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7 Best Canned Chicken Of 2023

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Sometimes we just don’t have the time to bake and shred up our own chicken. This can be a time-consuming task and, let’s be honest, it’s not always necessary.

When you need a quick fix, canned chicken can be a really great solution. Depending on what you’re making, canned chicken can be just as good as fresh chicken in your dish and it soaks up other flavors.

What is the best canned chicken? There are several really great options out there. The best options will taste fresh and won’t have a lot of preservatives and additives stuffed into them. The texture also shouldn’t come out dry, soggy, or stringy.

In this guide, we will walk you through the 7 best canned chicken products on the market.

We’ve searched and sorted to find the very best. We also have a quick guide for helping you decide which one is right for your recipe.

Choosing the Best Canned Chicken

You might need to familiarize yourself with some tips and tricks to improve the tastes and flavors of canned chicken, but it’s certainly a feasible solution when you just want a quick and simple meal.

When it comes to canned goods, some people make the common mistake of thinking they’re all the same.

While there are times this is true, it’s not always the case; there are definitely some options that are better than others. 

So, what do you look for and how can you perfect your canned chicken experience?

Check Your Can

When you are choosing a canned chicken, take a good look at the details on the can. You’ll want to know what the ingredients are and what has been added. This is one of the best ways to start your research.

You’ll want to check your can specifically for can quality as well. Is the can damaged or does it show signs of corrosion?

According to the FDA, if there are deep dents, rust, bloating, or leaking, consuming the contents inside may lead to botulism.

Once you’ve checked the quality of the can in general, check the label. Look at the nutritional values and ingredients to understand the purpose of everything listed.

Why waste your money on canned chicken that isn’t really chicken or something with a bunch of unnecessary additives? 

Types of Canned Chicken

As you look at your options, understand that there can be different types of canned chicken.

We recommend fully cooked canned chicken because you don’t have to worry about cooking it or coming into contact with bad bacteria and contracting salmonella.

You might find raw, half-cooked, or fully-cooked canned chicken. If you want to be able to cook the chicken in whatever way you please, raw chicken may work for you.

However, we feel as though buying raw canned chicken somewhat defeats the purpose of simplicity. In that case, it’s probably better just to buy your chicken fresh.

Should You Rinse Canned Chicken? 

For the most part, you will use your canned chicken in much the same way you would cook any regular chicken. It is not required to rinse the chicken to consume it, but you absolutely can.

Rinsing the chicken might be beneficial for just making sure it doesn’t have anything on it that you don’t want to consume. 

However, rinsing the chicken might also rinse away any flavor that the chicken had, so you will want to keep that particular consideration in mind. 

Rinsing canned chicken is really not required, and you might even find that the liquid in the can is good for making stock or broth.

How to Use Canned Chicken

Remember that there are no limitations on the functionality of canned chicken. You can eat it right out of the can if you prefer, although you might notice a difference in the taste when you eat it this way. 

Be sure to use all of the appropriate precautions when you handle your chicken. Just make sure everything is cleaned and prepare appropriately. Always check your cans for rust, dents, or swelling before you use them. 

Here are some things you can make with canned chicken: 

These are just a few things, but don’t let this list limit you. We suggest trying our white chicken enchiladas with cream cheese!

The 7 Best Canned Chicken Options

Now that you know some details about canned chicken, let’s talk about the best options out there. There are quite a few different varieties to choose from and some are certainly better than others. 

RankProductKey Features
1.Great Value Chunk Chicken Breast12.5oz cans, bulk packs, simple ingredients
2.Kirkland Signature Chicken Breast12.5oz cans, extra lean chicken, 13g of protein
3.Hormel Canned White and Dark ChickenWhite and dark meat, 97% fat-free
4.Keystone Meats All-Natural Canned Chicken28oz cans, only chicken and sea salt
5.Swanson Canned Chunked Chicken Breast12.5oz cans, no antibiotics, 98% fat-free
7.Swanson Canned Chunk Chicken Breast12.5oz cans, premium chicken
8.Starkist Premium White Chicken PouchesTo-go packets, several flavors

We’ve searched through the market to find the very best and we’re here to share them with you.

1. Great Value Chunk Chicken Breast

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Great Value is Wal-Mart’s private label brand, offering a fresh and ready-to-eat chicken in large packs of 4 12.5oz cans.

It’s one of the top-rated choices out there because this brand lives up to its name. The chicken even has a great flavor and texture without a bunch of additives or unknown substances. 

This canned chicken is combined with rib meat, so that’s something to keep in mind if it bothers you. This chicken is fully-cooked before it’s canned and preserved in water.

However, the meat to water ratio is not bad at all and you get plenty of meat in each can. In fact, most people find that they have leftovers from one can when dining alone.

This is a large bulk size, but you can also purchase it in smaller portions if you don’t want this many at one time. The ingredients are simple – chicken, water, and a low amount of sodium and flavoring.

Pros:

  • 12.5oz cans
  • Extra-large bulk options
  • Quality value for the money
  • No additional preservatives
  • Made and inspected in the USA
  • 98% fat-free option

Cons:

  • The large amount may be too much canned chicken for some consumers.
  • Ordering online always comes with the risk of receiving a damaged product and sometimes these cans come dented due to changes in altitude or possible accidents during shipping.

2. Kirkland Signature Chicken Breast

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Kirkland is Costco’s private-label brand. It has all of the best qualities that you could want in canned chicken.

This is a pack of 6 and we chose the 12.5oz cans. You can also buy other packs with different sizes or numbers of cans if you prefer. 

This canned chicken is packed in water so you don’t have to worry about nasty additives that you don’t want to ingest. It’s extra lean chicken as well, so it’s better for you.

This chicken contains 13g of protein as well. It’s considered to be premium chunk chicken. It’s fully cooked and ready to eat.

If you look at the ingredients, you’ll just see chicken breast meat as well as some water and basic seasoning.

The sodium levels are reasonable the can and its contents are all made and inspected in the USA before distribution. 

Pros:

  • Inspected and sourced in the USA
  • Packed in water instead of preservatives
  • High in protein, 13g
  • Limited ingredients
  • Comes in a pack of 6 good-sized cans

Cons:

  • Ordering online always comes with the risk of receiving a damaged product and sometimes these cans come dented due to changes in altitude or possible accidents during shipping.

3. Hormel Canned White and Dark Chunk Chicken

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Hormel is another quality brand. They don’t mislead or provide any false information. You know just what you will find every time you open their canned chicken.

This product contains both white and dark meat. It packaged in water and is 97% fat-free with a good amount of protein and low calories overall. 

The nice thing is that this is really all chicken and it is 100% real meat with no additives to plump it up.

It comes ready to eat and is chunked so you can prepare it however you like. The chicken is inspected in the USA before it is distributed for sale. 

You can rely on this to be simple and reliable chicken. There are no preservatives or MSG of any kind.

Everything is natural and clear and you don’t have to prep the chicken in any way before you use it. Just open the can and prepare the chicken to your liking. 

Pros:

  • Contains both white and dark meat
  • 97% fat-free
  • Good source of protein – 18g per 5oz can
  • No additives or preservatives

Cons:

  • 5oz cans vs a few brands which sell 12.5oz cans
  • Not the best flavor, making it more ideal for cooking purposes and not eating alone
  • Ordering online always comes with the risk of receiving a damaged product and sometimes these cans come dented due to changes in altitude or possible accidents during shipping.

4. Keystone Meats All-Natural Canned Chicken

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Keystone Meats is a premium fully-cooked canned chicken. It’s a slightly larger can than usual, so you get more in a single can.

This canned chicken comes to you fully-cooked and it has only 2 ingredients every in the can – chicken and sea salt.

It’s an all-natural solution. There is no added water, so your can will be filled to the brim with ready-to-eat chicken you won’t have to drain.

This canned chicken makes a great option for chefs, home cooks, or even campers.

This chicken is healthy and comes in chunks. There is absolutely no addition of MSG, preservatives, artificial add-ons, or anything else. It’s a low-sodium solution as well, which is always a nice bonus for a canned item.

Pros:

  • 2 ingredients – chicken and sea salt
  • Low sodium solution
  • Comes in a larger can with more chicken
  • Only 2 ingredients
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Canned flavor when you eat it plain, needs addditional seasoning
  • Ordering online always comes with the risk of receiving a damaged product and sometimes these cans come dented due to changes in altitude or possible accidents during shipping.

5. Swanson Canned Chunked Chicken Breast

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Swanson has always been a high-quality brand for canned goods and their canned chicken is no exception.

It’s antibiotic-free white meat chicken raised in the US. It comes in chunks so it’s easy to work with for whatever you might need. 

This particular option is a 12.5oz can. Swanson canned chicken can come with 28% more chicken and has fewer additives and preservatives or even water than a lot of canned chicken brands out there.

The ingredients list looks good with just chicken, water, and a small amount of seasoning for preservation. Note that the chicken breast is combined with rib meat.

Pros:

  • Ingredients list is simple
  • Chicken is all-white meat
  • Reduced levels of fat
  • 28% more chicken per can
  • Longstanding and reliable brand

Cons:

  • Quite a bit of liquid in the can, considering it’s advertised as 28% more chicken
  • Ordering online always comes with the risk of receiving a damaged product and sometimes these cans come dented due to changes in altitude or possible accidents during shipping.

6. Wellsley Farms Premium Chicken Breast

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This next option is a premium chicken breast option. It’s completely sourced and distributed in the USA.

The premium chunk chicken breast is some of the best out there.

The chicken is fully-cooked before it’s canned and only white meat is used, providing you with only the best meat.

The white meat is stored in water and everything is inspected in the USA prior to distribution. The company promises more actual meat and less liquid in every can that you get. 

Pros:

  • All white meat chicken
  • Locally sourced in the USA
  • Premium meat
  • Excellent source of protein

Cons:

  • Some find this product too salty
  • Ordering online always comes with the risk of receiving a damaged product and sometimes these cans come dented due to changes in altitude or possible accidents during shipping.

7. Starkist Premium White Chicken Pouches

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You’re probably familiar with the Starkist brand for their tuna or chicken of the sea options. This is a canned chicken that is not officially served in a can.

It actually comes in pouches, which just makes it easier to use on the go. You don’t even have to worry about draining out the water, which is a plus. 

This particular option is just chunks of plain chicken, but they have these same packets with flavors, including buffalo, lemon pepper, and teriyaki, available as well.

Each pouch is a single serving and a really great source of protein at 15g per 2.6oz pouch. The flavor is good and the quality is better. 

It is made with premium white chicken from USA farms. This brand provides several other meats in the same way also. 

Pros:

  • Comes in a pouch instead of a can
  • No draining or can openers required
  • Good flavor
  • Premium chicken
  • Various flavors available
  • No risk of dented cans

Cons:

  • Only one serving per pouch

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