14 Canned Tomato Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

An undisputed pantry staple, canned tomatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients available. And while the options can seem a bit daunting, we're here to help take the guess work out of which brands are the most delicious, because no one wants to waste their hard earned money on a can of watered down, overly sweetened, muddy tomatoes. 

Canned tomatoes come in many different forms, ready to star in your culinary masterpiece. And before we can discuss taste, it's important to have a general understanding of the varying types of tomatoes these brands offer. A few of the most common types of canned tomatoes you'll see on your grocery store's shelves are whole peeled, diced, crushed, tomato sauce, tomato puree, and tomato paste, each serving their own uniquely delicious purpose. While most of the brands discussed here offer several different products, we tested and ranked these brands by sampling one product at random from each brand. Here are our findings.

14. Hunt's

We sampled Hunt's tomato sauce and were nothing short of disappointed. The company's full line of tomato products are described on their website as "made from all-natural, vine-ripened tomatoes simmered with salt, spices, and natural flavors for seasoning." Our question to Hunt's is this: Exactly how much salt are you simmering with those tomatoes? Because, yikes. 

With a sodium content that would make a Pufferfish pucker, this one had us reaching for a palate cleanser before you can say "salt lick." Pair that with consistency that was far too thin and watery, and this sauce is just a complete fail. We weren't the only that had this reaction. One Amazon reviewer writes, "although I hate to bad mouth a product, I can't justify ever wanting to consume this again. It is extremely salty and bland in any recognizable flavor, and very watered down. I would splurge an extra buck on something with more consistency and flavor."

13. Contadina

Established by the Aiello brothers in 1918, Contadina has been a long-standing grocery store staple for over a century. The brand offers many canned tomato products, including whole peeled tomatoes, puree, paste, and even pizza sauce. Their website claims that their original goal was to produce canned tomatoes that matched the standard set in their native Italy, and 100 years later, they maintain the founders' passion and commitment to quality by using fresh, vine-ripened Roma tomatoes that are grown and packed with care.

Well, we're sorry to say, Contadina, but we disagree.  We sampled the whole peeled tomatoes and found them overly and artificially sweet, bobbing about in a dark pool of a sauce that can best be described as muddied with an aroma of chemicals. The color and smell were so off putting, in fact, that we had to double check the expiration date to make sure they'd not gone bad. Unfortunately, the reason for the foul taste couldn't be attributed to the expiration date. It seems someone over at Contadina just dropped the ball sometime in the last century or so.

12. 365 by Whole Foods

People have strong opinions about Whole Foods, and whether you love them or hate them, they certainly have made a name for themselves in the way of high quality, healthfully superior grocery items. In our research, we've found many hits and many misses within the Whole Foods 365 brand. Unfortunately, their canned tomatoes are, in fact, a miss. The can of 365 diced tomatoes we tried fell rather flat compared to many of the other canned tomato brands we sampled. 

The tomatoes seemed somehow hastily canned, with an uneven dice and poorly peeled product. The flavor was quite sour, lacking the juiciness that one looks for in a tomato product. One reviewer from Chowhound found similar disappoint with their 365 canned tomato purchase describing a "I thought cooking them might improve the nasty, fake lemon juice flavor to them that usually cooks out of canned tomatoes," they wrote. "Nope. The finished sauce had the same metallic, acid taste." Sorry, Whole Foods, but we have to agree.

11. Great Value

There's no denying that Walmart is an absolute Goliath of the retail world. Their website boasts that Walmart's reach expands to approximately 10,500 stores in 24 countries and eCommerce websites, not to mention the $96.61 billion in US sales during last year's third quarter alone, according to Supermarket News. No matter how you feel about the retail chain, that's massively impressive. And while their popular in-house brand, Great Value, includes some solid pantry staples at bargain prices, we found that their diced tomatoes in tomato juice just weren't worth the savings. 

Watery, essentially flavorless, and overly salty, these tomatoes were lackluster in just about every area we tested — flavor, texture, salt and acidity content. Put simply, every part fell flat. Unfortunately, this turned out to be another product we can add to the list of the Great Value items you should avoid at Walmart. It might be time to invest some of those massive sales profits into a better canned tomato product, Walmart.

10. Happy Harvest

German grocery store chain Aldi has grown in popularity in recent years. In fact, it was recently named this country's most popular grocery store. Aldi landed in the U.S. in 1976 with a store in Iowa, and has since expanded to more than 2,000 locations in 36 states. Known for its bargain prices and no-frills, no-nonsense style, Aldi, like so many of its competitors, has its own brand, Happy Harvest. And while we're sure Aldi's popularity exists for good reason, our guess is that it's not for their canned tomatoes. From their full line of tomato products, we selected Happy Harvest diced tomatoes and are sad to report, were not impressed.

These tomatoes had a lifeless, dirty flavor. The tomato pieces were uneven and somewhat sloppily diced. And with a sauce that was both too thin and too dull, it is hard to recommend Happy Harvest this time around.

9. Pomi

Another familiar and recognizable brand, Pomi tomato products are very easy to find in most grocery stores. And if you're going to be a stickler, these tomatoes aren't technically canned. They're boxed, or rather, cartoned. Pomi's tomato products include items such as sauce, strained tomatoes, and even tomato juice. On Pomi's website they claim that their signature carton brick "makes the tomato sauce easily recognizable in any country where it is exported." 

Unfortunately, that signature packaging didn't do much to help in the way of taste. Rather one-note, the carton of finely chopped tomatoes we sampled tasted a bit lifeless and dull. The tomato flavor was immature, as though the tomatoes were hastily harvested, not given a chance to finish ripening on the vine. While Pomi does have its fans, there are also plenty of detractors. Reviewers on Chowhound noted that batches were wonderfully flavorful and robust, while others of the same exact product, purchased at another time, were like the carton we sampled — bland and boring. While we have no doubt that some cartons may be better than the one we tried, consistency in a product is massively important to any consumer.

8. Muir Glen

California-based Muir Glen asserts that the secret to the best tasting tomatoes is to grow them organically. The brand takes great care to grow their tomatoes in organic soil in the Sacramento Valley. All of their products, from sauce to salsa, are certified organic.

Their website also notes that "Muir Glen has a long history of supporting organic agriculture, and this commitment remains steadfast. Our sustainable ingredient sourcing strategy seeks not only to reduce harm, but to create positive impact by regenerating natural resources and farming communities." While this is undoubtedly a noble cause and a worthwhile method of farming, unfortunately the flavor of these tomatoes fell a bit short for us. We found their whole peeled tomatoes to be very acidic and strangely tart, lacking in any real sweetness. It's unfortunate, also, that for a product that very clearly advertises itself as "peeled," many of the peels were left intact.

7. Good and Gather

Indomitable Target has taken hold of the world and held tight with its fiery red talons. A haven so beautifully convenient for parents everywhere, this one stop shop has become almost a cliché joke in the world of mom memes. It's hard to find someone who hasn't been drawn in by Target's sultry siren call. And their food brand, Good and Gather, is doing a great job of holding on for the ride. 

From Good and Gather's full line of tomato products, we chose the crushed tomatoes, and they came in surprisingly high-ish on our list. For roughly a dollar per 28-ounce can, Good and Gather will give you the biggest bang for your buck of all the other brands on this list. With a good balance of sweetness and savory, the flavor was better than many of the others sampled, even if it lacked in some acidity and zest. The texture was lovely as well, a well balanced blend of tomato pieces to puree.

6. Trader Joe's

Who doesn't love Trader Joe's? With an enormous range of quality ingredients, a passion for sustainability, and a product called "cookie butter," you'd be hard pressed to find someone who isn't a fan. They really do have something for just about everyone. And they take true pride in their label, explaining on their website that a Trader Joe's private label means that the product doesn't contain any artificial flavors or preservatives, MSG, genetically modified ingredients, or artificial trans-fats. So our expectations were high when we selected our can of Trader Joe's Organic Crushed Fire Roasted Tomatoes from the canned tomato section of the shelf.

These naturally sweet tomatoes had a pleasant punch of acid, a bright sweetness, and a luscious sauce. They held their shape well, and had a subtle bite in their texture. So while they don't top our list, these tomatoes are certainly a great buy and a tasty option.

5. Kirkland

Ah, Costco, home of free samples, bulk toilet paper, and more tube socks than one person could ever possibly have use for. Their very own Kirkland Signature brand has its bold label plastered across several different items in the store, from luggage to peanut butter. And while the behemoth big box store may not be the most practical one-stop-shop if your household is small, it is great for stocking up on pantry items you find yourself using a lot, like canned tomatoes. From Kirkland's canned tomato line, we sampled Kirkland's Signature organic diced tomatoes and were pleasantly surprised.

The tomato pieces were smaller than some of the other diced varieties we sampled, but they had a lovely texture and bite. Flavor, salt, and acidity levels were all very good, especially at just under a dollar per can. One Amazon reviewer writes, "These tomatoes are clearly diced and meaty and there is a lot of tomato packed in thick juice compared to other brands and they really do taste fresh. I use these for making really good sauces and salsa too."

4. San Merican

When you really dive in, the world of canned tomatoes can be a confusing one. It's a classic example of Albert Einstein's old idea that the more you learn, the less you know, and San Merican tomatoes contribute a lot to that confusion. While their can reads in Italian, "pomidori pelati" (peeled tomatoes) and features the letters S.M.T. (which you would assume stands for "San Marzano tomatoes"), these tomatoes aren't Italian grown. If they were, the letters on the can would read "D.O.P." (Denominazione di Origine Protetta — averification of authenticity from the Italian government) here in the United States (via La Cucina Italiana). Simply put, San Merican tomatoes are Simpson Brand's American grown copy of the famous San Marzanos (which we'll get to in a minute). 

Though not as brightly, vividly red as their Italian-grown cousins, San Merican tomatoes tested very well with us. Providing a pleasantly meaty texture, without being crunchy, these whole peeled tomatoes had a pleasant mouth-feel, perfectly peeled smoothness, and bright, balanced flavor. While not the cheapest canned tomatoes on our list, these are a great alternative to their pricier dopplegangers.

3. Redpack

This was an unexpected gem of a find. A U.S.-owned company, Redpack tomatoes shocked us with their booming, perfectly balanced, velvety texture and zippy brightness that tasted of sunshine. We tried the canned tomato puree from their extensive product line, and couldn't believe that it offered such an intense quality. Sweeter than many of the other brands we sampled, but certainly not cloyingly so, and bright enough to be eaten raw, this brand will soon become a welcome staple in our pantry. 

One Amazon reviewer writes "After trying several other brands, Red Pack is all I will use to make the best sauce ever!"  Another reviewer claims that this brand is the only one they've used for 60-plus years. Apparently, we've been missing out. Note: According to parent company Red Gold's website, depending on your location, Redpack canned tomatoes are also sold under the Red Gold or Tuttorosso label.

2. Cento

Cento is an example of an actual, certified San Marzano tomato brand, as these tomatoes are grown and produced in an area of Italy known as Sarnese Nocerino. According to Cento, their San Marzano tomatoes are certified authentic by Agri-Cert, an independent third party, under official Italian guidelines. The reason for these guidelines is to prevent other companies from falsely using the San Marzano name, and to help shoppers from being misled by confusing labeling.

Worthy of their coveted label, the Cento whole cherry tomatoes we tried were delicious. Sweet, tart, bursting with flavor and freshness, these cherry tomatoes somehow combine notes of earthiness and zesty brightness simultaneously. Not wanting any of these beauties to go to waste, we used the rest of the can that remained after tasting to make bruschetta. Needless to say, it was heaven. Cento a full line of canned products, and you can be confident in the quality of their tomatoes.  

1. Bianco DiNapoli

Our winning canned tomato brand is Bianco DiNapoli. Vine-ripened, organically grown in California's Yolo County, these tomatoes are adapted from San Marzanos, but tweaked in all the right ways for the unique growing conditions of the Golden State. This is an example of two of the tastiest, largest producing breadbaskets of the world, Italy and California, teaming up exquisitely to make the perfect tomato. 

From the Bianco DiNapoli tomato line, we tried, and fell head over heels, for the 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes. They won us over with their perfectly ripened jammy sweetness and tart acidity. The richness of their deep crimson color made you want to pluck them from the can with bare fingers and eat them raw ... so we did. The soft but firm texture was also sublime, with each tomato holding its structure, but giving into the bite with ease. These tomatoes earned our shiniest gold star.