Canned Tuna

Can You Heat Canned Tuna? – And Other Canned Fish?

Cooking Tips

Do you think tuna is the best type of fish? Well, some people think so too, it is easy to find and it is very healthy.

You can make a thousand dishes with fresh tuna or even canned tuna. Fresh tuna or tuna in cans, they both make delicious and healthy dishes, but since canned tuna are processed like other types of tinned fish, it is less healthy than fresh ones.

If you are in for a canned tuna treat, do you know how it is best prepared or stored? Can you heat  a canned fish like tuna?

Certainly, you can but you should be careful when reheating canned fish even tuna, and here are some tips for you.

Your Guide To Canned Tuna

I agree if you say that fresh tuna is better than canned ones but if you’re one of the busy type, and still want that savory fish, then canned is a good choice to prepare for a meal.

Below are some common recipes for canned tuna:

  • Homemade tuna sushi rolls
  • Tuna casserole
  • Tuna sandwiches
  • Tuna garnishing on salads
  • Tuna pasta
  • Tuna patties
  • Tuna pasta salad
  • Tuna Helper
  • Bean salad with tuna


Those are just a few out of thousands of sumptuous dishes you can prepare using fresh from the market tuna or tuna in cans and besides tuna, other canned fish are also best in many recipes.

Below are some recipes for using other canned  or fresh fish as well:

  • Escabeche style mackerel (Spanish recipe, canned or fresh)
  • Canned mackerel fish cakes
  • Salmon dips (using fresh or tinned salmon)
  • Quinoa with canned fish (best with tuna or salmon)
  • Canned salmon chowder
  • Sardines patties for sandwiches
  • Salmon patties (using canned salmon)
  • Sardine Pitta Pockets
  • Sardine Rice in a Bowl (Asian cuisine)
  • Anchovy Pizza with fish garnishing (best with tuna)
  • Wild Caught Tuna Crostini (fresh or canned tuna)
  • Anchovy Puttanesca (best with tuna and mackerel)
  • Salad garnishing (canned trout or salmon)
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You can make a variety of dishes with any kinds of canned fish like tuna. You may check out a recipe book or concoct your own healthy recipe.

Canned Tuna or Fish Process

Fish in cans are always well-cooked and have flavors so it could have longer shelf life and remain healthy for consumption. You can eat it right out of the can.

If you intend to add it to your recipe, you need to know its distinct quality and flavor. Check the label so you can be sure about how it tastes, how much is needed, and how to store them.

Canned tunas are packaged in different flavors so you should understand how it will taste when added to your recipe.

How are canned fish or canned tuna processed?

  1. Tuna fish and various kinds of fish for canning should be fresh. They could be taken directly from fishing folks or companies and handed to canneries to be processed.
  2. Frozen fish or tuna are stored cautiously. Tuna and like other fish before being processed are stored in freezers and are kept frozen while waiting to be processed to avoid any bacterial from growing in it.
  3. Tunas are sorted by weight and size. It is a technique that helps processing meet policies or guidelines to provide better quality canned goods.
  4. Tuna quality check prior processing. From the fishing vessel to the freezer, tuna fish are checked for quality and stored cautiously to ensure it’s best to be canned.
  5. Thawing and cleaning tuna fish. Frozen tuna should be thawed and cleaned meticulously. After thawing, steam baking is done to remove excess oil which also allow it to be thoroughly clean. Then, the fish, meat and bones are separated.
  6. Pre-baking or boiling fish meat. The fish or tuna meat is either boiled or pre-baked to eliminate unwanted microorganisms in the fish and which also makes it tastes even better.
  7. Canning tuna fish. Tunas are allocated in cans to be sent to salting, water, broth or oil station for its flavor or seasoning. Afterwards, cans are sealed using a vacuum device and sent to the water-bath station to be sterilized.
  8. Labelling canned tuna. Once sterilized, it will be labeled and the finally sealed for storage or delivery to the market.
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Do not worry because throughout these processes the quality assurance checker is always there to ensure clean and quality canned tuna.

Canned Tuna
Canned Tuna

Heating Canned Tuna and Other Canned Fish

Canned fish like tuna or others are well-cooked and sometimes flavorful so its important that we heat it cautiously.

The heat temperature to which we want to warm it should be enough so we will not overdo it and end up with very soft or falling fish meats.

Risks of Heating Canned Tuna or Fish

Any type of tinned fish or tuna are processed with assurance to quality and health when consumed, and it is okay to reheat it.

So, are there other risk related to heating a canned fish or tuna?

Here are some of the risk we should be mindful of:

  • Do not overheat or boil canned tuna to avoid having very soft or falling fish meat.
  • Heat it between 140 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain the canned fish quality.
  • Check heating time be it in a microwave or pan to ensure it is heated the right way.
  • Canned fish or tuna are already well-cooked so boiling or searing it may change the taste and texture of the fish.


How to Heat Tuna and Other Types of Canned Fish

How do you want to heat canned fish?

Here are some more detailed steps for each of those categories. 

  1. Microwave

Warming or heating tuna is easier and faster using a microwave. It’s your best option unless you’re cooking it with another dish or recipe.

Be sure to use a microwaveable food container with cover to retain the moisture of your tuna. Heat for half a minute first, then check to see if it needs a few more time to warm.


  1. Stovetop
    Heating your canned tuna in a stove is also easy specially if soaked in oil like olive or sesame. Just warm your pan for half a minute before putting in your tuna.

Sauté or turn it while warming to ensure balance heat and to avoid fish flakes that might stick on the pan.
Cooking it over a stovetop is also good if its mixed to another dish or recipe.

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  1. Heat as Part of a Dish

If you’re cooking tuna into another dish, you can check the recipe as to when is the time to add the tuna while you are cooking the dish.

In most recipes, you can simply mix it with the ingredients while its cooked and  there’s no need to preheat it separately.


What’s So Great About Canned Fish?

We all wanted to have that fresh fish cooked delicately to fit our taste and for its health advantages. However, because of time, location, or sometimes budget constraints on our part, buying canned fish is a good option.

Canned tuna is a good substitute to fresh tuna in most recipes just follow the guide on how to cook or mix it well with the dish.

Here are some great things to note about canned tuna and other canned fish:

  • Inexpensive compare to fresh fish.
  • Available in grocery store anytime.
  • Quality assured for freshness and health.
  • Has longer shelf life than raw fish.
  • Can be added to various dishes.
  • Takes less time to prepare.


Related Questions

The article is focused on canned tuna but the same works with other kinds of tinned fish. Check out some of these good to know facts.

Is Any Type of Canned Fish Better than Another?

Tuna, herrings, mackerel, sardines, and salmon are the  most commonly used kinds of  fish for canning or which have been traditionally canned because of health benefits and longer shelf life when preserved or tinned.

You can also find differently flavored and preserved canned fish available in the grocery store but none actually is better than another because they all have unique taste and health benefits, and all tinned fish are process with quality.  You just need to know what kind of tinned fish is better for your recipe.

What Types of Nutrients are in Canned Tuna?

Tinned or canned fish are mostly rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins inherent in the type of fish.

If you are concerned about other nutrients in them, always check the label because apart from the fish’s inherent nutrients, some enhancers may be added to make it even healthier for consumption.

Will I Get Mercury Poisoning from Canned Tuna?

Every canned fish is processed with quality and health in mind so it is less likely that you can get poisoned by mercury in them. Just remember though to always check the label to see when the tinned fish is best consumed and to always consume food in moderation whether tinned or not.

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