Everyone knows that fish is a fantastic, healthy food. With lots of great omega fatty acids, fish is virtually fat free, yet packed with protein. The problem is that fresh fish is expensive, and depending on where you live, not actually very fresh at all. So many of us turn to canned fish to try and get the right balance of nutrients without spending a lot of our grocery budget.
Unfortunately, to get truly healthy fish, you need to be a very conscious consumer. These are just a few of the things I look for when choosing a canned salmon brand.
There will be more detail below, but for a quick overview of the products I’m discussing, check out the chart I made! You can also click the links to see the current products on Amazon.
What is the Best Brand of Canned Salmon?
1. North Pacific Seafoods Canned Sockeye Salmon Bellies
This canned salmon hits all of my checkmarks. It is wild caught in Alaska, skinless and boneless, and it’s just delicious. I like to use salmon in many different recipes, whether that be a salad, salmon cakes, or macaroni salad, but this salmon is so good, you could absolutely just eat it out of the can for your lunch. Completely delicious flavor.
2. Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Sockeye
This delicious salmon is the well-known Costco store brand, and I love it for its convenience and yumminess. Again, this brand comes without skin or bones, so there’s no awkward moments when you take out the salmon and being to cook. And again, this is delicious enough to just eat on your own. I particularly love how easy this brand is to find. My local grocery store goes in and out of different salmon brands, but I can always go to Costco – or Amazon – and find this.
3. Wild Planet Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon
I have to be honest, I debated just a little whether I wanted to add this salmon to the list. The truth is that sockeye salmon is the most delicious salmon I’ve ever had. Pink salmon is fine, but it doesn’t have the depth of flavor as Alaskan sockeye. But it’s also a lot less expensive. If I’m eating salmon straight out of the can, I want it to have unbelievable flavor. If I’m mixing it with, for example, almond flour, shredded vegetables, and a little bit of egg to make a salmon patty, using the highest quality salmon is almost a waste.
This is not a salmon I would have for lunch on its own, but when I want something to cook with, it’s just fine.
4. Vital Choice Wild Red Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
Vital Choice is a canned salmon brand that is very popular amongst my friends for its flavor, its texture, and its affordability. For me, the skin still on the fish is not my favorite. Yes, it’s easy to remove, and yes, the cat is very happy to get the treat, but I just dislike it, and I can’t stand the texture of it. If I could, then yes, I agree that this would be by far my favorite, in terms of pure salmon flavor. The skin ruins the entire experience for me, however.
3 Things To Consider When Choosing a Canned Salmon Brand
1. Wild Caught
Farm grown fish are horrible for people and horrible for the environment. One of the benefits to buying canned salmon instead of canned tuna is that most canned salmon comes from wild caught fish. With tuna, this isn’t the case at all.
But farm raised fish are known to be full of antibiotics, toxins, and waterway pollution, so just stay away from them.
2. Type of Salmon
If your canned salmon isn’t clear about whether or not the fish was wild caught, the simple name of the fish can give you a good idea. Atlantic salmon are nearly extinct in wild waters, due to overfishing and pollution. The Alaskan salmon fishery, however, is one of the most sustainable, safe, and well-managed fisheries in the world, so looking for Alaskan pink salmon, sockeye, or red salmon is a good clue that your fish is wild caught and healthy.
3. Skin and Bones
This was very disconcerting for me, the first time I bought canned salmon instead of canned tuna. With salmon, the skin and bones are sometimes left right on the fish as its cooked in the can, which shocked and horrified me, mostly because I wasn’t expecting it. But I learned that you can leave the bones in; they’re cartilage, and offer a lot of calcium, and aren’t crunch. The skin, you can slide off and give to your cat or just throw out. Some people run their canned salmon through a blender, leaving the skin on; apparently it’s quite healthy. The color, however, is pretty awful.
It’s up to you; my personal preference is to buy salmon that doesn’t have the skin in the can, or remove the skin if I need to buy a brand that does have the skin. I just want you to be aware, so you’re not surprised like I was!
So Which Canned Salmon Is the Best?
My favorite canned salmon is the Kirkland Signature. Easy to get, boneless and skinless, and reasonably priced. This way, I have the choice of eating it as is or using it in something like a salad, where the flavor will be a feature. If I know ahead of time that I’m buying a few cans specifically to make something like salmon burgers, then the lower price of the Wild Planet Pink Salmon makes that more attractive.
But overall, I’m just glad that canned salmon is so affordable, and so much better than the fresh salmon I can get in my inland area of the country. What are your favorite canned salmon brands?