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The 10 Best Canned Sardines to Elevate the Flavors of Your Recipes in 2021

Bigger isn’t always better, and sardines follow this rule. Packed with nutritional goodness and full of complex flavors, these tiny but mighty fish are a sustainable source of protein for pescatarians, keto fans, and foodies looking for a punchy new ingredient. They’re rich in calcium, iron, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. But, unlike larger species, sardines don’t contain high levels of contaminants that could compromise your health.

If it’s been a while (or forever) since you enjoyed sardines, now is the time to get on board and see what the fuss is about. In the kitchen, the boldness of sardines pairs perfectly with a variety of foods and delivers convenient nutrition that your body will thank you for. They’re a staple in pantries around the world, because nothing beats cracking a can to elevate a recipe, leaving your dinner guests asking for your secret ingredient. Whether you eat them alone, on a salad, or use them to get creative in the kitchen, sardines are a nutritional no-brainer — and they’re cheaper than tuna.

Best Overall: King Oscar Wild Caught Sardines

Lightly smoked and packed with flavor, the King Oscar Wild Caught Sardines are wild caught in Norway and preserved in olive oil for your enjoyment. Try them over pasta or served alongside crackers; these hand-packed cans include 2 layers of the finest brisling sardines to enhance all your favorite recipes.

Best Organic: Wild Planet Wild Sardines

Sustainably caught in the North Pacific, Wild Planet Wild Sardines are certified organic and verified non-GMO. Packed in extra virgin olive oil and lightly smoked, these scale-free sardines boast naturally stronger flavors. They’re meaty and firm, making a nutritious snack that’s savory and high in fatty acids.

Best in Olive Oil: Crown Prince Skinless & Boneless Sardines

Experience the delicate flavors of sardines in pure olive oil with the Crown Prince Skinless & Boneless Sardines. Crown Prince uses cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil that preserves the sardines’ textures and delivers an extra dose of good fats and omega-3s. Hand-filleted and packed with nutrients, these Moroccan sardines don’t need any preservatives or added ingredients to enhance your salads, casseroles, or pastas.

Best in Tomato Sauce: Santo Amaro European Wild Sardines in Tomato Sauce

For a ready-to-enjoy snack that’s filled with natural flavors, reach for the Santo Amaro European Wild Sardines in Tomato Sauce. These bone-in delicacies offer added calcium and give your taste buds a treat with all-natural tomato sauce that’s essentially a meal in a can.

Best in Water: BRUNSWICK Wild Caught Sardine Fillets

Sardine purists will love the clean flavors of the BRUNSWICK Wild Caught Sardine Fillets. Packaged in pure spring water and nothing more, these versatile sardines don’t include any salt or preservatives. They’re perfect for keto, and a tasty must-have for your paleo pantry. Add your own ingredients to create savory recipes or eat alone for a nutritious bite.

Best Variety Pack: Matiz Sardines Variety Pack

Can’t get enough of sardines? Enjoy your favorite snack in every flavor with the Matiz Sardines Variety Pack. This box of 10 includes 4 cans in olive oil, 2 with spicy pepper, 2 with lemon, and 2 with sweet pepper. Find your favorite and satisfy your craving with these sustainably fished snacks that protect fragile biological life-cycles in the coasts of Galicia. Bone-in, these exquisite treats are packed in premium Spanish olive oil and the highest quality ingredients for an easy to eat snack that’s always fresh and fun.

Best in a Jar: MW Polar Smoked Brisling Sardines

For discerning shoppers who like to check out the merchandise (and prefer resealable packaging), the MW Polar Smoked Brisling Sardines are just a twist away. They’re handpicked and wood smoked for a distinctive flavor that gives your get-togethers a worldly flair. And with their elegant jars, you never have to worry about BPA with these healthy sardines.

Best in Mustard: Crown Prince One Layer Brisling Sardines in Mustard

Creamy and smooth, the Crown Prince One Layer Brisling Sardines in Mustard feature bold flavors that combine to give your taste buds a spicy, smoky treat. They’re a favorite among those who find natural sardines too strong on their own. Hand packed and sustainably wild caught, these Scottish brisling sardines are an easy snack and the perfect party appetizer.

Best in Hot Sauce: Ocean Prince Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce

Get your fix of zesty seasoning with the Ocean Prince Sardines in Louisiana Hot Sauce. These spicy treats give your mouth all the hotness you love with the healthy benefits of sardines. They’re hand-packed and wild caught to offer the texture and appearance you love with a boost of fiery flavor.

Best Imported: NURI Portuguese Sardines

Get a taste of the old world with the imported flavors of Nuri Portuguese Sardines. Perfect for when you have company, these artisanal sardines are bursting with flavors thanks to their unique method of vapor pre-cooking. Wild caught and all natural, these exclusive sardines are available in limited amount each year. Every can is hand-wrapped with the distinctive Nuri vintage design that makes them a refined gift for anyone who appreciates gourmet foods.

With nutrients packed in like – well, like sardines in a can – adding this fish to your diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. And thanks to their delicious flavor and versatility, it’s easy to reach for a can and give your body a nutritious snack that also satisfies the taste buds.

Are sardines good for you?

Sardines are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorous, and vitamin D. When eaten with the bones in, sardines provide about 30% of your daily calcium intake.

How do you eat canned sardines?

Sardines are an easy snack that you can eat straight out of the can or over a cracker. You can also prepare them with mustard, toss them in a salad, sprinkle them over pasta or sauté them in garlic and oil.

Are sardines high in mercury?

Unlike larger fish, sardines don’t contain high levels of mercury. Because they’re small and only feed on plankton, sardines are also low in toxins and heavy metals.

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