12 Best Canned Sardines on the Market 2023 – From the Sea to Your Plate

best canned sardines

Growing up in the coastal town of Porto, Portugal, the scent of the sea was a constant in my life. Every morning, I’d watch the fishermen return with their catch, their boats laden with the freshest seafood. Among these, sardines were a staple.

My grandmother had a special recipe where she’d marinate them in a blend of local spices and herbs before grilling them over an open flame. The result? A taste that was nothing short of divine.

As I ventured out into the world, I found myself searching for that familiar taste in every corner. This journey led me to explore various canned sardines from different parts of the globe. Some brought back memories of home, while others introduced me to new, delightful flavors.

Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my curated list of the best-canned sardines and help you find that delicious taste you’re looking for.

1. King Oscar Sardines with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

King Oscar Sardines With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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Oh, let me tell you about these amazing King Oscar Sardines with Extra Virgin Olive Oil! First off, they’re wild-caught, and the fish are smoked with wood to give them that extra burst of flavor. Now, get this—they pack not 10, not 15, but around 12 to 22 of the finest bristling sardines into each can!

That’s the most fish you’ll find in any canned sardines, believe me.

When I cracked open a can, I was delighted to find that they added just the right amount of salt and extra virgin olive oil to elevate the taste. And for a little kick, there’s some pepper in there too, creating this perfect blend of flavors that dance on your taste buds.

Plus, there’s no need to worry about preservatives or sugar—this canned sardine is all about keeping it natural and wholesome. Oh, and it’s Kosher certified too, so that’s a bonus for healthy eating.

Now, you might be wondering about the bones and skin—don’t fret! These fish are so tiny that the bones are hardly noticeable, and the skin is still intact. But trust me, they’re super easy to eat, and you won’t be bothered by any of it. In fact, the bones are a great source of calcium, so you’re getting some added goodness without straining your teeth!

Let’s talk about the nutritional goodness packed into these little fish. Low in carbs but high in omega-3 acids, proteins, iron, and calcium—these are a powerhouse of nutrients. And here’s some good news for those with dietary preferences; they’re gluten-free and non-GMO.

So, whether it’s a quick and healthy snack or a hearty meal you’re after, these have got you covered.

  • The bones of the fish are not removed so you can benefit from its calcium content. Bones are small and hardly noticeable so they will not damage your teeth and give off a weird feeling while eating
  • Olive oil and pepper combine to produce a delicious taste
  • Contains an average of 16 pieces of fish while most canned sardines come with around 5 fish
  • Packed in recyclable aluminum and BPA-free cans for food safety
  • Can be difficult to eat straight out of the can because fish are delicate and may fall off.


Oh, did I mention the convenience? These delightful fish come in 3.75-ounce cans, all ready to eat straight out of the can. Feeling fancy? They make a wonderful topping for salads or pasta.

Looking for a light snack? Pair them with crackers or bread for a delightful treat. And, I’ve even tried incorporating them into omelets, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer! These King Oscar Sardines with Extra Virgin Olive Oil are now a staple in my pantry, and I can’t get enough of their goodness.

2. Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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The fantastic Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil—a true explosion of flavors! These are not only delicious but also come with a whole bunch of health benefits. And guess what? They’re completely BPA-free, non-GMO, and gluten-free, making them a guilt-free indulgence.

Oh, and they even have a Kosher Pareve certification for those who prefer it.

When I first tried these, I was thrilled to find that they’ve taken care of all the messy bits—scales, head, and tails, all gone! But don’t worry, they’ve left the skin intact, so you can still get all the goodness from it.

And yes, there are some bones, but don’t let that deter you; they’re minimal, just in case you’re not a fan of munching on fish bones.

Now, let’s talk about that extra virgin olive oil—it’s a game-changer! Even though it’s drained from the can, the sardines still retain that wonderful olive oil flavor that enhances their taste.

These fish have a firm texture, making them perfect for frying and enjoying as a standalone treat or incorporating them into a dish. And here’s a delightful option: you can also savor them straight out of the can!

Each can is packed with about 2 to 4 big, meaty sardine pieces, all swimming in that luscious extra virgin olive oil. If you decide to top your salad with these beauties, the olive oil in the can adds a heavenly flavor to your greens, making it a truly mouthwatering experience.

  • Canned with all the freshness of the sea for fresh, tasty, and healthy eating
  • Canned with a lot of extra virgin olive oil for enhanced flavor
  • Harvested using sustainable methods to ensure they are healthy for your body and the environment
  • Packed with essential nutrients giving you a lot of health benefits
  • Many like the idea of the tails and heads intact for more health benefits
  • Each can contain only two pieces of fish
  • Some dislike the idea that the skin and bones are not removed


Speaking of cans, the Wild Planet Wild Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil come in 4.4-ounce portions. And here’s the best part—they’re loaded with essential nutrients! From Omega 3 to calcium, proteins to potassium, and phosphorus to iron, these are like little health warriors, supporting your well-being and keeping you nourished.

3. Crown Prince Sardines in Olive Oil

Crown Prince Sardines in Olive Oil

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Let me tell you about the delightful Crown Prince Sardines in Olive Oil—a true gem among canned sardines! These top-quality pilchard fish are carefully prepared without the bones and skin, so you can enjoy them without that crunchy and awkward feeling.

Plus, they’re canned in delicious olive oil and are Kosher-certified for a healthy and worry-free dining experience. If you’re new to sardines, trust me, this is the perfect one to start with!

As soon as I tried these, I fell in love with their firm texture and the mild, delicate flavor. They’re so versatile; you can enjoy them straight from the can, or they work beautifully in your favorite pasta dishes and sandwiches.

And here’s a fun idea: they taste and feel a bit like tuna, so why not toss them in your greens to create a mouthwatering “tuna salad”?

Oh, and the best part is that they are also gluten-free. So, they’re perfect for anyone looking to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle. And here’s a little secret—the sardines are fully soaked in olive oil for that extra richness.


  • Bones and skin have been removed so you do not get a weird feeling when eating
  • Gluten and Kosher-free 
  • Packed in olive oil to enhance the taste 
  • Some do not like the idea of the fish being too dry.
  • It can sometimes be difficult to open the can as the pull tab is in the corner


These sardines are a true testament to quality; they’re carefully filleted and packed by hand, ensuring you get nothing but the best. Each can comes with 3.75 ounces of pure, cold-pressed olive oil, adding that special touch of enhanced flavor.

And did I mention the abundance of omega-3? It’s like a health booster packed into every can, keeping your body happy and thriving.

4. Season’s Sardines in Pure Olive Oil

Season's Sardines in Pure Olive Oil

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The amazing Season’s Sardines in Pure Olive Oil are a true delight for your taste buds and your health! These are canned without the bones and skin, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable eating experience. And you know what’s even better?

They’re safely harvested off the coast of Morocco, so you can trust that you’re getting the freshest catch. Each can is a flavor-packed powerhouse of healthy nutrients, giving you a delicious meal while nourishing your body.

The magic of these sardines lies in the perfect blend of olive oil and salt, creating a richer and more satisfying flavor. What’s even more reassuring is that they’re canned gluten-free and non-GMO, making them a wholesome choice for the entire family.

The fish boasts a superior texture—no mushiness or chewiness here! It’s perfect as a stand-alone meal straight out of the can or as an exciting addition to your favorite sandwiches, pasta dishes, or salads. Trust me, even kids will love their mild and delightful flavor.

  • Good for hypertensive people who want to reduce sodium intake because it comes with low salt content while providing a lot of healthy benefits
  • Comes with low-calorie content ideal for weight watchers
  • Fish have soft and small bones that are easy to eat
  • Made from bristling sardines which are smaller than most sardines but are of higher quality and taste much better
  • Tends to give sardines a bad image for first-time eaters as it comes with the bones and skin of fish
  • It can sometimes be difficult to open the can as the pull tab is in the corner. Cans with pull tabs in the center are easier to open


Now, let’s talk about the amazing health benefits packed into each 3.75-ounce can of Season’s Sardines in Pure Olive Oil. Loaded with proteins and Omega 3 fatty acids, these little fish are a real powerhouse for promoting good health.

You can enjoy them straight from the can, or let your creativity shine by incorporating them into any snack, pasta, or salad meal. 

5. ​Brunswick Sardine Fillets in Olive Oil

Brunswick Sardine Fillets in Olive Oil

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Let me introduce you to the delightful Brunswick Sardine Fillets in Olive Oil—a true treat that not only tastes amazing but also offers super convenience. Now, these sardine fillets are a bit different from your regular canned sardines.

Picture this: they’re cut open through the length of the fish, with the backbone intact while the tails and heads are removed. It’s a unique twist that sets them apart!

These fillets are incredibly versatile. They make the perfect spread for crackers and sandwiches, adding that burst of flavor you’ll love. And here’s a fabulous idea: they also make fantastic toppings for your pasta and salads, taking your dishes to a whole new level.

Oh, and the best part is that they’re loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients, making them a great addition to support your healthy lifestyle.

  • Soft and tasty 
  • Natural salty flavor 
  • Hand-packed 
  • Easy-to-open cans for hassle-free opening
  • Canned with olive oil for a rich flavor
  • Gluten-free 
  • Harvested in Canada
  • Some people say they are not as good as regular sardines with some differences in nutritional value, too


Each can of Brunswick Sardine Fillets in Olive Oil contains 3.75 ounces of goodness. And here’s a fun fact—they have a shelf life of 5 years, ensuring they’ll be fresh and tasty for a long time. But trust me, you won’t want to wait that long to enjoy them. Simply check the “best by” date printed on the labels, and you’re good to go!

6. Chicken of the Sea Sardines in Water

Chicken of the Sea Sardines in Water

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Have you ever heard of Chicken of the Sea? I know you must have! They offer canned sardines that serve as a near-perfect food source. They are not only rich in essential nutrients like Omega-3, calcium, and proteins but are also economical and easy to prepare.

The canned tuna, salmon, and other seafood products from Chicken of the Sea are known for being low in fat and calories compared to other protein sources. This particular product consists of fish packed in water, ensuring a fresh and authentic taste and that’s exactly what we’re all looking for.


This brand has been a trusted name in seafood for years. Their sardines in water come in a pack of 18, each can weigh 3.75 ounces. These wild-caught sardines are a versatile ingredient, perfect for various recipes or even delicious on their own.

Also, the product is sourced from Poland and has garnered positive reviews from numerous customers for its taste and quality. Sounds tempting, right?

  • High in essential nutrients like Omega-3, calcium, and proteins
  • Economical and easy to prepare
  • Low in fat and calories
  • Authenticity and freshness
  • Versatile ingredients
  • Some users might prefer sardines in oil or other flavors
  • The product might not appeal to those looking for locally sourced products
  • Potential damage during shipping


7. Santo Amaro – Authentic European Sardines in Olive Oil

Santo Amaro - Authentic European Sardines in Olive Oil

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These are a gourmet delight, capturing the essence of the Atlantic Ocean in every can. These are hand-packed in Portugal, ensuring the highest quality and authenticity. Infused with the rich flavors of virgin olive oil and natural Lisbon lemon, they are a testament to traditional Portuguese craftsmanship.


Each sardine is sustainably caught and processed using the age-old artisanal method, ensuring that the natural flavors and nutrients are preserved. The sardines are gluten-free, GMO-free, and BPA-free, making them a healthy choice for various diets including Keto, Paleo, Whole30, and Mediterranean.

Each can weigh 4.23 oz (120 g) and is designed for easy opening, ensuring convenience for the consumer.

  • Hand-packed in Portugal
  • Infused with virgin olive oil and natural Lisbon lemon 
  • Eco-friendly fishing practices.
  • Processed using traditional Portuguese methods
  • Suitable for various diets including Keto, Paleo, Whole30, and Mediterranean.
  • Gluten-free, GMO-free, and BPA-free
  • Easy-to-open cans 
  • The can contains a significant amount of olive oil, which can be messy during opening
  • Possible mild fishy burps after consumption
  • The price might be considered a premium 
  • The spiciness level might not be sufficient for those who prefer a stronger kick


8. Flower Brand Spiced Sardines

Flower Brand Spiced Sardines

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These sardines are meticulously prepared and marinated in a blend of aromatic spices and rich olive oil, ensuring a burst of flavor with every bite. The fish are sourced from the pristine waters, ensuring their freshness and premium quality.

Packed in a convenient can, these are perfect for those who appreciate the fine balance of taste, texture, and authenticity (that would be me, but I know I’m not alone).

  • Authentic Moroccan Flavor
  • High-Quality Ingredients
  • Rich in Omega-3
  • Convenient Packaging
  • Spiciness Might Not Suit All
  • Canned Product
  • Limited Quantity


What to Look for in the Canned Sardines

How to Eat Canned Sardines

If you’ve had a bad experience with canned sardines in the past, don’t let it discourage you, it’s time to give them a second chance (considering all the health benefits they offer). But before you make your choice, here are some essential factors to look for to ensure you get the most out of this food item.

Buy Actual Fish

Firstly, take note that sardines come in different types, such as herrings, bristling, spread, pilchards, or iwashi, depending on where they were caught. Each type has a slightly different taste, so check the labels carefully and choose the one that suits your palate best.

Medium of Preservation

Next, consider the preservation medium used in the can. Among all options, olive oil stands out as the best for sardines. It doesn’t affect the flavor and even enhances the omega-3 fatty acids content. However, the choice ultimately depends on your preference.

You can find sardines packed in water, which preserves the pure flavor but may lose some taste, or sardines in olive oil that can provide a fuller flavor profile. If you prefer ready-to-eat sardines, those in tomato sauce are a good option.

Seasonings and Flavors

Amazing Greek Sardine Salad

When checking the label, ensure that these only contain salt, the preservation medium, and some natural flavors. Avoid those with excessive additives or artificial ingredients.

Size of Sardines

Additionally, consider the size of the sardines. Different breeds come in various sizes, and larger fish tend to have bigger bones. While they may be rich in calcium, some people might be turned off by the larger bones. Reading reviews can help you know the actual size of each sardine piece.

It’s true that bad impressions can be hard to break, but there are countless delicious and flavorful canned sardines waiting to be discovered. By choosing the right one, you can treat yourself to a gastronomical delight while reaping all the health benefits associated with this superfood.

So, give canned sardines another chance and embark on a journey of deliciousness and nourishment!

Health Benefits

While sardines might not be the top choice for everyone when it comes to taste, their health benefits are truly remarkable, making them a must-have in your regular diet. Despite their small size, these fish are packed with surprising advantages that promote a healthy body and mind.

Supports Brain Health

 Thanks to the healthy fats and fish oil they contain, sardines are excellent “brain food,” nourishing your cognitive functions.

Good for Your Heart

Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content, particularly DHA and EPA, helps combat bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. Additionally, sardines provide Vitamin B-12, contributing to a healthy heart.

Promotes Healthy Bones


When it comes to your bones, sardines deliver essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphorus. These nutrients aid in good bone metabolism and support new bone development.

Regulates Your Blood Sugar

For those concerned with blood sugar regulation, the high fat and protein content in sardines help control sugar absorption, making them a valuable addition to the diet of those with metabolic issues or diabetes.

Reduces Inflammation

Thanks to their abundant DHA and EPA fatty acids, sardines also act as anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Regular consumption can help reduce inflammation, which is often the root cause of many diseases.

Fights Depression and Anxiety

Furthermore, sardines play a significant role in mental well-being. Their omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Builds up Your Immune System

immune system

The fish oil they contain increases your immune cell count, giving your body a stronger defense mechanism.

Contains Antioxidant Properties

Rich in selenium, sardines also boast antioxidant properties, neutralizing harmful free radicals in your body and protecting your organs from potential damage.

Reduces Your Craving for More Food

Surprisingly, despite their calorie content, sardines can help with weight loss. Eating just a small amount leaves you feeling full, curbing your cravings for more food.

Good for Your Skin

Lastly, the fats in sardines contribute to healthy and glowing skin by reducing inflammation.

With all these fantastic benefits, sardines are a highly efficient and nutrient-packed food that can be easily incorporated into your diet in various delicious ways. So, don’t miss out on their wonders and make them a part of your healthy lifestyle.

Best Ways to Consume 

Canned sardines are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways. Before you start experimenting with canned sardine recipes, make sure to find the type you really like. Once you’ve got that covered, here are some fantastic ways to savor them:

Incorporate them in Your Main Dish

Canned sardines come ready to eat, so you can simply heat them in the microwave for a quick and tasty dinner.

You can also get creative by tossing them into your pasta dishes or salads.

Play around with different add-ons and sauces to enhance the flavors. When used as an ingredient in your recipes, sardines can elevate the overall taste, adding a delicious salty kick.

Make a Sandwich

sardine Sandwich

Canned sardines make fantastic fillings for open-faced sandwiches. Spread them on bread or crackers and combine them with Swiss cheese or creamed cheese, along with some arugula or watercress for added greens.

The possibilities are endless, and you’ll not only have fun creating your sandwiches but also reap all the health benefits that sardines offer.

Sardines Straight out of the Can

When you’re on the go or camping in the wilderness, enjoy your fish straight out of the can. Pair them with crackers or simply eat them plain with a fork. For an extra twist, try placing the sardines on a plate and drizzle a few drops of balsamic vinegar over them.

It’s a convenient and tasty snack option, and the best part is that you don’t need to worry about bringing the container home with you—just make sure to properly dispose of the cans.


Which Is Better – Canned Sardines In Oil Or Water?

Canned sardines in oil are typically packed in olive oil or vegetable oil, which gives them a richer flavor and texture. The oil also helps preserve the fish and keeps them moist. However, these can be higher in calories and fat than those packed in water.

On the other hand, canned sardines in water have a milder taste and are typically lower in calories and fat. They are a good choice for people who are watching their fat intake or prefer a lighter taste.

When choosing between canned sardines in oil or water, consider your dietary needs and preferences. If you enjoy the richer taste of fish packed in oil and aren’t concerned about the extra calories and fat, go for it. If you prefer a milder taste and want to watch your calorie and fat intake, opt for sardines packed in water.

Do You Heat Up Canned Sardines?

Heat Up Canned Sardines

Canned fish can be eaten both hot or cold, depending on personal preference. Some people prefer to eat them straight out of the can while others prefer to heat them up. If you choose to heat them up, you can do so by placing them in a skillet on medium heat for a few minutes, or by microwaving them for a short amount of time. However, it’s important to note that heating them up may affect the texture and taste, so it’s best to experiment and find what works best for you.

How Long Can Canned Sardines Last?

Canned sardines have a long shelf life and can last for several years if stored properly. The expiration date on the can is a good indicator of when the fish may start to lose their quality, but it’s not necessarily an indication of spoilage.

In general, they can last for up to 3-5 years if stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Once the can is opened, these should be consumed within 2-3 days if refrigerated properly.

Should You Rinse Canned Sardines?

It is not necessary to rinse canned sardines, as they are already cooked and ready to eat. However, some people prefer to rinse them to remove any excess oil or salt. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

Are there any environmental concerns related to sardine fishing?

Many brands prioritize sustainable fishing practices to ensure the health of sardine populations and the marine ecosystem. It’s advisable to look for certifications or mentions of sustainable fishing on the product label to make an environmentally conscious choice.


At SmokinJoesRibBranch, we’re passionate about quality kitchen products, and seafood holds a special place in our hearts. It’s not just the health benefits but the delectable taste that gets us. However, the sodium content in some seafood can be a concern. Enter the best-canned sardines: a perfect solution to enjoy seafood without the sodium stress.

Among the fish we’ve reviewed, the King Oscar Sardines with Extra Virgin Olive Oil stands out. These are a seafood lover’s dream! They blend seamlessly with dishes like pasta and salads, turning them into nutritious delights. Each can boast 12 to 22 premium bristling sardines, making it a true seafood treat.

But what sets these apart? It’s the hint of pepper, enhances the rich flavor of the extra virgin olive oil. This combination offers a taste experience that’s hard to beat. For us at SmokinJoesRibBranch, the King Oscar Sardines with Extra Virgin Olive Oil are undoubtedly the top pick in the canned sardine category!

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Mary J. Lynch

As a mom of two angels, I credit myself in making meals with high concentration yet the balance of nutrition. I pay good care about the health of my family and everyone. Thus, you will find most of my recipes focus on healthy ingredients.
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