What Is Your Favorite Canned Fish? - Exclusive Survey

Tinned fish has seriously been having a moment. While it isn't anything new, our attitude toward the canned item is. Far from being a curious novelty from abroad, all sorts of canned fish are now widely available at supermarkets across the nation. With so much variety at our disposal, it's fair to wonder which is the favorite of Tasting Table readers.

Encapsulating the chic and effortless European style of dining, Nylon explains that neatly packed tins of fish have seen a resurgence in the last few years due to a rise in pescetarianism, minimalist pandemic-inspired cooking, and fabulous branding and marketing. It also didn't hurt that many have taken to online platforms claiming canned fish is the snack of choice for the it-crowd, notes Vice. And, if that weren't enough, Harvard Health states that canned tuna, sardines, herring, or salmon still boast the same concentration of anti-inflammatory and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as fresh filets.

And if you need more reasons to partake in the tinned trend, stocking your pantry with canned clams and fish filets is also a great time-saving hack for entertaining guests in a pinch or crafting a quick yet flavorful dinner like sardine bucatini. With an incredibly long shelf life, canned fish has long been a (secret) favorite, but which fish reigns supreme among our readers?

Doesn't get much more classic than canned tuna

After polling a multitude of Tasting Table readers, a staggering 63.8% of respondents claimed canned tuna as their go-to tinned fish. While Americans once scoffed at canned tuna, Slate reports that following the creation of oil-packed albacore tuna, or the "chicken alternative," as it was called, grew in popularity — especially during World War I. An inexpensive protein source, tuna has since become a mainstay, ideal for hearty casseroles, umami-rich pastas, and good old tuna salad sandwiches.

As for how the other varieties fared, canned salmon (11.5%) was the second favorite fish among Tasting Table readers, followed by crab (10.4%). Meanwhile, the least preferred proteins involved much smaller swimmers, with sardines at 7.8% and anchovies at 4.4%. Kippers made our list, but only just, as 2.12% of readers selected the small, oily filets as their tinned fish of choice. 

Regardless of which canned fish you think is best, sometimes purchasing the right tins can be tricky. In addition to looking for ingredient lists with minimal additives and recognizable add-ins, Well+Good suggests opting for olive-oil-packed tins, as those will provide the most flavor. Likewise, opting for sustainably-sourced and low mercury options is also wise, particularly if you're going to eat a lot of it. Just like that, you can find tasty tinned fish that's fit to be worked into recipes or become the star of your next tasting board during, what Fine Dining Lovers calls a "tinned fish date night!"