Whether out of convenience or cleverness, canned food has become a popular means of food preservation and utility. Canned chicken and canned tuna are the most common canned meat varieties and for good reason.
Nothing beats going to the pantry and pulling out a ready-to-use protein source. So, let’s explore the differences between canned chicken vs. canned tuna and which is better for you.
Generally speaking, canned chicken and canned tuna are good protein sources to add to your favorite dishes. In terms of which is better, canned chicken has a higher nutrient base and offers more versatility in the kitchen. These health benefits and utility outweigh the nutrients and dishes that tuna offers.
Canned Chicken Vs. Canned Tuna: Which is Better?
Canned chicken and canned tuna are great options to add to your favorite dish. But which is better? Both choices are within a high range of calories, potassium, and protein.
|Nutrients||Swanson Canned Chicken – 4.5oz can||Starkist Canned Tuna (in water) – 5oz can|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||0||0.17g|
However, tuna is much better when it comes to cholesterol and saturated fat. Tuna contains over 60% less cholesterol and over 75% less saturated fat than chicken. Other the other hand, chicken has more key nutrients like thiamin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.
Canned chicken and canned tuna can become part of a heart-healthy diet depending on your dietary needs. Canned tuna might be the best option if you need to stay away from cholesterol and saturated fats. Therefore, it is safe to say that canned tuna is healthier.
As for the canned chicken, it is a healthier option than red meat when facing dietary restrictions. Whichever canned meat you choose to eat, it’s best to do so in moderation.
Now that we have examined the health aspect of canned chicken and tuna let’s dive into the utility. Because when you are trying to prepare dinner in a rush or just out of convenience, these proteins are viable options. But which tastes better?
Canned Chicken Vs. Canned Tuna: Taste Profiles
The first taste you might note from canned chicken and tuna is salt. The process of canning meat often leaves an unavoidable salty taste. This is helpful when adding these proteins to dishes. You will need to remember to not add too much salt.
Unless you’d prefer to just rinse the chicken to remove some of the salty notes. Since these meats have been in a can, you might also have a metallic-like taste.
Both canned chicken and canned tuna will taste true to their source. The taste of these proteins has been compromised in the canning process. You will not receive the savory, juicy flavor of fresh-cooked.
Canned tuna will have a slightly diluted fishy taste. This meat in cans might not be the star of any dish, but is an excellent way to add protein to already flavorful dishes.
Canned Chicken Vs. Canned Tuna: Texture Differences
If you haven’t tried canned chicken, the texture is a lot like canned tuna. But it is nothing like fresh-cooked chicken. However, the composition will range wildly depending on the brand that you buy. The best type of canned chicken will have large chunks of tender chicken. It will be full of flavor and tender.
Unfortunately, you pay for what you get, and most cheaper varieties will serve you over-processed, over-salted, stringy, and overcooked chicken. The best brands of canned chicken tend to be Kirkland’s and Valley Fresh.
Canned tuna, on the other hand, has a much softer texture. But like canned chicken and its fresh counterpart, canned tuna will not resemble fresh-caught tuna. Much like canned chicken, you will pay for what you get.
The cans of tuna with whole pieces of fish and fantastic texture will be pricier. Often the cheaper versions will be overprocessed, slimy, and overcooked. The best brands of tuna are Ortiz Benito Del Norte or Wild Planet.
Which Has the Better Flavor? Canned Chicken Vs. Canned Tuna
Whenever you open a can of chicken or tuna, the first thing you will notice is the odor. In the case of canned chicken, this odor will wear off after a small amount of time outside the can. For tuna, you are left with a pungent smell.
This might be unappealing for certain dishes. The canned chicken will leave a cleaner palate for new meals. It might be harder to find the perfect recipe to accentuate its flavor profile with tuna.
However, finding a can of chicken or tuna with a robust flavor perfect for certain dishes isn’t hard. You’ll just have to pay a higher price point. The best-canned meat will have an authentic flavor profile, and the worst won’t even resemble their fresher varieties.
What is Canned Meat?
The process of preserving foods for long periods by packing them into airtight containers is known as canning. This method of food preservation kept soldiers fed during the 19th century. When done correctly, canned meat can stay safe to eat indefinitely.
Canned meat is safe because, when done correctly, canning effectively removes oxygen and destroys enzymes. This will then prevent the growth of microorganisms. If the can is sealed, the meat will not be exposed to oxygen, therefore safe from bacteria. If the can is damaged or rusty, it is unsafe to eat.
The most popular canned meat is canned chicken and canned tuna. The odds are that you have eaten either of these varieties. I know my pantry always has one or the other. But is this a good alternative to fresh cooked chicken or tuna? You’ll be surprised to note that canning will also preserve most of the food’s nutrients.
Does Canning Affect Nutrient Levels?
The science suggests that proteins, carbs, and fats are unaffected by the canning process. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are also preserved safely inside a can. However, vitamins C and B can be lost or damaged during the heating portion of the canning process.
So, how do canned Chicken and Tuna compare to their fresh counterparts? Canned chicken will contain the same excellent source of lean protein with a rich nutrient profile. The same goes for canned tuna. You can expect to receive the same amount of Omega-3 fatty acids.
The health benefits of eating canned meat are unanimous. It is a great option to cook with. But which is the best option? Let’s dive into canned Chicken and canned Tuna specifically.
What is Canned Chicken?
There are two ways to can chicken. You can safely can chicken raw or hot. Most of the canned Chicken you buy in the store will be pressure cooked. Thus, meaning it will be safe to eat straight from the can.
You will be able to find white meat, dark meat, or a combination of both types of meat. And in most cases, canned chicken will have a low sodium content. The preservation methods might also change the texture of the chicken.
This canning process will preserve a good amount of the nutrients and protein in chicken. Making this a viable option for your favorite dishes. Although, as I have noted, the texture change might not make it the greatest choice for pasta or casserole.
What is Canned Tuna?
Canned tuna follows the same canning process as canned chicken. Typically you will add water to the tuna, then begin a pressurizing process that seals and protects the tuna for future use. This makes your tuna safe to eat right out of the can.
Canned tuna is far more prevalent than canned chicken on your grocery store shelf. You might be wondering what is actually in each tuna can option. Does it matter if you choose the Albacore or chunk light? What if the can says that it’s packed in water or packed in oil?
Albacore is a type of tuna species often labeled as white meat. This is a famous option, but unfortunately, it does contain more mercury than any other tuna species. Light tuna cans typically include the Yellowfin, Skipjack, or Tongol. These species generally have pink coloring with a distinct flavor. This is a better option when avoiding mercury.
Water-packed tuna is precisely what it says. The process of canning involves utilizing water. It is believed that adding water helps preserve the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. While adding oil will enhance the flavor.
Best Ways to Use Canned Chicken
Once you acquire a tasty, roasted can of chicken, it’s time to put it to use. You might be wondering what dishes work best with canned chicken. Try adding canned chicken to these dinner ideas:
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
- Chicken Salad
- White Chicken Chili
- Chicken Nachos
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Pot Pies
- Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Quesadillas
The possibilities for canned chicken are endless. If you have a famous chicken dip recipe, try speeding up your cooking time by adding a can of chicken. Or find your favorite Mexican recipe and give the canned chicken a whirl. You won’t be displeased.
In my opinion, canned chicken has a broader range of utility than canned tuna. Let’s look at how canned tuna’s function compares. Try adding chicken to this hearty and straightforward recipe.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
For this dish, you will need a crockpot.
- 2 – 12.5oz cans chunk chicken (drained)
- 2 – 8oz packages of cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- ¾ cup hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot is perfect)
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 bunch of celery/carrots or your favorite dippable chips/crackers
First, combine the cans of chicken, packages of cream cheese, ranch dressing, hot sauce, and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Save the ½ cup to sprinkle over the mixture later.
Next, cook on high stirring regularly until everything is melted.
Then, add the rest of the cheese to the top of the dip.
Allow this mixture to cook for another 10 minutes and then eat immediately.
How to Use Canned Tuna
Once you have found tuna with a robust flavor and firm texture, you’ll be ready to dine. Try to add canned tuna to these dishes:
- Tuna Salad
- Tuna Casserole
- Add it to Salads
- Tuna Patties
- Tuna Melt
Canned tuna is a beautiful addition to salads, casseroles, and sandwiches. You can also convert any tuna recipe into a new recipe by adding different seasonings and sauces. Think about the possibilities of tuna casserole.
You can make it Mediterranean style by adding tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli florets, feta cheese, and olives with various seasonings. Or turn a boring tuna melt into a buffalo flavored dream. When it comes to a can of tuna, your creativity can really take you on a fantastic journey.
Try this easy canned tuna recipe:
The Best Tuna Salad
- 2 – 6ox cans of tuna
- 2 hard-boiled eggs (diced)
- ¾ cups mayonnaise
- 3 tbs pickle relish
- 1 ½ tbs Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp celery salt
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
To begin, toss all of the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir until well combined. Use a fork to not destroy the texture of the tuna.
Then, give it a taste. For a sweeter tuna salad, add more relish or juice. For a juicy salad, add more mayonnaise. Also, add salt and pepper to taste.
Once you have the perfect flavor cover, place it in your refrigerator for 2 hours. Serve on toast, with cucumbers, or in a salad!
Canned Chicken Vs. Canned Tuna: Which is Better?
To summarize, canned chicken and canned tuna are safe to eat right out of the can. You will notice a similar texture due to the cooking and canning process. But there will be distinct flavor differences. Both meats offer a high source of calories, protein, and potassium.
Tuna has less cholesterol and saturated fats, but you must worry about mercury levels. However, the nutrient-dense profile of chicken offers more vitamins. Thus, making canned chicken the better nutritional option.
|Size||Canned Chicken||Canned Tuna|
|5 oz can (in water)||$1.52 – $2.50||$.66 – $2.93|
As you can see in this chart, the price point of canned chicken and tuna is relatively the same. Canned chicken and canned tuna are budget-friendly options to jazz up your recipes, including protein and other nutrients. There are great when you are in a rush or just having a lazy night at home.
Canned chicken is versatile and works very well in various dishes when it comes to uses. You are limited to salads, casseroles, and sandwiches with canned tuna. Although these tuna recipes are delicious, canned chicken has more to offer in its utility.
Don’t be afraid of canned meat. If you are looking for a healthy, low-budget, and convenient alternative, you will be very pleased. Try one of these recipes today.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nanny do it, no judgment here :)) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.