Best Canned Salmon (and Salmon Pouches!)

The best canned salmon doesn’t taste like canned tuna. It tastes like salmon. Buttery, rich, silky, mild salmon. Unfortunately, many brands didn’t get that memo. There’s far too much canned salmon out there that is practically indistinguishable from mediocre canned tuna. But there’s a lot of good stuff out there. So, which canned salmon is best? Lucky for you, we stank up the office to find the best canned salmon brands out there. 

Between our original taste test and a recent update, we tasted over 30 different cans of salmon and salmon pouches. Each test opened our eyes to new, deliciously buttery, decadent canned salmon—seriously, if you haven’t tried any of the brands on this list, you don’t know what you’re missing. Canned salmon is often forgotten. It’s not as utilitarian as canned tuna and not as “cool” as canned smoked trout or canned sardines. But it’s actually a bit of a chameleon. If you buy the best canned salmon or pouch of salmon, you’ll be ready to whip together a fish board or a simple salmon salad sandwich or salmon cakes or salmon caesar salad. 

Canned salmon comes in a variety of preparations: in chunks, smoked, skin-on and bone-in, and in full poached filets. They all play different roles, but mostly what we looked for was a combo of taste and utility. We wanted good quality salmon—nothing suspiciously fishy. We wanted flaky salmon with a sweet, buttery flavor. And we wanted practicality. Does the salmon go well with a cracker, on a salad, and in a sandwich? The more uses, the higher it ranked. That said, in our most recent taste test, we also looked for the best canned salmon for a canned fish board and the best everyday pouch of salmon. So, here’s our updated list of the best canned salmon you can buy.

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Wildfish Cannery Smoked White King Salmon

Best as a Spread

Wildfish Cannery Smoked White King Salmon

Wildfish Cannery’s canned smoked salmon is a bit on the mushy side, but I think that makes it suited to being used as a spread. Like a paté, it’s soft and also really dense with flavor. It’s got a great buttery taste with just a touch of sweetness. Editor-in-chief Justine Sterling made a great suggestion, which is to add some lemon zest or juice to it. Pick some of your favorite ingredients, grab a box of saltines, and roll with it. Just open up this can of salmon and you’ve got a ready-to-eat hors d’oeuvre. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

St. Jean’s Wild Skinless Boneless Sockeye Salmon

Best for a Sandwich

St. Jean’s Wild Skinless Boneless Sockeye Salmon

This is a really good, hand-packed can of salmon. Inside you’ll find fatty, flaky sockeye salmon that’s been cooked in its own juices, then seasoned with some sea salt. Simplicity wins here and makes this some of the best canned sockeye salmon you can buy. It doesn’t come with any additional water or oil, so you just get a really tasty, fresh piece of fish. I love it. The salmon doesn’t have a lot of moisture and there’s no bones, so you could open up this can and put the fish directly on some bread, no problem. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/St. Jean’s

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Signature Select Alaska Pink Salmon

Best for Salmon Salad

Signature Select Alaska Pink Salmon

“It’s really salty, which I like,” said my colleague Jordan Myrick. Signature Select offers a fairly standard canned salmon, but it tastes good and there’s a lot of it—substantially more fish than the other products. This is a big ol’ can of salmon, so I think it’s the best canned salmon for a big batch of salmon salad. Add some mayonnaise, a little vinegar, some fresh herbs, and some onion. Dress this one up with some things in your fridge, then go to town. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Wild Planet Wild Pink Salmon Pouch

Best Cheap Pouch

Wild Planet Wild Pink Salmon Pouch

This may not be the absolute best of all the salmon pouches we tried, but it’s still darn good and it’s much cheaper than the top pouch of salmon on this list. It’s tender and it really tastes like salmon (without being too fishy). It’s rich and oily and seasoned perfectly with salt. Keep a few of these salmon pouches around to add some quick, tasty protein to a salad or whip into salmon burgers for dinner. — Justine Sterling

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Henry & Lisa’s Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon

Best for a Salad Nicoise

Henry & Lisa’s Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon

This 100% sustainable canned salmon is tender and salty and savory. You get a huge hunk of salmon in every can—complete with skin and bones. That might freak out some folks, but, personally, I like knowing that my canned salmon came from an actual fish with skin and bones rather than something created in a lab. It also tells me this isn’t a super processed canned salmon. Put in the work to debone and deskin this salmon and use it in a lovely salmon salad Niçoise or a fancy salmon melt with capers. — Justine Sterling

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Deming’s Red Sockeye Salmon

Best Fatty

Deming’s Red Sockeye Salmon

Deming’s canned salmon is really oleaginous—so much so that it appears more marbled with fat than the others we tasted. Deming’s can of salmon features a rolled-up fillet of salmon that’s really briny and decadent. Some of our tasters thought that it might be too salty, but to me there’s no such thing. It comes in some water, and might be a little too wet to put on a salad or a sandwich, but the flavor is too good for this to not make it into the top five best canned salmon brands. Personally, I would drink the salmon juice that comes in the can. Overall, really great stuff. The best canned sockeye salmon if you like it briny like the sea. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

Fishwife Smoked Salmon with Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp

Best for a Board

Fishwife Smoked Salmon with Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp

It’s smoky. It’s spicy. It’s savory. This canned smoked salmon is the best canned salmon to pop right onto a canned fish board. There’s this touch of charred flavor that I can’t get enough of—it makes it taste like something a chef whipped up in their spare time. And while some hot smoked salmon can be tough, this canned smoked salmon is silky. Plus, it’s made with some of the best chili crisp (as ranked by Sporked). All you canned fish freaks, you need this, ASAP. — Justine Sterling

Credit: Liv Averett / Fishwife

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

Patagonia Original Wild Sockeye Salmon

Best for Travel

Patagonia Original Wild Sockeye Salmon

The top three best canned salmon brands could really go in any order, but Patagonia offers the best pouch of salmon, hands down. . Patagonia’s website says it’s harvested from responsibly managed fisheries in the Northern Atlantic, and it definitely has a high-quality fish feel to it. It’s big on flavor. This wild sockeye salmon is lightly brined and smoked, so the taste is really fresh and unctuous. This tasty fillet would be great on a sandwich, in a salad, or eaten on-the-go right from the pouch. Ditch the Kind bar and bring a few Patagonia salmon pouches on your next jaunt through the mountains. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

Taku Smoked Sockeye Salmon

Best of The Best

Taku Smoked Sockeye Salmon

“This is very flaky and very good,” said Jordan of this canned smoked salmon. “I would put this on a toasted bagel with cream cheese and thinly sliced onion.” Sockeye salmon is a bit more oily than Atlantic salmon, so it’s got a nice, rich flavor that is enhanced when it’s smoked. This is fancy canned salmon. You have to order it from the producer, but the price isn’t too outrageous and the flavor is tough to beat. It truly is the best canned sockeye salmon you can get. It’s deliciously salty, smoky, and fatty. In addition to a bagel, I think this would go great on a Niçoise salad with some potatoes, capers, and onion. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Taku

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Polar Salmon Fillets

Best Salmon Fillet

Polar Salmon Fillets

This canned salmon is so good it made me want to scream with giddy excitement. It’s a fillet of salmon in a can, but the real kicker is that it’s just so damn buttery. The salmon is intensely flavored, as is the brine in the can. There’s a real fat-forward taste, which I’m guessing is from the salmon being poached in its own fat and juices. This is the best canned salmon to serve with crackers or throw on top of some white rice for a quick and easy meal. Honestly, none of us could believe how good it is. It tastes like it’s been poached in butter. This canned salmon fillet will live in my dreams. — Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde/Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried: Northern Catch Pink Salmon, 365 Wild Alaska Pink Salmon, Starkist Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, Bumblebee Skinless and Boneless Pink Salmon, Chicken of The Sea Pink Salmon in Water, Signature Select Alaska Pink Salmon, Kroger Alaskan Sockeye Red Salmon, Safe Catch Skinless & Boneless Wild Pacific Pink Salmon, Great Value Alaskan Pink Salmon, Sprouts Wild Caught Alaskan Pink Salmon, Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, Crown Prince Natural Wild Caught Pink Salmon, Wild Planet No Salt Added Wild Pink Salmon, Kroger Pink Salmon Pouch, Wild Planet Wild Sockeye Salmon Pouch, Safe Catch Wild Skinless & Boneless Pacific Pink Salmon Pouch, Chicken of the Sea Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon Lemon Pepper, Safe Catch Wild Pacific Pink Salmon Citrus Dill, Safe Catch Italian Herb Wild Skinless & Boneless Pacific Pink Salmon, Chicken of the Sea Wild Caught Smoked Alaskan Pink Salmon, Trader Joe’s Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, Trader Joe’s Sockeye Salmon, Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Salmon, Rubinstein’s Red Salmon


About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.