Almost every fast-food chain has one item on its menu which is often overlooked. At the forefront of every menu and advertising campaign, you will find chicken and beef burgers. But, hiding in the background, you will usually find a sole fish sandwich.
There is no way of knowing exactly why the humble fast-food fish sandwich is so widely overlooked. After all, there is a reason why so many different restaurants offer at least one on their menu, and this is usually because they taste great. Despite this, nobody ever really talks about them, they simply lurk in the background, waiting to be ordered.
The fish sandwich is by no means a new addition to the fast-food world, in fact, McDonald’s first introduced their famous filet-o-fish to the menu in 1962, and it has been a fan favorite ever since. But McDonald’s isn’t the only restaurant that offers a fast-food fish sandwich. In fact, most fast-food restaurants offer one type of fish sandwich or burger.
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the best fast food fish sandwiches currently available. So to find out the best options to order, keep on reading.
What Makes a Good Fish Sandwich?
But before we take a look at some of the best fish sandwiches available from fast food restaurants, let’s take a look at what makes a good fish sandwich. Well, most of the time, there are around 3 different levels to a good fish sandwich. They are the fish, the bun, and the toppings. Some fish sandwiches will use salad as a topping, others will simply include a sauce. It is the combination of flavors between the fish, and these toppings which make a good fish sandwich.
But, the bun is just as important. After all, the bun can make or break a good burger, and the same thing applies to a fish sandwich. A good fish sandwich will have flavors that complement each other perfectly with every single bite that you take. So, now that we know what makes a good fish sandwich, let’s take a look at some of the best options that are currently available in America’s fast-food chains.
Whataburger WhataCatch Sandwich
One of the best fast-food fish sandwiches that you can buy is the Whataburger Whatacatch sandwich. This fish sandwich contains absolutely everything that you want in a good fish sandwich, and it tastes utterly delicious.
With Panko breaded Alaskan pollock at its heart, this sandwich also contains lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce. All sandwiched together in a yummy white bun. The flavors within this burger complement each other perfectly, and this is what makes it such a great sandwich. So, if you fancy treating yourself to one of the best fish sandwiches on the fast-food market, this is the one to order.
White Castle Panko Breaded Fish Slider
Speaking of Panko breaded fish fillets, next up we would recommend trying the White Castle Panko Breaded Fish Slider. Once again, this fish sandwich uses pollock at its center, and as you will see, this is actually a popular type of fish used in fast-food fish sandwiches.
This is mainly because pollock is a delicious fish that is flaky, so it tastes great when eaten in a sandwich. It is simply topped with a slice of American cheese and served in a delicious white bun. So, if you don’t fancy the Whataburger fish sandwich, this is the one to try.
When we started this list, there was no way that we could exclude the famous McDonald’s filet-o-fish from the top 3, so here we have it. The filet-o-fish is the OG fish sandwich in the fast-food industry, and it was actually the first non-hamburger meal added to the McDonald’s menu back in 1962. Now, it’s easily one of McDonald’s most popular menu items.
The filet-o-fish keeps it simple, but it is clearly a success, otherwise, it wouldn’t still be available on the menu today. White Hoki 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.
Popeye’s Cajun Flounder Sandwich
The seafood po-boy that Popeye’s once offered is one of the best fish sandwiches that has ever existed in the fast-food market. While this delicious sandwich is no longer available, Popeye’s recently added a new fish sandwich to their menu, and it is a real beauty. This is the Cajun flounder sandwich, which consists of a delicious fillet of fried flounder that is covered with spicy Cajun seasoned breadcrumbs.
This fried fillet is then added to a buttered brioche bun, with thick-cut pickles served on top. The Cajun flounder sandwich is unique to the other sandwiches on this list because it is the only spicy option. So, if you like your dish sandwich to have a kick, Popeye’s is the place to visit.
Long John Silver Pacific Cod
Somewhere else that uses a fish different from pollock is Long John Silvers. As the name of this sandwich suggests, they use Pacific Cod as the main ingredient in their Classic cod sandwich. This is the same cod that they use in their classic cod meal. But, it is simply served inside a sandwich instead, with tartar sauce and pickles for extra flavor. While most fast food companies feature a single fish sandwich on their menu, Long John Silver specializes in fish, so you know that you will be able to get a good quality fish sandwich if you visit here.
Culver’s North Atlantic Cod Sandwich
Another great place to visit if you want a good quality fish sandwich is Culvers. After all, Culver’s knows how to make good fish. The company offers a couple of different fish sandwiches, but we think that the best option is the North Atlantic Cod sandwich.
Just like Long John Silver’s, Culver’s uses cod instead of pollock in their sandwiches, and this makes them extra special. Every fish fillet is hand-battered, before being fried and served in a buttered toasted hoagie roll alongside tartar sauce, lettuce, and Wisconsin cheddar. It really is something special, and definitely one to try.
Jack in the Box Fish Sandwich
The fish sandwich at Jack in the Box is something that comes and goes off of their menu. For a number of years, Jack in the Box did not offer a fish sandwich, but in early 2021 they reintroduced one to their menu. Keeping it simple by just naming it the Fish Sandwich, this burger is actually quite basic, but it tastes outstanding.
With a panko-breaded pollock fillet at its heart, topped with tartar sauce and lettuce, all served in a toasted bun, this sandwich is great. It is simple but delicious, and it is one that you should try while it is still on the Jack in the Box menu.
Wendy’s Premium Cod Fillet Sandwich
Another restaurant where the fish sandwich comes and goes is Wendy’s, but you could recreate it yourself.. This restaurant almost always offers a fish sandwich, but it tends to alternate between the Premium cod fillet sandwich and the crispy Panko sandwich. Both of these sandwiches are completely delicious, but our favorite is the premium cod fillet sandwich.
This sandwich is simple but perfect, with a breaded cod fillet topped with lettuce and tartar sauce and served inside a butter toasted bun. So, this is another fish sandwich to try out while it is still available on the menu.
Burger King Big Fish Sandwich
Moving back to fast food chains that use pollock in their sandwiches, next up we have the Burger King Big Fish sandwich. Once again, this pollock fillet is breaded in Panko breadcrumbs, then fried before being served.
But what makes the Burger King version of this classic fish sandwich special is the ingredients that they use as toppings. On top of this fish fillet, Burger King adds their own unique tartar sauce, alongside tangy pickles, all inside a toasted brioche bun. To make this sandwich even better, it is actually pretty big too, so this is a meal that will fill you right up.
Arby’s King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe Sandwich
Sticking with the pollock theme, Arby’s also chooses to use this in their King’s Hawaiian Fish Deluxe sandwich. The fish fillet in this sandwich is massive, so you will be getting excellent value for your money. Once fried, this yummy fish fillet is served on top of a bed of lettuce and tomato and topped with chunky tartar sauce.
All of this is sandwiched together into a fluffy sweet bun that comes all the way from Hawaii (hence the name). So, this is another great fish sandwich to try next time you fancy one.
Steak ‘n Shake Fish Sandwich
The fish sandwich at Steak-n-Shake is quite different from the other options we have looked at so far. This is because the Steak-n-Shake fish sandwich does not come with a single fillet of fish inside it. Instead, it comes with multiple pieces of breaded fish inside it, and this makes it special.
These fillets are usually made using cod which is coated in beer batter, fried, and then served in a grilled bun alongside lettuce, and tartar sauce. This fish sandwich is outstanding, but it isn’t always available on the menu, so if you see it, you should definitely order it while it’s around.
Captain D’s Giant Fish Sandwich
If you are feeling hungry, you should make a trip to Captain D’s. Captain D’s specializes in fish, so their fish sandwiches are top tier, and the giant fish sandwich is the perfect option if you are feeling peckish.
This beast of a sandwich contains 2 batter-dipped fish fillets that are served on top of tangy tartar sauce and topped with lettuce. These 2 large fillets are then sandwiched in a toasty bun, which you are guaranteed to love. So, if you want a fast-food fish sandwich, and you have a big appetite, this is the place to visit.
Dairy Queen Wild Alaskan Fish Sandwich
Dairy Queen also offers a fish sandwich, and this is called the Wild Alaskan fish sandwich. This is a great option if you don’t want a meal that is high in calories, as this burger contains just 420 calories.
It is made using Alaskan pollock which is breaded, fried, and served with chopped lettuce and tartar sauce. Like most of the fish sandwiches we have looked at in this guide, this option is basic, but this is clearly something that is important if you want to make a good fish sandwich. This is why the Wild Alaskan fish sandwich from Dairy Queen is so delicious.
Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s Beer-Battered Fish Sandwich
No matter whether you have a Carl’s Jr or a Hardee’s close to you, you will be able to get your hands on a delicious fish sandwich. Both companies offer a beer-battered fish sandwich which is made using Alaskan pollock, like many of the other sandwiches we have looked at so far.
This fillet of fish is served within a bun with lettuce and tartar sauce beneath it, and an extra layer of tartar sauce on top. Due to these layers, this sandwich is packed with flavor, and this is only further complemented by the beer batter that covers the fish itself.
Ivar’s Fish Sandwich
If you are local to or visiting Washington, then you have to give the fish sandwich at Ivar’s a try. Ivar’s is still a pretty small chain, and they only have stores in Washington State, but they know how to make a good fish sandwich. Their fish sandwich has a large fillet of breaded cod at its center, which is served in a large brioche bun. In addition, there is lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce served within this bun. This sounds very similar to some of the other sandwiches that we have looked at in this guide, but when you taste this sandwich, you will understand that there is something ultra-special about the fish sandwiches at Ivar’s.
Chick-fil-A Fish Sandwich
Finally, let’s wrap this up with the fish sandwich at Chick-fil-A. Now, we know that Chick-fil-A is all about the chicken, but their fish sandwich actually isn’t that bad either. Just like Steak-n-Shake, Chick-fil-A uses multiple fillets within their fish sandwich, and this is part of what makes it taste so great. These fillets of cod are served upon a bed of tomato and lettuce, with cheese on top of it, and the option of a lemon tartar sauce if you want it. The combination of flavors in this fish sandwich are different from any other sandwich we have looked at, so if you fancy something a little different, Chick-fil-A is the place to visit.
In short, in this guide, we have taken a look at what makes a good fast-food fish sandwich, as well as taking a look at some of the best fast-food fish sandwiches currently available on the market.
So no matter whether you are looking for a flavorful fish sandwich, a healthy fish sandwich, or something a little different, there is something for everyone in this guide.
Which fish sandwich is your favorite? Leave a comment below and let us know!