Taste of Home
When it comes to classic childhood dinners, we’re pretty sure that fish sticks rank pretty high on the list. Of course, we all prefer Mom’s Sunday suppers, but on a hectic weeknight, fish sticks can really hit the spot. Since we’re just as busy as ever, we wanted to put this quintessential frozen meal to the test and see which brands taste just as good (or even better) than we all remember.
For this test, a team of testers tried Fisher Boy, Gorton’s, Sea Queen (that’s an Aldi-exclusive brand), ShurFine (a generic brand), Trader Joe’s, Trident Seafoods, Van de Kamp and 365 Everyday Value (a Whole Foods exclusive). Let’s see which took the top spots!
Honorable Mention: Van de Kamp Crunchy Fish Sticks
Fish stick aficionados all know the name Van de Kamp. This classic brand delivered perfectly crispy fish sticks packed with pollock (a fish stick standard)—no unpleasant fishy flavor to be found. While the fish was the star of this show, testers did take note of the crisp exterior and homemade look. Overall, we agreed these were a great basic to have on hand.
Nudging out Sea Queen was fish stick king Gorton’s. Like the other top-rated brands in this test, Gorton’s boasted the perfect proportions of crispy breading and flaky pollock inside. While fish is the heart of this product, what really sold testers on Gorton’s was the extra crispy crust—think of your favorite mozzarella stick coating (check this out for a twist on the classic mozzarella stick). It was really amazing how crisp these got in the oven alone (no frying here!).
Best in Show: Trident Seafoods Ultimate Fish Sticks
Coming in at the very top of our list was Trident Seafoods Ultimate Fish Sticks. This fish stick brand made great impressions on the testers from the get-go. The exterior was crispy and golden, and when we pulled them apart, we saw they were filled with flaky pollock.
Taking our first bites, we got exactly what we wanted from an ultimate fish stick: the perfect crunch (thanks to panko breading), great seasoning and a just-right breading-to-filling ratio. Noticing the amount of minimally processed fish, one tester commented, “I’d feel good feeding these to my kids.” And that’s really the point of this whole test: to find the perfect fish stick for busy evenings and at home faux fish fries (pssst… you can find authentic fish fry recipes here!).
Looking at our top-rated brands, we identified a major takeaway that we’d keep in mind next time we shop: stick with big name brands. While we did test nine different kinds, no generic or store brands were able to break into the top three. Van de Kamp, Gorton’s and Trident Seafoods are all big names in fish, and they know how to do it right according to our taste buds.