5 of the Most Underrated Canned Foods and How to Use Them

Given the rising cost of food, and the quality of canned and jarred food available now, it deserves a place in your arsenal. And we’re not just talking about soup and tuna. Here, we share 5 underrated canned foods and recipes to use them in.

Canned Hominy

Canned Hominy

A staple of Mexican cuisine, hominy is made by soaking dried field corn in a weak lye solution. While both dried and canned hominy is readily available, preparing dried hominy requires soaking and a long simmer to soften. Canned hominy is ready to use. Use it in pozole or try this indulgent cheesy hominy gratin.

A brown bowl of Instant Pot pork stew with hominy with a spoon resting inside and a dish of cilantro and a blue napkin on the side.
This Instant Pot pork stew with hominy has that tender cooked-all-day comfort vibe, except it’s ready in just a little more than an hour. You’re welcome.

Chopped Clams

Canned Chopped Clams

Not only are canned chopped clams cost-effective, but they’re also a time saver as you don’t need to source, clean, or discard any of them. They work beautifully in clam chowder and seafood soup, and are a great flavor boost to flatbreads and pizza.

A bowl of creamy New England clam chowder with clams, potatoes, leeks, shallots, cream, and chives
New England clam chowder is a classic creamy soup made with clams, bacon, potatoes, leeks, shallot, white wine, and cream base that’s luxuriously creamy. This recipe adds poblano peppers for a little kick. Cold weather comfort food at its finest.

Jarred Artichoke Hearts

Jarred Artichokes

These may be our favorite underrated canned food. While fresh artichoke hearts are delightful, their availability is limited and they require a significant amount of work to prepare. However, jarred artichoke hearts are available in most grocery stores, and the only effort required is twisting the lid, dumping them into a colander to drain, and folding them into your dip, pasta, or spring vegetable stew.

A white and blue bowl filled with spring vegetable stew with a spoon resting in the bowl.
This spring vegetable stew turns an array of irresistible early-season produce, including peas, asparagus, artichokes, greens, and fava beans, into a lovely—yet also healthy and vegetarian—supper.

Water Chestnuts

Canned Water Chestnuts

Water chestnuts are a slightly sweet, crunchy aquatic vegetable that are frequently used in East Asian cuisine. Try them tossed into lettuce wraps, salads, stir-fries, or even folded into a creamy dip for added texture and sweetness.

A rectangular plate with six Chinese chicken lettuce wraps and a bowl of extra filling beside it.
These lettuce wraps are easy, healthy, flavorful, and will probably get your kids eating some vegetables. Definitely a weeknight winner in my book.

Canned Chipotle Peppers

Canned Chipotle Peppers

Perhaps the most versatile of all of our favorite underrated canned foods, the options are endless when it comes to canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Blend it into salsa to spoon over your tacos, add to chili to give it a spicy, smoky kick, make an easy dipping or barbecue sauce, or zhuzh up your grilled pork tenderloin with an easy chipotle glaze.

Three avocado breakfast tacos with eggs, bacon, shallots, and chives with a bowl of salsa on the side.
These avocado breakfast tacos are made with easy components—cheesy scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, cool avocado, and smoky chipotle salsa. So satisfying that they’ll be on repeat each weekend.



  1. A useful reminder, although I worried for a nanosecond you were peaking in my pantry! And much as I adore a batch of cooked from scratch chickpeas (garbanzos), a backup can or two can transform a weeknight dinner in a snap. If you’re (or life!) is running too fast to plan & enjoy slow cooking, these are go-to winners. Thnx David😏

  2. Canned clams are almost always in my pantry. Toss cooked & drained linguine with them—the juice and all—along with a crushed garlic clove, lemon juice, olive oil, a pat or two of butter, and a little red pepper flakes. If I have an open bottle of white wine I add a splash. Super quick and delicious!

  3. Great reminder thx! And fellow home cooks don’t forget the clams for an easy Linguine and Clams dish and a tiny bit of the Chipotle in Adobe sauce in Tomato Soup is a game changer! 🙂

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