Let’s start with the bare minimum: The best frozen fish fillets don’t taste like a sponge. And they don’t taste like fish food. They taste like fish. Good, clean, flaky, fresh fish—that happens to be coated in something crispy and delicious.
Frying fish is hard. And cleaning up after you fry fish is even harder. Luckily, a few brands out there (but mostly Gorton’s, surprise, surprise) make frozen fish fillets that require just heating and eating. And they’re available in a variety of breadings and batters. But they’re not all good. I cranked up the oven (okay, it was our in-office combo airfryer/toaster oven) and prepared nine different frozen fish fillets in order to find out which ones are worth your hard earned money and freezer space.
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- Gorton’s Roasted Garlic & Italian Herb Breaded Fish Fillets
These frozen fish fillets taste like when your parents go out and leave you at home with a babysitter whose cooking skills begin and end with turning on the oven. It’s one step above a fish stick but in a very satisfying way. The breading is very buttery and garlic powdery with a melange of herb flavors you can’t quite pinpoint. It has a nice crunch and the breading stays intact, which is more than I can say for most of the homemade fried fish I’ve attempted. These are the best frozen breaded fish fillets for a throwback meal of fried fried fish, steamed green beans, and gently warmed canned corn.
Credit: Merc / Albertsons
- Gorton’s Crispy Battered
These are the best frozen fish fillets for a homemade Filet-O-Fish. The fish is really savory and coated in a crispy battered crust that stays put. Put one on a bun slathered with tartar sauce, top it with some American cheese and pickle slices, and take a bite. It’s a frozen fish fillet you’ll keep coming back to if you’re a fish sandwich fanatic.
Credit: Merc / Target
- Trader Joe’s Breaded Cod
The top three best frozen fish fillets were pretty close in quality, so it comes down to style preference. Trader Joe’s takes the crown for best breaded frozen fish fillets. The sizable fillets are coated in a textured mix of seasoned breadcrumbs and the fish itself is still flaky—not spongy at all. I’d serve this for a weeknight dinner next to some mashed potatoes and roasted broccoli, with a little dollop of tartar sauce on the side.
- Gorton’s Beer Battered Crispy Fish Fillets
Have you ever had beer battered fish that actually tasted like beer? I hadn’t until I tried these frozen fish fillets. And I loved it. The battered crust is the hero here—even though it did flake away more than many of the other fillets on this list. This is the best frozen fish fillet for a classic fish and chips dinner. Shake some frozen french fries around the fillets, bake, and serve with malt vinegar and a pint of your best bitter (or your best IPA if you’re not into British-style brews).
Credit: Merc / Target
- Gorton’s Potato Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillets
The beer battered fillets might be the best frozen fish fillets for fish and chips, but these potato-coated pollock fillets are like fish and chips in one bite. The crust is extremely potato-y and very crunchy. This is a new category of fried fish that I haven’t had before. And it satisfies the quality of being something I would not attempt to make from scratch at home. It’s a dinnertime innovation and it’s ready for your enjoyment in just 20 minutes.
Credit: Merc / Vons
Best TV Dinner
Best for Fish Sandwiches
Best Beer Battered
Best of the Best
Other frozen fish fillets we tried: Van de Kamp’s Crispy Battered Fillets, Gorton’s Parmesan Crusted Fish Fillets, Gorton’s Crunchy Breaded, Trader Joe’s Battered Halibut
Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!
I enjoy the Gorton in the different varieties, but they seem to be getting smaller
I definitely prefer breadcrumbs over beer battered! I love fish, but beer batter tends to be too greasy for me. Fish is already oily, it doesn’t need help!
My favorite frozen fish is definitely Treasure from the Sea’s Parmesan-Encrusted Tilapia
I have been a professional over the road truck driver for 33 years. 1999 I took a load of spices from Evansville Indiana to the Gordon’s fisherman plant on an island just north of Seattle Washington. When I finish getting unloaded I asked the guy on the forklift for a free sample. He came back to the loading and unloading dock with a huge white box full of fresh Gordon’s fisherman from the processing area ovens! My tractor trailer smelled like fish for a week! Ever since that day I’ve eaten nothing but Gordon’s fisherman! The way I cook it in the oven is I use extra virgin olive oil on the top and bottom of the fish Patty sprinkle with black pepper and garlic! Very delicious!
You are way off.
Aqua Star beats all of your choices. Problem is it is often hard to find!
I want some
Do any of the fish sticks have batter soft(not crunchy)like 1960s and 1970s batter? I like that style best.
Have you ever reviewed Mrs. Friday’s fish — years ago it was the best and tasted like real British Fish’n’chips of 15 -20 yrs. (Or more!) I used to be able to buy their beer battered halibut or cod at Costco. When they stopped carrying it, I could get it for awhile at Smart&Final. Now they don’t even have beer battered there at all. Such a shame!
I disagree with the beer battered fish. I see what you’re going for here. But the Budweiser beer battered fish is really delicious.
Photos of the actual products is required for a comparison to be informative.
couldn’t disagree more with their list, looks like it was limited. Young’s frozen cod puts all these to shame!