What are Fish Sticks Made Out Of? The Surprising Truth

Fish sticks are a popular convenience food item made of fish that have been battered and breaded. They are typically baked or fried until crispy and served as a quick and easy meal or snack. Despite their popularity, many people are unaware of the ingredients that go into making these tasty treats. So, what are fish sticks made out of? The truth might surprise you!

The History of Fish Sticks

The concept of fish sticks originated in the early 20th century when potato chips manufacturer, Mrs. Paul’s began experimenting with battered fish as a new product item. The first fish sticks went on sale in America in 1953, produced by Van de Kamp’s, and their popularity took off.

The Ingredients

Most of us can assume that fish sticks are made of fish, but what else goes into them? The main ingredients in fish sticks are white fish, breading, and oil. The type of white fish used in the fish sticks varies depending on the brand and product. Some common types of white fish used include pollock, cod, haddock, and tilapia.

The Breading

The breading in fish sticks is usually made from a combination of flour, breadcrumbs or cornmeal. It acts as a protective layer for the fish during cooking and adds a crispy texture to the finished product. Some brands also use a combination of spices or herbs in the breading to enhance the flavor of the fish.

The Oil

The oil used to cook fish sticks can vary, depending on the company’s manufacturing process or preferences. Some brands may use vegetable oil, while others may use palm oil, sunflower oil, or even canola oil. It is important to consider the type of oil used when choosing fish sticks, as some oils can have negative health implications.

The Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of fish sticks is fairly straightforward. First, the fish is filleted and then cut into small rectangular pieces. The fish is then dipped into a mixture of seasoned flour or cornmeal, egg, and water. The fish pieces are then transferred to a conveyor belt, where they are coated with breadcrumbs or other breading. Once coated, the fish sticks are frozen and packaged for sale.

The Freezing Process

Freezing the fish sticks is a crucial step in the manufacturing process. Freezing prevents the growth of bacteria and keeps the fish sticks fresh for longer periods. Fish sticks are typically frozen using a process known as flash freezing. This technique involves rapidly freezing the fish sticks at very low temperatures to prevent ice crystals from forming.

Cooking Fish Sticks

Fish sticks can be cooked in several ways, including baking, frying, or using a microwave. The cooking time and temperature vary depending on the cooking method and the thickness of the fish sticks. When cooking fish sticks, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to cook them until they are crispy and golden brown.

The Nutrition of Fish Sticks

Fish sticks are generally perceived as an unhealthy food item, but how do they hold up nutritionally? The nutritional value of fish sticks varies depending on the brand and ingredients used. However, in general, fish sticks are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12. They are also low in fat and calories compared to other fried foods like chicken nuggets or french fries.

Health Concerns

While fish sticks can be a good source of nutrients, there are some potential health concerns to be aware of. Some brands of fish sticks may contain high levels of sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure in some individuals. It is also important to choose fish sticks made with vegetable oil, rather than palm oil. Palm oil has been associated with some negative health impacts and environmental concerns.


So, what are fish sticks made out of? As we’ve learned, they are made of white fish, breading, and oil. While they may sometimes get a bad rap, fish sticks can be a convenient and relatively healthy food item when consumed in moderation. To avoid any potential health concerns, be sure to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition information on the packaging.

Common Questions and Answers

  • What type of white fish is typically used in fish sticks?
    Common types of white fish used in fish sticks include pollock, cod, haddock, and tilapia.
  • What is the breading made of?
    The breading is usually made from a combination of flour, breadcrumbs or cornmeal.
  • What oil is typically used to cook fish sticks?
    The oil used to cook fish sticks can vary, but some common options include vegetable oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil.
  • How are fish sticks cooked?
    Fish sticks can be cooked using several methods, including baking, frying, or microwaving.


  • https://www.myrecipes.com/extracrispy/all-about-fish-sticks
  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-fish-sticks-made-of
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323628#what-are-fish-sticks

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