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Q&A: What’s the difference between the various types of canned tuna?

Answer: One of our favorite things about canned tuna is that there are numerous varieties that offer different qualities in terms of taste, texture, and price. Our answer below includes the primary differences between the most common types of canned tuna: white albacore and light (both solid and chunk), as well as their best uses and any differences in their nutritional values.

White Tuna, including solid white albacore tuna and chunk white, refers only to the albacore tuna variety. Albacore tuna is a larger fish with a lighter colored flesh, a firmer texture, and a milder flavor than the solid or chunk light fish varieties. For this reason, some people prefer albacore over light for dishes that merit a milder flavor (like this No Stress Salad recipe).

Light Tuna can be a mix of a variety of smaller tuna species, most often skipjack, but may also include yellowfin, tongol, or big-eye. The best uses for solid or chunk light tuna are in tuna salads, pasta dishes, and casseroles, where the slightly stronger flavor shines through. Chunk light tuna is also the least expensive variety of canned tuna — another perk!

Solid vs. Chunk indicates the size of the pieces of tuna in the can. For example, as previously mentioned in this article, there is “solid white albacore” and “chunk white albacore”. Solid tuna means that it has larger, firmer pieces with fewer flakes; whereas chunk tuna comes in smaller pieces that vary in size. But through it all, keep in mind that only albacore will do.

Nutritionally, all types of canned tuna offer lean protein, omega-3 fats, selenium, and other important nutrients. While albacore tuna is slightly higher in fat and calories, the difference is minimal enough that it shouldn’t deter you.

We like solid and chunk tuna for different reasons, and tend to use both for a variety of canned tuna recipes. For instance, we love the new Bumble Bee® Prime Fillet® Solid Light Tuna – Tonno in Olive Oil for its light flavor, which is perfect for setting atop a bed of rice and greens, like in this delightful Travel Ready Sesame Ginger Tuna Bowl recipe. 

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between these common types of tuna, definitely give our Solid White Albacore Tuna vs. Chunk Light Tuna page a read.