A Tinned Tomato Test

A Tinned Tomato Test

A pantry staple hero - tinned tomatoes. There is comfort knowing that there are always some cans knocking about the pantry, ready to be thrown into a meal, from a simple puttanesca to a more elaborate creation.

From luscious ruby red to dull and lumpy, all tinned tomatoes are not made equal. We taste-tested a handful of tins available on Australian shelves to help you nail your next spaghetti bolognese.

For each tin, we evaluated a series of metrics - from colour, consistency and feel, to tasting the tomatoes straight out of the can versus cooked into a quick 15 minutes sugo with olive oil, onion and garlic. 


Annalisa Peeled Whole Tomatoes

 A staple in many pantries for a reason, Annalisa is a solid option. Nicely red, the tomatoes were uniform and plump, however unfortunately a bit floury and stringy. The purée was a little chunky and not as cohesive as we would like — not the worst though. A sensible amount of seeds. This tin was a bit haphazard but mostly good. “Rustic” you could say. Cooked into a sugo, it tasted fine, if a little acidic. The tomatoes cooked down okay, perhaps with more cooking time they would have improved. I have nothing more to say. A middle-of-the-road tin.

3/5 stars



Mutti San Marzano


Oh my.... Smooth. Luscious. Divine. Sent from the heavens. Am I...jealous of a tin of tomatoes? The hype is certainly real. These San Marzanos are plump and so brilliantly red I needed to shield my eyes. The purée was glossy, thick and velvety. The tomatoes struck the perfect balance between sweetness and acidity. Semi-firm in texture with a bold flavour, they cooked down into a dreamy sugo. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in tinned tomato and more.

5/5 stars


Woolworths Peeled Italian Tomatoes


These tomatoes were...sad. The word ‘dumpy’ comes to mind. On appearance, dull and coagulated. Flat and chunky with no cohesion between the tomatoes and the sauce — which was simultaneously too thick and also watery? Stringy and floury tomatoes with hard stems. Random sizes, varied ripeness, and irregular seediness. A very faint and surprising silver lining is that they weren’t exactly terrible when cooked out into a sugo. But you could also taste the metallic sour of the tin, which would need to be disguised by more ingredients. Use when desperate.

2/5 stars


Rosso Gargano Pelati di Puglia

Very nice. Very red. Very good! The purée and tomatoes were nicely emulsified, cut from the same cloth, the best of friends. It’s clear that love and care has gone into this tin. The tomatoes were small, sweet, and soft. (Maybe slightly too soft? and slightly to sweet? If we’re being pedantic, which we are). They cooked into a delightful quick sugo, and would be even better with time.

4/5 stars


Isabella Pomodori Pelati


Based on the beautiful packaging, we really wanted to like these more but this tin didn't have the wow-factor we expected. The puree was thick, but not too thick, just right and had a glossy sheen, however slightly dull. The tomatoes themselves were evenly sized, had a nice texture (fleshy rather than floury) that cooked out well. The sugo it made was a little acidic and sour but still a pleasing tomato flavour! Better than Annalisa if you can get your hands on it.

3/5 stars


A riveting read and a wild ride, we hope you enjoyed. This article was proudly inspired by our Pantry Staples limited-edition prints.



by Gemma Leslie