6 Fish Sandwiches From Fast-Food Chains Ranked Worst to Best

Estimated read time 2 min read
  • I tried and ranked six fish sandwiches from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, and Popeyes.
  • I was impressed by McDonald’s classic Filet-O-Fish and tartar sauce.
  • However, Popeyes had my favorite sandwich.

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Fish sandwiches are popular spring offerings at many fast-food chains, but which chain has the best one?

Every year, fast-food chains release fish sandwiches to coincide with the season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. During that time, Catholics abstain from eating meat but can eat fish on Fridays.

McDonald’s has been selling fish sandwiches since the 1960s. The chain’s Filet-O-Fish was born after a franchisee in a highly Catholic area of Ohio noticed his restaurant’s sales suffered on Fridays, according to the company.

The franchisee brought the idea of selling a fish sandwich to McDonald’s then-CEO Ray Kroc, who was appalled at the idea of adding a fish sandwich to his hamburger empire’s lineup.

“I don’t care if the Pope himself comes to Cincinnati. He can eat hamburgers like everybody else. We are not going to stink up our restaurants with any of your damned old fish,” Kroc recalled in his 1977 memoir, “Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s.”

However, customers couldn’t get enough, and by 1965, the Filet-O-Fish became a permanent fixture on McDonald’s menus nationwide.

USA Today reported in 2023 that McDonald’s sells roughly 300 million Filet-O-Fish sandwiches each year, and roughly a quarter of all Filet-O-Fish purchases are made during the 40-day Lent period.

Since the Filet-O-Fish was introduced, nearly every fast-food chain has added a seasonal fish sandwich to their menus during the Lent season.

Burger King added a fish sandwich sometime between the 1960s and 1970s, according to The Retroist, and this year the chain added a spicy version.

Popeyes brought out its first flounder fish sandwich in 2021, and added a spicy fish sandwich to its menus the following year, perhaps aiming to capitalize on the incredible success of its spicy chicken sandwich in 2019.

But which sandwich is the tastiest and offers the best value?

For a definitive ranking, I tried all the fish sandwiches I could from McDonald’s, Burger King, Popeyes, and Wendy’s.

Here’s every fast-food fish sandwich ranked from worst to best.