18 Meals In A Can I Recommend
After writing the canned meat post, I got so many ideas from all of you that I have to share 18 meals in a can I recommend. By now you know, I love to cook from scratch. Now, not everyone had a mom like mine who shared her cooking and baking skills with them. I’m so grateful my mom took the time to share her knowledge and skills with me.
One of my favorite things when I used to teach food storage and emergency preparedness classes was having people take their kids and grandkids to the grocery store (before the class) and have the family handpick what they would eat for 7 days. They were instructed to bring a few cans to the class so we could show everyone a few options for meals.
In case you missed this post, Food Storage List-Where Do I Start Free Printable I always handed out this printable, FSM Meal Planning Schedule
Please keep in mind, that I’m not suggesting you eat these canned meals 365 days a year. There is no need to do that. These cans are for use after a disaster, an unforeseen emergency, or when you’re too tired to cook dinner. There you have it. For most of these, you can eat cold right out of the can, or in a pinch, you can use a butane stove to heat them up with some canned vegetables. Butane Stove with Extra Fuel
18 Meals In A Can I Recommend:
Note that the ingredient list for many of these products is fairly long. I’ve trimmed the list for each one down to the primary ingredients and not the special add-ins for preservation, flavor, or texture.
1. Hormel® Corned Beef Hash
- Ingredients: beef, rehydrated potatoes, water, salt, and sugar
- Shelf-Life: April 2025
How can I use Hormel® Corned Beef Hash?
I grew up eating it fried with a fried egg on top. I’ve had to convert Mark to eat this hash, he didn’t have it growing up.
2. Campbell’s® Chunky Baked Potato with Steak & Cheese
- Ingredients: potatoes, beef stock, roasted russet potatoes, seasoned steak, beef broth, modified corn starch, wheat, milk, and soy
- Shelf-Life: March 2024
How can I use Campbell’s® Chunky Baked Potato with Steak & Cheese?
What I love about this soup, you can use it as a base and add some canned vegetables or fresh vegetables to complete the meal.
3. Swanson® Chicken á la King
- Ingredients: chicken stock, chicken meat, mushrooms, modified food starch, water, vegetable oil, red peppers, wheat flour, milk, and soy
- Shelf-Life: February 2024
How can I use Swanson® Chicken á la King?
First of all, I didn’t know that I could buy this stuff in a can. I have always made it from scratch. Here’s the deal, this is a cheap dinner when scooped over mashed potatoes, homemade biscuits, cooked noodles, or rice. It tastes great!
4. Chef Boyardee® Mini Ravioli
- Ingredients: tomatoes, water, enriched wheat flour, beef, cracker meal, milk, and soy
- Shelf-Life: April 2024
How can I use Chef Boyardee® Mini Ravioli?
Add some green beans as a side dish, and this is one easy meal. Many of us are used to having our spaghetti, give this ravioli a try and enjoy another pasta standby.
5. Chef Boyardee® Beefaroni
- Ingredients: tomatoes, water, enriched pasta, beef, wheat, milk, and soy
- Shelf-Life: April 2024
How can I use Chef Boyardee® Beefaroni?
You can add some green beans, and dinner is ready in no time. I can remember Mark and me making Chef Boyardee pizza when we first got married. Boy, their products have been around for a long time!
6. VanCamp’s® Beanee Weenee’s
- Ingredients: prepared white beans, chicken franks, water, soy, and salt
- Shelf-Life: February 2024
How can I use VanCamp’s® Beanee Weenee’s?
I get the giggles every time I see these. I grew up eating this, and what’s funny, they still taste really good. I stock a lot of green beans to go with these as well.
7. Progresso™ Chicken Noodle Soup
- Ingredients: chicken broth, cooked white chicken meat, carrots, egg noodles, celery, wheat, and soy
- Shelf-Life: March 2024
How can I use Progresso™ Chicken Noodle Soup?
I love stocking some chicken noodle soup in case someone is sick with a cold. I can’t always make a big pot from scratch and these soups are delicious. Most of us tend to rely on Campbell’s products, but Progresso makes some great choices too.
8. Hormel® Tamales
- Ingredients: water, beef, tomatoes, cornmeal, and cornflour
- Shelf-Life: January 2025
How can I use Hormel® Tamales?
I didn’t know you could buy tamales in a can. I learned it from a reader the last time I wrote about canned meats. All you need is some Spanish rice and some salsa and dinner is ready.
9. Nalley® Original Chili
- Ingredients: water, beef, beans, soy, and wheat
- Shelf-Life: June 2023
How can I use Nalley® Original Chili?
I love canned chili as much as I love homemade chili. I did learn from my reader friend Harry, that Texans don’t add beans to their chili. Whenever I see homemade chili now, I know if a Texan made it or not. LOL!
10. Dinty Moore® Beef Stew
- Ingredients: beef stock, beef, potatoes, and carrots
- Shelf-Life: March 2025
How can I use Dinty Moore® Beef Stew?
This is the perfect meal with homemade biscuits or homemade bread. With all the goodies that typically come in a stew, you get a pretty balanced meal each time you serve it.
11. Dinty Moore® Chicken & Dumplings
- Ingredients: chicken broth, white chicken, dumplings (enriched wheat flour), and modified cornstarch
- Shelf-Life: December 2024
How can I use Dinty Moore® Chicken & Dumplings?
Here again, if you made dinner rolls or homemade bread, this meal is a winner in my book. You may want to consider serving some veggies with this meal to round out a balanced meal approach.
12. Campbell’s® Chunky Chili Mac
- Ingredients: water, tomato puree, seasoned cooked beef and pork, diced tomatoes, red peppers, kidney beans, enriched macaroni pasta, egg, wheat, and soy
- Shelf-Life: March 2024
How can I use Campbell’s® Chunky Chili Mac?
This is a great thick soup you can serve with crackers, biscuits, or homemade bread. I would lather that bread with rich creamy butter, just saying.
13. Campbell’s® Chunky Sirloin with Hearty Vegetables
- Ingredients: water, beef stock, potatoes, seasoned sirloin beef, beef broth, modified cornstarch, carrots, corn, diced tomatoes, modified food starch, and soy
- Shelf-Life: May 2024
How can I use Campbell’s® Chunky Sirloin with Hearty Vegetables?
What I love about these thick soups is the fact you serve them without having to add water or anything. They are perfect with homemade biscuits. The sirloin adds such a special flavor your whole family will enjoy.
14. Campbell’s® Chunky New England Clam Chowder
- Ingredients: clam stock, potatoes, water, clams, celery, modified cornstarch, wheat, milk, and soy
- Shelf-Life: March 2024
How can I use Campbell’s® Chunky New England Clam Chowder?
There is something delicious about this clam chowder, it’s thick and ready to serve. Just heat it up and serve with crackers or homemade bread. I’m not much of a seafood fan, but I love this chowder, and the thick texture and spices make it unique and special.
15. Campbell’s® Spaghettios with Franks
- Ingredients: water, tomato puree, chicken and pork frankfurters made with chicken, pork, and beef, and made with wheat and milk
- Shelf-Life: July 2023
How can I use Campbell’s® Spaghettios with Franks?
Back when I was raising my daughters they didn’t have these with franks/hot dogs. These would be perfect with green beans or corn.
16. Campbell’s® Original Spaghettios
- Ingredients: water, tomato puree, enriched pasta, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, and milk
- Shelf-Life: August 2023
How can I use Campbell’s® Original Spaghettios?
I confess, I bought these at the case lot sales, literally. In Utah, two or three times a year the grocery stores sell boxes of canned goods at a discount, we always bought these. We pressure canned green beans to go with them. Life is good with an easy meal in a pinch.
17. Hormel® Chunky Beef Chili-No Beans
- Ingredients: beef, water, tomatoes, green chili puree, masa flour, and textured vegetable protein
- Shelf-Life: April 2025
How can I use Hormel® Chunky Beef Chili-No Beans?
Mark and I stock these for quick meals or to put on barbecued hot dogs in the summer. We generally top this chili with chopped onions.
18. Campbell’s® Spaghettios with Meatballs
- Ingredients: water, tomato puree, meatballs made with chicken, pork, and beef, wheat, soy, and milk
- Shelf-Life: August 2023
How can I use Campbell’s® Spaghettios with Meatballs?
My girls would have loved these growing up because we stocked Spaghettios all the time. Our family has always loved meatballs, so this combination brings us joy each time we serve it.
In case you missed this post, 11 Canned Meat Ideas I Recommend
Please share what kind of “meals in a can” you recommend, I learned about many of these after I wrote the last Canned Meat post from so many of you. May God bless this world. Linda
30 thoughts on “18 Meals In A Can I Recommend”
I like the idea of having children help pick out food at the grocery store. My granddaughters love the Spaghetti-o’s that are plain. They like to add the meatballs that we make together and add them to the canned spaghetti. We also like to eat, for a quick meal, the Campbells chunky soups over rice or noodles. It’s fast and fills up the tummy quickly.
Hi Paula, homemade meatballs would be yummy! I love the chunky Campbell’s soup over rice or noodles over rice. Great comment! Linda
I put this comment on Instagram too but I buy the soups that are thick with meat & veggies in them and then serve over rice or potatoes for a filling meal.
Hi Heidi, thank you for sharing your ideas in both places! I love it! Linda
Yeah, these are all good-tasting, are certainly quick meals, and kids love them, but they also all have extremely high sodium content. And good luck finding any of these with ‘acceptable’ levels of sodium. The manufacturers could use sea salt instead of the cheaper table salt, but no………..
Hi W.w., I realize they have a lot of sodium, hopefully, these meals would be infrequent, not every single day. It would be nice if the manufacturers would use less salt and or sea salt. Linda
I have to be gluten-free, so several of these are off the table, literally, for me. I have the hash (my dad used to make it with the egg on top) and stew and some hearty soups without wheat. But I did see some I’ve never seen before and I will check them out next time I shop. Thanks!
Hi Jeannie, GF may be a challenge, I totally understand that. I have a few grandkids who can’t eat gluten. We do have to be careful, Linda
Understood, but this is really a bad situation for people who are on sodium-restricted diets (like me). When I make such things, I use sea salt sparingly and leave the bulk of the salt-seasoning to the salt-free herbal seasoning I get in quantity at Costco. It seems to me that there is a vast untapped market in low-sodium meals-in-a-can.
So what do I do? I stock canned beans, tomatoes. and pumpkin that come unsalted, along with tuna canned in water that I simply squeeze the salty liquid out of before eating. I love canned tamales – we used to eat them all the time on Boy Scout campouts – but those have what would be lethal levels of sodium for people with elevated blood pressure. Sad.
Hi W.W., sodium is tough for sure. I will have to look for the “salt” salt-free herbal seasoning. Thank you for the heads up on that one. Linda
Well, I sure grew up on a lot of those, but I keep very few of them in my emergency stash. We have some dietary issues in our family group now, so we are painfully aware of what’s in most prepackaged foods. Elevated sodium levels is definitely problematic, but soy content can also be terrible. Men and epecially young boys should keep soy out of their systems if possible. It is a phyto-estrogen, which can seriously mess with their natural hormones. High-fructose corn syrup, which is unnecessarily in way too many convenience foods, is incredibly addictive, worse for you than ordinary refined sugar. I try to avoid gluten additives for many reasons. The additive that I recently was warned about was “cellulose powder” aka sawdust!!! A lot of prepackaged cheese producs have it. In sufficient quantity it can cause gut blockage or trigger binge eating at the expense of fluid intake, requiring surgical intervention. (BTW, the man who pioneered that as a filler for foodstuffs had an eating disorder, and he over-consumed his own product, and died as a result.) I get so tired of having to constantly read labels, even for items I generally have come to trust, but companies can change ingredients at any time. I keep some canned meals and some freeze-dried meals, but mainly I just know that 90 percent of what my family will eat has to be from scratch if we are to keep us healthy.
Hi Terry, I totally agree with you! I will cook a minimum of 90 percent of our meals from scratch as well. These are cans of food items are for emergencies and can be donated each year to the food bank if they haven’t expired or gone past the best by dates at most food banks here in Utah. It’s a good idea to read what is in freeze-dried items as well. Great reminder, thank you, Linda
Thank you, Linda
They make lower sodium hash and lower sodium Spam too. Got the hash at WM and Spam at Costco!
Hi Heidi, oh, this is good to know. Thank you, Linda
Thank you, Linda. This is a great post to help people get some more variety in canned meals to store and rotate.
By the way, have you done posts on shelf stable meals, and shelf stable desserts??
La Choy Chow Mein with vegetables, sauce, chicken.
We like Libbey’s Country Sausage Gravy over whole wheat toast or biscuits.
Hormel roast beef hash is tasty and can be used in a few ways for quick meals.
We like the Swanson’s Chicken ala King over chow mein noodles.
Recently tried Swanson’s Chicken and Dumplings, we liked it.
We keep Progresso New England Clam Chowder on hand.
Progresso Split Peas Soup with bacon is something we like.
Progresso Chicken Tortilla soup is good, we add crushed tortilla chips and grated cheese.
Hormel no bean chili….yes, chili dogs! and also baked tater tots topped with this and grated cheese.
The best canned chili with beans imo is: Cattle Drive Gold chili with beans from Costco
My kids didn’t like Spaghettios but sometimes we had the ravioli as a quick lunch meal for us.
Have not tried a lot of the soups you’ve listed, but the idea of thick soup over rice, potatoes, or noodles is one I need to try.
I found some 15 oz. Dinty Moore beef stew for $1 a can a few months ago. I’m thinking that will be the last time for that price!!
Like your idea for spanish rice and salsa with the tamales. We usually put tamales together with canned chili. But will definitely try your idea!
We like pork n’ beans with a couple spoonfuls of bbq sauce added and either have it with a hot dog on bun, or slice a hot dog up into the pork n’ beans. I haven’t tasted Beanee Weenee.
Hi Janet, you know, I looked for the sausage gravy, didn’t know the brand I will look for that one, thank you. I will pick up some of that Cattle Drive Gold chili, sounds really good! Oh, I grew up on homemade split pea soup, I should get a few cans of that one. Love these, thank you! Linda
We make Chili Mac and cheese at times. Just make macaroni and cheese and add a heated can of chili. It’s really good. If you want, you can also add some beans to go with it. We’ve used Ranch Style beans in ours. My kids called them Sweetheart beans. They have a heart on the can or did.
Hi Deborah, that sounds really good. Mac and cheese are always popular. I will try it with chili!!! I will look for the heart! Linda
I can get my husband to eat some soups “doctored” with additional egg noodles. rice or vegetables, especially baby carrots or broccoli. He will eat some frozen meals like Marie Callander Pot Pies but I think I will have to try one can at a time from your list. He is a bit set in his ways, but I will try. Thank you for your list. Happy Memorial Day.
Hi Chris, we buy Marie Calendar pot pies too! Great for those nights, I didn’t start dinner!! Most of these meals are for emergencies, we can always use some new ideas. Linda
Linda, Your list led to a lively discussion. As I said, my husband is a bit set in his ways. After a firm “no” the discussion became “how much is enough”. He feels I am on the edge of going too far, while I feel I have a long way to go. How would you suggest I convince him? We are a team and I can’t go against him, but saying “I told you so” in the future isn’t an option either.
Hi Chris, you can only do what you can do. If you can cook from scratch, which I believe you can, you don’t need any of these cans. I stock a few so I can share with those that did not plan ahead. I can prepare some or donate some. It’s all good. Linda
My husband’s favorite is Mrs. Fearnow’s Brunswick Stew. It is a southern staple and almost impossible to find in the midwest and too expensive when we do find it. My sister visits once a year and I have her bring a few cans from Virginia.
I have a lot of these in my emergency stock, however, we seldom eat them. If it were a true emergency, I wouldn’t worry about the sodium or other unhealthy ingredients, we like it and we would eat it. Most of these have expiration dates of 2 or more years out. Every 6 months I go through the cans and everything that will expire in the next 6 months, I donate to a local food bank.
The one canned item that my husband loves and I try to keep around is Mrs. Fearnow’s Brunswick Stew. We could always find this at the grocery store when we lived in the south. It’s almost impossible to find in the midwest. My sister comes to visit once a year and I have her bring 6 or more cans with her. When daughter and I fix something that hubby won’t eat, like shrimp anything, hubby will heat a can of this for him.
Hi Topaz, oh my gosh, I love learning about a new canned meal! I totally agree with you if a disaster hits, we will eat what will fill the belly. And I am going to go look for these. Amazon sells them and so does Walmart. Thank you for telling us about these!! Linda
Libbey’s Country Sausage Gravy over biscuits.
Beanie Weenies were always a camping staple, just throw next to the fire for 10 minutes to heat up then enjoy.
Castleberry’s BBQ Pork or Walmart’s Great Value BBQ Pork good to mix in with mashed potatoes.
Castleberry’s Brunswick Stew good by itself.
Vancamps or Hormels Chilli w/ Beans is good however you fix it.
Hi Ravenna, oh my gosh, I need to look for that Libbey’s Country Sausage Gravy!! Thank you for the reminder!! Life is so good! Linda
Corned Beef & Hash is a definite! The Southgate brand at Dollar Tree has about 600 calories per can!! It may not be the healthiest but it keeps you going. If you fry it until It’s but crispy it’s actually really good lol.
Hi Marianne, now we’re talking, fry it until it’s crispy! I love it! I will have to check for that brand!!! Linda