Fish sticks are a staple in many American homes as they can be used to make quick and easy, tasty meals for busy families. There are many brands of fish sticks available, but some people find that the taste and quality are not up to par with what they were expecting. A review of these brands will help you decide which one would best suit your needs.
So without any further ado, let’s jump right into it!
1. Trader Joe’s Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks
Trader Joe’s Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks are great. They are made with the highest quality Alaskan pollock fish added with a flavourful inside, so they’re very tasty. The best thing about these is the breading on them – it’s lighter and less greasy than many other brands.
They’re also not too salty. And they’re a lot less expensive than buying fresh or frozen from the grocery store, which is a definite plus. These don’t come in a regular 6 piece box. A regular box from them contains about 24 pieces.
They can be baked in just 15 minutes and come out with a nice golden brown crispy texture with light flaky breading. The sticks are generously sized and hold well together while cooking. The pack contains 220 calories, 195 mg of sodium, about 10g of fat, and 12g of protein.
- Healthy/low-calorie snack
- No trans fat
- No artificial colors
- Delicious high-quality Alaska pollock fish
2. 365 Whole Foods Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks
The flavor of these is quite nice. They are breaded and made with pollock, a wild fish caught from the Alaskan waters. These take about 25 minutes to cook in the oven.
One thing I noticed is that there were no microwave directions on the box. And the sizes were a bit odd. Some were smaller than the others. Even though they came out pretty crispy on the outside, they did the typical frozen thing where the mass would separate from the breading.
But I guess that’s what creates that moist interior. The breading tastes good on these, but the interior doesn’t have much of a taste and has just a hint of that fishy flavor to it. You can dip them in a tarter sauce but they’d taste just fine on their own.
Each stick has a weight of about 1.66 oz. You get about 570 calories from the whole box of 6 and almost 240 from fat. The sodium can add up to another 350mg, which is like a lot.
- Made from wild-caught pollocks from the Alaskan waters
- Pretty affordable considering it’s allergen-free
- MSC certified
- The breading tastes delicious, though the fish itself doesn’t have much flavor
- Microwave cooking is not recommended
- They’re not uniformly sized, which is kind of odd
- Deceptively large box, it only carries 6 sticks, so don’t be fooled
- Serving size is only two sticks
- High amounts of sodium
3. Trident Seafoods The Ultimate Fish Stick
The Trident Seafoods Ultimate Fish Stick was the hands-down favorite for testers looking for an ultimate fish stick. The exterior of these fish sticks was crispy and golden, and the fish inside was flaky.
These fish sticks also had a nice seasoning that tasters enjoyed. The flavor of these fish sticks was so great that several testers didn’t believe they were frozen at first. These were the priciest frozen fish sticks on our list, but we think you’ll agree they’re worth it!
- Crispy exterior
- Filled with flaky pollock
- Nice seasoning
4. Starfish Gluten-Free Panko Breaded Fish Sticks
I was excited to try out the new Starfish Gluten-Free Panko Breaded Fish Sticks. The first thing I noticed when I opened the package is that they are really heavy. You have to put them on a paper towel for a while before you can even touch them without them still sticking to your hand, and then they just keep falling apart in your hands.
There is a lot of salt in these sticks but I’m not sure if that’s to cover up the quality or for taste. The mix of flours makes it so that they don’t get crispy as a normal fried breading should – instead, it’s more like gummy and falls off the fish while you’re eating it. They tasted alright but I’m not sure I would buy them again.
The Breaded varieties have a light and crispy crust with added flavors. The gluten-free tasted like a bread lump with excessive salt.
- Has a hint of garlic
- Price is in the high range of reasonable
- The amount of salt is excessive
- Not crispy enough at all
- Fish still stays soft even after being cooked
- An odd mix of flavors
5. Gorton’s Super Crunchy Breaded Fish Sticks
The Gorton’s fish stick is breaded and made from pollock. Pollock is a type of whitefish that has very flaky flesh and doesn’t have any strong flavors to overpower the taste of the breading or other ingredients.
I found this fish stick to be very crispy on the outside, but surprisingly moist inside. In fact, it was almost like it had been cooked in an oiled pan instead of just baked like all the other brands that I tested. There was no question about it, the Gorton’s fish stick had a really nice texture and flavor.
Another great thing about this fish stick is that it doesn’t have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. I found that some of the other brands were starting to get a bit chalky in texture as well as taste, and they usually had some sort of chemical additive added to them.
Overall, I was really impressed with this fish stick. It was delicious on its own, but you can top it up with some ketchup or tartar sauce and serve it with french fries or a side of coleslaw.
- Crispy on the outside
- Moist inside
- Doesn’t have any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
- Doesn’t come with extra seasoning to spice it up.
6. Van de Kamp’s Jumbo Crunchy Breaded Fish Sticks
Van de Kamp’s Crunchy Breaded Fish Sticks takes the classic fish sticks and makes it even better. The exterior of these breaded sticks is crisp and crunchy without being hard or tough, which made for an enjoyable texture.
These fish sticks are mostly made of Pollock, the standard in many fish sticks, but there was no unpleasant taste to speak of. Overall, I would say that this product is a great basic to have on hand as a staple in your freezer.
- Crisp exterior for a nice crunch without being tough or hard
- No unpleasant taste or smell
7. Ian’s Gluten-Free Fish Sticks
Ian has managed to make sure that all the common allergens are not present in the dough or the breading which means everyone can enjoy these fish sticks. I loved the crunchy outer layer and the soft texture of the inside, both enhanced by a special non-dairy seasoning that has a hint of sweetness to it.
I found they reminded me of the flavor and texture of fried catfish with just enough breading to give you some crunch but not so much as to overpower the taste of the fish itself.
The ingredients were also very simple – whitefish, eggs, cornmeal mix, Baking Powder. After hearing about other products made by Ian’s I knew I was getting great quality fish sticks. I highly recommend these fish sticks if you have food allergies or are looking for another way to enjoy a healthy snack.
- They are gluten and wheat free
- Non-Dairy. The fish sticks do not have milk or butter, making them soy, dairy, egg, and nut-free as well.
- Soft texture that is enhanced by a special non-dairy seasoning with hints of sweetness to it
- More expensive than traditional breaded fish sticks.
8. Mrs. Paul’s Crunchy Fish Sticks
Mrs. Paul’s Crunchy Fish Sticks are the perfect fish sticks for people who want a traditional taste with a crunchy outside. They taste like they’re freshly cooked and there is a bit less breading than in other varieties, but they’re not too light or too salty.
The fish is also naturally fresh and the price isn’t bad at all since it only costs about $5.79 for an 18 sticks box. It tastes really good as well, with lots of crispy outside texture that doesn’t fall off.
The fish is also cooked just right so that it’s warm but not cold on the inside, which is a common failing with frozen foods. It’s also nice and flaky without being mushy or tasteless like some brands can be.
This product beats out most of the competition by offering decent texture to go along with its great taste, making it our choice for best-frozen fish sticks overall.
- The price is pretty affordable for 18 sticks, at just $5.79.
- Tastes really nice and the fish feels cooked just right so it’s not cold or mushy.
- There isn’t a lot of breading on each stick which makes them taste a little bland or tasteless sometimes.
9. Natural Sea Wild Cod Fish Sticks
Your taste buds will thank you for giving these crunchy breaded fish sticks a chance. These are also made from wild codfish, and breaded with perfection. Although I have to say, they looked pretty good and the flat shape made them more appealing. The outer crust wasn’t as crunchy and crumbly as the other brands.
It was kind of flaky which led me to believe that the outer coating may have been too thin for my tastes. And the box clearly mentioned that the fish was exclusively wild-caught. Which makes this a perfect choice for conscious shoppers.
- Best for conscious shoppers
- The fish tastes good
- The flat shape makes it more visually appealing
- The crust wasn’t as crunchy or crumbly as other brands.
10. Fisher Boy Fish Sticks
Fisher Boy Fish Sticks are a great snack. They are made with a high-quality minced fish blend and have no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. These come in a huge saver pack of about 48 sticks.
They add a variety of fish meat to each stick, so there is a little of everything to taste. There’s cod, flounder, sole, tilapia, and many more. But the size of these is quite small. And the breading takes up most of it since the actual fish is in very small quantities.
But the crust is crunchy and carries an appetizing nice aroma during cooking. You get about 24 grams of carbs with one serving.
They’re great, they’re cheap and they can be stored in zip locks in the freezer for months.
- Good for snacking and on the go
- Contains a nice mix of various fish meat
- Delicious taste
- Can also be used for full meals with a side dish
- Has a nice aroma
- Very affordable
- Pretty small in size
- They’re minced and not whole fish
- These cool down very fast
- Not a lot of actual fish included just the huge coat of breading
Some Insider Tips
Fish sticks are a super convenient way to create some meals at home or a snack on the go. Fish is also high in protein, which is great for those who want to lose weight or bulk up.
Breaded fish sticks can be dipped into all sorts of sauces. To make it healthier, you can dip them in tomato sauce, hummus, vinegar, or even homemade mayo with spices like chopped dill pickle and parsley.
If you want to have fish sticks as a side dish, serve them with some fries and tartar sauce.
Breaded fish sticks are also great fillers in many sandwiches or wraps. All you have to do is add some lettuce, tomato, and/or onion on the side and wrap. Add a sauce of your choice to complete the meal.
Brush the breading with melted butter before baking so it will come out nice and crunchy. This will work best if you use panko bread crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs because they produce more light and crispy texture when baked in the oven. Panko has a larger flake size than normal breadcrumbs which makes it really good for coating and breading. It also absorbs less oil than normal breadcrumbs, which makes it a better choice for frying.
If you want to make a healthier vegetable version of fish sticks, try using sweet potatoes instead of bread crumbs. You’ll still get that crunch but with much more nutrients from the vegetables. Sweet potato sticks also taste great dipped into all sorts of dipping sauces!
Serve this fresh catch with homemade tartar sauce and lemon wedges, or classic ketchup if they’re too young to stomach tartar sauce just yet.
Related: 10 Best Fish For Pan Frying
Try This Quick & Easy Fish Stick Meal
For those who want to create an Asian-inspired meal, make a stir fry with chopped bell pepper, celery, or bok choy (depending on your taste), some shredded carrots for crunchiness, and protein-rich tofu. Then add the breaded fish sticks near the end so they don’t get soggy and absorb too much soy sauce.
This will add more flavor to the dish than if you put the fish sticks in at first because it gathers all of the flavors from frying together. This tasty snack is also a quick go-to meal if you are craving something savory. The fish sticks can keep in the fridge for up to two weeks, except for those with dairy in it because dairy is very sensitive and will spoil easily.