The Best Tuna Brands, According to Our Test Kitchen Experts

Before you fill your grocery cart, find out which tuna brands our Test Kitchen experts love the most. Their top picks might surprise you!

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Test kitchen preferred the best TunaTaste of Home

So many of us are trying to incorporate more protein into our diets. Lean meats, legumes and nuts are all a great place to start, but you might be forgetting one healthy source of protein in the aisles at your grocery store: packaged tuna.

Yep! On average, a packet of tuna has about 30% of the protein healthy adults need in a day. And with most tuna brands coming in at under 100 calories per serving, you couldn’t ask for a better way to beef up your lunchtime routine. But we know that canned and packaged tuna can be disappointing. To save you the trouble, our Test Kitchen sampled all the most popular brands to find the tuna options that should be in your shopping cart.

How We Found the Best Tuna Brands

For this sampling, our Test Kitchen put seven tuna brands (including the biggest names) head-to-head in a blind tasting. Our pros didn’t know which brand was which as they sampled each tuna as they came—right out of the package. They judged the tuna according to these criteria:

  • Appearance: How does the tuna look? What sort of hue does it have? Does it look appealing?
  • Flavor: How does the product taste? Is it too salty? Too fishy? Are there any additional flavors to note?
  • Texture: What is the texture of the tuna like? Is it flaky? Is it firm? Too dry? Too wet?

Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Tuna Options

After a pretty grueling test, our pros picked four tuna brands as their favorite. These brands are Test Kitchen-approved:

Best Overall Tuna: StarKist Albacore White Tuna in Water

Overhead Shot Of Starkist Tuna In Package And On Plate With Fork And CrackersTaste of Home

In our testing, albacore tuna (as compared to yellowfin or skipjack) rose to the top. This light flaky tuna from StarKist was our team’s favorite. Inside the pouch, our pros found large chunks of flaky fish.

StarKist albacore was juicy and bright with just the right level of salt. Packed in water, this brand is super healthy—it has 17 grams of protein, 60% of your vitamin 12 for the day and is just 80 calories per package. That’s pretty darn good if you’re trying to eat healthy and want to incorporate a bit more fish into your diet.

Our testing team said that this fish was delicious enough to eat plain but would be just as welcome in any lunchbox. This green salad with white beans and tuna is the perfect place to start.

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Best Fancy Tuna: Portofino Albacore Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Sea Salt

Overhead Shot Of Portofino Tuna In Package And On Plate With Fork And CrackersTaste of Home

When you think of canned or packaged tuna, you probably aren’t thinking fancy. But one brand in our taste test had our kitchen squad thinking about pre-packed tuna differently: Portofino.

This Italian brand had testers raving. The addition of extra virgin olive oil and a touch of sea salt gave this albacore a distinctive taste. It was flavorful and had just the right texture—moist but not overly saturated.

Because of the perfect flake of this tuna and the additional fresh flavors of the oil, our Test Kitchen thought this fish was great on its own (this isn’t the brand to buy if you want to make tuna salad). Many of our pros recommended using Portofino albacore to top a Nicoise salad.

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Best Non-Albacore Tuna: Good & Gather Chunk Light Tuna in Water

Tuna Good & GatherTaste of Home

If albacore tuna isn’t for you, snag a pouch or two of Target’s Good & Gather Chunk Light Tuna. This brand was super flaky and had that classic, rich tuna flavor our Test Kitchen was searching for.

This packaged tuna is exactly what you want when it comes to whipping up an easy tuna salad or making tuna burgers at home. Good & Gather wasn’t overly salty which leaves plenty of room for you to jazz this brand up with the herbs and spices you love most.

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Best Budget Option: Great Value Chunk Light Tuna in Water

Tuna Great ValueTaste of Home

Priced 30% lower than its nearest competitor, Walmart’s Great Value Chunk Light Tuna is our favorite budget tuna brand (and one of our Test Kitchen’s favorites overall).

This tuna was moist and had the perfect level of salt. This fish does have a finer texture than some of the other tuna brands. While this wasn’t every tester’s favorite, these smaller flakes make Great Value tuna the perfect candidate for many tuna recipes like tuna salads and casseroles.

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What to Make with Packaged Tuna

Tarragon Tuna SaladTaste of Home

In a hurry? Then tuna right out of the pouch works just fine as a quick lunch. It also adds extra protein to green salads for your lunchtime fare.

But don’t stop with lunch! Tuna makes for some great dinners as well. Yep, we’re talking tuna noodle casserole—this time with a modern spin. Or try sheet pan tuna melts, a fresh, herb-filled tuna salad or tuna lettuce wraps. For something a bit more adventurous, try this canned tuna sushi recipe.

And don’t forget, these lightweight packages are also ideal for camping. No refrigeration needed and these pouches pack plenty of protein—about 18 grams each.

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Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.