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4+ Key Differences between Albacore and Tuna You Should Know

4+ Key Differences between Albacore and Tuna You Should Know

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.

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.