The Top 6 Canned Tuna Brands To Buy And The 6 Worst

Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of canned tuna. While this aluminum-gilded seafood genre has overcome its once ho-hum reputation, that doesn't mean every can off the shelf is magic in a tin. Luckily, we've got you covered on which canned tuna brands to buy, and which to skip.

In the mood for an upscale tuna casserole that's camera-ready for the 'Gram? Feeling nostalgic for a classic tuna salad niçoise? Or want to throw some tuna burger patties on the grill? Whatever you're craving, there's a canned tuna for that. And while these brands might look similar — (Um, they're all in cans, so you get the picture) — on the inside, they're very different. And, right now, we've got them all on the hook for texture, flavor, safety, and sustainability.

Get ready to watch your go-to brand face off against the fishiest titans of the industry. Because we poured over customer reviews, environmental standards, and reports from ethical watchdogs (more on our methods below), to choose our favorite canned tuna brands. Whether it's Chicken of the Sea, Wild Planet, Kirkland, or Bumblebee — no brand is off the table. Hold on to your can opener, we're going to tuna town. 

Buy: Ortiz Bonito Del Norte white tuna in olive oil

Right now, you're probably wondering how a bunch of canned tuna brands could really taste all that different from each other. (Or, you're pondering why canned fish comes in such small containers.) Either way, you don't have to think too hard about Ortiz Bonito Del Norte white tuna in olive oil. It's delicious. Done.

Not only is the packaging total gift basket vibes, it's a favorite tuna of Spain. Fans of the Ortiz brand love the delicate flavor of the poached fish, flaky texture, and the clean, bright taste of the olive oil. Even better, this tuna is caught by rod and hook in the Cantabrian Sea, leaving its natural habitat undisturbed by fishing nets. And, yes, that habitat includes wild dolphins. This steak-like bonito tuna is generally considered to be lighter in mercury, and safer to eat than other tunas. Plus, it packs a high protein content and health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, too.

Skip the creamy dressings and mountains of cheese with this one — you'll want to taste as much of the fish as you can. Even the olive oil it's packaged in is worth saving. Drizzle it over a leafy green salad, or a slice of baguette for tuna on toast.

Skip: Wild Planet albacore in extra virgin olive oil

Promise we're not trying to game your favorite brand. But while Wild Planet promotes its jaw-dropping sustainability practices — and probably appears on the shelves at your favorite fancy, shmancy store — it doesn't taste as good as it should. Which is kind of the whole point.

This brand goes gangbusters on responsible harvesting. Each fish appears to be lovingly plucked from the sea by human hands, kissed on the forehead, and magically ushered into the shape of a can. It's turtle and dolphin-safe, fished with zero nets, and targets smaller migrating tuna that are reportedly lower in mercury. But somewhere along the fishing line, the flavor disappeared along with all of those unharmed sea turtles. What's left is a can of beautiful-looking, bitter tasting tuna.

Surprisingly, Wild Planet albacore also tests higher in mercury than other albacore brands like Bumble Bee and Star Kist. We love the brand mission, but maybe think twice about throwing this one in the cart if you're actually planning to eat it.

Buy: Good & Gather chunk white albacore tuna in extra virgin olive oil

If you like your tuna like you like your BFF (Salty), Good & Gather's chunk white albacore tuna in extra virgin oil and sea salt is for you. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but sometimes the best ones are at Target.

Even though it's cut with some water along with the extra virgin olive oil (ingredient lists reveal all), this tuna is rich and meaty, and well-seasoned thanks to that sea salt. Expect a higher amount of sodium than you might find in other cans. Think: 360 milligrams versus the 200 milligrams found in Wild Planet canned albacore. But you'll definitely want to sink your teeth into the 31 grams of protein.

This one gets a few minus points for the chunks that don't flake, and instead, appear more like tuna cream of wheat. Texture aside, the flavor bumps it back over to the "best" category. This one will definitely throw down as a great mixer for a tangy tuna salad or comforting pasta casserole.

Skip: Cento solid white albacore with extra virgin olive oil

The Cento brand is famous for its gorgeous San Marzano tomatoes. What it's not quite as famous for, is its solid white albacore canned tuna. Maybe this tuna could do with a few chopped tomatoes packed in there with it.

Another of the show-stoppingly eco-friendly brands on our list, Cento gets "five out of five stars, would recommend" for its environmentalism. The brand is even MSC FAD-free certified. (That's a highly regarded sustainability designation from the Marine Stewardship Council, or MSC. The FAD-free part stands for no use of a "fish aggregating device" — anything that lures tuna, and often other sea life, into an easy-catch situation.) But amidst the conservationist fanfare, we hear someone asking, "Is this tuna any good?" And the answer is: Not exactly.

Critics claim that even worse than possibly tasting fishy or overly salty, the flavor is something even more disappointing: Boring. Some wondered where the olive oil was when they opened the can. Others dinged the Italian brand for a product made in China. When it comes to Cento, stick with the tomatoes.

Buy: Scout smoked wild albacore tuna in olive oil

Back with another one of those MSC certified brands. (You can tell by the blue label with the fish icon on the package.) But this time, we're popping open an ethically-sound product that's also off the charts in flavor: Scout smoked wild albacore tuna in olive oil. To the tuna!

We have to admit, we're big into the smoky stuff. And smoked fish? Get outta town. We were happy to discover that this brand has plenty of fans, every single one of whom seems to love Scout's hardwood-smoked take on this beautiful fish, responsibly line-caught in the Pacific Northwest. Literally, stop what you're doing, make a charcuterie board, and put a can of this stuff right in the middle. It can be pickles and crackers, just do it.

This brand is a crowd favorite thanks to its flaky texture and lightly sweet flavor. Before it's packed, the tuna is brined in salt and sugar, air-dried, and then smoked. The golden yellow sugar in the brine — a variety of brown sugar — takes this one over the top.

Skip: Bumble Bee solid white albacore in vegetable oil

Texture-sensitive tuna lovers, look away. Bumble Bee solid white albacore tuna cracks open to reveal a hockey puck of basic mush. Local cats give it a minus-3 out of 10.

Silver lining, Bumble Bee offers a shred of integrity by noting the vegetable oil — not olive oil — that this tuna is packed in. A little less clear are the extra ingredients that aren't usually found in higher quality brands — things like soybean oil and vegetable broth. But extremely obvious is the fact that this tuna looks like it was run through a really good blender before it was packaged. A wonderful option for anyone who has recently given up chewing. (Maybe it's trying to be tuna pâté?)

Bumble Bee sports a dolphin-safe designation from the U.S. Department of Commerce. But even that status has come under fire thanks to lawsuits alleging that it masks illegal and unethical fishing practices that actually harm sea life. When it comes to this brand, going fully Bumble Bee tuna-safe — and skipping it completely — is your best bet.

Buy: Tonnino yellowfin solid pack tuna in olive oil

Tonnino does tasty tuna in cans and jars, but here, we're sticking with cans all day. Tonnino yellowfin solid pack tuna in olive oil feels like sticking a fork into a tender steak while basking in its ethical glow.

Fans love that the brand serves up meaty, flavorful yellowfin that tastes like the sea, without being fishy. It's got a great texture, and a perfectly salted seasoning, with many people admitting they could eat it straight from the can — nothing else needed.

Even better, this may be the happiest yellowfin tuna you'll find in a can. Sustainable practices like testing for lower than FDA-standard mercury, an MSC certification, and cooperation with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission that guarantees only yellowfin species will be caught, make Tonnino really easy to swallow. Canned light tuna is one of the fish you can eat regularly, plus Tonnino tuna is cooked on the bone, packing the most flavor into each filet. Did someone say capers, olives, and lemon? Because we've got our hands on a beautiful catch.

Skip: Chicken of the Sea solid white tuna in oil

Having made its reality debut on "Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica" back in 2003, when Jessica Simpson uttered the words, "Is this chicken what I have, or is this fish," Chicken of the Sea canned tuna hasn't exactly rallied for excellence.

Of course, Chicken of the Sea is certainly cashing in on some serious brand recognition. But, like a bad relationship, it's easier to see what you were missing once you've moved on. (No hard feelings, right Chicken?) Non-fans point to dry-as-dust texture, lackluster flavor, and general sadness about the packing oil being the soybean variety, not olive oil. Some suggest positively drowning this one in mayo in order to make it edible. And that's assuming you really love mayo. 

Ingredients also include soy-based vegetable broth and preservatives. The brand offers an interactive product tracker, where you can plug in your product code to find out where it came from, but we're not sure we really want to look into the belly of this whale.

Buy: Genova yellowfin tuna in water with sea salt

Maybe you're thinking water-packed tuna will always be less flavorful than oil-packed. Well, in the case of Genova yellowfin tuna in water with sea salt, you get all of the flavor — and zero weird texture — with roughly half the calories. And who doesn't love an easy pop top.

All it takes is solid light yellowfin tuna, water, and sea salt to get lunch on the table (or even in the car). Devotees love the tender texture and the clean, well-seasoned flavor that makes this brand an easy addition to a cheese board, or fresh salad niçoise. It's delightfully salty, just like the Mediterranean Sea that inspired this brand.

Earlier in the production line, Genova goes all in on the traceability of their fish all the way back to the boat that caught it. The company also established SeaChange 2030, which it claims is aimed at transforming the entire tuna fishing industry into a sustainable machine. For now, you can pop open a can of tuna in solidarity.

Skip: Trader Joe's solid white albacore tuna in extra virgin olive oil

Diving into the briny depths of the Trader Joe's canned seafood section, we find a small selection of agreeable options. (Not too interesting, not totally snoozy, kind of missing a potential "Fishmonger Joe's" sub-brand.) But if you're looking for really good canned tuna, you might want to gloss over Trader Joe's solid white albacore tuna in extra virgin olive oil.

It offers simple, straight-forward ingredients — solid white tuna, olive oil, and salt — but with a distracting, oddly dry texture. Think clumps, not flakes. According to semi-fans, the flavor is decent and tuna-forward, but bring condiments because you're gonna need some extra moisture. The label notes that there has been sea salt added, but some thought the brand threw in way too much.

Greenpeace notes that questionable longline fishing methods are used to source this tuna, even though attempts are reportedly made to reduce "bycatch," or the fishing of other protected species by accident. Either way, Trader Joe's shoppers won't have many tinned tuna options to choose from, with this albacore variety landing in the, "Well, it tastes like tuna," category.

Buy: American Tuna pole-caught wild albacore with salt

American Tuna sounds like the name of a Will Ferrell movie, but it consistently pops up on favorite lists year after year. Get your own taste of the action with American Tuna pole-caught wild albacore with salt. (And bring the popcorn.)

American Tuna is family-founded and proudly supports American fishing communities. That's notable, considering that some other brands on this list are owned by Asian conglomerates. (Chicken of the Sea and Genova are both owned by Thai Union Group, in Thailand.) This company's albacore comes from MSC-certified fisheries off the west coast. Along with implementing the sustainable "one-by-one" fishing method, which involves actually line-catching one fish at a time, American Tuna also won the MSC Award for US Ocean Champion in 2022. You are now all-clear to open your freakin' awesome can of tuna.

This brand serves up a mighty fine fish, with followers citing well-seasoned tuna flavor, and a fresh-cooked style texture. Many were shocked that the packing water seemed more like flavorful juices than something you would want to drain. (The brand even recommends not draining the can, to get the most nutrients from the fish.) American Tuna also dishes up some fun flavor combos like garlic and jalapeño varieties. We're not eating tuna while draped in an American flag, you are.

Skip: Kirkland Signature solid white albacore tuna in water

We all have a soft spot, slash cultish devotion, for Costco's house brand. But we have no room in our giant cart-centipede for Kirkland Signature solid white albacore tuna in water. (The XL plush teddy bear stays.)

Greenpeace dinged Kirkland Signature canned albacore in 2017 for bad fishing practices that extended into human rights abuses, as well as harming sea life, including protected species like sharks. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) also knocked Kirkland brand's poor ethics. Back to the ingredients list, you'll see tuna, water, sea salt, and the synthetic preservative sodium acid pyrophosphate. While it's considered safe to consume in low doses, why eat the fake stuff at all when there are plenty of other brands that just use salt. Speaking of sodium content, you'll get a whopping 340 milligrams per serving with this stuff. Luckily, odd ingredients are something you can easily avoid by reading canned tuna labels.

Costco once offered a skipjack canned tuna that was reportedly sustainably caught, but is no longer available on the shelves. If you're still hungry after all of this, hit up the free samples instead of Kirkland Signature canned albacore tuna.

How we chose the best canned tuna to buy

We hope you head off to the grocery store, totally jonesing for a tuna melt, with all your questions about canned tuna answered. Well, at least when you're thinking about which brand to buy.

This list was compiled based on customer reviews regarding flavor, texture, and lovability. Sustainability was also factored in according to brand disclosures and public reports, and mercury levels were taken into consideration. (This writer may have added a little bit of personal opinion regarding overtly mushy texture situations. Nobody wants that.)

Now that you've got your favorite brand figured out — or you've got a new one in mind to try — you just have to decide on the best place in your kitchen to store your canned tuna. (Ugh, tuna, why are you so complicated?)