4+ Key Differences between Albacore and Tuna You Should Know

Albacore and other tuna varieties differ in color, texture, flavor, and nutritional content, with albacore offering a milder taste and more omega-3 fatty acids, making it a healthier choice over light tuna.

Types of Tuna

Browsing the canned tuna section at your local grocery store might be overwhelming once you realize how many options this fish offers. Should you get chunky or light? Water or oil-based? Yellowfin, bluefin, or albacore? Is there even a difference?

Yes, there is a difference, and knowing which tuna offers the best source of protein and nutrients for your health is game-changing.

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Is There a Difference Between Albacore and Tuna?

Not all tuna comes from the same kind of fish. In fact, you may consume different varieties of tuna you may eat regularly without even noticing, such as yellowfin, skipjack, and albacore.

There are many subtle differences in taste, texture, price, nutritional content, and more within these tuna varieties.

So yes, there are several differences between albacore and other tuna. Continue reading to learn more about these distinctions.

4 Differences Between Albacore and Tuna

Discussed below are the four main differences between canned albacore and traditional tuna.


Albacore Thunnus alalunga fish and bluefin tuna

The first difference you would likely notice between albacore and other tuna is the contrasting color. Solid white albacore has a light, almost pinkish-white color.

Other varieties of canned tuna like chunk light will usually be much darker in color, having a more pink and brown appearance.


Light tuna in olive oil canned

Another big difference between albacore and light tuna is its texture. When you open a can of albacore, you should notice a firmness to the fish. The flesh might also appear streaky or layered.

Since chunk light tuna comes from many species of tuna fish, it has a more delicate texture, unlike albacore varieties. Instead of large layers, you may notice much smaller, flake-like pieces.


Mixed into other dishes, you may be unable to tell the difference between albacore and tuna. However, each has a unique flavor profile when tasted on its own.

Canned albacore tuna tastes milder and is closest to fresh fish. Its subdued flavor makes it great for recipes or to enjoy on crackers or toast.

Canned tuna (on the other hand) has a much stronger flavor and tastes less fresh. Some people even say it has a slightly metallic taste. Canned tuna is the perfect addition to recipes where you want the fish flavor to really shine.

Nutritional Benefits

Canned fish is an excellent way to consume many essential nutrients cost-effectively. Compared to tuna, albacore contains more omega-3 fatty acids that are great for heart health.

Though, regardless of which fish you choose, be aware of how much you consume. Mercury levels in these products are higher than with other seafood. Between the two, it appears that canned light tuna has less ppm of mercury.

Is Albacore Safer Than Tuna?

Both albacore and tuna are pretty comparable in terms of safety. Unless you have a seafood allergy, consuming either of these canned fish should not make you sick.

Some people think albacore is the better choice because it has more omega-3 fats per can. The truth is, this increase is only slightly higher than other tuna varieties. You will always get an adequate amount of healthy fats, protein, and other minerals regardless of which canned tuna you consume.

The same idea goes for mercury content, too. There is a certain level of mercury in all types of fish, including the likes of albacore and other tunas.

Most of these mercury levels are so low that they likely do not impact human health, which is why the FDA and EPA continue recommending eating fish regularly for their immense nutritional benefits.

If you enjoy canned tuna and are worried about mercury intake, light tuna is the better choice over albacore. Light tuna is also a better option for children and pregnant people, as they should consume less mercury than the average limit suggests.

Which is Better: Tuna or Albacore?

Ultimately, the better fish comes down to personal preference. Consider these points:

  • What kind of fish flavor do you like best?
  • How do you consume your tuna?
  • Do you eat it on its own or bake it into something like a casserole?
  • How much are you willing to spend?
  • Do you watch your mercury intake?

Once you know the answers to these kinds of questions, you can decide which canned tuna is right for your diet.

Which canned tuna is healthiest?

Bumble Bee Chunk White Albacore Tuna in Water, 5 oz Cans (Pack of 4) - Wild Caught Tuna - 20g Protein per Serving - Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free, Kosher - Great for Tuna Salad & Recipes

Each type of canned tuna provides adequate nutritional value in the form of protein, minerals, and essential fats. If you are looking for a low-mercury option, try canned light tuna over a variety like an albacore.

Does albacore taste like tuna?

Compared to other types of tuna, albacore has a lighter, fresher taste. It tastes like a milder version of light tuna, which some people prefer.

More FAQs

What is better albacore or tuna?

Albacore and other types of tuna have distinct characteristics that cater to different preferences. Albacore is known for its firm and meaty texture, accompanied by a light and mild flavor. On the other hand, yellowfin and skipjack tuna are slightly softer and offer a richer and more intense taste. Ultimately, the choice between albacore and other tuna varieties depends on personal preference. If you prefer a milder and less “fishy” tuna experience, albacore is the way to go. However, if you desire a stronger flavor, opting for light tuna would be a better choice.

What is the best canned tuna albacore or yellowfin?

The best canned tuna option, whether it be Albacore or Yellowfin, depends on personal preference. White Tuna (Albacore), also known as Bonito del Norte, is highly regarded for its exquisite flavor, smooth texture, and white tone, making it a superior choice for many. On the other hand, Yellowfin Tuna, although it has a reddish color and a slightly less fine texture, still offers a pleasant flavor and is typically larger in size. Ultimately, the decision between Albacore and Yellowfin comes down to individual taste and desired characteristics.

Is albacore tuna better in oil or water?

Albacore tuna can be enjoyed either in oil or water, depending on your preferences and nutritional goals. If you are concerned about calorie intake and want to maximize your omega-3 fatty acid intake, then opting for tuna in water would be a great choice. On the other hand, if you prioritize moisture, flavor, and vitamin D levels, then choosing olive oil-packed tuna might be more suitable. It is important to remember not to consume excessive amounts of this mild-flavored fish, regardless of the type you choose.

Is it safe to eat albacore everyday?

It is not safe to eat albacore everyday. It is recommended to consume skipjack and canned light tuna, along with other low-mercury species like cod, crab, salmon, and scallops, as part of the recommended 2-3 servings of fish per week. However, it is advised to avoid eating albacore or yellowfin tuna more than once per week.

Which tuna brand has the least mercury?

The tuna brand with the least mercury is Safe Catch Elite Tuna, which is known for having lower mercury levels compared to any other brand.

Is Chunk Light or albacore better for you?

Chunk light tuna and albacore have different nutritional profiles. While both types contain no carbohydrates and have 1.35 grams of fat per 3.5-ounce serving, chunk light tuna has higher sodium content with 376 milligrams compared to 95 milligrams in albacore.

Why avoid albacore?

The reason to avoid albacore is that it contains higher levels of mercury compared to light or skipjack tuna, regardless of the brand. This is expected because albacore is a larger fish that has a longer lifespan than the tunas used for light tuna or skipjack tunas.

How many times a week can you eat albacore?

You can eat albacore tuna, also known as white tuna, only once a week if you choose to have a serving from the “Good Choices” category, as it typically contains three times more mercury than canned light tuna. It is recommended to avoid consuming any other fish that week.

Is it bad to eat albacore tuna every day?

Eating albacore tuna every day may not be advisable due to its potential high mercury content, which can be harmful to health if consumed in excessive amounts or by certain populations. It is generally recommended for most healthy adults to include at least 2 servings of fish per week in their diet, including tuna.

Is canned albacore healthy?

Canned albacore is healthy because it is a low-fat protein option, containing approximately 2 grams of fat per 2.5-ounce serving of solid white albacore tuna. Moreover, the majority of the fat found in tuna is composed of beneficial unsaturated fats, such as omega 3 fatty acids. It is worth noting that a certain amount of fat is necessary for the absorption of vitamins and minerals from the meal consumed.

Which is better ahi or albacore?

Ahi Tuna and Albacore Tuna are both nutritious options, providing protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, Ahi Tuna stands out as a superior choice due to its higher fat content and abundance of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Does albacore have parasites?

Albacore is one of the species of large tuna that are generally free of parasites. Other tuna species such as Yellowfin, Blackfin, Bluefin, Bigeye, Longtail, and Karasick are also considered to be parasite-free. However, it is important to note that certain fish species like Fluke, Grouper, Jack, Bass, Trout, small Tuna, and Salmon (both aquacultured and wild) may contain parasites and should be frozen in order to destroy any potential parasites.

Does albacore taste like tuna?

Albacore does taste like tuna. Albacore, also known as white tuna, is the only species of fish that can be referred to as “White Tuna.” It has a white to light pink color and a firm texture. The flavor is mild, with a very subtle fish taste. In fact, it is comparable to the taste of a baked chicken breast, offering a firm bite and a mild flavor.

Is albacore more expensive than tuna?

Albacore is not more expensive than tuna in general. This is because albacore is primarily used for making canned tuna, which has a longer shelf life compared to fresh cuts of tuna.

Which tuna is lowest in mercury?

The tuna lowest in mercury is skipjack or canned light varieties, as they do not contain as much mercury as albacore or bigeye.

Is StarKist tuna real tuna?

StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water contains genuine tuna that is wild caught, offering a naturally mild taste that people have grown accustomed to from StarKist. It is convenient to include seafood in your lifestyle with StarKist by incorporating it into refreshing tuna salads or comforting hot casseroles.

Is albacore fishy tasting?

Albacore fish does not have a fishy taste. Solid White Albacore Tuna, also referred to as white tuna, has a firm and steak-like texture. Its flesh is lighter in color and is commonly found in larger albacore tuna. Solid White Albacore Tuna has a mild and fresh flavor that is enjoyable on its own or in various tuna recipes.

Are albacore good to eat?

Albacore tuna is good to eat because it contains less fat than other animal proteins such as chicken and beef. Additionally, it is a beneficial source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation levels, lower blood triglycerides, and decrease the overall risk of heart disease when included in a diet.

Can albacore tuna be eaten raw?

Albacore tuna can be consumed raw, along with other types of tuna such as bluefin, yellowfin, and skipjack. It has been a longstanding ingredient in sushi and is often considered the epitome of sushi and sashimi.

Which is better yellowfin or albacore tuna?

Yellowfin and albacore tuna have significant differences. Albacore, also known as Bonito del Norte, is considered superior due to its exquisite flavor, smooth texture, and white tone. On the other hand, yellowfin tuna has a reddish color and a slightly less fine texture, but it still maintains a pleasant flavor.

What is the best tasting type of tuna?

The best tasting type of tuna is Bluefin tuna, which is primarily caught in the Atlantic Ocean. Weighing between 600 to 1,000 pounds, Bluefin tuna is the largest species of tuna. Due to its exceptional flavor, Bluefin is commonly served in high-end sushi establishments and is widely regarded as the most delectable tuna variety worldwide.

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