When it comes to making homemade sauces, pizza, soups/stews and a ton of other recipes, canned tomatoes are an easy and affordable ingredient to use. They also have the added bonus of helping to hedge against seasonal shortages of tomatoes, ensuring that you can whip up your favorite meal any time of year. Head down any canned food isle in your local grocery, and the options are endless. It can also be a bit overwhelming. So it begs the question: with so many options, which brand of canned tomatoes are the best?
Before we get into the best of the best, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when it comes to canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes can be a healthy addition to any recipe. They’re jam-packed with Vitamin C and fiber, and most canned tomatoes are also bound in lycopene, which offers impressive health benefits. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in most red fruits and vegetables, and helps protect your skin from the sun, and can lower the risk of cancer, eye, and heart related disease. Pretty neat, right?
For shoppers who are leery of buying canned goods due to the preconceived notion that they can be packed with harmful additives and preservatives, fear not. While sugar and sodium is commonly added to canned tomatoes, there are plenty of brands to be found with no additives, or all natural offerings. Just make sure to check out the label if concerns arise.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to limit added preservatives, go for cans of whole-peeled tomatoes. Varieties that boast of being diced or crushed tend to have more additives to keep them fresh, and they also tend to be harder to breakdown when making sauces or soups. If theres one thing sure to mess up the consistency of a creamy sauce, it’s chunky lumps of tomato.
Canned tomatoes are healthy and versatile options for any dish that lend supreme flavor and wonderful texture. They can even be enjoyed on their own, right out of the can! If you’re looking to skew pre-made sauces, canned tomatoes are ideal for creating something from scratch.
We’ve been told for years that San Marzano tomatoes are the best of the best. And while they are certainly delicious, shoppers should be very wary of simply grabbing any can with a label promoting “San Marzano“. There are a bunch of brands that don’t advertise using San Marzano that are exceptional, delicious, and cheaper than their more heralded counterparts.
While canned tomatoes from Italy remain a sexy pick in general, don’t sleep on offerings from America. They’re generally cheaper, and just as tasty as their foreign imported counterparts.
The criteria for the best canned tomatoes comes down to taste, cooking functionality, and price. With that in mind, here are our top brands to know.
Best Domestic Canned Peeled Whole Tomatoes: San Merican
Authentic San Marzano tomatoes canned in tomato juice to offer a sweet and consistent flavor.
If you’re looking for delicious domestic options, you simply can’t do much better than San Merican canned tomatoes. These tomatoes are canned in tomato juice rather than a puree, and offer a sweet and consistent flavor. A 28 ounce can retails between $4-$9 at most markets, or you can stock up a pack of 6 from online retailers like Amazon.
No matter where you decide to purchase, these tomatoes are simply delicious, and the perfect addition to any recipe. Looking to make a sauce? This brand tested exceptionally well for sauce preparation/taste.
When looking to create masterful dishes made with a taste of the old country, Mutti is a perfect brand to use. Hailing directly from Parma, Italy, Mutti cans delicious whole tomatoes, but it’s their finely chopped tomatoes with garlic and basil that really steal the show. This brand has been perfecting their craft for over 100 years, and their canned tomatoes have no additives or GMO’s thrown into the mix. All that’s added is a pinch of salt.
Their diced tomatoes are perfect for soups and salsas, and their other offerings are just as good. A 28 ounce can can cost as little as $3 at most grocery stores. Or grab a pack of 6 from Amazon for under $22.
While shoppers should be wary of just grabbing any can advertised as “San Marzano”, there’s no denying that real tomatoes from San Marzano are seriously delicious. And one Italian brand stands above the rest: Carmelina. Imported from the Campania region of Italy, these canned tomatoes are absolutely bursting with flavor, and just delightful to use in any recipe that calls for tomatoes.
Canned with no preservatives like citric acid, sugar, and salt, and without any GMOs, this organic and healthy choice is packed with flavor. They’re also certified as real San Marzano tomatoes. The only downside? They can be a little tough to find, but if you happen to notice it on the shelves of your local grocery, it’s worth the price tag to snag.
Best Whole Tomatoes on a Budget: Market Pantry Whole-Peeled Tomatoes
When it comes to shopping on a budget, you can do a lot worse than whole tomatoes from Market Pantry. Retailing for under $1 for a 28 ounce can, these tomatoes pack a pleasant flavor and are super versatile to use for any recipe or dish that calls for tomatoes.
The only additive used for this brand is some salt, and it’s a healthy and affordable option that doesn’t compromise on taste. The only downside? This brand can be hard to find. Be sure to order online from Target, they always seem to have a steady stock of these unbelievably cheap canned tomatoes.
We love Muir Glen, and you can’t go wrong with any of their canned tomato offerings. Grown domestically in California, we found that their diced offering is the perfect ingredient for omelettes, bruschetta and soups. 100% organic, glutton free and canned with no additives, this is an exceptionally tasty and healthy choice. You can grab a 28 ounce can in pretty much any grocery store, and they retail for as little as $3.08 a can on Amazon.
If you’re looking to make a sauce or a dip but don’t want to go through the trouble of excess prep work, tomato puree is the way to go. And no brand does a puree better in our opinion than Cento. Most notable as a marketable brand for canned tomatoes, we found their paste/puree to be a better (and tastier) bang for your buck.
Their tomato puree had a pleasant taste and an even consistency, and was the perfect base for soups, or used as an additive for other recipes. A 28 ounce can of Cento Tomato Puree retails for around $4.40 on Amazon, and can be found for as cheap as $2.45 a can. Since Cento is amongst the most commonly found brands of canned tomato products found in any store, you’ll never have a problem snagging a can.