The Best Canned Tuna

Shelf-stable seafood for every taste and budget.

Salmon Niçoise Salad with Garlic-Herb Dressing
Canned tuna is good for a variety of dishes. Here are some of our favorite choices.Jenny Huang

If canned tuna conjures up memories of bad school-cafeteria casseroles, we have two little words for you: Salad Niçoise. To make this quintessential French dish the way they do in the city of Nice, you gotta use the canned stuff, albeit good canned stuff, packed in olive oil. Not that we’d turn up our noses at water-packed tuna, either. That grocery-store staple pairs perfectly with mayo and little something crunchy—celery, relish—for an all-American tuna-salad sandwich or tuna melt. Heck, there’s even some shelf-stable tuna we’re happy to eat straight out of the can. Herewith, our picks for each purpose:

AMERICAN TUNA Smoked Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil, 6 OZ
Sustainable sourcing and minimal processing make this smoked tuna worth the splurge.Amazon

The sashimi-grade white albacore from American Tuna is caught on a pole (not in a net), then smoked before it’s packed in olive oil, by hand—all in the Pacific Northwest. While this tuna is ideal for everything from tuna croquettes (think: crab cakes but with tuna) to seafood dip, it really shines on the aforementioned Salade Niçoise.

Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore in Water (5 oz. can, 8 pk.)
Keep your pantry stocked with this budget-friendly canned tuna. It’s a quick source of protein and works in a variety of recipes.Amazon

A lower-calorie alternative to oil-packed tuna, Bumble Bee’s solid white albacore tuna is packed in water, vegetable broth, and sea salt. The basic ingredients impart a clean, light flavor that lends itself to American, mayo-based tuna salads. Because this “solid” tuna contains larger, firmer pieces than “chunk” tuna, you can also use it to top green salads, crackers, and more.

Light Tuna Flakes with Harissa - Canned Spicy Tuna Fish in Harissa Oil, from El Manar - 10-Pack of 160g Cans
Calling all spice lovers! This canned tuna is packed with harissa, a spicy North African chili paste.Amazon

Generally speaking, canned tuna isn’t considered a ready-to-eat product. It usually needs a little mayo or, at the very least, salt and pepper. El Manar’s Tunisian tuna, however, is packed with harissa, a spicy North African chili paste. The results are flavorful enough to eat straight from the can, but this tuna also works in salads, spreads, and more—as long as you don’t mind a little kick.