13 Best Canned Sardines For Proteins & Minerals, As Per Food Experts, 2024

✔ Research-backed

If you love eating sardines, you need to bring home the best canned sardines. Sardines are small feeder fish named after the Italian region of Sardinia, where they can be found in large numbers. These fishes are a little oily and are high in vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardine is a generic name that refers to a range of fishes and not just one species. Sardines may be small, but they are vital to the health and ecosystem of the ocean. They’re also a good source of necessary proteins and minerals. I consulted Akino Ogata, a Japanese food and culture expert and influencer, to get her recommendations on the best canned sardines. Read on to find a list of the best-selling canned sardines and bring home one.

In This Article

13 Best Canned Sardines For Proteins And Minerals In 2024

1. Best GMO-Free:Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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4.4
Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Image: Wildplanetfoods
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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product boasts 8,217 reviews on Amazon, and many buyers have said they would purchase the product again.

This tried-and-tested can of Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Wild Planet is a powerhouse of nutrients as well as flavors. They are lightly smoked to add to their delectable flavor. An essential source of proteins and vitamin D, these best-selling canned sardines are harvested in the Pacific Ocean using sustainable methods, allowing you to enjoy a mouthful of sardines without any guilt. The Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil are filled with all the nutrients your body needs and come in a standard pack that is GMO-free.

Pros

  • Keto and paleo-friendly
  • Mild flavor—smokey
  • Comes in 5 variants
  • High-quality olive oil
  • Sustainably caught canned fish

Cons

  • Price of the product is slightly higher than its competitors
protip_icon Quick fact
Sardines provide two grams of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids per three ounce serving (4).

2. Best Keto-Friendly:King Oscar Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 5,103 Amazon shoppers have left good reviews about this product, citing its quality features and benefits.

King Oscar Sardines has an interesting background story. King Oscar Sardines are caught in the Norwegian fjords and coasts, oak-wood smoked and packaged by hand. These are available in many variants too to satiate the epicure in you. Choose from their oil-based brisling sardines to a stronger sauce-based one to enjoy with your favorite bread. One thing is guaranteed, they will always be flavorful and delicious. Check out this review video to learn more about.

Pros

  • The only brand to offer small Norwegian brisling sardines
  • Sustainable fishing methods
  • Oak wood-smoked
  • High-quality olive oil
  • Rich in nutrition
  • Perfect choice for Keto enthusiasts
  • Paleo-friendly tinned fish

Cons

  • Price is slightly high as compared to many off-brand sardines

3. Best Gluten-Free:Beach Cliff Sardines In Soybean Oil

When craving for a lip-smacking and healthy option, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Beach Cliff Sardines. It is perfect for serving on a salad, pasta as well as crackers. Bumble Bee Seafoods, which was founded in 1899, offers a full line of canned sardines besides other varieties of seafood. This product is minimally processed, offering an exquisite taste, and is a good source of iron. Beach Cliff Sardines in Soybean Oil is gluten-free and rich in proteins. Watch this review video detailing a tester’s experience for more information about this canned fish.

Pros

  • Perfect choice for people with gluten intolerance
  • Good-sized sardines
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Steam-cooked tinned fish
  • Comes in a natural smokey flavor

Cons

  • The packaging may not be up to the mark and may not be BPA-free
Wild Planet Wild Sardines
Best GMO-Free
King Oscar Sardines
Best Keto-Friendly
Beach Cliff Sardines
Best Gluten-Free
Dimensions 8.75 x 7.75 x 2.75 inches 9.41 x 4.61 x 3.19 inches-
Weight 0.16 Ounces- 3.75 Ounces
Weight- 45 Ounces-
Package Dimensions-- ‎ 9.53 x 4.57 x 3.23 inches
Rating
Reviews8,2175,1031,518
Price$29.88$27.36$27.16

4. Best Sugar-Free:Season Sardines In Olive Oil

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4.4

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

About 905 reviewers on Amazon have given their seal of approval to the product.

Add healthy omega fats without sugar or preservatives with the Season Sardines in Olive Oil. These premium sardines are paired with superior ingredients to delight your taste buds. Since the sardines are wild-caught, customers are assured high-quality fish rich in fatty acids and other nutrients. These canned fish are suitable for anyone who wants to add more nutrition to their diet without gluten or carbs.

Pros

  • Sustainably caught
  • Keto-friendly
  • Kosher-friendly
  • Non-GMO

Cons

  • May have added salt
  • Some may find the odor quite strong

5. Best Sustainably-Caught:Crown Prince Two Layer Brisling Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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4.4
Crown Prince Two Layer Brisling Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Image: Crownprince

Crown Prince Brisling Sardines are smoked to delicate perfection and have a firm texture. These sardines are hand-packed and each sardine contains approximately 2 grams of Omega-3. The Crown Prince Brisling Sardines are the best option as an appetizer and can also be used along with other items to complete a meal.

Pros

  • One can of these sardines is equal to a third of the day’s protein requirement
  • Kosher and gluten-free
  • Provides calcium nourishment
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Sustainable methods used for catching and canning sardine

Cons

  • Packaging may not be BPA-free

6. Best Pocket-Friendly:Brunswick Sardine Fillets

The Brunswick Sardine Fillets are wild-caught sardines These fillets when stored in spring water, retain the authentic sardine flavor. Huge chunks of flavorful fillets can be stored without the added preservatives so consumers with a low sodium diet can enjoy it without any qualms. Having these savory fillets with salads and crackers can add an amazing, yet healthy twist to your meal. Being keto-friendly and rich in protein, this trusted sardine brand is very popular with today’s diet-conscious crowd.

Pros

  • Most convenient grab-a-meal
  • Pocket-friendly tinned fish
  • Has a natural meaty texture and taste
  • Well cleaned and packed in olive oil

Cons

  • Has a strong odor
  • High sodium content

7. Best Protein-Rich:Sea Tales Pilchard Sardines In Olive Oil

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4
Sea Tales Pilchard Sardines In Olive Oil Image: Sea Tales

If you want to add flavor and richness to any dish and elevate its nutrition levels, the sardines from Sea Tales might be suitable. These fishes work well for Mediterranean and Italian cuisines because they add the appropriate amount of saltiness, without going overboard. The sardines are packed in olive oil, making them rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent many dangerous diseases like heart attacks. They are also rich in various vitamins and calcium.

Pros

  • BPA-free packaging
  • Sustainably sourced canned fish
  • Perfect choice for people with gluten allergy
  • Nutritious food option as it is high in protein

Cons

  • Fish may not be soft enough to spread
  • Some may find the texture scaley

8. Best Ready-To-Eat:Season Skinless & Boneless Sardines

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4.6

Season sardines are sourced from Morocco and are among the best canned sardines available in the market today. With a wide range of flavors these sardines come stored in premium-quality olive oil that enhances the flavor of the sardines. The Season Skinless & Boneless Sardines are a ready-to-eat meal by themselves and are healthier as brisling sardines have a higher nutritional value overall, making them a nutritious food option.

Pros

  • Skinless and boneless sardines are easier to eat
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • BPA-free packaging
  • Cost friendly

Cons

  • Might not suit everyone’s palate
protip_icon Did you know?
Canned Atlantic sardines have soft, edible bones that are a great source of calcium, protein, and vitamin D (5).

9. Best For Pregnant Women:Safe Catch Wild Sardines

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4.5
Safe Catch Wild Sardines Image: Safecatch

The Safe Catch Wild Sardines are the official sardines of the American Pregnancy Association. These sardines are caught and tested for their heavy metal levels before being packaged to ensure that they are safe and healthy to be consumed, especially by pregnant women and children. They are packed in extra virgin olive oil that helps to enhance the flavor.

Pros

  • Sustainable fishing methods and practices
  • Paleo-friendly, gluten-free and Kosher
  • Friends of the Sea certified
  • Non-GMO canned fish

Cons

  • The taste may not be enjoyed by some

10. Best Low-Fat:Chicken Of The Sea Smoked Sardine

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4.3
Chicken Of The Sea Smoked Sardine Image: Chickenofthesea

Chicken Of The Sea Smoked Sardines are budget-friendly canned sardines. The smokey flavor and high protein content make these sardines one of the best sardines available. Chicken Of The Sea has been a supplier of many canned and pouched seafood items and these sardines are a great addition to their list of products.

Pros

  • Low-fat content
  • High source of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Cost-effective canned fish

Cons

  • Slightly mushy texture

11. Best Omega 3-Rich:Connetable Sardines In Pure Olive Oil

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4.3
Connetable Sardines In Pure Olive Oil Image: Connetable

Connetable is a sardine brand that dates back to as far as 165 years back! Caught at the peak of the season, these sardines are manually prepared and stored for later use. They are natural sources of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and a powerhouse of Omega 3. Rich in nutrition, Connetable sardines provide all the available natural health benefits from the sea. Available in five varieties, these exquisite canned sardines are a delight to eat.

Pros

  • Gluten-free
  • Hand-packed
  • Nutritious food option
  • Non-GMO
  • Easy to open packaging

Cons

  • The mushy texture is unpleasant for some

12. Best Natural:Santo Amaro European Sardines

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4.4
Santo Amaro European Sardines Image: Santoamaro

Santo Amaro European Sardines are a great brand if you want a taste of authentic European sardines. They are one of the highest quality canned sardines packed with great care. Liked by many reviewers, the sardines are lightly smoked and are packed in pure olive oil and sea salt giving them the perfect flavor and texture in every bite. Santo Amaro European Wild Sardines are Keto, Paleo-friendly. They are best served with crackers or cheese and wine. These completely natural, gluten-free sardines are caught using sustainable fishing methods and packed in Portugal.

Pros

  • Easy-open cans
  • European style lightly smoked
  • Made using natural ingredients
  • Artisanal fishing and packaging technique
  • BPA-free packaging

Cons

  • Not as firm as competitor sardines

13. Best Lightly Smoked:Vital Choice Wild Portuguese Sardines in Olive Oil

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4.4
Vital Choice Wild Portuguese Sardines in Olive Oil Image: Vitalchoice
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

The Vital Choice Wild Portuguese Sardines come with bone and skin and are packed in certified organic extra virgin olive oil. These custom-packed sardines are a rich source of Omega 3. They have a delicious taste and are rich in antioxidants and flavor. Being low on sodium, the Vital Choice Wild Portuguese Sardines are everyone’s delight.

Pros

  • Slightly smoked
  • Made using natural ingredients
  • Whole sardines with skin and bone
  • Gluten-free canned fish
  • Low sodium content
  • Packed in extra virgin olive oil

Cons

  • The odor may be strong and unpleasant for some

At one point or another in our lives, we may have been suggested to incorporate more seafood into our diet. Considering the health benefits that sardines have to offer, including them in our diet seems extremely necessary. With our busy schedule and responsibilities, finding the time to cook seafood dishes by yourself can bring your spirits down. So let us find out how you can choose the best canned sardines.

How To Choose The Best Canned Sardines – A Buying Guide

Getting your hands on fresh sardines may not be a likely occurrence as they are easily perishable, thus canned sardines are your best bet. With so many canned sardine brands available at your disposal, it is not easy to make a choice. Listed below are a few points to consider while selecting the best canned sardines for you and your family:

1. Type of fish

While selecting your canned sardines, make sure to read the label to see the kind of fish that is being packaged. They could be the small Brisling or the larger Herring. The cut of the fish also plays a major role in your decision. Do you prefer them whole or filleted? The skin on or off? With or without bones? All these factors determine the taste of the canned sardines and are therefore important.

2. Packaging

Usually, sardines come in either an oil-base or brine water. For a fresh flavor, people opt for the water medium. The olive oil medium is one of the best ways to eat canned sardines as it enhances the flavor of the fish. Vegetable oil-based sardines are not recommended for people who are on a Keto diet as the carbohydrate content is considerably high. A lot of people also prefer to buy fishy flavor masking sauce-based canned sardines such as a tomato sauce based or Tapatio hot sauce-based sardines. Other prominent flavoring agents include black pepper, cayenne pepper and sherry vinegar.

3. Nutritional value

It is extremely essential to read the back of any packaged product prior to purchasing it. This helps you understand the nutritional value of the product you will be putting into your body. Sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, etc, making them a healthy option. All this also largely depends on the kind of fish you will purchase. Apart from this, reading the back of the packaging allows you to check for the added fat and sodium content and also if there are any allergens going into your can of sardines.

How Can You Use Canned Sardines?

As they are cooked prior to packaging, sardines can be eaten straight out of the tin. Adding them to salads is one of the most common ways of eating sardines. Some people like to add them to their sandwiches or burgers, while some enjoy them with crackers. Sardines can also be added to plates of pasta as they lend a delicious flavor to any dish they are incorporated in. Just make sure to rinse the sardines soaked in brine in cold water before using them to remove the excess salt.

Akino Ogata, a Japanese food expert, says, “Canned Sardines are one of my favorite foods. My go-to canned sardine recipe in Japanese Style is the rice bowl with small sardines in extra virgin olive oil. Put canned sardines onto hot steamed rice along with fresh vegetables and drizzle soy sauce for the finishing touch. It’s a filling and satisfying meal that can be whipped up in five-ten minutes.”

Why Trust MomJunction?

Sakshi John, the author of this article, has gone through numerous product reviews and quality parameters to understand people’s needs and regarding canned sardines. This expert-approved list of the best canned sardines includes nutritious and high-quality ones to fit your requirements. Sakshi has also mentioned the pros and cons of each product and included a buying guide with detailed information to help you choose the right one for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is healthier – sardines in oil or water?

Sardines in oil contain a higher amount of fat but are superior in terms of flavor.

2. Are sardines good for me?

Sardines are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and they are great for the immune system and may help improve bone and heart health.

3. Should I rinse canned sardines?

Rinsing sardines is not essential as they come packed in sauces. So you can eat them directly.

4. How long do canned sardines last?

You should consume opened sardines within a day or two. Sardines in vegetable oil have a shelf life of only 24 hours after opening the box, while sardines in tomato sauce last up to three days (1).

5. Are sardines sustainable?

Sardines with the MSC label or marine stewardship council certification are caught using sustainable fishing methods (2).

6. Are sardines high in mercury?

No, sardines are low in mercury, a heavy metal. They have a mean mercury concentration of 0.13, which is much less than canned salmon (3).

The Bottom Line

If you are a seafood enthusiast, canned sardines can be a good source of minerals and proteins thanks to their rich nutritional value. Be it the Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with omega-3 fatty acids, the nutrition-rich King Oscar Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the Beach Cliff Sardines In Soybean Oil with a smokey flavor, or the others on the list, they are all versatile food option you can eat with salads, burgers, or straight out of the tin. It helps when you choose a gluten-free pack of fresh fish free of preservatives and sustainably packed. This article lists a range of options, but when picking one, ensure you understand your dietary requirements.

Infographic: How To Use And Store Canned Food

Canned foods can make cooking quick and hassle-free. The process of canning locks in the aroma of the food and increases its shelf life, making them easy to store and travel with. However, the cans require proper storage to keep them from going bad. The infographic provides some general points to remember about this aspect.

Dos-And-Don'ts Of Using And Storing Canned Food (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Safety and Quality of Canned Sardines after Opening: A Shelf-Stability Study
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35407078/
  2. What are sardines?
    https://www.msc.org/what-you-can-do/eat-sustainable-seafood/fish-to-eat/sardine
  3. Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2012)
    https://www.fda.gov/food/metals-and-your-food/mercury-levels-commercial-fish-and-shellfish-1990-2012
  4. 3 Healthiest (and Worst) Fish For Your Health.
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-fish-you-should-love-and-3-fish-you-should-snub/
  5. Sardines Are Tiny Fish That Are Big on Flavor.
    https://foodandnutrition.org/may-june-2016/sardines-tiny-fish-big-flavor/

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Akino Ogata owns a YouTube channel "Kitchen Princess Bamboo" with over 500 videos and 200k subscribers. Her videos cover a wide range of Japanese recipes, from traditional "Miso from scratch" to "Modern Japanese Baking." She considers it her mission to deliver healthy and delicious Japanese recipes to her worldwide followers. She is a board member of the local food hygiene...read full bio