Fish In A Tin

July 3, 2013

Many of you know I am an unofficial spokesperson for..



I truly believe they are one of the world’s healthiest foods because they contain three of the nutrients Americans are often deficient in: omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin D.

Sardines (and herring) are great because they are:

  • Inexpensive ($1 a tin for sardines packed in water, $4 or so for fancier kinds)
  • Shelf stable (keep them in your pantry at all times for a quick meal)
  • Already cooked – no dishes to wash
  • Full of high quality protein and good fats
  • A sustainable fish low in mercury (USA sardines are a best choice for Seafood Watch)
  • Versatile (mash them on crackers, make a salad, turn them into a sandwich spread, cook into sauces)

I first started eating sardines when I kept reading about them in health magazines as an underappreciated superfood. “If they are that nutritious I should be eating them!” I thought. I was on a tuna/salmon salad kick, so learning to like sardines was an easy crossover. I actually first tried sardines when I was in high school from a tin my dad had in our pantry. I liked them OK, but not knowing they were so healthy or creative ways to make a sardine salad, I didn’t really make them a regular staple in my diet. I believe this was my first time trying them on KERF!


Eating A Sardine

I tell people: if you like tuna salad and you like fish, you’ll like sardines. If you aren’t so hot on fish, however, you probably won’t like them. I prefer mine to be smoked (extra flavor) and I don’t eat them from the tin directly (although you certainly could). I tend to mash them up into salads, spreads and things.

Sardines are a member of the herring family so I often use sardines and herring interchangeably. Herring are a little bigger, but I can’t really tell much of a difference between them in taste. Perhaps I need to do a side-by-side taste test…

Here are what they look like when you open the tin and drain them:


You can easily flake the fish to look like chunk light tuna. I think what scares people so much about “fish in a tin” is the thought of bones. The bones of sardines are so soft and mashable they really shouldn’t even be called bones. People think of bones as pointy, stiff and dangerous to eat, but these bones are soft cartilage that gets mashed with the filets. They are where all the nutrients are! You can’t even really see them:


Don’t be scared – just watch this video for a live demo of how to make a sardine salad:



As I mentioned before, sardines range in price from $1 (or less!) a tin up to $4-5 for fancier brands.


The brand I’ve gotten most in the past is Trader Joe’s because I love the smoky flavor. HOWEVER, Seafood Watch discourages the consumption of wild caught sardines from the Mediterranean and a few of the brands I’ve enjoyed are from Europe. While I was researching this post I realized TJs sardines are from Portugal. The fish themselves are safe to eat, but the concern is the way they are caught, which leads to overfishing and putting the population at risk, so you have an environmental decision to make.

So like most other fish these days:

Pacific/USA = good

Atlantic/European = discouraged for overfishing reasons

Look at your can – the origin is required to be on there.

Trader Joe’s sardines in water are from Canada, which should be considered Pacific/USA and OK.

Wild Planet is always an easy choice for seafood, as all of their products are sustainably caught. The company send me a few coupons to try their flavors, and the olive oil flavor was great! I haven’t tried the marinara (I think I might cook them into pasta?) but I’ll let you know when I do.


This brand from Maine is fantastic!


The maple flavor is subtle (think slightly sweet & smoky bbq sauce) and the fish is flakier and less fishy than other brands I’ve tried.



I like to chop in all kinds of veggies – carrots, celery, peppers – plus add some binders in the form of mustard, mayo, Greek yogurt and then spice things up with salt, pepper, curry powder, smoked paprika, dill, lemon juice, capers and more.

For a basic salad:

  1. Drain your sardines and mash them with a fork until you reach a uniform consistency.
  2. Add a quarter cup to half cup of chopped veggies
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  4. Add 1 tablespoon mayo or Greek yogurt
  5. Add 1-2 teaspoons of seasonings to taste
  6. Serve over greens, with chips, on a sandwich, with crackers, or simply eat with a fork.

Here is a massive list of just some of the ways I’ve enjoyed sardines and herring over the years:


Long Time, No Sardine

Sardine Cocktail

Sardine Salad on Salad

Smoked Herring Salad

Scoopable Salad

Sardine Sandwich

Sardine Toast

Fancy Feast

Sandwich II

Open-Faced Pesto Sandwich

Mixed Veggies

Red Curry Broiled on Eggplant

Chopped Sardines

With Pumpkin Seeds

Layered with Avocado

Don’t forget there’s always sardine oatmeal if you’re in the mood Winking smile


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{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Claire @ Health Nut Claire July 3, 2013 at 8:16 am

Should the skin be left on?


2 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

Yes, it just gets mashed in and is barely noticeable


3 Anne Weber-Falk July 3, 2013 at 8:31 am

Okay…I’ll do it. I will try to eat sardines. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the bones. I freak when I see the bones. I can’t order fish in a restaurant because if I run into a bone I can’t finish the meal. We always had the tins in the house growing up. My dad liked them in mustard sauce on saltine crackers. My sister and I would run away when he’d offer them to us. Thanks for the great post. It’s made me a bit more confident. One of the best about super foods.


4 Lauren @ The Highlands Life July 3, 2013 at 8:34 am

I have never tried sardines by themselves before but have definitely had them atop a fancy ceasar salad and such. Maybe I need to grab some next time I’m at TJ’s or Whole Foods. We always need some more superfood in our lives.


5 Ali @ Peaches and Football July 3, 2013 at 8:37 am

I’ll admit it. I’m too scared to watch the video. I think my palms get a little sweaty just thinking of sardines. They’ve always been something that frightens me. I’m not a fish eater at all and I really wish I was because you’re right, the health benefits are amazing… But I can’t get past the smell and appearance… eek :)


6 Ashley July 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

Sardine oatmeal? Are you pregnant again?! 😉


7 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

Ha – no! That was from my April Fools post : )


8 Jenn July 3, 2013 at 11:39 am

I’m a big fish eater and sardines are one of my faves. But, when I saw the sardines on oatmeal, I have to admit I gagged a little. Yuck.


9 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Don’t worry I didn’t eat them…although it really wasn’t that bad because they were the sweet and mild maple syrup ones. Not that far off from maple bacon!


10 Axel October 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

LOL omg I would totally eat sardines on oatmeal… savory steel cut oats? No? Yum!


11 Matthew Osborn February 16, 2015 at 7:43 am

I DO like sardine oatmeal! For a while it looked like “savory oatmeal” was going to be a big thing, but it didn’t get that big. Still, to me sardine oatmeal isn’t a joke, it’s warming, filling, satisfying, tasty, wholesome, healthy, and cheap. :) I love it! Serious.


12 Carly @ Snack Therapy July 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

I’m not a huge fan of fish (even freshly caught fish) so anything like this totally freaks me out. I don’t know if I’d be able to eat a fishy little sardine. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage ; ).


13 Liz July 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

I’m so glad you wrote this post. I picked up a tin of sardines after reading about all the health benefits and wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I will look forward to preparing a delicious lunch :)!


14 Emily July 3, 2013 at 9:05 am

I think “Pacific/USA = good” is a bit confusing, as the Atlantic waters of the USA are fished as well. If Atlantic sardines are to be avoided due to unsustainable fishing methods, doesn’t that mean that not all USA fish are recommended?


15 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

It is confusing. And this was new research to me – so anyone feel free to chime in. But I think East Coast is OK – when they say Atlantic I think that includes European shores, so saying either Pacific or Atlantic from the US is what I was trying to get across.


16 Renee July 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Have to chime in because my work involves fisheries. It’s actually much more complicated than that. There are many Western Atlantic populations that are overfished as well, most notably Atlantic cod. The easiest way is to just check Fish Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have a website, pocket guides, and even an app.


17 KathEats July 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Oh I was referring to sardines only. I do consult Seafood Watch for other fish – wonderful resource.


18 Hope July 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

I am always so interested when you post about eating sardines. I’ve just been too chicken to try it out. I will put it on my list for this weekend. I will try them!


19 Christine@ Apple of My Eye July 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

I didn’t know what a superfood sardines are! I’m going to pick some up next time I go to the store.

Thanks Kath!


20 SweatyGirl July 3, 2013 at 9:33 am

Mmm! I LOVE sardines! But I always eat them right out of the can, as is, or on crackers. I just had some for dinner last night!
I wish more people would try them, because they are so good and maybe they’d stop giving me the EEWWWW looks :-)


21 Grace @ Grace Dishes July 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

Thank you for this post! I’ve been meaning to add sardines into my diet but forgot. This weekend’s grocery list will definitely have them on it!


22 Rachael July 3, 2013 at 9:36 am

I eat tinned sardines ALL the time. So easy for travel ( I am a sales rep that drives all over the place) and I don’t eat processed food from fast food places so these are perfect! After you get over the weirdness of it you will begin to love them! I even brought a bunch on a Europe trip with me so I could be sure to get some protein, fat, and nutrients in!


23 Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon July 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

Thank you for this post! I have followed your fishy adventures on top of salads and ended up trying the smoked trout from Trader Joes and LOVED IT. I will try sardines now in the same fashion. Love your video- thanks for the play by play, and I love getting some of your personality through the video : )


24 Alicia @ Wanna Be Ina July 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

I am wondering…have you tried feeding a little bit of mashed sardines to Mazen yet? My son (who is now 6) absolutely LOVES sardines. When we are out of sardines, and I get some at the grocery, he goes crazy, much like most kids would when you bring home candy (don’t get me wrong the kid loves candy too)! Anyway, I started giving him fish pretty young. I started with catfish at about 7 months (bear in mind my son had 8 teeth at 3 months), then salmon and tuna, and now the kid will eat any kind of seafood you offer him.


25 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 11:27 am

Yes! He loves fish! I haven’t tried shellfish yet though…a little scared!


26 alicia July 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

We waited until our son was old enough to communicate before we tried shellfish. He had a bad reaction to eggs about the third time he ate them, so we were a little hesitant with certain foods. He has since outgrown the egg allergy, and never had any other reactions.


27 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Communicate so he could say “I’m feeling funny?” That’s smart.


28 Farah July 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm

With shellfish (and the other 8 common allergens – milk wheat, soy, peanuts etc) aren’t you supposed to wait until the baby is 1 year old? So that their immune system has had time to mature (to avoid potential allergies)? I start a Pediatric Nutrition class on Monday so hopefully I’ll know the answer soon…just wondered if you had been told anything related to this…?


29 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

The recommendations just recently changed. They used to say wait and suspect that might be why there are so many more allergies now. So now the recommendation is introduce early, although it’s still scary!


30 Farah July 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Ah ok – thanks for the feedback. I’ll let you know if I hear of/learn anything different in my Pediatric class this summer!


31 Maureen July 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Really this completely depends on your child’s pediatrician and family history of allergies. We have no family history of allergies and ours still says to wait until 2 to introduce nuts and shellfish, and that early introduction has no correlation to the number of allergies; so it really all depends on what you read and who you talk to.


32 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh July 3, 2013 at 10:19 am

Okay, okay…I might actually just try these. I love tuna fish and if these are as close as you say, then I should like them. But yeah, the skin has got to go or I’ll retch just knowing it’s there! :)


33 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

I’m not sure you could peel it off? It’s soooo thin!


34 Christine July 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

I bought a can from TJ a few months ago and still have not opened it…LOL. Baby steps I guess!


35 Liz July 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

I have tried sardines once many many years ago and didn’t like them. However I love tuna fish. I assume tuna fish doesn’t have the same properties as sardines… Will get some sardines this weekend and give them another try


36 Stacey July 3, 2013 at 10:32 am

Glad you explained more on ‘how’ to eat them :) The idea of sardines has always freaked me out, but I’m not sure why? I LOVE fish and eat it 3 times a week so I really need to get with it!


37 Megan July 3, 2013 at 10:46 am

So, this feels like a silly question, but . . . I was going to try sardines a couple months ago because I’d heard about their great nutritional benefits and have a friend who swears by them. When I picked up a tin in the store, however, I saw “smoked” and put them back because I’m pregnant. Are sardines generally just smoked or are they fully cooked? I would love a low mercury option for fish salads!


38 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

That’s a great question. I think all canned foods have been high heat pressurized so they are OK to eat. Whereas smoked salmon has only been smoked.


39 Matt July 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

My suspicion is that not only are the fish smoked, but then in a separate step they are pressure-canned. Pressure-canning sterilizes stuff, and therefore makes it so you can store it at room temp. But not an expert here!


40 karenb July 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

I get them packed in olive oil and drain the oil into a bowl to make a dressing with it. Dijon, hot sauce and lemon juice whisked into the fishy oil, then pour it all back over the sardines. It’s delicious!
Great post, I wish more people would eat sardines. Or at least let me eat them without making faces!


41 Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen July 3, 2013 at 11:09 am

You make them look goof that I want to try them!


42 Kelly K July 3, 2013 at 11:16 am

This post has been very helpful to me, a sardine-phobe. I want to try them, I do, because of the health benefits, and I enjoy most fish. But I’ve seen them with the heads on and avoided them mostly because of that. I don’t see heads on yours! Are there certain varieties that leave the heads on? (Sorry, I just really hate fish heads!)


43 Farah July 3, 2013 at 11:35 am

Thanks for this post! I keep eyeing the sardines at TJs – thinking I should really try them, but never have the courage. I may just do it this week :) Never in oatmeal tho 😉


44 Rachel July 3, 2013 at 11:38 am

I’ve been considering trying sardines for a while. Haven’t tried them since I worked at Pizza Hut a million years ago. We’re headed to Trader Joe’s this weekend I will have to pick some up. Excited to try them I love tuna salad. Thanks for the info!


45 Kara July 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Have you ever tried the Natural Sea brand? I too love sardines and this is one of my favorite brands.
These come skinless and boneless so it may be suited for someone who is turned off by the skin and bones.


46 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm

cool. I haven’t noticed it but maybe it’s at WF and I’ve overlooked


47 Matt July 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I think a big reason that sardines are a generally feared food goes back to cartoons and such as kids. Don’t you remember when cartoons wanted to gross kids out they would show spinach, limburger cheese, and canned fish (like sardines and anchovies)? My first taste of sardines was eating them on a dare in high school. I was pretty grossed out until I actually took the bite and then anticlimactically was like, “Oh it’s just canned tuna… and it’s pretty good!”

PS anchovies are delicious too


48 Kathleen July 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I think the scene from The ‘Burbs probably help, either. Although I’d be lying if I said I don’t laugh out loud every time I watch it still.


49 Kathleen July 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Oh shoot. Probably *didn’t* help, either. Proofreading. I’m… apparently not so good at it.


50 Susan July 4, 2013 at 1:58 am

My husband is Swedish, and we always make a potato dish with anchovies (and onions, cream and butter…), called ‘Jansson’s Frestelse’ or our Christmas buffet. I’m not huge on canned (or pickled) fish, but the anchovies really only give it a really salty flavor.


51 Eileen July 3, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Well, I’ve definitely been in the sardine-phobia boat, even though I love tuna and practically all fresh fish. I did have fresh sardines once at an amazing Senegalese restaurant–tasty, but big enough that you could slice the filet off the spine like any ordinary fish. No bone intimidation there! So it looks like my next step is to go try out a can. Your salad suggestions are super helpful–I wouldn’t know where to start otherwise!


52 Jodi July 3, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I never used to like sardines when I was a teenager. Now that I am an adult, I have fallen in love with the fish. I love it with crackers and it serves as an amazing snack. The smell can be a turn off but the taste is amazing.


53 Nicole July 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for this. I’ve been wondering about your reasoning behind eating sardines and I love the convenient list of recipes all layed out for me. I’ve been wanting to get on the sardine train, so this should definitely help. I remember trying them in a class in elementary school and I was one of the only kids that liked them. I guess it’s time to try it again.

Btw, I love the new format you’ve taken with your blog. I love learning more from your dietetic education, while still getting to see your fun meals. Following your blog for the last couple years has really changed the way I eat and feed my family. I love your point of view on food and appreciate that you are not overly strict of eating this way or that way. So many food bloggers are extremely strict and judgmental so it’s refreshing to see someone who just enjoys food and health and doesn’t have an agenda. Thanks for just being you and for sharing your knowledge and views with us!


54 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Thanks Nicole!


55 APRIL DJIBONON July 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I appreciate the post, but Yikes!!!!


56 Emily @ Life on Food July 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Just not sure I am quite there yet for having this be a staple in my house.


57 Laura July 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Ewwwwwwwwww. Just seeing the open tin of them drained made me want to gag. I’m not a big fish eater (will only touch cod right now) and the thought of eating sardines makes me feel sick. Yuck Yuck Yuck! I love to eat healthy though so I wish the thought of them wasn’t so gross :)


58 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Now, now


59 Katherine July 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

ha! amazing comment.


60 Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile July 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

These look so good! I didn’t know that they were so good for you :) I love fish and I’m on a canned salmon kick right now! I’ll definitely be trying these on my next trip to Sprouts or Trader Joe’s. I wonder how they would taste with avocado in a sandwich….


61 Christi July 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I love them with mashed avocado on toast, goes really well together in my opinion.


62 Christi July 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

I never thought I could actually like sardines but they really are delicious. I always buy the wild planet varieties and decided to try to marinara on a whim. I know it sounds so gross to people but I use them to make mini “pizzas.” I use Ezekiel bread or pitas, toast them in the broiler on one side then top them with the sardines/marinara, mozzarella and sometimes onions or bell peppers. I then broil them and I think this may be my favorite way to eat them. My dad used to try to gross us out when he ate sardines and crackers but once I incorporated them into my diet I was surprised at how mild they taste. I was diagnosed with Lupus three years ago and my doctor suggested sardines to me because they are high in Vitamin B12. I didn’t think I would ever be able to stomach them but I enjoy them at least once a week now. I’ve never bought the ones packed in oil but I think I will have to try the smoked ones because those sound great.


63 Karen July 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Though I don’t eat fish myself, this is an awesome post – filled with great health/nutrition info! Terrific work, Kath!

Have a happy Fourth!


64 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner July 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I love this “all about sardine” post–I’m crazy for canned fish!


65 natasha July 3, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I tried Sardines for the 1st time a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised. My toddler will also eat them up as long as they are on a cracker.


66 jenna k July 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

i love sardines! i always knew they were “supposed” to be gross, but i never really thought they were very gross, so i really don’t get all the “ewwwww nasty” that everyone does about them lol. to people freaked out by the “skin,” you’re probably imagining skin like on fried chicken, which is super thick and weird, but it’s not really like that at all! you can SORT OF flake it off, but i can’t tell a difference in taste or texture.

i don’t think i knew that they are low in mercury- that’s great to know! i actually like them best straight from the tin. :) the big bone (spine?) does sort of freak me out, but i just don’t look at it, and i like having the big chunks of meat. drain, squeeze some honey mustard on, and eat with toast and cheese! that with fruit/veggie is the perfect lunch! i’ve been wanting to try the maple kind since you first posted about it… yum!


67 Mary July 3, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I had no idea so many people were scared of sardines!

I do buy them, but I give them to my greyhound, who loves them. But this has reminded me to eat them again!


68 Kel July 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

One of my favorite breakfasts is Fisherman’s Eggs.

Heat oven to 450 degrees, then heat a pan like a cast iron for 5 minutes.

Toss in one can of sardines, including the oil!, a handful of chopped parsley, one minced garlic, and a shallot, sliced. Cook for 6 minutes.

After 6 minutes, crack an egg (or two 😉 ) over this and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes or until your desired level of doneness.

Devour and enjoy! :)

Looking forward to checking out the other sardine recipe links!


69 Kel July 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I should mention my second favorite way to eat sardines…

Place a cup of good sauerkraut (Bubbies is an amazing brand) in a bowl, then open up a can of mustard sardines and place on top. Scoop and eat just like that!

I know, I know, everyone I share this with scrunches up their nose at me, but this is SO GOOD. I am salivating now thinking about it!


70 Sherry December 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Actually I am digging this one! I just had some sardines with sweet pickled peppers. The tart flavor really compliments the Sardines.


71 Katie @ Real Food Katie's Way July 3, 2013 at 5:13 pm

That is IT Kath. I’m diving right in to the world of sardines. You’ve given me no choice 😉 I too think to myself “man, I know these are good for me and I really should eat them!” so now I’m just going to go for it. The bones are what give me the heebies. Not just with sardines. Salmon too. I’ve just got to get over it!


72 Sarah W. July 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Okay, I’m so tempted to try sardines now…but a little hesitant. I hate tuna fish in a can but like smoked salmon…do you think sardines are more tuna-tasting or more in the smoked salmon range (if I got smoked sardines, perhaps?) :)


73 KathEats July 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Maybe right in the middle? Although….I think tuna is the closest relative…try ’em!!


74 Christina July 3, 2013 at 5:25 pm

I LOVE this post, Kath! I didn’t think anyone was as obsessed about sardines as I am!! I spend A LOT of my grocery spending on sardines at Trader Joe’s. :) They are so incredibly healthy, especially if you have dietary restrictions. I have Crohn’s disease and sardines are one of those rare foods I can digest and absorb all the wonderful nutrients from…plus they taste delicious!!


75 Live Love Yum July 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Love this post – very informative. I have a can of Sardines sitting in my pantry for a while now…I might take the plunge now! :)


76 Olivia July 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I bought a can from TJs a while ago – after one of your sardine posts, I believe – but I’ve yet to open the can. I brought them to work with me and, fearing my colleagues might toss me out on my keester for smelling up the floor, I never did anything with them. Then my office fridge began to smell funny and it seemed as though the can leaked or something, so I dumped em. That settled my “gosh, I really need to do something with these sardines” dilemma. However, it really didn’t solve anything because I really want to get into the swing of the sardine thing. Hmmm, maybe this weekend…


77 M Baker July 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Thanks for such a helpful post. I have always loved sardines, and used to eat them plain. Your addition of Dijon mustard and yogurt makes them even better. That was my lunch today, with some rice crackers. Excellent. Again, many thanks. A tasty new way to enjoy sardines. (I do agree about adding veg., but I was running late.)


78 Kim @ Healthy Living in the City July 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I’m typically not a fan of tuna salad, but I might have to give sardine salad a try! I didn’t realized just how good they were for you. Loved the KERF Kitchen video as well as variety of brands out there that you shared.


79 L Pearson July 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Great post!! I have never tried sardines but will now! Thanks for a great website! I love reading KERF!!!


80 Q. July 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Love this post! #1 -My dad always ate sardines while I was growing up (in Newport News, VA)
#2-Now I love to eat sardines, though I didn’t as a child
#3-I ate them (and served them to my husband) for supper this very evening
#4-I grew up in the south and would NEVER use the word “pop” for a soft drink
#5-Now I live in the “north” (PA), where they use such strange words as “you’ns” in place of “y’all”


81 jen July 27, 2014 at 8:01 am

My dad loved sardines also. I have never tried, but reading this is helping me get ready to try. I need to have another easy, quality, whole30 compliant protein to add to my repertiore. I’m on a fresh salmon kick.. I get a whole (wild caught) salmon filet every week, bake it and usually divide into about 9 portions…easy peasy for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

I will buy sardines this weekend, and prepare to be amazed. Thank you for the reassurance and encouragement!

Q… I think that is spelled ‘yinz’ …lol


82 Cosmos July 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I’ve been eating sardines for a few years now after seeing them on your blog. I love the nutritional profile and that they are shelf stable. I toss them of top of salads.


83 S.P. Gass July 3, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I like to eat them in out of the can on crackers. What’s really great are the jars of herring in white wine but those cost more than a buck.


84 Mom July 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Well even though I’m your mom and I take your advice on a lot of things, I’m not ready to take the sardine plunge…


85 Amy @ July 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

The poor sardine. I love the sardines and anchovies in those adorable glass jars packed in olive oil. In Sweden there a popular potato au gratin dish with herring in it. If you add potatoes and cheese, I am in!


86 Lynn July 3, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I know that this sounds silly, but I am afraid to try sardines. I am find with eating all sorts of fish, but I shudder at sardines. Therefore I am going to grab one of your recipies and give it a go this weekend. I’ll keep you posted.


87 Cecilia July 4, 2013 at 5:23 am

I’ve never ever tried sardines. I admit it, I’m scared to try them. But I might have to conquer my fear for the health benefit.


88 Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen July 4, 2013 at 6:55 am

I think you may have finally convinced me to give sardines a try. 😉


89 Laura July 4, 2013 at 7:06 am

I loved this post! Good info and fun recipes.


90 Andrea July 4, 2013 at 7:50 am

I really like the maple ones you posted. I mix them with a swiss laughing cow and maybe a little carrots/celery/onion if I have them on hand. Strange but good.


91 Anita July 4, 2013 at 10:12 am

Love you blog
Just had a quick question is it ok to consume sardines when you are pregnant verses tuna?


92 KathEats July 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Yes. They are low mercury


93 Katherine July 4, 2013 at 10:19 am

yum! I think I might actually try this 😛

Happy 4th!


94 Leslie July 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

You inspired me. I went to the grocery store and bought sardines yesterday. Haven’t eaten them yet, but for the first time ever I have a tin of sardines in my pantry. Baby steps!


95 Katherine July 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I LOVE this post. Maybe my favorite EVER? And I have been reading for a long time!

I am just like you, love the taste, dont look, and enjoy! Such a baby about it, but its oh-so–delish when it just looks like tuna salad!


96 ds July 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Hi Kath! How do the health benefits of sardines and salmon compare? Thanks!


97 KathEats July 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

They are both fatty fish with omega-3s but sardines take the cake for more calcium + vitamin D thanks to the bones


98 Drake January 13, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Just a comment. Salmon do not produce omega-3 fatty acids, rather they acquire it from eating other fish that contain omega-3’s, namely sardines. Sardines consume plankton and that is the source of the omega-3’s.


99 Laura @ Mommy Run Fast July 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm

This post is perfect timing- I’ve been wanting to experiment with sardines but have been scared to try them because I grew up thinking they were disgusting! I really need to get over it and mashing them into salads is a great idea. Thanks!!


100 [email protected] for the soul July 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I love how you have such a non-picky palate! I loooooove love sardines and any kind of fish, really (the stinkier the better). So to see you feature one of my favorites (and feared by most) is pretty cool. 😀


101 Jen July 4, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Thanks for this post! I’ve never tried sardines, but I think I’m going to try them for breakfast tomorrow! I need a good new source of protein and think this may be it!


102 Tracy July 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Headed to my pantry now….

Well done! You have me craving sardines as it’s been a while. You originally turned me on to the yumminess (and nutrition) of sardines and I’ve never looked back :)

Here’s a link to more canned sardine ideas:


103 Brenda July 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

My discomfort with sardines stems from the fact that unless you get only fillets, the fish still have their guts, correct? My understanding is only large sardines get “eviscerated”, so the smaller ones still have their digestive tracts, which are hopefully purged, but that’s not guaranteed. The idea of eating a fish’s lunch still in the fish is…..unsettling to me. Are you eating the filets only? Or are they too small for that to be a possibility?


104 KathEats July 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I have nt ever seen the gi like you do in a mussel or shrimp. There are also no heads so I think they have been prepped


105 Lisa July 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Just picked up some Bar Harbor. You sold me on the maple flavor! I am going to try it on some French bread in the morning.


106 CanadianKristin July 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Not sure if this was mentioned, but TJ offers a ‘boneless, skinless’ option in canned sardines… a good place to start if you are freaked out by the skin and bones! Mmmmm…. sardines out of the can, yum!


107 Mary Beth July 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Ok, you finally convinced me. I just bought my first can of sardines.


108 Krissy Claud July 5, 2013 at 3:36 am

It’s amazing how you can do a lot of things to sardines! It looks delicious in all of your dishes and in all the ways you ate it. I can’t wait to try doing the sardine salad you made on your video tutorial! Thanks for sharing this, I am actually convinced in trying to eat sardines after knowing how healthy it is and that there are many ways to prepare it!


109 Neil Butterfield July 5, 2013 at 3:42 am

I love sardines. Mash them up with vinegar, chopped onion, salt and pepper and make a freash bread sandwich with them. Absolutely delicious. If you don’t have fresh bread then make an open toasted sandwich, also delicious.


110 Jill July 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I eat perhaps too many sardines…like 3 – 4 tins per week! I eat it all too (each tin I think is about 3-4 ounces). Just convenient in summer heat when not desiring to cook…afraid I might make myself sick of them though…their good on rice cakes with a side of avocado/veggie salad.


111 Sarah Williams July 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I just bought two varieties of sardines (lemon, and plain in olive oil) and one of smoked harring to try with my groceries today! 98 cents each! Thanks for your foodspiration!


112 Teri July 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

So it’s been awhile since I have had sardines. I can remember my mom’s quick little snack of sardines, some mustard and crackers. Happen to be in WF & sardines by Bar Harbor where on sale. Decided to to try smoked sardines over a bed of sauteed fresh spinach. Love you blog, thank you for sharing. I have learned so much about eating healthy whole food.


113 Lara July 29, 2013 at 5:14 am

Great to read about sardines. I think sardines get a bit of a bad rap. A lot of people screw their nose up at the thought but they really are awesome. Lightly smoked sounds great. I’ve been messing around with the larger fresh sardines as well. Give them a try for lunch with a few veges. Healthy, filling and tasty. Massive fan


114 Edna October 20, 2013 at 3:24 am

I do like sardines, especially on toast with lemon, but I did not eat it very often until now.
I never actually thought they were so healthy so thanks for the good news! :)


115 Maggie December 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hi there I would like too know if you can buy mashed sardine, or you buy plane sardine and mash it yourself


116 KathEats December 6, 2013 at 6:17 am

I think they only come whole to mash


117 Lyna March 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Yum ! Found appetizing assurance right here. I was having doubts about the ” disappearance” of the “risky” bones & “snaky-looking-but-filmy?!” skins in my whimsical ( 2nd time ever & not straight out of the can this time) dinner of Thai sardines mashed into blanched green peas & soy salad with spicy rice balls. A second helping is now gone … Mild on the smell & tang too. I want more !


118 Barbara Garcia November 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Great post! I grew up with sardines on plain, white no-nutrition bread….still a comfort food. I forgot about them for awhile, then, not remembering the brand I grew up on, took a chance and…darned if they didn’t have their heads still on. Yeah, right in the trash as it turned my stomach. Anyway, great suggestions. I can’t wait to try the one with sauerkraut. Thanks!!


119 Le Trotteur May 1, 2014 at 9:45 am

Thanks for this lively post and blog! I was reading it while preparing a tuna sandwich… The tuna never got out of the can! I took the sardine can I had bought the previous day, out of curiosity. I quickly mixed the fish with mexican salsa wrapped it in a tortilla. After tasting it, I can announce that this tuna can is going to stay in the pantry for a little while!


120 Jeff May 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

I’ve been super loading sardines for the past two months…gotten on a real binge kick with them for lunches. Two cans a day! Every day! NOT because they are good for me – that is an added benefit. But because they taste so yummy and are so easy and convenient to eat! Just have to keep a can of air freshener in the lounge area to keep from overly offending my colleagues. I just finished can number two and thought to see what the interwebs had to say about these awesomely tasty treats. Good find! Even though a year old, the most current sardine-centric feedback I was able to locate, so had to opine.


121 Robotech_Master June 13, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Wow, this is like an epiphany. I’d never realized you could mash them up with stuff. I always just put them between two slices of bread as-is and ate them that way. I think I like your way better. :)

By the way, if you’ve ever seen the movie “The Triplets of Belleville,” the food “Champion” eats to prepare for his race is mashed potatoes and sardines. It looks rather unappetizing in the movie, but it’s apparently actually one of the filmmaker’s favorite foods.


122 Mary B September 2, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Bought my first sardines ever today, at Ollie’s. Mostly, I wanted to satisfy my curiosity about whether or not they were really canned “head, guts, and all” like I’d heard. But, on the shelf beside the cans, were pouches, for 59 cents, and the picture on the pouch did not include heads, and I decided I’d try headless sardines before daring to open a can. Then, I had no idea what to do with them, so Google brought me to you.
I am relieved that you have described them as a lot like tuna. I love eating the bones of canned salmon, so softened bones are no problem. I just don’t want them to look as icky as canned mackerel. I can eat mackerel – just not comfortably. And, I don’t want guts, or heads. Glad to read I probably won’t find them in the pouch, or a can.
If the sardines taste anything like I am now imagining, I might use them to flavor bean soup. A friend doing a religious fast that did not include “meat” showed up at dinner time and I’d cooked up a big pot of unseasoned beans that were going to be divided between black bean brownies, and a nice ham flavored soup.
No ham? No ham! Maybe salmon was salty and flavorful enough to stand in for it? Tried a bite of beans with a bite of salmon. Success! The can of salmon went into the beans, juice and all. It was great!


123 Drake January 13, 2015 at 11:01 pm

I love to make fish tacos with sardines or canned herring and definitely include fresh made guacamole. I often use cabbage as my wrap in place of a tortilla.


124 Chaoszen March 7, 2015 at 2:33 am

People seem oblivious to the fact that 6 sardines to a tin was standard. What will you say when there is 2 sardines? Or perhaps 1 sardine?. Will you just blindly accept the discrepancy? How about when they just start selling you sardine juice in a tin. Wake up people. The rich are ripping you off daily. And laughing all the way.


125 KathEats March 7, 2015 at 7:16 am



126 Matt March 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

I LOVE sardines, but I’m looking to buy them in glass! S.O.S.!!!


127 James March 16, 2015 at 4:52 am

I always eat sardines with a bit of tomato sauce on the sides, but after repeating this recipe all over I became tired of eating them, thankfully you shared some new recipes for me to try out, I’ll give this a shot when I get home, thanks again for this post :)


128 Michael March 20, 2015 at 11:30 am

I stumbled on this post looking for new ways to eat sardines, for those of you that are afraid to try them, it is okay, I am sure that you would not like them anyways… the last thing I would want is a bunch of new sardine lovers, there would be less for me. :o) I am just kidding of course, remember you are top of the food chain so there is nothing to be afraid of, and they are so so so good. Here is one of the ways I like to eat sardine. Start with Sardines in oil, mix with a table spoon or so of minced onions and a splash of vinegar, scoop on a club cracker and enjoy.


129 meg September 28, 2015 at 7:28 am

You’ve totally sold me on sardines & they are a solid part of my lunch rotation now. Do you think these recipes/flavor combos would work with anchovies too?


130 KathEats September 28, 2015 at 9:10 am

Anchovies are so much more potent to me, that I’m not sure these salads would work the same. But maybe mixed in with sardines they would add some delicious flavor!


131 meg September 28, 2015 at 8:27 pm

That makes sense – thanks!


132 economizer May 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm

A local store sells huge oval tins of BIG sardines for $1.29, but they are packed in insipid tomatoey goo.
To make them edible, I rinse the tomato sauce away with warm water, and break the fish up, mixing it with chopped Korean napa cabbage kimchi to taste, garnish with toasted sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime juice to brighten the flavor. This is good over hot rice and makes a quick, healthy meal.


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