We Asked Dietitians to Rank 10 Popular Canned Tunas and You Can Buy the Winner at Walmart

Canned Tuna Ranked

It’s safe to say you probably have some canned tuna in the back of the pantry. Not only is it packed with protein, but it also has a long shelf life, making it a great healthy ingredient to stock up on when it's on sale. Plus, there’s nothing better than a classic tuna salad sandwich with some pickles. But the can of tuna you choose can have a big impact on how much you enjoy that sandwich and the canned tuna options at the supermarket are vast and more than a little confusing.

To help you make the best canned tuna choice for you, we chatted with dietitians to find the healthiest tuna and the best-tasting tuna. We also interviewed seafood experts to find out what to look for in a can of tuna. Their responses helped us rank 10 popular canned tunas from worst to best. So bust out the mayo and the bread because a tuna sandwich is definitely in your future.

Related: How to Make Your Tuna Salad Taste Like It Came From Jimmy John's

What to Look For in a Can of Tuna

“Canned tuna is a delicious and convenient lean protein source, but when purchasing, it's crucial to be mindful of several important factors: type of tuna, mercury content, sustainability, added salt and oil vs. water,” says Mariana Dineen, RD, registered dietitian and founder of Elemento Health.

Related: My Husband Cracked the Code to the Best-Ever Tuna Melt

Types of Tuna

For starters, there are different types of tuna that you’ll find at the grocery store and it’s important to understand the difference.

You'll find canned tuna is usually labeled as light or white tuna. “White tuna is always from albacore tuna and is white to light pink in color,” says Rima Kleiner, MS, RD and blogger with Dish on Fish. “Light tuna usually comes from either skipjack or yellowfin tuna.”

Both are nutritious, however, you’ll want to choose based on what you're making or cooking or what your recipe calls for. According to Kleiner, white tuna has a meaty texture and works great in leafy green salads, appetizers or main dishes where you want to see chunks of tuna. On the other hand, light tuna has a softer texture and works great in tuna salad sandwiches, tuna melts, and tuna casserole.

How is Tuna Caught?

There are many methods for catching tuna, and some are more sustainable than others. According to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch, the least sustainable tuna fishing methods include purse seins, drifting longlines and methods that use FAD (Fish Aggregating Devices). Purse seins are like giant drawstring purses made out of netting that scoop up tuna. Drifting longlines have buoys on the surface of the water with a long fishing line suspended horizontally under the surface that's fitted with many vertical fishing lines with baited hooks. FADs are floating structures (often made of wood) with nets hanging from them. All three of these methods are associated with a lot of bycatch (other species unintentionally caught in the process of fishing).

According to Dana Bush, a Wild Planet brand representative, the most sustainable method for catching tuna is through pole and line fishing, which selectively catches each fish one at a time to minimize bycatch. “Using the pole and line method, which utilizes barbless hooks, when occasional unintended species or infant fish end up on the line, they are immediately tossed back into the water with a good chance of survival,” says Bush. “This selective harvesting method not only helps protect fish populations but also eliminates large volumes of wasted seafood.”

If you're looking for a sustainable can of tuna, you can also look for these other terms on the can: pole-caught, troll-caught, FAD-free, free school, school-caught. According to Seafood Watch, "dolphin-safe" doesn't mean that the tuna is sustainable, so check the can for any of these other terms.

Is Canned Tuna High in Mercury?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a mercury “Action Limit” of 1.0PPM (parts per million).

Light canned tuna, which is often sourced from smaller skipjack tuna, typically contains lower levels of mercury than albacore (white) tuna, which comes from larger fish. “Consumers should aim to limit their intake of higher-mercury fish like albacore tuna to no more than one serving per week, especially for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children, who are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of mercury exposure,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian based in Charleston, SC.

What is Tuna Packed In?

Canned tuna is generally oil-packed or water-packed. According to Dineen, oil-packed tuna is generally more flavorful and moist. Because it's packed in oil, you can sometimes skip the mayonnaise or other creamy condiments. “It's packed with healthy fats, particularly when packed in extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil,” she adds.

Water-packed tuna is firm, with a light texture that flakes easily but it tends to be drier. “It offers fewer calories than its oil-packed counterpart while still delivering a full protein punch,” says Dineen. “It usually calls for the addition of richer ingredients, as it blends well without dominating the flavors.”

How Healthy is Tuna For You?

Aside from being a good source of protein, canned tuna also has a number of additional health benefits. “Canned tuna is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in heart health by reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing triglyceride level,” says Dineen. “Plus, canned tuna is loaded with vitamin B12, gives you a good dose of vitamin D, and comes with minerals like selenium, an awesome antioxidant that keeps your immune system strong and your thyroid in check.”

10 Best Canned Tunas, Ranked

This list is based on conversations with the expert dietitians we consulted for this article. The tunas are ranked based on fat and sodium with additional tasting notes from online reviewers. The tuna that's right for you ultimately depends on what factor(s) are most important to you, but this list of 10 can help guide your shopping.

10. StarKist Selects No Salt Added Chunk White Albacore Tuna in Water



Keep your sodium levels at bay with this no-salt-added canned tuna fish from StarKist. “It has the lowest sodium content at 65 mg and only 0.5 mg of fat,” says Dineen. “It's essential to note that dietary fat isn't inherently bad; our bodies need it for various functions, including nutrient absorption and energy.” Additionally, this wild-caught tuna has 30g of protein per serving and 130 calories per serving ideal for those watching their weight or caloric intake.

This tuna has 4.7 stars on Amazon and more than 1,800 reviews. One longtime fan says, "I have been eating this tuna for years. It is the best-tasting no-salt-added tuna I have ever tried. The thing I like about no-salt-added tuna is that when you first taste it you taste the actual fish, not the salt."

9. Wild Planet Albacore Tuna, No Salt Added



This sustainably caught canned tuna 85 mg of sodium, 2.5 grams of fat and isn’t made with any fillers or broth. It's a great choice for salads or sandwiches where you really want the tuna flavor to shine. This option is on the pricier side, but shoppers say it's worth the cost. "I'm not a fish person, but try to eat it for health," said one Amazon reviewer. "I don't like fishy taste, nor the look of some brands of tuna. Since I tried this, it's the only brand I will buy."

8. 365 by Whole Foods Market, No Salt Albacore Tuna in Water

<p>Whole Foods</p>

Whole Foods

Packed in water, this canned tuna has 120 mg of sodium and 5 grams of fat per serving. “The moderate fat content, much of which is likely to be heart-healthy unsaturated fats, supports satiety and nutrient absorption,” says Dineen.

You can pick up these cans in your local Whole Foods store or order them on Amazon, where there and Amazon's Choice. This tun has 4.6 stars and more than 7,500 reviews, 74% of which are 5 stars. Fans call out its great taste and texture and this option is pole and line caught, making it a sustainable option.

One shopper was very impressed as soon as they opened the can. "When I opened it I was mesmerized that it is not chunks, not pieces but one big solid beautiful piece of fish tightly packed in the can with very little water left," they said.

7. Safe Catch Elite Wild Tuna

<p>Safe Catch</p>

Safe Catch

This canned tuna has 210mg of sodium and 0 grams of fat per serving putting it towards the middle of the list. Not only does it contain high-quality protein and micronutrients, but the brand also claims to test every tuna for mercury and maintain that their tunas consistently have a mercury level 10 times lower than the FDA action limit. “They don't use any fillers, nor do they add any oils or water to their cans – instead, they are packaged in the natural oils found in tuna,” says Manaker.

Shoppers like the taste and texture of this tuna and the lower mercury promise. One Amazon shopper was especially smitten by this fish. "I’m upset! I’ve wasted most of my life eating cat food quality tuna!" they said. "I never realized that tuna this good was out there. This tastes so clean and delicious compared to brand X."

6. Genova Premium Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil



This canned tuna will give you a more moist and tender bite, however, it does contain more fat (11g) and sodium (280mg) in comparison to its water-packed opponents. “Though higher in fat, it's important to highlight that it's canned in olive oil, a source of monounsaturated fats which are beneficial for heart health,” says Dineen.

81% of the nearly 2,500 Amazon reviews are 5 stars, so this brand has a lot of fans. "This is AMAZING tuna," says one shoppers. "Doesn’t taste like anything you buy from any of the major commercial American tunas in the grocery. So worth the price." Because the fish is packed in olive oil, it's pretty much ready to go once you open the can, though you can drain the oil and add mayo or other mix-ins.

5. Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna In Water



You’ve probably come across Bumble Bee canned tuna at the grocery store before and it’s a solid option for those looking for a protein-packed, flavorful option. It’s low in fat at 1g, however, here’s where sodium starts to climb at 320mg, if that's a concern for you.

Online shoppers are big fans of this option, giving it 4.6 stars and nearly 12,000 (!) reviews on Amazon. "This was a great value for my money," said one shopper. "It is solid white albacore tuna. The taste is great there’s barely any water in it."

4. Amazon Fresh, Solid White Albacore Tuna



Amazon has almost everything you can think of down to canned tuna fish. The brand’s white albacore tuna offers 3 grams of fat and 340 mg of sodium, presenting a middle ground in terms of both fat and sodium content. Additionally, it’s loaded with vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium in addition to protein and omega 3’s.

Online shoppers like the taste, texture and value of this canned tuna. "Large solid chunks, not watery mush like other brands, great taste and AMAZING price compared to grocery store tuna," says one reviewer.

3. Chicken of the Sea Light Tuna in Oil



This canned tuna has more calories than those made with water or stored in its natural juices, like Safe Catch. “With 360 mg sodium per serving is on the higher side relative to some other tuna choices,” says Manaker. Plus, it also contains soy, which can be problematic for those with a soy allergy.

Walmart shoppers are a fan of this option, calling out its good taste and texture and solid value. "This is the only brand of tuna that my family eats," says one shopper. "Very flavorful and packed in oil instead of water, which adds to the flavor."

2. StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water



This option has 0.5 grams of fat and 380 mg of sodium. While it's low in fat, the higher sodium content is something to be mindful of. “Rather than strictly adhering to low-fat or low-sodium diets without medical advice, the goal is to find what nutritional balance best supports one's health goals, ensuring a harmonious and healthful relationship with food,” says Dineen.

Walmart shoppers like this option because it's a good value and is versatile. "This has always been my favorite tuna. It is good for sandwiches or casserole," says one commenter.

1. StarKist E.V.O.O. Solid White Albacore Tuna

StarKist E.V.O.O. Solid White Albacore Tuna<p>Amazon</p>
StarKist E.V.O.O. Solid White Albacore Tuna


Containing 8 grams of fat and 380 mg of sodium, this option is higher in both fat and sodium but also boasts 33 grams of protein, offering a good balance of macronutrients that promote satiety, according to Dineen. Additionally, this tuna didn’t appear to have concerning levels of mercury in the Consumer Report evaluation.

Amazon shoppers like that it's a slightly elevated version of a value-conscious brand and enjoy the richness the olive oil adds to the fish. "This has been one of our preferred tunas, because of the solid content of the meat and the olive oil that allows for a fresh clean flavor," says one reviewer. "Needless to say, prices continue to go up in today’s economy however, this product remains one of the best you’ll find for the price."

Up next: We Asked a Floridian to Taste & Rank 11 Orange Juice Brands and the Winner Surprised Him