13 Best Canned Sardines For Proteins And Minerals In 2023

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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. Unfortunately, despite having existed for a long time and being economical and versatile, they received the attention they deserve only in recent years.

Sardine is a generic name that refers to a range of fishes and not just one species. Sardines may be little, but they are vital to the health and ecosystem of the ocean. They’re also a good source of necessary proteins and minerals.

Read on as we have rounded up a list of the top canned sardines. So, keep reading and bring home one.

13 Best Sardines To Purchase In 2023

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

Price at the time of publication: $29.88

This 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 sardines are harvested in the Pacific Ocean in a sustainable manner. 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.


  • Keto and paleo-friendly
  • Comes in 5 variants
  • Sustainably caught


  • Price of the product is slightly higher than its competitors

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

Price at the time of publication: $27.36

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. Choose from their oil-based brisling sardines to a stronger sauce-based one. One thing is guaranteed, they will always be flavorful and delicious. Check out this video to learn more.


  • The only brand to offer small Norwegian brisling sardines
  • Sustainable fishing practices
  • Oak wood-smoked
  • Rich in nutrition
  • Keto and paleo-friendly


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

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

Price at the time of publication: $27.16

When craving for a healthy and lip-smacking snack, 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 and pouched sardines besides other varieties of seafood. This product is minimally processed and is a good source of iron. Beach Cliff Sardines in Soybean Oil is gluten-free and rich in proteins. Watch this video for more information about the product.


  • Free from gluten
  • Good-sized sardines
  • Steam-cooked
  • Comes in a natural smokey flavor


  • The packaging may not be up to the mark and may not be BPA-free

4. Best Wild-Caught:Matiz Sardines In Olive Oil

Price at the time of publication: $18.04

The Matiz Sardines are caught and packaged off the coast of Spain. These sardines are rich in flavor due to the use of the best quality olive oil. The Matiz Sardines are packed with their skin on and bone in, thus making them the perfect meal. Their high protein and vitamin content makes them an exceptional addition to any meal. They can be eaten straight out of the pack or tossed in pasta, either way, a delicious meal is guaranteed. This video helps you know more about the product.


  • Rich in Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Wild-caught
  • Meaty and thick
  • No added preservatives


  • Slightly overpriced
  • Packed with scales

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

Price at the time of publication: $36.6

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.


  • One can of these sardines is equal to a third of the day’s protein requirement
  • Kosher and gluten-free
  • Provides calcium nourishment
  • Sustainably caught


  • Packaging may not be BPA-free

6. Best Pocket-Friendly:Brunswick Sardine Fillets

Price at the time of publication: $40.99

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 fillets with salads and crackers can add an amazing, yet healthy twist to your meal. Being keto-friendly and rich in protein, this brand is very popular with today’s diet-conscious crowd.


  • Most convenient grab-a-meal
  • It is pocket-friendly
  • Has a natural and meaty taste
  • Well cleaned and packed in olive oil


  • Has a strong odor
  • High sodium content

7. Best For Snacking:BUMBLE BEE Sardines

Price at the time of publication: $40.89

BUMBLE BEE Sardines come in a variety of flavors and guarantee a fresh and high-quality sardine eating experience! Canned sardines are a convenient food option as they can be incorporated in a variety of dishes from salads to the main course and require minimal cooking or none at all if eaten as a snack.


  • Rich in protein
  • Wild-caught and sustainable
  • Gluten-free


  • Slightly soft in texture

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

Price at the time of publication: $25.73

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.


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


  • Might not suit everyone’s palate

9. Best For Pregnant Women:Safe Catch Wild Sardines

Price at the time of publication: $28.99

The Safe Catch Wild Sardines are the official sardines of the American Pregnancy Association. These sardines are caught and tested for their mercury 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.


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


  • The taste may not be enjoyed by some

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

Price at the time of publication: $21.57

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.


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


  • Slightly mushy texture

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

Price at the time of publication: $22.99

Connetable is a 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, they are a delight to eat.


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


  • The mushy texture is unpleasant for some

12. Best Natural:Santo Amaro European Sardines

Price at the time of publication: $37.99

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. 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 sustainably-caught and packed in Portugal.


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


  • Not as firm as competitor sardines

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

Price at the time of publication: $50.99

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 are delicious and rich in antioxidants and flavor. Being low on sodium, the Vital Choice Wild Portuguese Sardines are everyone’s delight.


  • Slightly smoked
  • Whole sardines with skin and bone
  • Gluten-free
  • Low sodium content
  • Packed in extra virgin olive oil


  • 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 brands of canned sardines 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 fresher taste, 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. 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?

Vibha Navarathna, the author of this article, has gone through numerous product reviews and quality parameters to understand people’s needs and regarding canned sardines. This list of the best canned sardines includes nutritious and high-quality ones to fit your requirements. Vibha 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 sustainable (2).

6. Are sardines high in mercury?

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

If you are a seafood enthusiast, canned sardines can be a good source of minerals and proteins, thanks to their rich nutritional value. It is a 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 sardines free of preservatives and freshly and sustainably packed. This article lists a range of options, but when picking one, ensure you understand your dietary requirements.


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
  2. What are sardines?
  3. Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2012)

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