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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Best Italian Canned Tuna [Buying Guide 2023]



tuna and pasta on white plate with fork
The best Italian canned tuna will amaze you with how much flavor it adds to even the simplest meals.

You may not have tried it. You may not have even heard of it! But Italian canned tuna is one of the best selling seafoods in the United States.

Although high-quality fresh fish is always a great idea, many people do not have access to a fish market. The next best thing boils down to high-quality canned fish!

Canned tuna is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B and D, selenium, and other essential nutrients. You can buy two types of canned tuna: tuna canned in oil and tuna canned in water. In this article, you’ll learn about Italian canned tuna, its famous brands, and why it is the best choice for getting great nutrients in a delicious package.

In a hurry? Here’s our favorite Italian canned tuna from Amazon.

Best Italian Canned TunaQuick Run-Down
1. Callipo Italian Canned Tuna tuna in oil has firm texture and doesn’t break into flakes
2. Angelo Parodi Ventresca Yellowfin Tuna yellowfin tuna in oil has a buttery taste
3. Rio Mare Tuna Fish light tuna in oil comes in many other variations
4. Tonnino Tuna Fillet tuna fillets in spring water are light and perfect for salads
5. Callipo Solid Light Tuna solid white tuna in oil is dolphin-safe
6. Rio Mare Insalatissime Canned Tuna Salad pre-made tuna salad is a time-saver and perfect to pack for lunches

What’s Better: Tuna Canned in Oil or Water?

When it comes to the healthiest choice, water-packed tuna is preferable since it contains fewer calories and more omega-3 fatty acids than tuna packed in oil.

On the other hand, oil-packed tuna tends to have higher calories and fat. However, the canned tuna oil is packed with an unsaturated and heart-healthy oil, such as soybean oil. Canned tuna in oil also tastes much better than its water-packed counterpart!

How Healthy Is Canned Tuna?

There are several health benefits to eating canned tuna.

First, it is ideal for dieters because it is high in protein and low in calories. It can help reduce your cravings and make you feel full.

Secondly, it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, making it beneficial for your heart, eyes, and brain.

Lastly, canned tuna is a good source of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.

Why is Italian Canned Tuna Better (and More Expensive)?

Italian canned tuna comes from Sicilia’s coast, which has some of the best tuna products worldwide. They have bidders for this world-famous fish from different parts of the world, including the US, Japan, and Europe.

Canned tuna is generally pre-cooked and then marinated in olive oil for approximately one to two months before distribution.

What makes Italian canned tuna unique is its marination period. The marination process allows the olive oil and tuna to mix, making Italian canned tuna much more delicious than other canned tuna.

Best Overall Italian Canned Tuna

Callipo Italian Canned Tuna

Italian Canned Tuna in Olive Oil Callipo 5.6 Oz (Pack of 4)

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Callipo is known to select the best parts of tuna and transform them into 100% Italian style tastiness. Callipo’s canned tuna has a recognizable, distinct flavor due to the steaming process used to create it.


  • It is packed with nutritional benefits.
  • The tuna meat has a firm texture. It does not break into smaller flakes.
  • The majority of Callipo’s customers say that it is indeed one of the best-tasting canned tuna.


  • Callipo canned tuna in olive oil may be too salty for those watching their sodium intake.

Best Italian Canned Yellowfin Tuna

Angelo Parodi Ventresca Yellowfin Tuna

Angelo Parodi Ventresca Yellowfin Tuna in Pure Olive Oil | 4 Pack | Imported From Italy | Wild Caught and Hand Selected | The Toro of Tuna | All Natural | 4 oz Can (115g)

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The Angelo Parodi Ventresca Yellowfin Tuna is considered a top-level tuna packed in olive oil. It features a buttery, rich, complex flavor of Ventresca, which comes from the Italian word “ventre” (belly).


  • It passed the strict quality control, guaranteeing Italian excellence.
  • The yellowfin tuna is seasoned perfectly, having the most intense and delightful flavor.
  • It is rich in proteins, vitamins, omega-3, and low in fat.


  • The price may be slightly higher than regular canned tuna.

Best Italian Canned Light Tuna

Rio Mare Tuna Fish

Rio Mare Solid Light Tuna in Olive Oil (Pack of 4, 6-oz cans)

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Rio Mare has been popular in Italy for more than 40 years for its commercial with a tagline that says, “it’s so tender you can cut it with a breadstick.” We recommend this for its certified high-quality and unique pink-colored Italian tuna meat.


  • It passed through rigorous food control and double cleaning by hand to ensure food safety.
  • Its genuine, unique flavor is brought by sea salt and Mediterranean’s olive oil.
  • Rio Mare comes with other tuna types such as tuna in brine, tuna loins, tuna spread, and many more!


  • Rio Mare is pretty pricey, but worth it.

Best Italian Canned Tuna

Tonnino Tuna Fillet

Tonnino Tuna Fillet,Spring Water 6.7 Oz (Pack of 5)

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Tonnino is renowned for safely hand-caught yellowfin tuna, making it into sumptuous yellowfin fillets placed in little glass jars. Tonnino Tuna Fillet packed in spring water brings out a lighter and natural flavor, perfect for healthy salad-making.


  • It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids with the lowest levels of mercury.
  • The little jars are dolphin-safe.
  • It has other innovative flavor varieties, including Tuna Ventresca and Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil.


  • It is sold in packs of five.

Best Italian Jarred Tuna

Callipo Solid Light Tuna

CALLIPO Solid Light Tuna in Olive Oil in a glass Jar - 6 oz (170 g) (Pack of 6)

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Callipo is one of the most famous Italian brands worldwide, with an annual production of approximately 5.500 tons of tuna. They carefully select high-quality tuna parts for production.


  • It is made from a dolphin-safe Yellowfin tuna.
  • Its rose-colored fish fillets are marinated in olive oil for a year to reach a flavorful taste.
  • It is Italian quality guaranteed.


  • Callipo canned tuna packed in olive oil may be too fattening for those watching their weight.

Best Italian Canned Tuna Salad (Pre-Made)

Rio Mare Insalatissime Canned Tuna Salad


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If you are busy and have no time to make your own healthy salad, we recommend the ready-to-eat Rio Mare Insalatissime Tuna Corn Salad!


  • It is a healthy salad with sweet corn, peas, carrots, black olives, and a bit of lemon juice.
  • It makes eating healthy convenient.
  • There are no added preservatives.


  • The tuna corn salad may be too oily for some consumers.

What Can I Make with Italian Canned Tuna?

When it comes to making great meals using Italian canned tuna, the sky is the limit. It is the perfect last-minute ingredient for your day-to-day recipes.

In fact, there are several quick recipes you can make with Italian canned tuna, such as Mediterranean Tuna Pasta, Avocado Tuna Salad, Tuna and Tomato Pasta, Tuna Patties, Lighter Tuna Casserole, and many more.

One of our favorite dishes using Italian canned tuna is Tuna Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic. You can enjoy it, too, by following these easy steps:

1. Remove the tuna from the can using a fork. Place the tuna in a small bowl and break into smaller pieces with the fork.

2. Place a pot of water to boil on the stove. Add 1 tbsp of salt per quart of water.

3. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over low heat for a minute, then place in the garlic, tomatoes, and chili. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, remove it all from the heat and add the tuna with 1/4 tsp salt.

4. Cook the pasta. Leave 1/4 or 1/2 cup of pasta water once finished. Add the pasta to the pan with the butter. Toss the pasta with the sauce using forks or tongs. Use the pasta water to loosen the sauce.

5. Add the herbs or more chili and salt, depending on your preferences. Then, serve once done.

Wrap Up

Italian canned tuna is known worldwide for its tender and firm high-quality tuna meat. It may be a bit expensive, but it is always worth buying with its distinguished flavor and health benefits. The best part is, you can make any recipe happen with Italian canned tuna!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Italian tuna better than other tuna?

Besides its tender and compact, high-quality tuna, Italian canned tuna is better because of the quality of the oil it’s packed in. The tuna and olive oil undergo a period of marination, resulting in its flavorful and rich taste.

Which is better: canned tuna in oil or water?

There is a significant difference in nutritional content between canned tuna in oil and water. Canned tuna in oil has more calories and fat compared to tuna packed in water. Therefore, if you are looking for a healthier option, canned tuna in water is better. However, if you do not mind the calories, you can have the better-tasting canned tuna in oil.

Why would you buy tuna in oil?

Canned tuna in oil is worth the purchase for its distinct flavorful taste. The fish’s texture remains firm when it is oil-packed. Thus, it seals the flavor. It may be less healthy because of the oil, yet olive oil has great health benefits as well.

Additional Resources

Image credits via Flickr: “Integral Pasta mixed with Canned Tuna Fi” (CC BY 2.0) by wuestenigel