When It Comes To Canned Tomatoes, This Brand Stands Above The Rest

As much as we might like to think otherwise, we cannot all be Ina Garten. The kitchen superhero recently gave her fans and followers (and really, doesn't everyone fall into one of those two categories?) a tour of her garden, and Food52 reports that the tomato section in particular is magical to behold. Housed in a "tomato teepee" in the "secret garden" portion of her bountiful backyard, Garten inspires envy in all by waltzing out her back door and plucking a prize tomato whenever she has a hankering.

But what about us apartment-dwellers, black-thumbed gardeners, or anyone else for whom fresh tomatoes can't always be a few steps away from our kitchen? Even Garten has to admit that in an emergency, or a winter season, she reaches for a can of San Marzano tomatoes to cook with. And if you are not going to can your own tomatoes (á la Martha Stewart), you're going to want to know which brand is best. While products certainly vary based on location and availability, Garten's favorite is often in the top five of canned tomato lists, alongside other brands you've probably heard of. So, do you go with Garten? Or choose the can with the prettiest label? The cheapest one? Because really, it's just a tin of tomatoes? Well, it's important to choose wisely.

These tomatoes from Northern California take the canned cake

San Marzanos — a type of plum tomato — has a reputation for a reason. Though they can be quite pricey, their flavor profile, low seed count, and availability in the U.S. (though they must come from the region of San Marzano, Italy, to be D.O.P. certified) makes them a popular tomato even by the can, according to Martha Stewart. The brand Ina Garten links to on her site is San Merican, which often makes best-of lists — like this one from Good Housekeeping — for its clean flavor and tomato-forward taste. You've probably also seen Cento on the charts; a brand that uses Italian-grown San Marzanos and throws a basil leaf in the can for good measure. Good Housekeeping likes Cento because it's slightly less expensive, without sacrificing flavor.

But, for our money, one brand has canned tomatoes worth the price tag — and tasty enough to eat all by themselves. The New York Times Wirecutter agrees: Bianco DiNapoli Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes are the best brand out there when it comes to canned tomatoes. These rich, luscious tomatoes were born of tomato producer Rob DiNapoli and famed pizza chef Chris Bianco's desire for tasty tomatoes west of the Italian Riviera (via Bianco DiNapoli). They are committed to growing them organically in Northern California, and canning them within hours of harvest, using nothing more than a pinch of sea salt, a basil leaf, and the tomatoes' own juices. The result is best in brand — a canned tomato that even Garten would love. In fact, if her tomato teepee was simply a pyramid stack of Bianco DiNapoli under a canvas, we couldn't blame her.