8 Canned Meats You Should Buy From Costco And 4 You Should Avoid, According To Customers

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It goes without saying that Costco has legions of devout fans, and there's a good reason for that. The deals are amazing, there's the quality and variety of products, and did we mention the deals? That said, it's still possible to make some major mistakes when shopping at Costco, but the good news is that they're easily avoidable thanks to some tips and tricks that we've compiled. And we've done some serious deep-diving to do it.

Let's talk about canned meats. While canned goods might have something of a dubious reputation, they can actually be pretty brilliant. They're convenient, long-lasting, and versatile, which are things we can all appreciate in this busy world of ours. Keep some canned oysters in the cabinet, add them to a jar of sauce, and serve up some linguini on a Wednesday night to look like you've definitely got this adulting thing down.

That said, not all canned meats are created equal. So, let's take a stroll through Costco, look at what they have on offer, and check out what customers say you should definitely keep on hand, and what you should absolutely avoid at all costs.

Should: Kirkland Signature Chicken Breast

So, here's some really good news: Customers almost unanimously agree that one of the things you should definitely stock up on at Costco is their Kirkland Signature Chicken Breast. It's one of the easiest, most versatile canned meats, it's a great protein to add to almost countless dishes, and don't believe us? Check out our all-canned chicken pot pie suggestion, and get back to us.

Customers weighing in on Amazon agree, saying that this is a pretty great option for things like chicken salad, chicken and dumplings, pasta, and casseroles. Looking to make some seriously easy comfort food? Look no further. One reviewer explains that even though they're generally not a fan of canned meats, this was an absolute win: "I was talked into trying this Kirkland's brand canned chicken. And I am so happy I allowed them to talk me into it. Because it is phenomenal ... I really don't know how to explain it. It is just absolutely perfect. The flavor, the texture, everything."

Others agree, writing, "This is the best, and the best price," and "I always keep it on hand when I need a quick and easy lunch or dinner." There's another bonus here, too: Some reviewers note that it's perfect for making a no-waste meal for a single person.

Should: Kirkland Signature Roast Beef

Canned chicken and canned tuna are pretty widely accepted as meats that you expect to see in a canned form. But roast beef? That's a little more unusual and some hesitation is completely understandable, but when it comes to Costco's Kirkland Signature Roast Beef, customers on Amazon say that it's definitely something that should make it into your cart, kitchen, and cooking.

One person raves, "This roast beef is the real thing ... It tastes delicious and it has many uses when preparing it for other dishes. ... Seasoned perfect, I will continue to buy this until they stop making it ..." That same reviewer also notes that you're not just getting roast beef, you're getting broth that makes excellent gravy as well — so it's a win-win. Others say that it's great in soups, stews, and casseroles, that it's super tender, and that it makes great sandwiches.

Those on Reddit agree. When one person asked for opinions on Costco's canned roast beef — saying that their spouse was totally disgusted by the idea — Redditors didn't disappoint with ideas. Redditors lauded this for using on baked potatoes, in enchiladas, tacos, taquitos, and quesadillas, for adding to grilled cheese and scrambled eggs, or serving on a hot dog bun with peppers, onions, and cheese. Bottom line? Total win.

Shouldn't: Kirkland Signature Solid White Albacore Tuna

There's a pretty good chance that you might keep some canned tuna on hand for quick meals and nutritious lunches, but should you pick some up at Costco? You might want to consider giving this one a miss, and here's why: Although customers generally seem to agree that Costco's Kirkland Albacore Solid White Tuna in Water is not only high quality and a great bargain for the price, the problem is that it's albacore.

When we took a long, hard look at debunking some of the myths that have been circulating around canned tuna, we reached out to some industry experts to get the facts right from the source. One of those experts was Bart van Olphen, the founder of Sea Tales, author of "The Tinned Fish Cookbook," and a sustainable fishing advocate. He explained, "[Albacore's] popularity as a food source has driven the population to 'near threatened' status. To take the pressure off albacore, we should buy and eat more skipjack tuna, the most abundant species of tuna in the oceans right now."

Here's some other food for thought: Different species of tuna contain different levels of mercury, and albacore generally contains higher amounts of mercury than skipjack. If you're concerned, give this one a miss.

Should: Harvest Creek Pulled Pork

Seriously, who doesn't love pulled pork? It's entirely possible that pulled pork tacos might be one of the best things ever — especially with our easy, traditional coleslaw — but it's also one of those things that takes a long, long time to make right from scratch. Good news! It turns out that Harvest Creek Pulled Pork is a completely legitimate option for fast pulled pork sandwiches and tacos.

Customers on Amazon say that it checks all the boxes for taste and texture, which is incredibly important — pulled pork is amazing, but mushy pulled pork? Not so much. Some customers added that it's great not only on sandwiches and tacos, but also with scrambled eggs or gravy. One commented, "This is an excellent, quick fix meal made from canned ingredients, but the pork brings a slow cooked homemade element," while another described it as "Like being at my favorite BBQ place for ⅓ the price."

That's not to say there aren't complaints, though: Some customers say that this particular product can be hard to find. Some also say that their Costco locations no longer carry it, but if you can find it? Get it. (Then, check out our easy homemade honey BBQ sauce to go with it!)

Should: Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon

We absolutely love Costco's canned salmon because yes, it's too good to pass up. There are so many other customers who agree with us, too, with reviews on Amazon being almost overwhelmingly positive. There's so much to like about the canned salmon, with customers saying that even if you have your doubts, give it a try. What it didn't have? A weird texture and fishy smells, and customers say that if your family stays away from fish because of either of those things, there's nothing to fear here.

One wrote, "Great tasting, good for you, and your heart. How can you go wrong?" while another volunteered, "Great mild flavor. I use this exclusively for sandwiches or to make salmon cakes. Find it is healthier and tastier than canned tuna fish. This product is always in my pantry." Others say it's pretty perfect for using in salads, on sandwiches, to make salmon burgers, and even on melts. It's also got the Certified Sustainable label from Alaska Seafood, which means it's wild-caught using sustainable fishing practices.

Shouldn't: Libby's Vienna Sausages

It's super tempting, we totally understand. Libby's Vienna Sausages are absolutely perfect for appetizers and parties, because who doesn't love them? It might seem like you're doing a great thing by picking up a case for your next party, game night, or book club meeting, but there are a ton of different and better options out there. What's wrong with this one? We're concerned about the sodium content.

The American Heart Association continues to warn people that sodium should be limited to no more than 1,500 milligrams per day, and most Americans are getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,500 milligrams per day. That's not great, and they say that one of the biggest problems is the sodium content in prepared, processed, and packaged foods.

That said, let's look at one of those cans of Libby's Vienna Sausages. A 4.6-ounce can that's sold at Costco is considered a 130-gram single-serving size, and it also contains not only 20 grams of fat, but 790 milligrams of sodium. That's more than half of the sodium you should be getting in an entire day — if you're following the AHA's recommendations — so that's not great. Considering you're not getting much in the way of essential vitamins and nutrients, but you are getting fat and calories, give this one a miss: There are other, better, healthier options out there.

Should: Season Sardines in Olive Oil

If you've never considered keeping some canned sardines on hand, Costco's Season Sardines in Olive Oil are precisely the buy that you need to make. Sardines are a brilliant way to upgrade your pasta, they make amazing appetizers — especially when served on toast rounds with tomatoes — and sardines will also take your avocado toast to the next level. There are a million and one ways to use these protein-packed fish, and Costco's Season Sardines make them easy to keep on hand.

Customers on Amazon agree, and as of this writing, the more than 2,300 reviews include more than 80% 5-star ratings. It's not often that anything gets that level of agreement on the internet, so it's safe to say there's something to these sardines that customers call "My absolute favorite sardines," and "healthy and delicious." One reviewer explained, "Always keep at least 10 tins in my small linen closet turned pantry, and added to as I treated myself."

One comment even gives a shout-out to the company that makes the sardines, saying, "Thank you to this company for making a good quality product that is healthy, which is rare in today's market place in America." Others laud them for adapting to any flavor profile they're added to, with some stressing that anyone picking these up should definitely double-check the packaging to make sure they're getting the skinless and boneless variety.

Should: Spam 25% less Sodium

Spam is definitely one of those love-or-hate sort of things, but we're here to say that there are so many incredible, weird, outside-the-box ways to use Spam that you just might want to keep some on hand in your pantry. We're talking about everything from using it as a pizza or salad topping to incorporating it into hash, pasta, or even mac and cheese. But there's an important caveat to this: There's some Spam you should get, and some you should avoid.

Here's the good news: Spam's 25% Less Sodium is a total win. While regular Spam is incredibly salty, this reduced sodium version isn't just better for you, but according to customers on Amazon, it's just as good as the regular stuff. In fact, some say that it's even better, citing the tendency of regular Spam to just make dishes way too salty. One reviewer commented, "Fine product ... at a favorable price. When I'm low I'll buy again," while another said simply, "It's Spam, nice convenient potted meat, great in anything."

The lower-salt version allows creative cooks to add their own salty sauce if they want: Some say it's brilliant with soy sauce, Tabasco, and other hot sauces, while it's easy to see how regular Spam would just be too much. While Spam is probably never going to be on anyone's list of healthiest foods, this is a great way to make it just a little better for you.

Shouldn't: Spam Classic

We love Spam, and we're not the only ones: Reports suggest that post-COVID, Spam has become more popular than ever. That said, we'll also argue that there's no reason to buy Spam Classic when there's a lower-sodium version available — particularly considering that reviews for that low-sodium version are so favorable. Spam Classic, on the other hand, might just be too salty if you're looking to add something like soy sauce ... and that might just be why some people just don't like Spam.

Let's look at just how much sodium we're talking about. Spam Classic has a whopping 790 milligrams of sodium per serving, and that's not the whole story. One serving is 56 grams, and there are about six servings in a can. That means the whole can contains somewhere around 4,740 milligrams of sodium, and if you're going to be using that whole can in something like hash, pasta, or fried rice to share among the whole family, that's a ton of sodium that just doesn't need to be on the plate.

Too much sodium has been linked to things like an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, kidney disease, and even certain types of cancers. That means it's incredibly important to cut it out when and where you can, and opting for equally delicious, low-sodium versions of family favorites is an easy way to do it.

Should: Crown Prince Smoked Oysters in Olive Oil

Canned seafood is one of our favorite ways to dress up pasta: Not only is it convenient and easy to keep on hand, but there are almost endless possibilities to make pasta go from the same-old to something deliciously new. Oysters are a favorite to pair with linguine, and here's some really good news for those with a Costco membership: Their 6-can boxes of Crown Prince Smoked Oysters are ideal for adding a bit of variety to pasta nights.

Head over to Amazon to see what customers are saying about these, and it's almost unanimously good. Have a picky family member who might not be thrilled about oysters? These might be the thing to break the ice, as customers laud these for having a mild flavor, being lightly smoked, and having a wonderful texture. One reviewer even said that they made the purchase with a heavy dose of skepticism, but were pleased to find "these live up to their reputation as being the best canned oysters ... May stock up on these for sure!"

Others agree, saying, "Taste was on point!" and adding that not only were they good, but they were just as good as some of the other, more expensive brands. The olive oil was a definite win for many, with one customer saying that they were brilliant served not hidden in pasta but simply warmed up on a cracker.

Should: Sea Watch Chopped Sea Clams

There's nothing quite like fresh clams, but there are a few problems with that. There are plenty of us who don't live near a coastline where we can get clams that are guaranteed to be fresh, and even if we did, that's a lot of work. Fortunately, Costco's Sea Watch Chopped Sea Clams are a completely legitimate alternative that come highly recommended by countless customers over at Amazon.

They almost unanimously laud these clams for their versatility and suitability for soups and chowders. "These clams are amazing," wrote one, who added, "I tried some other brands and nothing compares." Another reported, "Loved the clams. Fresh tasting considering they were canned," while another said they used these for their first attempt at clam chowder. "I was a bit intimidated ... and was amazed how delicious it turned out." As a bonus, customers note that there's no need to waste the juice and instead, it makes a great addition to soups.

Another thing we like is that Sea Watch was awarded the Marine Stewardship Council's certification for sustainable and responsible fishing practices. If there's anything that we like more than enjoying some delicious food today, it's the prospect of helping to ensure that the same food is around for future generations — so this is a total win.

Shouldn't: Chef-mate Corned Beef Hash

Not a fan of corned beef hash? There's a good chance that it's the canned version of this dish that's made skeptics out of countless people, and according to customers over on Amazon, they're not really all that thrilled with Chef-mate's Corned Beef Hash. Why? Let's put it this way: When Amazon summarized reviews, they noted that many people say this product is just too oily, greasy, and fatty to be enjoyable, while those who have good things to say about it note that it "has a great taste and is edible." Well ... all right then.

It's also incredibly salty. Just one cup of the stuff contains 1,360 milligrams of sodium, which is close to what the American Heart Association suggests you get in an entire day. It's no wonder, then, that in our ranking of corned beef brands, Chef-mate came in right near the bottom. The flavor? Salty.

Let's also say that it's pretty easy to make your own. (We have a handy recipe for corned beef hash right here!) While we use canned corned beef, you can also use the leftover corned beef from your St. Patrick's Day celebrations, and it's even better. Why opt for overly salty canned stuff when you can have the real deal?


You don't have to take our word alone for which canned meats are worth buying at Costco and which aren't: We weighed scores of customer feedback both positive and negative as we put together our definitive list of what should go in the cart and what should stay on the shelves. Because canned meats can be overwhelmingly salty — enough that they can ruin an entire dish — we were also on the lookout for sodium content. It turns out that many customers agree that there's nothing that ruins a dish like too much salt, and digging into nutritional information, a ridiculously high sodium content turned out to be a major red flag.