Ranking Fast Food’s Fried Fish Sandwiches First to Worst


Looking peckish for a tasty fried fish sandwich but too many options to choose from?

Ranking Fast Food’s Fried Fish Sandwiches First to Worst can be a daunting task!

Whether you’re a longtime seafood lover or just curious to try this classic fast food option, this guide will help you navigate the murky waters of fried fish sandwiches.

We’ll be dissecting the best and worst contenders based on freshness, flavor, value, and overall satisfaction.

So, dive on in and get ready to discover your new favorite fast-food fish sandwich !

1. Popeyes Seafood Po’boy

Popeyes keeps changing the game with its underrated po’ boy menu.

The chain offers hand-breaded chicken strips, fish fillets, or battered shrimp, all dredged in its signature mix of herbs and spices and fried to perfection.

The bread is what makes their fish sandwich different from those of their competitors. Popeyes don’t serve their fish on another sad, old, boring round bun.

Instead, they serve it New Orleans-style, on a French-style baguette with a crispy outside and a fluffy, slightly chewy inside.

The fish has an extra-crispy and crunchy texture, although it may be slightly over-fried.

A dash of crunchy lettuce and a bit of tartar sauce that seems like something a human would want instead of a time-traveling mutant cyborg from the future who gets all of its strength from tartar sauce is a nice change from how other chains do things.

2. McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish

Could the sandwich that started it all, the one that crushed Ray Kroc’s dreams of pineapple sandwiches in 1962, still stand out in a sea of similar fast-food fried fish sandwiches after almost 60 years?

If you examine the Filet-O-Fish ingredient by ingredient, recipe by recipe, and preparation method, it falls short in nearly every aspect.

The Filet-O-Fish consists of a puck of minced Alaskan Pollock, a half-slice of American cheese that melts where it touches the fish but remains solid and firm elsewhere, and a generous amount of creamy tartar sauce that can sometimes be overwhelming.

It will never win any beauty contests.

But the Filet-o-Fish is more than just an odd mix of ingredients, and that’s because of one important part: the steamed bun.

When you take a bite of the soft, steamy bun, the sandwich becomes a puffy little bite of seafaring pleasure.

Unlike other fast-food fish sandwiches, there are no hot shards of lettuce to get in the way of the experience.

Filet-O-Fish doesn’t try to compete with other chains’ “artisanal”-sounding products, and it never forgets who it is:

A bite of mild, crispy fried fish topped with a quart of tartar sauce and served on a warmed bun that looks like an angel’s kiss.

If you receive a freshly made one, you will have a small sandwich that costs around two dollars and gives you the feeling of a warm embrace in your mouth.

3. White Castle Fish Slider

Look, no one is as shocked as we are that this is so high on the list.

After all, what could a company known for its steamed onion burger bites possibly know about the fried fish sandwich game?

We were surprised to find that White Castle’s simple way of making sliders works really well with seafood.

In the Fish Slider, there isn’t too much breading on the small pieces of minced Alaskan Pollock, which make them crispy and tasty.

That’s a good thing because a slider-sized sandwich’s bun tends to overpower the rest of the tastes.

Among the fast-food fish sandwiches we sampled, this was one of the few where the small slice of American cheese complemented the sandwich as a whole, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.

Ask for tartar sauce on yours because, without it, the Fish Slider can be a little dry.

4. Arby’s Crispy Fish Sandwich

The Crispy Fish Sandwich at Arby’s is not available year-round at every location, but it’s a worthwhile option when it is offered.

The sandwich we sampled was freshly made to order, as the person behind the window informed us to “pull up to the curb” and wait a few minutes for our order to be ready.

This is an exciting phase for fast-food fish lovers.

It was almost worth the wait.

When I opened the bag, a cloud of sweetly scented seafood steam came out and surrounded a hot sandwich that looked almost exactly like the picture on the menu, which is a rare thing to happen.

The huge fish piece itself felt like real food because it had a natural shape and layers of flaked fish that were soft and pulled apart slightly when you bit into them.

The fish didn’t taste the same, which was a shame. Some bites were light, while others were very, very fishy.

The tangy sauce was a little too strong, and you could really taste it on the “back 40” of this sandwich.

The hot iceberg lettuce was also a drawback, as we found with other fish sandwiches we sampled.

5. Culver’s North Atlantic Cod Sandwich

Culver’s has a menu with a lot of different things on it. Not many places have both a pork sandwich and a pot roast burger.

They also have a North Atlantic Cod dish, which is a fish dish. Just like Culver’s chicken isn’t made the way most places do, the cod isn’t laid out the way most places do.

Fish, greens, shredded cheese, and a unique tartar sauce are served on a buttered hoagie roll that isn’t very long.

This tartar sauce is very mild, and even though it says it has olives, capers, and sweet relish, it tastes more like a light mayonnaise.

The great thing about Culver’s is that everything is cooked when you order it. This means that you’ll get a very fresh piece of cod that’s also a good size.

You could even argue that the best part of any fast-food fish burger is the bun.

But Culver’s fish is a little bit boring. The crunchy coating doesn’t have a lot of flavors, which is a big miss.

While a freshly cooked piece of fish is commendable, given the numerous other options available, it’s unlikely that this will be your go-to choice every time.

6. Captain D’s Giant Fish Sandwich

If you live near Captain D’s, you know how things work. For those who aren’t as lucky, think of it as a Long John Silver’s with a Southern twist.

It might not be exactly the same, but it’s not too far off. When you think of Captain D’s, you probably think of fish and chips or maybe butterfly shrimp, but of course they also have sandwiches.

The Goodly Captain doesn’t mess around with a small filet in a square or half-square shape.

Instead, they go big with the Giant Fish Sandwich, which lives up to its name. It has two pieces of their famous fish, greens, and double tartar sauce (on both the top and bottom buns).

Captain D’s makes some really good fish, but all of their meals are too salty for my taste. One helping of the Giant Fish sandwich has…

you won’t believe it… 1,940 milligrams of sodium. Even though it comes from the ocean, you don’t have to make it so salty.

If you’re trying to eat less salt, you shouldn’t eat this meal. It tastes good, but be careful: that’s a lot of salt.

7. Long John Silver’s Classic Fish Sandwich

Hang on! Before you hop in your car and drive to the Long John Silver’s near you to try a sandwich, you should make sure they have sandwiches on the menu.

There’s a good chance that the Long John Silver’s near you doesn’t serve sandwiches.

Does the close Long John Silver’s also go by the name Taco Bell?

There’s a good chance they won’t sell the sandwich. If KFC and Long John Silver’s are in the same place, they might sell the sandwich.

An old-school Long John Silver’s that stands on its own?

The sandwich better be there.

Let’s just say that, if they happen to have the sandwich, this is what you’ll get. It will be on a hoagie roll with cabbage, pickles, and a good amount of tartar sauce.

The diamond-shaped piece of fish will be the same one you get in the basket, so the fish will be fine and the tempura batter will still be crunchy.

Bread and sauces are really just “extras” for a fish that can stand on its own. Most people don’t go to Long John Silver’s for a burger, and that’s how it should stay.

Not to mention that if you want one, you’ll have to hunt for it, which is not worth the effort.

8. Burger King Big Fish

It can be hard to judge fast food fish sandwiches, mostly because there are so many ways to make them that can make even a possibly good fish sandwich taste awful.

Freshness is important, so most fast food places make fish sandwiches when you order them… but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few unfortunate exceptions.

The Burger King Big Fish has “100% White Alaskan Pollock, breaded with crispy panko breading and topped with sweet tartar sauce and tangy pickles, all on a toasted brioche-style bun.”

This sounds like everything a fast-food fried fish sandwich should be. It sounds almost ideal, but things aren’t always that way.

The sandwich we tried was full of limp, soggy lettuce that had been turned into a tangle of wet bits by the steam from the fish fillet.

The fish on the sandwich was mushy and covered in too much tartar sauce. The sauce was yellow and looked like it had been sitting out for hours.

The bun was strangely chewy, and most of the sandwich’s innards fell out onto the oily paper it was wrapped in.

9. Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. Redhook Beer Battered Fish Sandwich

If Hardee’s and Carl Jr., which are basically the same place, were a state, they would be called Texas.

They are proud of how big everything they carry is. Sometimes the name is just big, like “Redhook Beer Battered Fish Sandwich” for the fish sandwich.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Redhook is a “craft” beer, which means it’s a real beer.

Both Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. serve the same fish sandwich. The same is true for their chicken sandwich and almost everything else on their menu.

Yes, it’s big, but not as big as some of the other things they serve. There is, however, a lot of fish in this dish, possibly too much.

The standard order should come with lettuce, tomato, and way too much tartar sauce. I say “should” because, for some reason, it seems like the tomato misses the order more often than it hits it.

No matter what, it’s not a bad meal. Most of the fish is soft, and it tastes like it was in the ocean at some point in its life.

The problem is that the tartar and Orca-sized filet always seem to make the bun fall apart. If you really want something from the sea, it will do in a pinch.

10. Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich

During Lent, fast food restaurants will naturally market their fish products even more.

Chick-fil-A is probably the last place you’d expect to see one, but they have one too, and you can get it at some stores for 40 days.

Don’t be surprised if the one closest to you doesn’t have it, but it is out there.

Chick-fil-A puts their triangle-shaped fish patties, which usually come in three pieces, on their regular bun with lettuce and tomato.

But here’s the funny part: it’s so different from place to place that some people put pickles on it and others don’t.

Sometimes there are only two pieces of fish on your bun. Look, serving fish isn’t their thing. They might do it for their Catholic customers, but it’s clear that it’s not what they do best.

The fish tastes like the frozen fish you sometimes buy when it’s on sale and you’re feeling nostalgic about your childhood.

This fish sandwich is only for people who want to try everything on the menu at least once, or if you’re stuck on a Friday in March and the only place open is Chick-fil-A and you don’t want to break your Lenten rules.

11. Wendy’s Premium Cod Fillet Sandwich

This sandwich was the one that looked the most different from the picture on the menu and what we actually got.

When you look at the photos of the product, you might think you’ll get a big piece of cod “hand-cut from a whole fillet,” covered in Panko breadcrumbs, and placed in a buttered bun.

Instead, Wendy’s Premium Cod Fillet Sandwich was one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten.

Even though it was nice to see a fish fillet with something like a natural shape and a pleasant, slightly flavored texture, and even though the coating had a lot of crunches, the sandwich lost a lot of points because it didn’t pay attention to the other details.

Preparation was also a problem. The sandwich we got was served at a temperature just below room temperature and was topped with a cold slice of hard, tasteless American cheese that we did not ask for.

Even though there was a good amount of tangy, tasty tartar sauce on the sandwich, the slightly stale, severely squashed bun barely kept everything together, and the sandwich as a whole was strangely dry.

12. Sonic Drive-In Fish Sandwich

We think it’s probably a good thing that this limited-time offer is only offered during Lent.

The fish itself has the same square, chopped-up “whatever white fish is on sale this time of year” look as a lot of other fast food, but it is crispier than most.

But to show that “crispier” doesn’t always mean “better,” the breading makes almost a protective shell around the fish inside, and when it breaks off, it usually comes off in big pieces that hurt your mouth.

The fish inside is mashed and has a texture that isn’t very attractive. It’s also surprisingly oily and greasy, and it doesn’t taste much like fish.

This sandwich is solidly in our “do not recommend” category because it has a lot of limp, watery lettuce and a squeeze of generic tartar sauce, neither of which improves it.

Sonic keeps trying to improve its fast food and drinks, so we’ll let them off the hook. We just won’t be eating their fish sandwich.

Even so, a POWERADE Mountain Berry Blast Slush would be perfect right now.

13. Steak-n-Shake Fish Sandwich

If you are thinking, “Hey, it’s not Fish-n-Shake!”

We also like that joke. Even though the fish sandwich is on the menu of a diner, it is not a normal item.

Instead, it is only served during the Lenten season. You might be able to find it at a Steak-n-Shake when it’s not spring, but that’s pretty rare.

The basic fish dish at Steak-n-Shake comes with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce.

If you order one, they’ll probably ask if you want lettuce and tomato. If they don’t, you’ll just get fish, tartar sauce, and a bun.

Several things are wrong with this sandwich. The presentation is strange, like most places that don’t specialize in fish.

You’ll get two triangle-shaped pieces of fish on a bun. They look like the same ones you can buy at the grocery store.

The bun is your typical hamburger bun, and to be honest, it doesn’t hold up as well on the fish as it does on a burger.

The tartar sauce is the biggest problem with the fish. Steak-n-Shake seems to think that since they have it, they should use enough to drown a guppie.

Almost always, you’ll get way too much tartar sauce, and it’ll be a mess to eat.

Look, just because you only have tartar sauce for 40 days doesn’t mean you have to put a huge ton on every bun.

14. Dairy Queen Crispy Fish Sandwich

Dairy Queen isn’t content with simply mixing Snickerdoodle cookie dough into their soft serve; they continue to expand their menu with a variety of “Fan Food” options, some of which are more successful than others.


The Dairy Queen Crispy Fish Sandwich includes a crispy fish fillet, fresh green leaf lettuce, and tartar sauce, all served on a toasted sesame seed bun.


Sounds good, doesn’t it?

It’s likely that the copywriters at Dairy Queen had the foresight to reject the original, brutally honest description of the sandwich, which may have gone something like this:


The sandwich consisted of a heavily-breaded fish patty with a faint seafood aroma, coated in an extra crispy breading. The lettuce appeared freezer-burned and lacked flavor, while the sandwich was drenched in an excessive amount of cheap tartar sauce and carelessly assembled on a stale, chewy bun.


Dairy King! We make every sandwich to order by stapling it to a corkboard and shooting it with a swampy tartar sauce cannon while a pimple-faced youth sneers at you.”

Good thing there are copywriters, right?

Check out the Bojangles Menu here.


In conclusion, there are a lot of different fast-food fish burgers to choose from.

Some are better than others, but in the end, it comes down to what you like.

If you’re looking for the best fast-food fish sandwich, McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish is the one to beat.

It’s standard for a reason: the fish is flaky, the breading is crunchy, and the tartar sauce is tangy.

FAQs – Fast Food’s Fried Fish Sandwiches 

Why do people like fish burgers from fast food?

Fish burgers from fast food restaurants are popular because they are a quick, easy, and cheap way to eat. They also have a lot of protein and can be a good choice for sandwiches with meat.

What should I look for in a good fish burger from a fast food restaurant?

A good fast-food fish burger should have flaky, tender fish and a crunchy, flavorful breading. It should also have a tartar sauce that goes well with the fish. It should be creamy and spicy.

Are fish burgers from fast food places healthy?

Fish sandwiches from fast food restaurants can be a good source of protein, but they often have a lot of calories, fat, and salt. As part of a healthy diet, it’s important to eat them within limits.

What kind of fish makes the best fast food sandwich?

A light, flaky white fish like cod or pollock is the best fish for a fast food sandwich.

What are some famous fish sandwiches from fast food places?

The Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonald’s, the Wendy’s Premium Cod Fillet sandwich, and the Arby’s Crispy Fish sandwich are all popular fish meals from fast food places.

Why do so many people like McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish?

The Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’s is famous because it was one of the first fast-food fish sandwiches and has a unique taste that many people like.

How do you make a tasty fish sauce?

A good tartar sauce should be sour, smooth, and just a little bit sweet. For more taste and texture, it should also have finely chopped pickles, onions, and capers.

Can I make a fish burger from a fast food place at home?

Yes, you can make your own fast-food fish burger at home by breading and frying a fillet of fish and putting it on a bun with toppings like lettuce and tartar sauce.

How can I make a fish sandwich from fast food that is better for me?

You can bake or grill the fish instead of frying it to make a healthy fast-food fish sandwich. You can also use a whole grain bun instead of a white bun and leave out the cheese and mayonnaise.

Is there a fast food fish sandwich that is veggie or vegan?

Yes, some fast food places offer veggie or vegan fish sandwiches made with tofu or tempeh instead of fish.

What are some different ways fast food fish burgers are made in different places?

The Long John Silver’s Fish Sandwich in the U.S. and the Fish-O-Filet sandwich at Burger King in the U.K. are both fast food fish burgers with local twists.

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