince Sardines are packed in water. They are suitable for someone looking for a lighter version of sardines but who still wants to benefit from all the nutritious value of the fish. Crown Prince Sardines have a firm texture and a mild flavor, and they are low in fat. Crown Prince sardines are considered ideal large sardines with skin and bone.
King Oscar sardines have a lightly smoked taste. The olive oil used to preserve them is of the highest quality that enhances and complements the taste. The sardines are caught in the waters near the Norwegian shore, and the company uses the smaller fish for better taste and texture. They have a slightly more fishy taste than other brands for those that prefer the flavor.
Best Canned Shrimp
Chicken of the sea shrimp contains no preservatives, are non-GMO and are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, protein and flavor. This shrimp is pre-cooked, so you can use it straight from the can. Drained and rinsed, it has a mild and sweet shrimp flavor that’s impressively fresh-tasting. There’s no hint of that metallic “canned” flavor you sometimes get with tuna and other canned seafood. Chicken of the Sea is also part of the #1 sustainable seafood company, offering responsibly caught, high quality tiny shrimp.
Best Canned Tuna
This is the healthiest brand of wild tuna you can buy. Wild Planet also submits their products to third party mercury testing. The brand offers a variety of canned tuna (both albacore and skipjack) and it comes packed in olive oil, no salt added, and standard varieties.
And as a huge canned tuna enthusiast, this is by far my favorite canned tuna.
Why You Should Eat Canned Seafood
Here are some advantages of trying good-quality, canned seafood meat:
Nutritionally speaking, health experts recommend consuming two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oil-rich like sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, or salmon. These healthy fish are nutritional powerhouses rich in protein, omega-3s, & vitamin D.
Preserved seafood wins over fresh in a few categories, such as price, shelf-life, and convenience. Plus it’s ready to eat whenever you are ready to eat it. You can easily turn it into a delicious dish within minutes. Canned seafood is often fully cooked so your meals will be on the dinner table in minutes. When you need a quick meal, or have unexpected guests, canned seafood is a life-savor.
Also, a sustainable choice, tinned seafood doesn’t require refrigeration, is usually sourced from healthy populations, and comes in small portions yielding little to no food waste. As a general rule of thumb, the price and ingredients will tell you about the quality. For canned seafood, avoid the cheapest products, if possible.
Even the most expensive jar of Italian olive oil-packed tuna belly will still cost less than its fresh counterpart. Plus, canned seafood also does not require cooking or refrigeration. This means that canned seafood can be prepared, transported, and stored using much less energy than fresh or frozen products. Additionally, while the flavor may begin to degrade over time, many varieties of canned fish are considered non-perishable and can be safely stored for up to five years, reducing food waste.
Canned Seafood FAQs
What are the best and worst canned seafood choices?
Not all canned fish is created equal! Obviously, if you’re eating Paleo, you’ll want to avoid the snack packs with tuna and crackers in them. But even a can of plain fish can have some problems.
Here’s what to avoid
Industrial oils: Take a very close look at the ingredients list, not the front of the package. Sometimes, the front of the package will say “olive oil,” but the inside actually contains some olive oil mixed with some canola or soybean oil.
Hidden soy: Look at the allergy statement on the nutrition label (the line that says “contains egg, milk, and soy ingredients” or whatever list of major allergens the product contains). Soy can sometimes hide inside “broth” or other items on the ingredients, so if you’re sensitive to it, check the allergen warning.
Additional Ingredients: Be very cautious about fish canned in mustard or tomato sauce or anything else – sometimes it’s OK, but often it involves a potentially low-quality ingredients. If you want mustard or tomato sauce on your fish, you can always put it on yourself.
Here’s what to look for
Bone-in seafood: Sardines, bone-in salmon, and bone-in mackerel are all common examples. Bone-in seafood is a great Paleo source of calcium.
Fatty seafood: Fatty seafood includes salmon, mackerel, and sardines. These species are more flavorful than very lean fish like tuna, and they’re also more nutritious because you get a bigger dose of Omega-3s and Vitamin D.
Why is jumbo lump crab meat so expensive?
Colossal lump crab (also known as mega jumbo or super jumbo) is the large chunks of meat that connect to the swimmer fins. There are only two of these muscles per crab, which is why it is so expensive (often $40 to $50 or more per pound).
How do I use canned crab meat?
Here is what you can make with canned crab meat.
- Shrimp & Crab Jambalaya Stuffed Peppers
- Crab Quesadillas
- Crab Cakes
- Avocado Crab Boats
- Crab Souffles
- Crab Chowder
- Greek Crab Salad
- Crab Chowder
- Crab Tacos
- Three-Cheese Crab & Artichoke Dip
- Shrimp & Crab Casserole
- Crab Tapas
- Crab Cake Stuffed Mushrooms
:: saves for later ::
Canned seafood is way easier and cheaper than fresh fish. You can use most canned seafood like you would canned tuna. Chewier canned seafood like clams are perfect for chowders and bisque.