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9 Incredibly Delicious Ways to Eat Canned Sardines

September 22, 2023

If you instantly turn your nose up at canned sardines, listen up: You really oughta give them a chance. They’re ridiculously nutritious — packed with protein, healthy fats, and good things like calcium, iron, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. Even more importantly? They’re delicious. They have a rich, full flavor that’s somewhere between tuna and anchovies. If you like either, you’ll probably like sardines. They’re just as pantry-friendly as those two fishes, too.

The biggest question you probably have, though, is what to do with them. There are really countless ways to turn canned sardines into a fuss-free meal. Here are nine recipes to get you started.

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1. Spicy Sardine Salad Sandwich

spicy sardine sandwich with lemon

Courtesy of Killing Thyme

Take canned sardines, add a touch of mayo, scallions, capers, celery, and herbs, plus a squeeze of lemon and you have a fresh and healthy take on the classic tuna salad. If you like tuna salad, this is a good way to ease into the world of canned sardines.

Try the recipe from Killing Thyme.

2. Greek Salad with Sardines

sardine greek salad

Courtesy of Champagne Tastes

The thing we love most about this “salad” is that it feels more like a snack plate: Toss some blocks of feta, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions, olives, peppers, and sardines on a plate and call it lunch. Or dinner!

Try the recipe from Champagne Tastes.

3. Sardine Rice Bowl

sardine rice bowl with egg

Courtesy of Kitchen Gidget

This simple rice bowl can totally be customized based on what you have on hand. Swap the white rice for brown rice, quinoa, farro, or cauliflower rice, add leftover roasted vegetables if you have them, and try hot sauce or Sriracha if you don’t have red pepper flakes.

Try the recipe from Kitchen Gidget.

4. Cilantro-Lime Sardine Salad in Avocado Halves

canned fish salad in avocado halves


This simple salad of sardines, mayo, fresh cilantro, and lime juice is great in a sandwich or scooped on top of greens, but it’s especially nice stuffed into avocado halves. The buttery flavor of the avocado is a perfect match for the citrus-spiked fish.

Try the recipe from The Kitchn.

Read next: These Are the Healthiest, Tastiest Brands of Canned Tuna on the Market — and We’ve Tried Them All

5. Sardine Fish Cakes

sardine cakes with lemon

Courtesy of Frugal Feeding

These cakes are the perfect introduction to sardines if you’re on the fence about them. They’re similar in flavor and texture to crab cakes but are a whole lot more budget- and pantry-friendly.

Try the recipe from Frugal Feeding.

6. Mediterranean Sardine Pasta with Lemon, Capers, and Chili Flakes

sardine lemon pasta in a bowl

Courtesy of Tori Avery

Tossing sardines into pasta adds protein to every twirl and makes for a much more satisfying dinner. This one is full of Mediterranean flair thanks to briny capers and both fresh lemon zest and juice.

Try the recipe from Tori Avery.

7. Smoked Sardine Toasts with Lemon Mayo and Fennel Salad

canned sardines on toast


Think canned fish for dinner and you probably don’t think of something as fancy-looking as these toasts. They’re an elevated version of tuna salad. The sardines are nestled on top of lemony mayo then covered with a bright and snappy shaved vegetable salad.

Try the recipe from Real Simple.

8. Instant Pot Spanish Rice with Sardines in Tomato Sauce

Spanish sardine rice in a bowl

Courtesy of Killing Thyme

If you’re someone who could easily eat a bowl of rice as a meal, make this simple recipe ASAP. Adding sardines to the spiced rice lends enough protein and healthy fat to it to make it a truly wholesome dinner.

Try the recipe from Killing Thyme.

9. Mediterranean Sardine Puttanesca

mediterranean sardine puttanesca

Courtesy of Ocean’s

Need a clever weeknight dinner recipe to use up your canned sardines? Whip up this delicious Mediterranean Sardine Puttanesca using Ocean’s latest line of tinned fish! Plus, it fits perfectly if you’re looking to follow the Mediterranean diet.

Try the recipe from Clean Plates.

Read next: 6 Delicious Ways to Use Inexpensive, Heart-Healthy Canned Fish

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