13 Canned Chicken Brands, Ranked

We have all been in a situation where we arrive home later than expected and must whip up a healthy, flavorful dinner. If you are looking for inspiration, take a walk to your pantry and look for a can of chicken. The non-perishable poultry product is a convenient, go-to staple that can become a classic chicken casserole with rice or pasta or used as the base for a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Canned chicken typically has a shelf life of two to five years, is low in fat and carbohydrates, and high in lean protein. It is usually packaged with the contents fully cooked and ready to use, which is great for when you don't have time to cook a whole chicken. However, not every can of chicken is created equal. Despite the variety of brands widely available in supermarkets today, some surpass others in terms of ingredients, production methods, nutrition, and flavor. We purchased several different canned chicken brands to find the best product.

All prices are as of the date of publication and may vary based on region.

13. Swanson

Swanson has been operating since 1945 and focuses heavily on poultry products like broth and canned chicken. Today, the Campbell's Soup-owned company offers a range of sizes and chicken products to fit any recipe, including premium chunk chicken breast, a low-sodium white meat option, and a blend of white and dark meat. The brand also offers 4.5-ounce and 12.5-ounce cans, as well as 2.6-ounce single-serve pouches. Like other brands we reviewed, Swanson's ingredients include additional items besides chicken, water, and salt, like sodium phosphate, modified food starch, and rice starch. The packaging also indicates that the contents include a bioengineered food product sourced from genetically modified corn. 

While the gluten-free product contains no antibiotics and states that the contents are fully cooked, upon opening the can of 98% fat-free white chicken breast, we were shocked to see a tin full of fatty skin and what appeared to be blood clots. This discoloration may not have been blood, though, as it may have been a naturally occurring protein called myoglobin that stained the meat. As an expression of caution, we refrained from tasting this product. Still, Swanson ranks lowest on our list based on the brand's inclusion of additives and bioengineered ingredients.

12. Trader Joe's

Our hopes were high when we opened the can of Trader Joe's premium chunk white chicken in water. The 98% fat-free chicken is available in a single 12.5-ounce can for $3.99, making it one of the most expensive, non-organic options we sampled. Price aside, we were excited to use the easy open tab to pull back the lid to reach the chicken, which we expected would be on par with the quality of other chicken products at Trader Joe's. However, upon opening the can, we saw tiny bits of poultry swimming in the water. It was disappointing to see a can filled with water when we were looking for a can brimming with chicken. 

Trader Joe's canned chicken has a sodium level similar to other brands at around 250 milligrams per 2.5-ounce serving. However, the actual taste was a different story. The product was overly salty while simultaneously tasting watery. The chicken's texture was soft and stringy and did not have the same consistency or firmness found in other brands. The high price, low overall taste, and poor quality of the chicken dropped it to the bottom of our list.

11. Great Value

Walmart's signature Great Value brand provides quality products at affordable prices. The brand's canned chicken is available in traditional chunk or shredded versions in a range of sizes, from a 2.6-ounce single-serve pouch to 5-ounce, 8-ounce, and 12.5-ounce cans. Each of the Great Value cans is available at much lower prices than all the brands we tried, including the 5-ounce chunk white chicken that retails for $1.18 or $0.23 an ounce.

Great Value has a higher sodium content than other brands at roughly 170 milligrams per ounce. Additionally, Great Value's chicken includes additional additives, like sodium phosphates and modified food starch, that we don't care for and that other brands did not include. Despite the inclusion of additives, we were excited to try the Great Value shredded chicken. We hoped it would be a quick, easy, and affordable swap for hand-shredded chicken meat in chicken enchiladas or street tacos. However, the texture of the meat was stringy, mushy, and had a somewhat artificial flavor and metallic taste. Though a good dose of sauce would help mask the flavor, we prefer a brand that doesn't need to hide behind a sauce, which keeps the Great Value low on the list.

10. Valley Fresh

Opening the can of Valley Fresh organic chicken was quickly disappointing. The 5-ounce tin of chicken breast in water featured a whole lot of water and not much chicken. The limited ingredient list includes only organic chicken breast with rib meat, water, and salt. Its nutritional information is similar to other brands when compared on an ounce-by-ounce basis. One serving contained 50 calories, 270 milligrams of sodium, and 10 grams of protein. However, after we drained the water, we were disappointed to find the amount of chicken in the can was less than half the item's weight. 

The chicken had a firm texture and poultry flavor. However, the small can size was already one of the most expensive products; it cost $4.99.Although it's organic, the lack of poultry in the can makes it less appealing than other products we sampled. Overall, different (and cheaper) brands delivered a similar taste with more chicken in their cans, which put Valley Fresh at the bottom of our list. 

9. Good & Gather

Target's Good & Gather label aims to provide consumers with high-quality products at a more affordable price than name-brand items. The brand's canned chicken options are limited to only one variety: premium white chicken chunks in water. The canned chicken is quite inexpensive, with the company's 5-ounce can priced at $1.29 and 10-ounce size available for $2.29, which is on par with Walmart's Great Value chicken. 

However, the taste exceeds our expectations, especially given the price. Though the ingredients include additives to help with preservation, like modified food starch, the flavor does not taste fake or overly processed. The chicken was moist and had a genuine taste, which would make it the star ingredient in a quick and easy chicken pasta salad. Plus, you can purchase the product in-store or online. And, like all Good & Gather products, Target guarantees your satisfaction or your money back, which cements Good & Gather in the middle of our list.

8. Tyson

Tyson Foods is a big name in the poultry world. It offers many different chicken products, from breaded frozen chicken nuggets to whole chickens, and, of course, canned chicken. The latter is available in white meat chicken breast, grilled white meat chicken breast with smoked flavor, and a mix of white and dark meat. We decided to taste the white premium chunk chicken, which contains 19 grams of protein in each 3-ounce serving.

In tasting Tyson's white meat chicken breast, we found the lean poultry was well-seasoned, with uniform chunks that are firm, moist, juicy, and have a savory chicken taste. The sodium content was the highest for all brands we tried, with 450 milligrams per serving. The likely reason for the high sodium is the inclusion of chicken broth in its ingredients, which has more sodium than plain water. However, the taste was not overly salty. Tyson ranks in the middle of our roundup for its flavor but not at the top, as the sodium content seems excessive, and the price is higher than comparable options. A 12.5-ounce can cost roughly $4.79.

7. Hormel

Hormel has been an innovator and leader in the canned meat industry for over 130 years. The name is synonymous with products like canned ham, chili, and, of course, Spam. However, it may not be the brand that comes to mind when considering canned chicken — even if the company has been producing it for almost as long as it has been canning hams. Like all of Hormel's products, canned chicken aligns with the company's goal of providing delicious and nutritious ready-to-eat meat products. 

Hormel offers a 98% fat-free premium chicken breast, a no-salt-added chicken breast, and a white and dark meat combination in 5-ounce and 10-ounce tin options. The products are pricey, with a 10-ounce can of premium chicken breast costing $4.44. The ingredient list also includes various additives, like modified food starch, sodium phosphate, and additional flavorings that are not further defined. Some of our higher-ranking brands do not share these additives.

Despite the preservatives, the flavor of Hormel's chicken did not taste processed. It had a savory, authentic poultry taste that was juicy and satisfying, which placed the brand in the middle of the ranking. 

6. Kirkland Signature

Costco doesn't offer multiple options for its Kirkland Signature canned white meat chicken. The product is only available in a 12.5-ounce can — and you must buy the 6-count multi-pack. Still, the chicken cost is only $11.99 at our local store, or roughly $2.00 per can, making it one of the best prices considering its size and quality. 

The extra lean white meat chicken breast is packed in water, which, once drained, equates to about 7 ounces of actual chicken. This is on par with other brands like Tyson and Hormel. The product includes sodium phosphate and modified food starch, in addition to chicken breast meat, chicken broth, water, and salt. Still, the flavor of Kirkland Signature's chicken is one of the best we tried. Unlike other private-label brands like Trader Joe's and Great Value, we found that this tin had large, uniform chunks of poultry. The chicken was moist, with a meaty texture and appropriate salt content to add flavor to it. 

Even though you have to be a member to purchase this product, and there is only one variety of canned chicken available, we give Kirkland Signature a high position on our list. The product's quality, flavor, and great price are a win-win-win.

5. Simple Truth Organic

Kroger's private label brand, Simple Truth Organic, offers an organic premium chunk chicken breast with only 45 calories and 270 milligrams of sodium per 2-ounce serving. We were looking forward to trying the product as the label guarantees the chickens were grown in a cage-free environment and were fed a vegetarian, organic diet. The ingredient list includes only cooked chicken breast meat, salt, and water, without additional preservatives. 

Although many organic canned chicken options come with a high price tag, Simple Truth's organic option costs $3.50 for a 5-ounce tin — which averages about $1.50 less than other name-brand organic canned chicken brands. It's a high-quality option for those looking for an organic-certified product without breaking the bank. 

The best part was that Simple Truth's chicken was tasty. Though the can has a high water-to-meat ratio, it was no more than in other brands we tried. The poultry was tender and meaty, with a savory flavor and uniform chunks that easily flaked once cut.

4. Keystone

Keystone canned chicken is high on our ranking due to its real chicken flavor. Though it's not a private label or store-branded product, the pricing indicates otherwise. A 14.5-ounce can cost around $4.50, and a 28-ounce can cost around $7.50. The only ingredients in the hand-packed cans are chicken and sea salt, which makes for a low-calorie, low-fat product with one of the lowest sodium contents in any of the products we tried at 100 milligrams for a 2-ounce serving. 

Be prepared that when you open the can, there will likely be a lot of fat surrounding the product — which isn't the most appetizing sight. Still, after rinsing the meat, we found the product to have an all-natural chicken flavor that didn't taste processed. Keystone's genuine taste and firm, meaty texture would highlight a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup or a pile of chicken nachos. The product also has a lengthy shelf life, which, along with the genuine taste, low sodium, and great price, makes Keystone one of the best canned chicken products we reviewed. 

3. Kroger

Kroger is one of the largest supermarket chains in the country. Its store-brand and private-label offerings, including its canned chicken, promise high quality at a low price. Like all products under the store's label, the canned chicken comes with a quality guarantee for added peace of mind.

We appreciate that Kroger uses only white meat chicken breast, salt, and water in each can of its premium chunk chicken breast in water. A 2-ounce serving only has 45 calories, 10 grams of protein, and a sodium content that was about the same as other brands we reviewed. 

The first thing we noticed when we opened the can was that the liquid inside had a glossy, oily sheen. The chicken pieces were well cut, and the texture was firm. The meat was surprisingly dry, which was interesting considering the oily coating we observed. Though it was not as moist as we prefer, the lean, low-calorie chicken had a well-seasoned flavor and firm texture, which placed it high on our list. Kroger's chicken will elevate the flavor of whatever dish you use it in, like a spinach and feta chicken pot pie.

2. Wild Planet

For over 20 years, Wild Planet has offered customers responsibly sourced seafood. The brand also offers food sourced from the land, including from chickens fed an organic, vegetarian, and non-GMO diet. 

Wild Planet roasts its USDA Organic chicken directly in the can, which naturally creates a rich, meaty taste without the need for additional liquids or fillers. The producer's offerings include the original and a no-salt-added version, both of which deliver more protein than several other brands, at 19 grams per 3-ounce serving. The sodium and fat levels are on par with other brands we reviewed. 

Wild Planet's canned chicken tastes exceptional, and we appreciate the quality of the product and the support of organic farms. However, a 4.5-ounce can cost $5.99, or $1.33 per ounce, which is double or triple the price of other options. This kept it from taking the top spot in our ranking. 

1. Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee began as a seafood packing company in Astoria, Oregon in 1899. Today, the brand is synonymous with producing high-quality, shelf-stable canned fish, seafood, and chicken.

Bumble Bee's canned chicken is expensive; a 10-ounce can of all-natural chicken breast with no antibiotics costs $5.37. However, the quality of the poultry inside the can is worth the price. With 70 calories per 2-ounce serving, 13 grams of protein, and 230 milligrams of sodium, Bumble Bee's chicken breast, sourced from cage-free chickens, is rich, full-flavored, and tasty. 

We found it had large chunks of chicken with a firm, meaty texture. Bumble Bee's chicken is perfect for a dish that doesn't need a sauce to hide the tinny taste, like in a classic cobb salad. Despite its higher cost, the chicken's high quality and taste, firm, meaty texture, and low sodium gave it the top spot in the race for the best canned chicken.

Our methodology

As a lifelong home cook, I am constantly searching for ways to prepare healthful meals for my family and friends in a hurry. Because of this, using canned chicken is a common occurrence in my home. 

I began this ranking by researching brands of canned chicken that were widely available nationwide. I took into account each brand's product options, price, ingredients, nutrition, production techniques, and, most importantly, the taste of each brand's product. From there, I was able to develop a list of the top canned chicken brands in the country and rank the products from worst to best.