A fried fish sandwich

A fried fish sandwich (Photo by Foodio on Shutterstock)

If you are hungry while on the go, fast food is an easy, affordable choice. But if you aren’t in the mood for a burger and fries, what should you eat? A fast-food fish sandwich is a tasty option to consider that’s often overlooked but is featured on so many different menus. The best fast food fish sandwiches come breaded or fried and always packed with flavor.

Fast-food fish filets are typically made from white fish, such as cod, haddock, pollock, or Alaskan Pollock. These types of fish are popular because they have a mild flavor and a firm, flaky texture that holds up well to frying and processing. Fast-food chains often use these kinds of fish because they are relatively inexpensive and widely available.

The fish is usually breaded or battered and then deep-fried, which gives it a crispy exterior. It’s often served in a sandwich with toppings like tartar sauce and lettuce, or as part of a meal with sides like fries and coleslaw. The exact type of fish used can vary depending on the restaurant and its supply chain. Some fast-food chains might also use a blend of different types of white fish for their filets.

The fast-food fish sandwich swims against the tide of culinary expectations, effortlessly flipping the notion that fast-food can’t deliver a mouthwatering seafood experience. With a delicate balance of flavors, the crispy breaded fish patty takes center stage, perfectly complemented by a symphony of tangy tartar sauce, crisp lettuce, and a toasted bun that offers a satisfying crunch. Every bite is an oceanic adventure, transporting your taste buds to coastal shores. So whether you’re a landlocked epicurean or a seafood aficionado craving convenience, the fast food fish sandwich proves that sometimes, the most unexpected catch can be the most delightful.

Ready for your next fast food run? StudyFinds is here to help you prep for it. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top five best fast food fish sandwiches from ten expert websites to find the most recommended delicacies on menus today. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

A person holding a bag of McDonald's food
A person holding a bag of McDonald’s food (Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels)

The List: Best Fast Food Fish Sandwiches, According to Foodies

1. Culver’s North Atlantic Cod Filet Sandwich

This hand cut, hand battered Midwestern delight is a top choice among reviewers. Why? “Culver’s cranks out a fish sandwich that’s tender, flaky, and downright buttery in a way that hearkens back to the crispy batter you’d see at a bona fide fish fry,” according to The Takeout.

Thrillist points out, it’s a “sizable piece of fresh, crispy, light cod you’d never mistake for a fast food-style fish patty. It’s dressed with tartar sauce that has actual flavor beyond boring old dill (capers! olives!), and a hint of creaminess courtesy of its shredded cheese.”

Available year-round, it’s served on a hoagie roll instead of a traditional bun. “The fish sits atop a bed of shredded lettuce, Wisconsin cheese, and a nice amount of tartar sauce you’ll love,” suggests Tasting Table.

2. Arby’s Crispy Fish Sandwich

Arby’s is well-known for its meats and curly fries. However, its Crispy Fish Sandwich doesn’t disappoint. “You’re getting a large piece of fish on a decent sandwich. The large fish filet is really good and is actually filling. There’s a good flake and seasoning,” according to UPROXX.

The fish is surrounded by a toasted sesame bun. Taste of Home points out, “the lettuce added a pleasant crunch and the tartar sauce was well distributed.” There’s also a spicy variety of this sandwich available. 

Eat This, Not That! adds, “it has low calories for a big slab of fish, plus, the minimal amount of topping allows for a lower intake of fat and sugars.” Just note, Arby’s Crispy Fish Sandwich is an occasional menu item, so keep an eye out to find it seasonally.

3. Wendy’s Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich

Another seasonal fish sandwich worth trying is this offering from Wendy’s. Allrecipes notes, “the fish is perfectly crispy and the pickle adds an extra crunch in contrast to the fluffy bun.”

If your taste buds crave a little kick, Wendy’s also makes this sandwich in a spicy version. “The Spicy Panko Fish Sandwich swaps out the tartar sauce for Wendy’s spicy sauce and also includes a melty blend of cheddar and Monterey jack cheese slices,” according to The Daily Meal.

Made of Alaskan pollock, “you can feel a little better knowing your fish comes from a certified sustainable fishery,” points out The Takeout.

4. White Castle Panko Breaded Fish Slider

Surprise! In addition to burgers, White Castle also makes a tasty fish slider. UPROXX adds, it’s “basic but delivers a decent fish patty with a small flake, good seasoning, and a nice crispy outer coating. The cheese moistens it along with the soft bun to create a good textural experience.”

Taste of Home notes, White Castle includes “the tartar sauce (a must when it comes to fish sandwich toppings) as a packet on the side. This was nice because we could then add as much or as little as we wanted to the sandwich, rather than it arriving in one big glob inside the bun.”

Available during the Lenten season, you can also get the fish slider without cheese, too. Although Eat This, Not That! points out, “it comes with quite a lot of calories, as well as sodium, for such a tiny breaded fish patty. If you’re the type of person that orders a few of White Castle’s mini sliders, for the sake of your body and overall health, try not to overindulge in too many of the seafood ones (if possible).”

5. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich

Rounding out the top five, is my personal favorite. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Sandwich has been a year-round menu staple since the 1960s. “The Filet-O-Fish doesn’t hope to compete with the artisanal-sounding ingredients found at other chains, and it never forgets who it is: A taste of mild, crispy fried fish, topped with a quart of tartar sauce and served on an angel’s kiss of a steamed bun,” according to Mashed

Restaurant Clicks notes, the fish is “covered in crispy breadcrumbs, then topped with cheese and tartar sauce, all in a steamed, white bun. It is simple, but delicious, and always a reliable choice if you want a good fish sandwich.”

Some more upsides? “A low price and consistent preparation make the Filet-O-Fish a failproof, no-frills option,” suggests The Takeout. However, if you are looking for knock your socks off flavor, skip this choice.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

About Melissa Kraus

Melissa is a freelance writer, based out of New Jersey. She has over two-decades of writing, editing, and producing experience for Radio, TV, and Digital Media.

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36 Comments

  1. Jack says:

    The McDonald’s fish has gotten smaller over the years and has gone up in price. They break the slice of cheese in half too. It’s the worst sandwich in the world ! I would prefer the slider from White Castle

  2. Marla says:

    I used to like the McD’s filet of fish until they only give 1/2 slice of cheese and reduce the size of fish.👎🏻

  3. Brent says:

    Culver’s is the correct answer. And, if you’re lucky, it will be walleye season and you can walleye filet. Freaking fresh as all get out and delicious.

  4. John says:

    I disagree with McDonald’s even being in here. They used to have a fine product, but a few years ago the price almost doubled and the sandwich seems smaller. I have ordered them and it seems I can never get a fresh one. Always soggy.
    Not worth the Hhigh price.
    Culver’s fish is awesome.

  5. Fishmaster says:

    Filet o fish is a dud. It is so lame. Not much fish or anything else for that matter between the buns. It’s a four bite slider dud sandwich sold at a rediculous premium price.

  6. Donna says:

    Sadly, I think Burger Kings BK Big Fish is the best and the runner up in my opinion is McDonalds fish filet

  7. harper/mom says:

    Inflation people. If the FF restaurants kept everything the same, they would need to raise the price. I’m just saying

  8. Gerald andrews says:

    McDonald’s fish sandwich…Really!!!!🤷‍♂️