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What Do I Do With Canned Fish?

Canned fish is a convenient way to bring the catch of the day to meals and packs in many nutrients in a small can. While canned tuna is likely the most well-known canned fish, there are other nutritious options that may be available in your State, like canned salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Continue reading for more information or jump right to recipes that utilize canned fish.

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Canned fish is loaded with nutrients; it is protein-dense and provides beneficial omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Canned fatty fish, like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are also a source of vitamin D, vitamin B12, choline, iron, and iodine. Canned sardines and salmon with the bones provide calcium. Check out the Eye on Nutrition series to learn more about these and other nutrients and dive into the Meal of the Month series to find other nutrient specific recipes.

Tips & Ideas to Share

Rinse sodium-containing canned foods, such as beans, tuna, and vegetables before eating. This removes some of the sodium.

Canned fish is often packed in oil or water. Canned fish packed in oil is higher in beneficial fats and provides more energy, or calories per serving.


It is recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding adults eat two to three servings a week of fish that are lower in mercury, which includes canned salmon, canned light tuna, canned sardines, canned Atlantic mackerel, or Pacific chub mackerel.  For more information about recommendations on eating fish, visit Advice About Eating Fish: What Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and Parents Should Know.


Single serving: 1 ounce of fish is considered to be a 1-ounce equivalent serving of protein. 1 ounce of canned tuna, salmon, mackerel, or sardines contains over 5 grams of protein. A serving size of canned fish is 4 ounces, or the size of an adult palm.

Storage: Canned fish can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container once opened. An unopened can of fish can last up to 3 years in the pantry, but also make sure to check the “Best if Used By” date on the packaging.

Preparing: Canned fish is ready to be eaten right out of the container! See below for ideas on how to use canned fish, along with recipes. Canned fish is often packed in oil or water, which can be drained depending on recipe directions or preferences.

Uses: Canned fish has a variety of uses. Canned tuna is classically used in tuna salad and in tuna melt sandwiches. Canned fish can also be used creatively in pasta dishes to pack in the protein. Tuna and salmon burgers or fish cakes are an additional delicious use of canned fish. Sardines can be added to toast, salad, pizza, and more. Squeeze some lemon on sardines or mackerel for added flavor. Swap canned salmon or mackerel into a tuna recipe for something a little different!



Canned Tuna Recipes

Apple Tuna Sandwiches (Available in Spanish)

Asian Tuna Burgers

Mediterranean Tuna Salad (Available in Spanish)

Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce

Quick Tuna Casserole (Available in Spanish)

Sanchico Tuna Salad (Available in Spanish)

Tuna Melt Burger (Available in Spanish)

Tuna Quesadillas (Available in Spanish)

Tuna Salad (Available in Spanish)


Canned Salmon Recipes

Mini Salmon Loaves (Available in Spanish)

Salmon Burgers (Available in Spanish)


Canned Mackerel Recipes

Mackerel with Squash


Canned Sardines Recipes

Sardine, Cucumber, and Tomato Sandwich (Available in Spanish)


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