Taste test: Best canned tomatoes

The Daily Meal

View gallery

.
Scalfani

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

This time of year, the last thing anybody should be eating is fresh tomatoes. Usually imported from Mexico, they're bland, juiceless, and mealy, not even a vague recollection of what a tomato in the summer tastes like, and the hothouse-grown ones aren't much better.

So what about canned tomatoes?





Now before you scoff, turn up your nose, and walk away in disgust, muttering something about never choosing canned food over fresh, bear in mind that a good canned tomato product should taste better, much better, than a "fresh" tomato in winter. It should have a nice balance of sweet and tangy, and be soft enough to break down nicely when making sauce, but not so soft as to be "mushy." But most importantly, it should taste like, well, a tomato.

Granted, nobody's going to be making salsa or salads with canned tomatoes, but if your heart's desire is a nicely balanced tomato sauce for your pasta dish, or a base to flavor a soup or stew, a canned tomato product is the way to go. That is, unless you happen to be of Italian-American descent, in which case you probably spent one last weekend in summer jarring tomatoes with the family, and this story will likely serve as mere entertainment. The rest of us look on in envy.

Either way, we wanted to get to the bottom of this. So we lined up 11 brands and eight members of our editorial staff for a classic blind taste test of whole canned tomatoes.


#1 — Sclafani (Pictured above)

Average Score: 82.9/100

Price: $2.59 for 28 ounces ($0.09 per ounce)

"Great texture" and "nice balance" with the right amount of salt and a fresh flavor (as close as canned gets to fresh, at least) helps Sclafani cinch the win.


View gallery

.
Ciao

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

#2 — Ciao

Average Score: 81.3/100

Price: $3.99 for 28 ounces ($0.14 per ounce)

These "small dark plum[s]" that "taste like [they] could go right into sauce" are D.O.P. from the Sarnese-Nocerino area of Italy. "It almost tastes like a homemade sauce in and of itself," wrote one editor. If you're looking for a "sweet, meaty" tomato with "perfect tang and sweet balance" this is the one to look for. It's worth every penny.


View gallery

.
Hunt's

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

#3 — Hunt's

Average Score: 79.4/100

Price: $2.69 for 28 ounces ($0.10 per ounce)

These "small round tomatoes" have "good tomato flavor" and "good sweet-sharp balance" with a "meaty" and "firm" texture. A good all-purpose canned tomato.




View gallery

.
Vantia

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

#4 — Vantia

Average Score: 79.1/100

Price: $4.99 for 35 ounces ($0.14 per ounce)

Another imported Italian brand, Vantia's "elongated plum shape" tomatoes did well thanks to "very meaty" texture and juiciness. One editor even went so far as to write, "Great balance across the board; now this I imagine in grandma's sauce."



View gallery

.
Tuttorosso

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

#5 — Tuttorosso

Average Score: 75.6/100

Price: $1.69 for 28 ounces ($0.06 per ounce)

These tomatoes were considered "firm" relative to the others, and these "full tomatoes that aren't soggy are good enough to eat alone" wrote one editor. They're "very juicy" with "good structural integrity" wrote another editor. If you're looking for a firm, round tomato with decent flavor, this might be it.



View gallery

.
San Marzano

(Photo: flickr/petit hiboux)

#6 — San Marzano

Average Score: 75.5/100

Price: $3.99 for 28 ounces ($0.14 per ounce)

The San Marzano brand, with its illustrated, elongated red tomatoes on a white background, has become nearly synonymous with "authentic" Italian home cooking, but these aren't Italian at all. They're American-grown, and they don't have the characteristic elongated San Marzano varietal shape; instead, they're round. Although one editor said that he "enjoyed eating it all on its own," others weren't quite convinced. They thought the tomatoes were "watery and bland," that they had a "stewed taste," and were "a bit mushy inside."



View gallery

.
Muir Glen

(Photo: Muir Glen)

#7 — Muir Glen

Average Score: 73.0/100

Price: $3.59 for 28 ounces ($0.13 per ounce)

We were actually expecting a better showing for this popular, premium American brand, but these "plum shaped" tomatoes' "acidic and tangy" flavor didn't sit well with our editors, and their texture, which was "too mushy" meant that this brand scored in the middle of the pack.



View gallery

.
Rega Rega

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

#8 — Rega Rega

Average Score: 72.9/100

Price: $3.99 for 28 ounces ($0.14 per ounce)

A brand of D.O.P. tomatoes from the Sarnese-Nocerino area of Italy that made a mediocre showing. These "partly peeled, huge plum[s]" have a "mushy" texture and "no standout flavor." That's disappointing because at $0.14 per ounce, it's on the pricier end of our test suite. Not worth the money.


Click here to see : How More Canned Tomato Brands Ranked



More from The Daily Meal:

15 Best Kitchen Infomercials  

4 New Twists on Ramen

5 Sauces That Will Spruce Up Your Cooking 

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Watch This Incredible Moment When Off-Duty Firefighter Saves 4-Year-Old Girl Who Fell off Moving Bus

      Ryan Ciampoli, a licensed EMT and volunteer firefighter, was driving down an Arkansas highway when he saw the back door of a bus in front of him fly open. It was like I wasn’t even seeing what I was seeing,” Ciampoli told WBRC news. Ciampoli jumped into action.

      Yahoo Beauty
    • Michael Moore’s Prediction for Trump’s Impeachment Will Depress a Lot of People

      Michael Moore, a political prophet for our modern times, loves to predict things about Donald Trump. He thinks the new U.S. President is going to get everyone killed; he believes Trump will absolutely build a border wall and ban all Muslims. (Lest we forget, Moore also wrote a prescient essay that predicted Trump would win.) Anyhow, Moore is back on the offensive and predicting another pressing matter on the minds of many citizens, specifically, when will Trump get impeached and kicked out of the White House for good? For those looking for an optimistic answer, you’re not going to love his thoughts. “I would say some time in the middle of his second term,” he explained at a Tribeca Film Festival

      Vulture q
    • Eating disorder survivor bares her stomach rolls on Instagram as part of recovery

      Clare has posted a slew of revealing belly snaps to her Instagram account since joining. An eating disorder survivor has taken to Instagram to courageously bare her stomach rolls, as part of her commitment toward recovery and self-love. Clare, known as Becoming Body Positive on Instagram, has posted a slew of revealing belly snaps to her account since joining in December 2016.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Ferne McCann is pregnant with acid attack suspect Arthur Collins' baby

      Ferne McCann's boyfriend, Arthur Collins, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder last night.

      Yahoo Celebrity UK
    • Wal-Mart Has a Unique Way to Cut Down on Shoplifting -- The Motley Fool

      Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has taken the law into its own hands. No, the company has not started its own jail, and any employee who wears a cape and fights crime must still do so on their own time. Instead, the retail chain has taken a new approach to fighting shoplifting that requires less involvement from the police. The retailer has been using a "restorative justice" program in 1,500 of its stores, according to The Gainesville Sun. That's a program where people deemed low-risk, first-time offenders are given the choice of paying to take an anti-shoplifting course rather than facing arrest and prosecution. The effort is in its early days, but the results have been good so far. The company has seen

      The Motley Fool q
    • Kim Zolciak's Son Kash Biermann Hospitalized After Being Attacked by a Dog

      So heartbreaking. Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Kim Zolciak revealed on Sunday, April 23 that her four-year-old son Kash Biermann was involved in a terrifying attack by a dog! The little boy survived the ordeal but he had to be rushed to the emergency room where he’s been hospitalized since yesterday. She shared the sad details in an Instagram message to her fans. “I don't know where to start. The last 14 [hours] of our lives has been a living nightmare,” the 38-year-old wrote. “My sweet [Kash] was bit by a dog and had very traumatic injuries. I've never prayed so hard, or been so scared in my life.” In the photo, her toddler laid in a hospital bed with what looked like bandages on his face.

      In Touch Weekly q
    • Man who made his living killing African wildlife gets eaten by African wildlife

      Scott Van Zyl made his living taking wealthy clients on "safaris" for the sole purpose of bringing home trophies like leopards, zebras, wildebeests and even lions. Now, investigators in Zimbabwe believe that Van Zyl ended up on the wrong end of the predator-prey relationship, and DNA tests have confirmed that he was attacked, killed, and eaten by crocodiles while on a hunting trip. Van Zyl, who ran SS Pro Safaris, offered specials for hunters to spend a week or more on his hunting lands which border nature preserves, with the promise of killing up to seven different species for $9,000. He also offered other hunting expeditions with targets like elephants and giraffes, though specifics for those, including prices, aren't listed on the company's site. Photos of clients holding the bodies of several rare species are posted on Van Zyl's site, along with the motto "Stop whining, go hunting." The circumstances surrounding his death are spotty, but reports suggest that Van Zyl and a second hunter and a pack of dogs. The two men split up, choosing to travel on foot alone, but when the dogs returned to the base camp without Van Zyl, his companion knew something was wrong. His footprints were tracked to a riverbank where searchers found his backpack as well as several large Nile crocodiles. Authorities killed the crocs after getting clearance to do so and subsequently discovered human remains inside the stomach of one of them. Tests of the remains matched Van Zyl. The incident is just one of a handful of fatal crocodile attacks tallied so far in 2017 alone.

      BGR News
    • Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      People
    • Ron Howard, Henry Winkler Mourn Death of ‘Happy Days’ Costar Erin Moran

      “OH Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest In It serenely now.. too soon,” tweeted Henry Winkler, who most know as The Fonz. Moran’s big brother on the show, Ron Howard, also expressed his grief over her passing, writing, “Such sad sad news.

      The Wrap
    • Why did Aaron Hernandez write ‘John 3:16’ on his forehead before killing himself?

      It wasn’t a suicide note that former NFL star Aaron Hernandez left in his prison cell when he reportedly hanged himself. Instead, the Massachusetts corrections officers who discovered his body Wednesday morning saw “John 3:16” written across Hernandez’s forehead in red ink. A Bible in the cell lay open to the same verse. Hernandez seemed to want to send a message. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” the New Testament verse reads. Hernandez was a convicted murderer, serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, and one who had led what many would deem an irreligious life — brawling and

      St. Louis Post-Dispatch q
    • North Korea says it is ready to strike U.S. aircraft carrier

      By James Pearson and Steve Holland SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korea said on Sunday it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, in the latest sign of rising tension as U.S. President Donald Trump prepared to call the leaders of China and Japan. The United States ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to mounting concern over the North's nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.

      Reuters 23 min ago
    • Ariel Winter gave the LBD a sparkly, sheer update, and we’re obsessed

      Honestly, it is hard to keep up with all of Ariel Winter’s looks. She is constantly serving glam and making us all…

      Hello Giggles
    • After Their Flight Attendant Made A Mum Cry, American Airlines Reacted Perfectly

      The days of "flying the friendly skies" appear to be long gone, but American Airlines is at least trying to fix the latest flight attendant controversy to go viral. On Friday, a flight attendant on board American Airlines flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas heatedly scolded a female passenger travelling alone with two children for attempting to store her buggy in an overhead locker, reports ABC News affiliate WFAA in Dallas. When another male passenger came to the mother's defence, the flight attendant then reportedly got physical, threatening the man who had spoken up on the young mother's behalf before a pilot appeared and attempted to calm down the irate flight attendant.

      Refinery 29 UK
    • Dowd: New poll is 'good news, bad news, really bad news' for Trump

      The Powerhouse Roundtable debates President Trump's progress as we approach 100 days in office.

      ABC News Videos
    • From First to Worst: This Fast-Casual Restaurant Now Ranks Last in Customer Loyalty -- The Motley Fool

      It's hard to go from hero to zero, but this fast casual restaurant managed to do it in just two years.

      The Motley Fool q
    • The Wizards of Waverly Place Cast: Where Are They Now? (6 photos)

      The Wizards of Waverly Place Cast: Where Are They Now?

      People
    • The business case for Fox dropping Bill O'Reilly wasn't his actions, it was his age

      For all of Bill O’Reilly’s problems at Fox News, the one that has garnered the least attention is probably the one most responsible for his dismissal: His audience is dying. According to CNN, the average age of viewers of The O’Reilly Factor was 72. The average life expectancy for males in the US is 78,…

      Quartz q
    • Ron Howard Reacts To Erin Moran's Death

      Erin Moran died in Indiana on Saturday at the age of 56.

      International Business Times
    • Mother of Aaron Hernandez’s Victim Asks Patriots to Pay Millions for Wrongful Death

      Days after former NFL player Aaron Hernandez was found hanged in his jail cell, the mother of the man he was convicted of killing says the New England Patriots should pay millions of dollars for her son’s wrongful death.

      Yahoo View