What Are Fish Sticks Made Of, Really?

You almost certainly had them as a child, but do you really know what fish sticks are made of? Are they fish fingers, as the Brits and their name for fish sticks would have you think? Let’s cast our net of curiosity into the sea of information and find out. 

What are fish sticks made of?

When you bite into a fish stick, you see what looks to be flaky white fish. Are fish sticks real fish? Yes. But what fish is in fish sticks? From the looks of it, it could be a whole host of different species! And that’s because it usually is.

Traditionally, fish sticks have been made with something called a “minced fish blend,” a chopped up mix of several different white fish like cod, pollock, haddock, sole, whiting, and others. This blend contains fish meat and sometimes the skin, blood, and bones of the fish. However, some brands have moved away from fish blends to “single fish” sticks.

For example, Gorton’s brand fish sticks make it very clear on their packaging that they use “100% whole fillets of wild caught Alaskan pollock.” But they also offer cod fish sticks as well as fish sticks made with tilapia and haddock. This is a trend that seems to be taking over the fish stick industry. It doesn’t matter to me, though; give me fish mince! I’ll eat fish gills to fins and everything in between. 

Are fish sticks precooked?

Mostly. In the fish stick making process, the fish is breaded, fried, and then flash frozen before being packaged. The frying process cooks them, but sometimes they aren’t cooked through entirely. The best way to figure it out is by cutting it in half; uncooked fish will have a pink/gray tint to it.

I wouldn’t be too concerned about it, though, if you’re cooking fish sticks before eating them. That last bit of heat should complete the cooking process. If you are eating frozen fish sticks, however, I guess watch out for raw fish? And gods help you.

Are there salmon fish sticks?

I’ve searched high and low, but I haven’t been able to find commercially available salmon fish sticks—for humans, that is. There are many “salmon sticks” on the market that are sold as dog treats. I wouldn’t recommend you try them. 

What are the best fish stick brands?

Sporked knows the best fish sticks brands! Controversially, Gorton’s was not included on the list. I hope the office isn’t haunted by the ghost of a crusty old sailor in their future.

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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  • Alaskan pollock either minced or in whole fillet are the most common ingredient. Haddock fish sticks are actually the original and are the best for a white, mild flavored fish stick.