Top 5 Canned Herring Brands of 2024: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

5 Best Canned Herring of 2024 (With Buyer’s Guide)

Are you a fan of herring, but find the preparation time and mess of cooking it a hassle? If so, canned herring may be the perfect solution for you. Canned herring is not only convenient, but also nutritious and easy to prepare. With just a simple can opener, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of herring without any fuss.
But with so many brands available, how do you choose the best canned herring? It’s important to choose a brand that offers the right balance of taste, nutrition, and quantity. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of the top five canned herring brands of 2023.

Canned vs. Fresh Herring

Herring has long been a popular food source due to its size and nutritional value. In the past, herring was primarily available fresh, and stores kept it under ice to preserve its freshness. Today, however, herring can be found in a variety of forms, including fresh, frozen, cooked, and canned.
The canning process revolutionized the food industry by allowing food to be stored without refrigeration. When it comes to canned herring, the difference between canned and fresh is negligible. Canned herring is typically cooked and canned immediately, preserving its flavor and texture.

The canning process for fresh herring

Canneries use specific processes for canning meat, including herring. The canning process for herring includes three main steps: cleaning and deboning, seasoning and processing, and packaging.
During the cleaning and boning process, fresh herring is washed to remove any residue and then skinned. Butchers carefully remove sharp bones while leaving the larger ones intact to provide structure to the meat. Once the meat is washed and cut into large pieces, it is sent to the flavoring department.
In the flavoring and processing stage, the herring pieces are smoked with specific ingredients that may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. After smoking, the large bones are removed from the meat to prevent it from breaking apart. The boned pieces are then sent to the packaging station.
At the packaging stage, the herring pieces are filled into cans along with a brine solution, such as oil, water, or an acidic liquid. The brine creates a barrier that prevents the meat from spoiling and keeps it hydrated. The cans are sealed, washed, and placed in a large pressure cooker to create a pressure seal. After cooling, the cans are labeled and shipped, ensuring the freshest herring meat possible.

Choosing the right canned herring

When shopping for canned herring, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of the product. Not all brands produce herring of the same quality, and some manufacturers may use cost-cutting tactics that compromise overall product quality. Here are three things to consider when choosing canned herring:

1. Quality ingredients

Check the back of the canned herring product for the ingredient list. A quality canned herring should contain smoked meat, water/brine, salt, and possibly a stabilizer. Avoid products with a long list of chemicals, as they indicate lower quality and the use of additives to compensate. If you have dietary restrictions, consider choosing a low-sodium option that still offers great taste.

2. Naturally Smoked vs. Flavored

Distinguish between naturally smoked herring and herring flavored with liquid smoke. Naturally smoked herring provides the highest quality and retains the nutritional benefits of the meat. Artificially flavored herring may provide a pleasant taste, but it sacrifices some of the meat’s nutritional value. Check the product description or ingredient list to make sure you are choosing naturally smoked herring.

3. Texture and variety

Canned herring has a tender texture that can easily break apart compared to fresh herring. However, some brands use advanced canning processes to provide superior texture. In addition, canned herring comes in several varieties, often packaged with special sauces such as tomato, dill and herb cream, and more. Consider your preferences for texture and taste when choosing a brand of canned herring.

5 Best Canned Herring Brands

Based on our research, here are our recommendations for the five best canned herring brands of 2023:

  1. MW Polar Herring Smoked in Canola Oil: This classic option is perfect for lovers of naturally smoked herring. Canned in canola oil, it preserves the texture and flavor of the meat. It’s easy to break apart and is ready to eat right out of the can.
  2. King Oscar Kipper Snacks Smoked Herring Fillets: These premium quality fillets are sustainably caught and offer a balanced flavor and excellent mouthfeel. Whether you’re making toast points, sandwiches or salads, King OscarKipper Snacks Smoked Herring Fillets are a versatile choice.
  3. Appels Gourmet Herring Fillets in Tomato Sauce: If you prefer a spicy and savory option, this brand offers herring fillets in a delicious tomato sauce. The combination of flavors is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
  4. Brunswick Boneless Herring Fillets in Mustard Sauce: For those who like a little spice, these boneless herring fillets in mustard sauce are a fantastic choice. The tangy mustard complements the rich flavor of the herring.
  5. Beach Cliff Sardines in Soybean Oil and Omega-3: While not technically herring, sardines are a close relative and an excellent alternative. These sardines are packed in soybean oil and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Each of these brands has unique qualities and flavor profiles, so choose the one that best suits your preferences and dietary needs. Remember to check expiration dates and store cans properly to ensure the best quality and taste.

Bottom line

Canned herring offers a convenient and delicious way to enjoy this nutritious seafood without the hassle of cooking it from scratch. When choosing canned herring, consider factors such as the quality of the ingredients, whether it is naturally smoked or flavored, and the desired texture and variety.
Based on our research, the top five canned herring brands for 2024 are MW Polar, King Oscar, Appels, Brunswick and Beach Cliff. Each brand offers unique flavors and textures, allowing you to find the perfect canned herring for your taste preferences.
So grab a can of your favorite brand, open it up, and enjoy the delicious flavors of canned herring. Whether you enjoy it plain, on toast, or in a salad, canned herring is sure to be a satisfying addition to your pantry.


What makes canned herring a convenient option?

Canned herring is convenient because it eliminates the need for extensive preparation. Just open the can and enjoy the flavorful and nutritious herring without the hassle of cooking from scratch.

How does canned herring compare to fresh herring?

Canned herring is cooked and preserved immediately, preserving its flavor and texture. It offers a convenient alternative to fresh herring, providing a similar taste experience without the need for preparation.

Are there different varieties of canned herring?

Yes, canned herring is available in several varieties. Some brands offer herring in oil, water or even special sauces such as tomato or mustard. These different varieties offer options to suit different taste preferences.

What ingredients should I look for in quality canned herring?

Look for canned herring products that contain smoked meat, water/brine, salt and possibly a stabilizer. Avoid products with a long list of chemicals or additives as they may indicate lower quality.

Can I find low-sodium options for canned herring?

Yes, some brands offer low-sodium options for those with dietary restrictions. These options can still provide great taste while reducing the overall sodium content.

How should I store canned herring for the best quality?

It is recommended to store canned herring in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Check the expiration date on the can and consume the product before or by that date for the best quality and flavor.