Sardines provide healthy protein and nutrients to the body. They are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and Calcium. Additionally, this small fish is full of flavor and works in a variety of recipes.
If you’ve been worried about mercury in sardines, eat them without worry. Since plankton is sardines’ main food, their mercury content is low.
Although fresh sardines are the best, you may not be able to get them. This fish is highly perishable. So, you can only buy a limited quantity at a time.
Fortunately, canned sardines eliminate these problems.
Sardines can be found packed in water, olive oil, sunflower oil, or soybean oil, as well as canned in tomato sauce or chili sauce. The taste and nutritional benefits will depend on the preserving medium.
Trying to decide between brands, though, is another story. There are so many options out there that it can be hard to know which ones to buy. To help you pick the best brand for your needs, we went grocery shopping and tried 15 different brands of canned sardines.
- Ligo Sardines
- Mega Sardines
- Nuri Sardines (Pinhas Sardines)
- King Oscar Sardines
- Wild Planet Sardines
- Rose Bowl Sardines
- Brunswick Sardines
- Youngstown Sardines
- Titus Sardines
- Beach Cliff Sardines
- Saba Sardines
- Season Sardines
- Ortiz Sardines
- King Cup Sardines
- Chicken of the Sea Sardines
When we evaluated each brand of canned sardines, we looked at the following factors:
- Flavor and Texture (when eaten right out of the can or mixed into a salad)
- Fishing Practices (how the sardines were caught)
- Health Risks (mercury levels and BPA free cans)
- Nutritional Value
We also checked user reviews to see what other people had to say about these sardines.
Read on to see our top 10 recommendations and learn more about what makes these brands stand out from the pack.
Our Top 10 Picks in Our Search for the Best Canned Sardines Brands
In the following list, you will find our favorites.
1. Ligo Sardines in Tomato Sauce (with Chili)
As an industry leader in sardines, Ligo delivers to our expectations with their sardines in tomato sauce. It is deliciously creamy, flavorful, and satisfying. This brand has just the right amount of spice to enhance the delicious flavors of the fish.
- Produced in the Philippines
- Rich and creamy sauce
- Mildly spiced so it isn’t too hot
- Ready-to-eat snack with no bones
- Fewer calories
- The flavor and color are always consistent
- The soupy taste may not be liked by everyone
- Not FDA approved
The tangy tomato sauce perfectly complements the salty sardine flavor. It is soupy with just a hint of acidity. Although the sardines have chili, it isn’t hot. Instead, the chili is very mild and it enhances the overall flavor.
If you want a quick comforting, satisfying homely snack, a can will do the job. Have it on its own or with a bowl of rice. It will satisfy your appetite when you don’t have time to cook.
Don’t worry about painful bones sticking in your throat when you choose Ligo’s sardines in tomato sauce. All you can get is tender, flaky fish.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10 (Excellent)
2. NURI Portuguese Sardines in Spiced Olive Oil (Pinhais)
Apart from the fish, these cans also contain chili pepper, carrot, and cucumbers!
- Spiced with carrot, cucumber, chili, clove & pepper
- Unique, one-of-a-kind flavor
- Goes well with toast and works as an appetizer
- The right amount of spice
- Rich and satisfying
- Very tender and meaty fish
- More than 80 years in the industry
- A bit salty
Many people are squeamish about sardines preserved in sauce or brine. This is often due to the distinct and strong smell and taste of the fish.
If you face this problem, we highly recommend Nuri Spiced Portuguese sardines. They are nothing like typical sardines in sauce or saltwater. They have no fishy smell or taste. Instead, they are flavorful with just the right amount of spice.
The company ensures that the sardines are packaged on the same day as they are caught. This helps to retain maximum flavor. It also ensures high nutritional content. Olive oil used for preservation smells and tastes fresh.
Hot chili pepper, garlic, cucumber extract, and carrot add extra flavor to the fish and make it tasty. However, the flavors are light and not overpowering. Enjoy them with cream cheese or toast for the best results. You can also toss them in a salad or add them to a sandwich.
One of the most interesting things about Nuri Spiced Portuguese sardines is that the cans contain pickled vegetables. You will find peppers and chopped carrots in the can. Fish them out and add them to your dish for added flavor.
We highly recommend this brand if you are looking for sardines with a gourmet touch. Although they are expensive when compared to other brands, they are worth their price. Not only do they taste delicious as such, but they can also be used to flavor pasta, rice, and salads.
Overall Rating: 8.9/10 (Very Good)
3. King Oscar Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Experience superior nutritional benefits and amazing wood-smoked flavors with these wild-caught sardines.
- Contains Bristling sardines
- Wild-caught sardines
- Exotic smoky flavors
- Traditional Norwegian taste
- High nutrient value
- Not too salty
- The olive oil makes the fish too delicate to handle
- Was a little high in oil
Wild-caught sardines are immensely flavorful and delicious. King Oscar Sardines retain this fresh taste and delicate texture as the fish is preserved in a salty oil solution. The sardines are neatly hand-packed in two layers making them easy to store and use.
If you don’t like the strong raw smell of sardines, consider using King Oscar sardines. It doesn’t smell fishy since the oil effectively masks the smell. You can directly eat the fish, add them to salads and sandwiches or cook them further.
No spices are added to the sardines. However, the distinct wood-smoked flavor adds an exquisite effect. Additionally, these sardines offer great nutritional advantages. Since the skin and bones aren’t removed from the fish, it retains its nutritional value.
This is organic food. Also, note that the packaging is recyclable and BPA-certified.
The only downside to King Oscar sardines is that the fish are very delicate. Since oil is the preservation medium, they break easily and are not easy to handle.
Apart from this basic flavor, King Oscar Sardines also come with ingredients like jalapenos, tomato, spices, and mustard.
Overall Rating: 8.4/10 (Very Good)
4. Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sustainably caught sardines that deliver the best nutrition!
- Lightly smoked
- Firm meaty texture
- Rich, delicate flavor
- No fishy smell
- Sustainably caught fish
- Low-calorie food
- Cans are not easy to open
- The ratio of fish to oil can be inconsistent across cans
If you are keen on sustainable food decisions, Wild Planet sardines are a good choice. The company is famous for its sustainable initiatives. It is committed to delivering eco-friendly organic products.
Wild Planet follows sustainable fishing methods. They guarantee a high-quality product that is delicious and tasty.
The ingredient list contains all-natural ingredients like sea salt, water, and aqueous natural smoke. Organic olive oil is the preservation medium. This makes it a wholesome, green food. The fish are delicately meaty and taste fresh.
The sardines do not have scales. The heads and tails are also removed before packaging. Bones are not visible. It is just tender, delicious meat that is rich in calcium, iron, and Omega 3 fatty acids.
The best thing about Wild Planet is that they are shelf-stable. You can add this ready-to-go snack into salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Just combine it with avocado or tomato on toast to prepare a delicious meal in minutes without having to cook anything.
However, these sardines are expensive when compared to other brands. Nevertheless, the cost is justified by the flavors and fresh taste.
Overall Rating: 8.1/10 (Very Good)
5. Mega Sardines in Tomato Sauce
I really like this product, it’s high quality, convenient and has a great price!
- Leading food producer in the Philippines
- Variety of flavor styles to choose
- A socially responsible company
- Rich and tomatoey
- Great taste and texture
- Perfect on toast with salted butter and white pepper
- It’s hard to find this outside of the Philippines
Every can of Mega Sardines is carefully-packed to ensure the highest quality. They offer easy-open cans that are perfect for your in-home convenience.
The sardines and tomato sauce can be eaten straight out of the can making it easy to prepare on the go. You can also use the product to make salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and more.
The fish is canned within 12 hours from the catch to ensure freshness and quality.
The next time you’re craving something high in protein, rich in omega-3, and low in fat, give these Mega Sardines a try.
Overall Rating: 7.8/10 (Good)
6. Titus Sardines in Vegetable Oil
Titus is a popular canned sardine brand from Morocco.
- Trusted quality
- Ready to eat
- Help you reduce cholesterol levels
- Tasty and easy to prepare
- It’s a bit pricey but worth it
- Has a salty appealing taste
- Smells bad
In West Africa, particularly in Ghana, the Moroccan Titus brand is well known. Tasty and high in nutrients, these sardines are a great choice for anyone looking to add more fish to their diet. My only complaint is that they smell a little fishy, but you can get past that once you realize how good they taste!
It can be used in a variety of ways, such as salads, rice meals, beans meals, stews, gravies, soups, sandwiches, and a whole lot more.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 (Good)
7. Beachcliff Sardines in Soybean Oil
Beachcliff sardines in soybean oil are on our list because they are minimally processed. They are made from wild-caught sardines of medium size. Additionally, the taste is fresh and appealing.
- Contains natural smoke flavoring
- Sardines preserved in soybean oil
- BPA free packaging
- Steam-cooked good-sized sardines
- Wild-caught sardines
- Minimally processed
- During shipping, cans can get dented
Whether you are on a keto diet or just interested in good-quality sardines, this is a good variety to try. The sardines are steam cooked and then placed in soybean oil. The natural smoke flavoring is barely noticeable.
The sardines are medium-size and they do not have any unpleasant fishy taste. They have high nutritional content because the bone and skin are retained.
You can use Beachcliff sardines in soybean oil in pasta and salads. They are also suitable for sandwiches and toast. It will enhance the nutritional value and taste of these dishes.
Overall Rating: 7.2/10 (Good)
8. Saba Sardines in Tomato Sauce (with Chili)
Saba is one of the leading brands in the canned seafood category. It has been a household name in the Philippines for almost 20 years and is still getting stronger. The brand’s growth can be attributed to its consistent quality, customer loyalty, and innovative products.
- Consistent quality
- Fresh, clean taste
- Has a smooth texture
- A little hard to find in stores
- Not approved by FDA
Saba makes it easy for you to experience the exquisite taste of sardines. Their sardines are some of the freshest I have ever tasted. They are packed in tomato sauce with chili and spices added to deliver the flavor.
When I make it for my family, we love to eat it with garlic fried rice and tapas for an evening meal. For breakfast, my family loves to eat it with eggs.
Overall Rating: 6.7/10 (Above Average)
9. Season Brand Sardines in Olive Oil
These sardines from the sustainable Season brand are tender, mild, and versatile.
- Wild-caught in Morocco
- Low calories and low sodium
- No added salt
- BPA-free packaging
- Competitively priced
- Goes great with crackers
- Taste is very mild
- Disappointed to see too many scales in the package
The Season brand has put their decade-old experience to good use to come up with Sardines in Olive Oil. Their sardines are wild-caught from Morocco and are sustainably harvested. The company focuses on eco-friendly fishing practices.
All the ingredients in this product are 100% organic. As a result, it is delicious and fulfilling. There are no added spices. The entire taste comes from the sardines. So, this is a great choice if you prefer the original flavors of fresh sardines. There is no concern about spices or sauce interfering with the authentic taste.
Since the brand uses only bristling sardines, the fish are generally small. Nonetheless, they are rich in flavor and have a very delicate and appealing texture. The health benefits of bristling sardines are generally higher than regular sardines.
The bones and skin are removed before packaging. So, they are easy to handle. You can add these sardines to salads or have them with toast. Since the flavor is very mild, you can also cook it further. It can be added to soups, curries, and stews.
Overall Rating: 6.3/10 (Above Average)
10. Ortiz Sardines in Olive Oil
I have enjoyed Ortiz sardines in olive oil since 2010. I stock up when I find them on sale. Ortiz sardines are harvested off the coast of northern Spain.
- Clean and delicious!
- Contain sea salt and olive oil
- A consistently good product
- They also have a jarred version
- Wild-caught and environmentally friendly
- Have a mild buttery taste
The company uses traditional methods of preparation and packaging to bring out the rich texture and delicate flavor of each can of Ortiz sardines. In addition, the cans are specially sealed to protect the flavor from oxygen and light exposure.
I love these sardines—they’re marinated perfectly in high-quality olive oil. Ortiz’s recipe was very simple. All they did was put five sardines in a bottle, with sea salt and olive oil. You will notice there are no preservatives or other ingredients. What you see is what you get.
Overall Rating: 5.8/10 (Average)
To Wrap Up…
The best canned sardines will depend on how you like to eat this fish. Do you enjoy their fresh flavors or prefer them in a pickled form?
Sardines in oil usually deliver the fresh taste of fish. Meanwhile, those in sauce or with additives like herbs, vegetables, and spices will mask the raw taste.
When choosing sardines for their nutritional value, wild-caught sardines with minimal processing are the best. As a rule, bristling sardines are superior choices. However, the taste and overall quality will also depend on whether the skin and bone are retained. Canned sardines are a convenient and exciting way to add the health benefits and nutritional goodness of fish to your diet. Go with our list of suggestions if you haven’t tried them before. You will easily find one or more favorites!