Best Canned Sardines

Sliced tomatoes with red onion, parsley, extra virgin olive oil, salt/pepper/dried oregano and canned sardines in olive oil with homemade roasted peppers

Best Canned Sardines

We love, high quality, canned fish and we think they are one of the culinary world’s secret weapons, especially when a home cook doesn’t have access to a wide variety of fresh fish.  In fact, in our book we’d rather consume superb salt/olive oil cured sardines, anchovies, tuna, etc. than a fresh fish like Talapia any day of the week. We recently enjoyed a can of olive oil cured Sardines from, of all places, Trader Joe’s!  The sardines were full of meaty flavor and paired very well with our homemade roasted peppers.  We also broke down and purchased a few locally grown  “greenhouse” tomatoes (at a separate market) because we needed to believe that summer was just around the corner (the tomatoes were average, but the roasted peppers and canned sardines were tremendous).  We’ve sampled many variants of canned sardines and the very best have the following traits:

  • Packed in olive oil and/or salt
  • Contain no other added ingredient(s)
  • Usually derive from Spain, Portugal, Poland, Morocco, or Italy
Some of the brands we’ve enjoyed and recommend include (in no particular order):
  • Matiz Gallego (Spain)
  • Idamar (Portugal)
  • Gonsalves (Portugal)
  • Da Morgada (Portugal)
  • As Do Mar
  • Trader Joe’s Sardines in Olive Oil
  • Crown Prince
  • King Oscar
  • Brunswick

Our favorite way to enjoy canned sardines are along side olives, tomatoes, cheese, roasted peppers, bread, salumi, etc.  During the summer months, we’ll prepare sliced tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, dried oregano, basil, and salt and dress the sardines alongside the tomatoes with additional extra virgin olive and maybe a few very thinly sliced red onions (no need for salt, pepper, or dried oregano).  Good bread is also a requirement.


  1. I don’t know what happened to my previous comment…It vanished while I was trying to send it to you…
    I agree canned sardines and also canned tuna are better packed simple, in olive oil.But the best way to eat sardines is during the summer, fresh. During Winter and Fall you may eat them canned.
    I’m from Portugal but I dont’ know any of the brands you have mencioned. The best canned tuna brand here is “Tenório”. I’ll send you  an adress of a site where you can see it. But don’t buy anything there because their prices are twice  the price of any good supermarket. The purpose is only to show you the can, that I find adorable. I’ll send you also the adress of a very wellknown canned fish shop, downtown in Lisbon. They have all sorts of canned fish. The cans are also adorable as well as the two old ladies that work there. Both sites have an english version.
    In Portugal, during Summer, is common to eat a tuna salad made with canned tuna, cold boiled black eyed-peas (or is it cowpeas?), chopped parsley, chopped onions, chooped garlic gloves, seasoned with olive oil, vinager, salt and pepper. We mix it all and served it cold with some chopped boiled eggs at the top 
    The links are:

  2. Canned sardines really are underappreciated. Really tasty and very healthy! Fresh sardines are great but hard to come by where I live, so the canned variety are a stand by. 

    • Hi Frank,

      I think most high end canned fish is under appreciated in the US. In parts of Europe (Italy, Spain, etc.) good canned fish (like sardines, clams, anchovies, oyesters, etc.) are often more expensive and sought after than the fresh variety.

      And you are right to point out that if you don’t have access to certain fish varieties then it’s great to have canned in the pantry.


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