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19 Greatest Canned Sardine Recipes from Across the World

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Canned sardines are beloved all over the world. Though they’re usually eaten straight from the tin, it’s additionally attainable to cook dinner with them with scrumptious outcomes.

You’ll find canned sardine recipes all over the place — from India to Portugal — in on a regular basis meals, as conventional snacks and for entertaining.

Though some individuals take into account them a cheap meals of final resort, canned sardines can style wonderful. Well-known cooks resembling Martin Berasategui and Jamie Oliver even function this humble fish of their cookbooks and eating places.  

Collage of six sardine dishes with canned sardine recipes text overlay for Pinterest..

Whether or not you’re already a sardine fan or try sardines for the primary time, you’ll discover a number of inspiration on this assortment of scrumptious canned sardine recipes from all over the world.

We’ve chosen the highest pasta dishes from Italy, a wholesome omelet from Spain, a road meals snack from Morocco and several other scrumptious spreads and dips.    

Any considered one of these appetizers, entrees and sides are certain to make you a sardine lover very quickly in any respect!  

Variations between Sardines, Pilchards, Sprats and Brislings 

Sardine and pilchard  are small fish which might be members of the herring household. Though they’re each widespread names for the sardinus pilchardus sardines are usually youthful, smaller fish (as much as a most of 15 cm or 25 cm relying on the classification system) whereas pilchards are bigger and older. 

Sprats, additionally referred to as brislings, are even smaller than sardines. Sprats, brislings, pilchards and sardines all have a robust flavour and are oily and mushy in texture.

There are literally 21 totally different species of marine fish that are canned as sardines. For recipe functions, we take into account all of those small, tinned fish as sardines. 

Named for the island of Sardinia in Italy the place the sardine inventory was as soon as considerable, their reputation dates again to the fifteenth century when, very like salted cod, it was an vital meals for lengthy ocean voyages. 

In fashionable occasions, a tin of sardines is a useful ingredient to have in your pantry because of its extremely lengthy shelf life, versatility and low price. 

Selecting the Greatest Canned Sardines

Canned fish, paprika and olive oil from Spain.
Tinned fish is without doubt one of the hottest meals souvenirs from Spain. (Credit score: Michele Peterson)

In terms of making a canned sardine recipe style good, the secret is high quality components. Use the easiest tinned sardines you possibly can afford.

Whereas it’s attainable to buy a tin of sardines for just some {dollars} and a can of premium sardines can price as a lot as $20, it’s effectively definitely worth the funding relating to flavour and texture. The method of canning sardines not solely preserves the fish, it intensifies its flavour.

Though my fellow North Individuals would possibly argue that Canadian sardines–which embrace manufacturers resembling Brunswick–are the most effective on this planet, in my view the most effective canned sardines come from Portugal and Spain.

European manufacturers of sardines are bigger, firmer and meatier than these canned in North America. They’re obtainable in bars, eating places and just about each grocery retailer all through Europe.

Spain’s canned seafood — which may embrace octopus, anchovies, sea urchins and even child eels — is sourced primarily from the pristine waters of Galicia on Spain’s Atlantic coast.

Clerk in the Conserveira de Lisboa shop in Lisbon.
A wall of selections of tinned fish at Conserveira de Lisboa in Lisbon. (Credit score: Michele Peterson)

On the cannery, the fish are washed, the heads and tail are eliminated, and the fish are then smoked or cooked, both by deep-frying or steam.

They’re packed in both olive, sunflower or soybean oil, spring water or in a tomato, chile and even mustard sauce.

For many recipes, go for sardines packed in olive oil. Search for manufacturers from France, Spain or Portugal in a speciality store.

Or order a high quality model resembling Matiz Gallego Sardines or these from a gourmand line resembling Chef José Andrés Meals on-line by Amazon.

How one can Eat Sardines Straight from the Can 

A tin of wild brisling sardines on a board with a knife, a sliced lemon and capers.
Brisling sardines packed in olive oil with black olives and herbs.

Are you able to eat sardines straight from the can? Sure! They don’t must be cooked or cleaned. They’re able to eat.  

As a result of canned sardines are so transportable, they’re good for a fast meal in case you’re travelling, tenting or on a hike. A sardine can is just about indestructible, opens simply and is able to serve so is useful for travelling or as a boating snack.

Whereas the heads of sardines are eliminated earlier than canning, they’re not normally gutted or deboned. There’s no must separate the bones from the sardines. 

A lot as with tinned salmon, the bones soften through the canning course of, they’re completely edible. 

Nonetheless, if you wish to take away the primary bone you possibly can raise it out by beginning at thickest a part of the fish quite than the tail. 


One more reason to depart the bones in canned sardines is that they include calcium. Sardines are a powerhouse of goodness as in addition they include protein and a number of precious nutritional vitamins and minerals. They’re particularly excessive in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, selenium, B12 and niacin. 

Nonetheless, tinned sardines are sometimes fairly excessive in sodium and energy. And, like all fish they include purine compounds which may elevate uric acid ranges in your blood and trigger issues when you have gout, a type of arthritis.

Test the wholesome consuming pointers at Arthritis Basis for suggestions on high-purine meals resembling sardines, lobster, scallops, tuna, haddock and salmon.

Sardines are an Eco-friendly Meals 

You can too be ok with consuming sardines environmentally. In accordance with the WorldWatch Institute, a corporation selling a extra sustainable world, sardines are a wild, sustainably-sourced fish.

They reproduce rapidly and aren’t farmed. As a result of they’re low on the meals chain, they don’t accumulate excessive ranges of contaminants resembling mercury or PCBs as the massive ocean fish.

Search for sardines that carry the blue MSC label. Which means they arrive from fisheries which have been independently licensed to the MSC Fisheries Commonplace

How one can Put together for Cooking and Storage  

Close-up of canned sardines with a knife, lemon and capers on a board.
Tinned sardines can be utilized straight out of the can with out eradicating the bones. If there may be quite a lot of oil, drain earlier than utilizing in a recipe.
  • So as to put together the fish for cooking in canned sardine recipes, it’s best to drain the oil, tomato sauce or water. 
  • Whereas some recipes might name for utilizing the vegetable or olive oil within the tin, utilizing it is going to make the recipes style fishier. So for some individuals, draining the oil from the sardines makes them style higher. 
  • Pat the filets barely with a paper towel to dry them and take away extra oil. However don’t take away the pores and skin.  
  • Don’t fear about making an attempt to take away the bones. They’re edible and really present precious nutritional vitamins and minerals. 
  • Most recipes name for one full tin of sardines. For those who do have leftovers, deal with canned sardines like recent fish as soon as the tin is opened. Take away from the tin and retailer any unused sardines lined in a plastic or glass container within the fridge for as much as two days.  

19 Greatest Canned Sardine Recipes from Across the World

Steadily Requested Questions 

How do you make canned sardines style higher?

Start by buying the very best quality tinned sardines you possibly can afford. They’ll be meatier, have a firmer texture and a much less fishy flavour.

To eat them straight from the can, place a filet on a cracker or crostini, add recent lemon juice, some finely chopped crimson onion and fresh-ground black pepper.

Or use sardines in a recipe resembling pasta or fish muffins the place the flavour isn’t as pronounced. 

Is it wholesome to eat canned sardines each day?

Whereas millionaire enterprise capitalist and “sardine freak” Craig Cooper claims that consuming 5 cans of sardines day by day helps preserve him at peak efficiency, there are a number of causes you would possibly need to eat canned sardines sparsely.

Whereas they do have a number of vitamins, they’ll additionally excessive in ldl cholesterol, purines, sodium and energy. Test with the Arthritis Basis and/or the Coronary heart and Stroke Basis for wholesome consuming pointers.    

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A collage of international sardine dishes with text overlay for Pinterest of the Best Canned Sardine recipes from Around the World.



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