Canned Tomatoes
The Battle for the Best!


Canned tomatoes


Using quality canned tomatoes changes your tomato sauce recipe from good to great. "It's all in the sauce!". I've tried many different brands and there is a big difference between quality and taste.

So if your not making your own crushed tomatoes I want to make sure you know how to pick a great quality canned tomato.

Plum tomatoes or Roma Tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes go head to head in the battle for the best in color, texture and flavor.

San Marzano tomatoes come from the Agro Nocerino Sarese region in Italy, in between Salerno and Naples, from the town of San Marzano Sul Sarno. The reason why these beautiful Heirloom breed of tomato are so sweet is they're grown in the rich and fertile volcanic soil resulting from the proximity to Mount Vesuvius. This is what makes these babies the best tomatoes in the world.

Any San Marzano tomato should be rated by the D.O.P. (Denominazione D'Origine Protetta), which the exact translation is: Denomination of Origin Protected. The seal of the D.O.P is found on many authenticated Italian food products and insures it's quality and believe me there if there is one thing that Italians take seriously, it's food.

Another seal you should look for is the Certificazione Agroalimentare no.(###, three numbers) This certifies the quality of the San Marzano tomato. If you see this seal you'll know that brand tastes great.

See the difference in color?

plum tomato       San Marzano tomato

It's possible to get a great tasting canned plum tomato, especially if they are Italian plum tomatoes, and it will cost you about half the price but if tomato is your main ingredient, for say a Marinara Sauce Recipe, then why skimp. The difference in price for San Marzano canned tomatoes is only about a dollar or two.

If you are planning to make a Italian Soup Recipes then it is perfectly fine to use a good quality canned plum tomato.

I rated the tomatoes from a scale of 1-10 in the following categories:

Color(C). I'm looking for a red vibrant color which makes a big difference in the appearance of your tomato sauce recipe. If the tomato was picked before it was ripe and then canned then the sun didn't bring the tomato to it's full ripeness and it won't be as sweet as it could or should have been.

Texture(T) I want my tomatoes to be tender and smooth. Some canned tomatoes can have a tough, course or gritty texture. The tomato should almost melt in your mouth. Also the canned tomato juice should have a good consistency. Not watered down.

Flavor(F) The most important feature of course. Because if the ingredients you use don't taste good then how is the Italian recipe going to taste good? I look for a sweet tomato taste with salt but not too salty. Too much salt to me means they are trying to compensate for lack of flavor. Too little and it tastes bland.

Do you have a canned tomato suggestion and a brand that you want rated? Send me an email and tell me about it!


Baresi Italian Plum Canned Tomatoes Baresi Italian Plum Canned Tomatoes: This was a very good product. I would use this brand any day for any of my Italian Pasta Recipes. It was tasty, sweet, tender and had a very nice, bright color.
Scores:
C = 9
T = 8
F = 9



Bionaturae Organic canned Tomatoes Bionaturae Organic Canned Tomatoes: I don't know what it is about organic food products. It's like the minute they call it organic it's like a license to make it taste BAD! I thought because this company was based out of Italy it would be different. I was wrong. Tough, gritty, flavorless.
Scores:
C = 7
T = 4
F = 3



Carmelina Canned Tomatoes Carmelina Canned Plum Tomatoes: I enjoyed this brand of canned plum tomato. The texture was tender and smooth and the flavor was sweet. As you can see the bright red color is as it should be. Very nice.
Scores:
C = 8.5
T = 8
F = 8.5



Cento Plum Tomatoes Cento Plum Canned Tomatoes: This is a really "great" brand of Plum tomato. Just as good as their brand of San Marzanos. The tomato was very tender and flavorful and the juice was just thick enough and there wasn't too much salt. I would use this brand for a Tomato Sauce Recipe, any day!
Scores:
C = 9
T = 8
F = 9



Cento Plum Tomatoes Cento Cherry Tomatoes: Although there is a traditional Italian pasta recipe made with a cherry tomato sauce, this is not a good alternative to using fresh. Normally a great brand for canned tomatoes, I was not thrilled about this one. Tough and watery but relatively sweet.
Scores:
C = 6
T = 6
F = 7



Cento Organic Tomatoes Cento Organic Plum Tomatoes: Another really "great" product from Cento. I've tried the regular brand and the San Marzano and to be honest they are all great. Same thick juice, flavorful and tender tomato and the color is brilliant in all of the types of canned tomato from this brand. I don't think you can go wrong with Cento.
Scores:
C = 9
T = 8
F = 9


Cento San Marzano Tomatoes Cento San Marzano Tomatoes: The first time I tried these canned san marzano tomatoes they were good. I tried them again and they were GREAT! I used this brand to make my Marinara sauce video and later that night for dinner. So what can I say… All around 10 points!

Scores:
C = 10
T = 10
F = 10


Cirio Canned Tomatoes Cirio Canned Tomatoes: I like this brand a lot! It had a deep red color to the tomato which means it was properly ripened before canning. The meat was tender and the flavor was sweet and not too salty which allowed the true flavor of the tomato to come through. Big points for this Canned Italian Plum Tomato!
Scores:
C = 8
T = 9
F = 9


Cucina Viva Canned TomatoesCucina Viva Canned Tomatoes: I just moved to the Columbia, MO and found this and the Cirio brand. What a relief! I know I have two great brands of Canned Italian Plum tomatoes to use for my Italian pasta recipes. This was sweet flavor with a thick juice and the tomato was firm but tender and smooth in consistency.
Scores:
C = 9
T = 9
F = 7


Dei Fratelli Plum Tomatoes Dei Fratelli: This brand of canned tomatoes claims to be organic and are unsalted. They had an decent flavor and if you are on a low sodium diet you could use this brand in your Italian food recipes. The texture was a little tough and it might have been the lower of salt content but to me it lacked flavor.
Scores:
C = 7
T = 4
F = 5


Eden Organic canned Tomatoes Eden Organic Canned Tomatoes No Salt: This Organic canned tomato was not that impressive to me either. It looked and tasted like basil and salt in a watery tomato juice. You can see how much basil they put in and you could hardly taste the tomato flavor. Texture was not too bad and color was ok as well.
Scores:
C = 7
T = 4
F = 3


Flora Plum Tomatoes Flora: Regular canned tomatoes. This was an extraordinarily good brand that would give any canned plum tomato a run for their money and rated well across the board. Sweet, colorful and tender. For a plum tomato it I rated it highly but since it is a plum tomato I wouldn't rate it as high as a San Marzano.
Scores:
C = 7
T = 6
F = 7


Flora Plum Tomatoes Flora San Marzano Canned Tomatoes: This brand of San Marzano tomato was really, really good. They were colorful, tender, and flavorful. Everything you would expect from a canned San Marzano tomato. Priced reasonably and in my area was seen in many of the local grocery stores as well as specialty stores.
Scores:
C = 9
T = 9
F = 8


Gia Russa San Marzano Canned Tomatoes Gia Russa San Marzano Tomatoes: I use there dried pasta and it is a good product. So is this San Marzano tomato. It was tender. Perhaps too tender. It literally fell apart in my mouth and on my spoon. Very sweet, perfectly salty and nice color.
Scores:
C = 8
T = 6
F = 8



Hunts Canned Tomatoes Hunts Canned Tomatoes: Do I hear Ketchup? This is exactly what I would use this brand for. It was terrible. The tomatoes were almost white near the stem area because they were picked so young. They were tough, too salty and juice was like reddish water.

Scores:
C = 2
T = 1
F = 2


La Bella San Marzano ITALIAN PLUM Canned Tomato Brand La Bella San Marzano Italian Plum Canned Tomato Brand: Brand is the key word here. This is very deceiving. Naming the product with the San Marzano name yet it is clearly an Italian plum. It lost rankings just for that. It was a little watery and although the tomato was sweet and tender I had a chip on my shoulder about the bait and switch.
Scores:
C = 6
T = 6
F = 6


La Valle Canned TomatoesLa Valle Canned Tomatoes: I really enjoyed this brand of tomato. Although a Italian Plum rather then a San Marzano, it had a nice sweet flavor, the juice was a good consistency and the it was tender. Very nice. I would, and did use this canned tomato for sauce any day.

Scores:
C = 8
T = 7
F = 8


Marconi Canned Tomatoes Marconi Italian Plum Canned Tomatoes: This brand was a little on the tough side. Although it was sweet and bright in color and had a good salt volume to the taste it also was a little watery.
Scores:
C = 7
T = 6
F = 7



Midwest Country  Canned Tomatoes Midwest Country Fare Canned Tomatoes: There is absolutely NOTHING good I can say about this brand expect if you do end up buying it and open the can, pour it right into a blender and use it for Bloody Mary mix and throw a ton of spices in it. It's the only way you'll get any flavor out of it.

Scores:
C = 2
T = 1
F = 2


Monte Pollino Italian Plum Canned Tomatoes Monte Pollino Italian Plum Canned Tomatoes: For an Italian named, Italian distributed product I was not that pleased. The tomatoes seemed young, tough and tart and the juice was watery. As you can see the color was good but not great.

Scores:
C = 6
T = 4
F = 3


Muir Organic Plum Tomatoes Muir Organic Plum Canned Tomatoes: It's a shame that most organic products I've had loose in the quality department and that isn't necessary. Much like this product. The juice was watered down and the tomato was tough and salty to make up for lack of flavor. You could see the tomato was picked much too early.
Scores:
C = 4
T = 4
F = 4


Nina San Marzano TomatoesNina Plum Tomatoes: I initially ranked this brand of Italian Plum Canned Tomato with triple 8's. At the time that was what the quality deserved. Unfortunately as is the case with many companies, in my opinion, they let their quality drop. A friend told me he took my suggestion to buy them at Costco and try them. He later told me was not impressed. So I went to re-purchase and he was 100% right. The tomatoes were left unpeeled, they were tough and although sweet, it tasted like sugar, not the natural sweetness of a tomato. Shame on you Nina…

Scores:
C = 5
T = 3
F = 3


Nina Plum TomatoesNina San Marzano Tomatoes: This canned tomato is one of the best San Marzano tomatoes I've had. The juice in the can was rich and thick, the tomato was tender and deep red, the flavor was sweet and the texture was smooth. This brand of San Marzano is top of the line. However, based off the most resent re-ranking of the above, I must retest before I can stand my this ranking. (I am going to re-test these based off of my most recent revision of their plum tomato ranking. I hope they have not dropped in quality here as well…)

Scores:
C = 10
T = 9
F = 10


Palermo Boys Canned Plum Tomatoes Palermo Boys: A plum tomato brand had a very nice tender texture. Nice red color and the flavor was a balance of both sweet and salty. I found this in a local Italian specialty store and the price was right. I can picture two quido's running the show. A great brand I would use for any of my Italian pasta recipes.
Scores:
C = 8
T = 7
F = 9



Poma Rosa San Marzano Canned Tomatoes Poma Rosa San Marzano tomatoes had a good tasting juice that was sweet and had just enough salty flavor. Color was a nice deep red. But the tomato, although it was also sweet, was a little tough side. It had a grainy texture. It was not what you'd expect from a San Marzano tomato.
Scores:
C = 6
T = 8
F = 6


Progresso Plum Tomatoes Progresso Plum Tomatoes: There isn't much good to be said about this brand. It lacked flavor, color and the texture was gritty and course. The juice was watered down and had way too much salt to compensate for the lack of flavor. It's like they picked the tomato when it was young and green and it matured off the vine. A prime example of industrial food.
Scores:
C = 3
T = 2
F = 2


Pugliese Plum Tomatoes Pugliese Plum Tomatoes: Puglia is a region in Italy in the heel of the boot and where this brand of canned plum tomato derives. A perfect example of a great quality of plum tomato that holds up against a San Marzano. The color, texture and flavor were great! Just look at the deep red color. The juice was thick, flavorful with just the right amount of salt. Good Job!
Scores:
C = 9
T = 9
F = 8


Rao's Organic canned Tomatoes Rao's Organic Canned Tomatoes: Finally an organic canned tomato brand I can stand behind. This San Marzano organic canned tomato had a rich, thick juicy base, the tomato was tender and sweet and the color was a bright, ripe red.
Scores:
C = 8
T = 8
F = 9



Rega Rega San Marzano Tomatoes Rega Rega Tomatoes: I never used or tasted this brand of San Marzano tomato until I tested it. A really, really good brand. Now that I have tasted it I would and will use this brand. It was a little saltier then some of the other brands but sometimes that is a good attribute depending on the Italian pasta recipe your making.
Scores:
C = 9
T = 8
F = 8


San Marzano Brand Canned Tomatoes San Marzano Brand Canned Tomatoes: This one surprised me and not in a good way. I heard this was a good brand of canned tomato but I was not impressed. The juice was watery, the color of the tomato was mild and the texture was a little gritty. I also think there was too much salt.
Scores:
C = 5
T = 4
F = 5



Sclafani Canned Plum Tomatoes Sclafani was surprisingly delicious because this brand of canned plum tomato had the consistency, color and texture of a good brand of San Marzano tomato brand. The juice with thick, the tomato was as tender as butter and the fork melted through it. The taste was sweet with just enough salt. Bravo Sclafani!
Scores:
C = 10
T = 8
F = 10


Strianese San Marzano TomatoesStrianese San Marzano Tomatoes: A good tasting tomato, but a little small. The juice was a little thin as well. Thickness of juice was good. The color was a the nice red as you would hope for so it was a well rounded tomato.

Scores:
C = 8
T = 8
F = 8



Tutto Rosso Plum TomatoesTutto Rosso Plum Tomatoes: A complete disappointment. The product didn't hold up to it's name. Tutto Rosso meaning "Everything Red" was anything but red. The texture was not only gritty but almost tough and flavor… No. Not for me. The only run for the money this brand would give is Progresso. Both head to head for a bad canned tomato.
Scores:
C = 2
T = 2
F = 2


This is a work in progress and although I'm sure I don't have all the brands available today on this site, give me time. I'll eat my way to them sooner or later!

I always try to use great quality products in all my recipes and you should too. It's a must! Because Italian food is based on using the best of simple, fresh, local ingredients. That's what does and will make all of them taste so incredible.

If you run into a brand of canned tomato that you think I should try or rate, good or not so good, please send me an email and I'll do my best to find it.

NOTE: I just had a recent email from a reader of this site requesting a refund from me, for a purchase they made from a retail store. (Just to be clear, they did not purchase anything from me. They went into a store and bought a product I have listed here and they want me to pay them back because they were unhappy with the purchase)

So, because of that email I find it necessary to state: I don't issue refunds for product you may purchase from a source that carries any of the products I rate on this website. If you didn't buy it from me, then I'm afraid that it is not possible for me to issue any refunds. In addition, I do not sell anything on this site.

I try to be objective and test each product and rank them according to my tastes. If you decide to try any of the products here you do so at your own discretion. If you are so inclined to disagree with my ranking or if you feel the product is not up to par, by all means email me or post your opinions here.

I want to know and so do my readers.

What's your favorite brand of Canned Tomato?

There are so many great brands of canned tomatoes. Which one is your favorite? Share your secret here!

Name of the canned tomato you LOVE to use in all your Italian pasta recipes!

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Chefs favorites! What they love to use in their recipes for canned tomatoes

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Cento 
my computer had a slight crash.....this maybe my second request for info... you rated the cento high...were these dop or not....???? i see there are …

Pomi boxed tomatoes 
Just wondering if you have tried the Pomi boxed tomatoes? I don't know if they are authentic or if they are plum tomatoes but they seems to be quite thick. …

Mutti Baby Roma tomatoes 
This is an import product. I wanted to try their tomatoes since I am insanely crazy about their triple concentrate paste. These are superb tomatoes for …

pastene san marzano tomatoes dop 
I love them most pastene san marzano tomatoes DOP of all. The fragrance in my kitchen is pure. Italian food with the very best extra virgin olive oil is …

Cento is my first choice and sometimes sometimes I mix it with a can of Sclafani 
Cento canned tomatoes are my first choice and sometimes I mix it with a can of Sclafani canned tomatoes. I want to try Alta Cucina because I hear it …

Stanislaus 
I frequently use canned tomato products to make a variety of recipes so I went on an internet search to see if there was any consensus on who makes the …

Nina 
I recently tried the Via Roma San Marzano tomatoes and was disappointed. I am embarrassed to admit that I mixed two cans with two cans of Tuttoroso so …

6 in 1!!!!!!! 
6 in 1 crushed tomatoes is hands down the best tomato product on the market! It is excellent right out of the can, and can be used as a pizza sauce …

Nina,LaFede and LaValle 
Good price and sweet tasing with a nice red color.

Francesconi Tomatoes 
I would like to know how you would rate this brand. I like this brand because of the color and taste.

Best Canned Tomatoes 
Hi, I am on the search for the best canned tomatoes to use in our Sunday sauce... as I began testing and searching the web it's amazing what a difference …

Red Pack 100% natural,Plum Shaped peeled tomatoes in puree, Italian Style 
We find that Red Pack tomatoes are a sweet tomato and we never have to add tomato paste. We live in NC and we have tried many brands and we always …

Still searching 
My mother uses the Tuttorosso that you rated so poorly. I think they are much better than you rated. I agree with Nina. To me they are just tasteless. …

Alta Cucina Canned Plum Tomatoes 
This brand of canned tomato has a lot of flavor with a great texture.

Unico 
I am in Canada and the best canned tomato is Unico, best colour, flavour for your money. We had a poll in Ontario run by a major newspaper and Unico was …

Dei Fratelli 
I was disappointed to see the rating on your test of canned tomatoes. I have used a lot of those tested and I was very impressed with Dei Fratelli tomato …

NINA TOMATOES 
I HAVE TO AGREE THESE TOMATOES ARE PERFECT EVERYTIME YOU WILL NEVER GET A BAD CAN TASTE - COLOR - FLAVOR I GIVE THEM A 10

Stanislaus Alta Cucina and Valoroso 
The best canned tomatoes available that I have found are both the Alto Cucina and the Valoroso products. I believe those products to be the best, most …

Nina San Marzano without a doubt 
They are sweet and juicy at a surprisingly great price.

Pugliese Not rated yet
Great color, flavor and a thick tasty puree. I used to purchase these in NJ but I now live in Port Charlotte FL between Sarasota and Fort Myers and …

san marzano whole tomatoes Not rated yet
My go to when making sauce. Great flavor and aroma, you can't go wrong!

Try Vantia brand but it needs to be the DOP brand - probably the best I have ever had better than the nina dop Not rated yet
Try Vantia brand but it needs to be the DOP brand - probably the best I have ever had and better than the nina dop

Cento then Pastene  Not rated yet
I prefer Cento when I can get it; however, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where we shop (we live in Eliot, ME) that brand is not always available. Pastene …

Pastene Tomatoes Not rated yet
Wonderful flavor! Especially the "kitchen Ready" version.

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Supremo Italiano Italian Peeled Tomatoes Not rated yet
Supremo Italiano Italian Peeled Tomatoes and they also market a San Marzano product. I find the peeled tomatoes stand up in all categories. Richness, deep …

Stanislaus Tomatoes. Or Pomi  Not rated yet
Stanislaus' Alta Cucina.or Valoroso tomatoes .. Stanislaus was started by the Cortopassi Family in Stanislaus, California. I have been using this brand …

Red Pack Tomatoes Not rated yet
I've been using Red Pack, several years ago, before I found your website, ConsumersReport.org tested Red Pack and recommended it. I find it somewhat inconsistent, …

A few more to recommend... Not rated yet
First, thanks for taking the effort to post this - seems like I am on a never ending quest to find "the one." I completely agree with most of your rankings, …

Pastene Whole Peeled Tomatoes Imported from Italy Not rated yet
I am surprised that you did not rate Pastene, as they have good quality products. The most important thing regarding quality is to always buy the Imported …

Muir Glen Not rated yet
I'm Italian and use canned tomatoes frequently. I've tried many different types of tomatoes, many of the ones you tested. I've even done taste tests of …

Stanislaus Not rated yet
Does anyone use Stanislaus tomato products? They are the best California tomatoes I've ever had but I've only seen them available in food service in #10 …

Strianese DOP Certified San Marzano Tomatoes Not rated yet
They are by far the best!

Vego Canned tomatoes Not rated yet
Due to food sensitivities I haven't been able to eat anything with tomatoes for the last 20 years and I'm Italian! BUT- when I was in Florida I ate …

Sclafani Crushed Tomatoes Not rated yet
These plum tomatoes always deliver, they are deep red, sweet & contain few seeds.. Not every supermarket in my area Boston sells Sclafani; for instance, …

Dei Fratelli Not rated yet
In my opinion, of the ones you've listed above, this brand smokes them all. No added citric acid, and a clean wonderful taste and this is so with their …

DiNapoli Canned Tomatoes Not rated yet
This is not necessarily my favorite brand, but it's definitely one of the better ones I've tried that is available here in California. Most of the …

Sclafani Not rated yet
The best canned tomatoes I have ever used from the Quick Crushed tomato, Whole Plum tomato, Crushed tomato, tomato Puree and the best San Marzano tomatoes. …

H.T. TRATERS CAMPANIA HEIRLOOM PLUM TOMATOES Not rated yet
These canned tomatoes are imported directly from Italy. These tomatoes make the best sauces. They are equal to or better than any I have tried, including …

Pastine Not rated yet
Pastine canned tomatoes - the ones stamped from Italy - I don't use any other tomato!!! Always consistent and very rich in flavor! I use them …

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