Fish Sticks Are The Key To A Low Maintenance Taco Night

Fish sticks are often overlooked or relegated to the kids' table, but it's time to give these mild, crispy treats another chance. They're budget-friendly, a breeze to prepare, and play well with other ingredients. We suggest keeping a bag in your freezer for when a hankering for fish tacos strikes.

In lieu of buying, battering, and frying a whole fish or fresh filets, fish sticks create delicious tacos in a snap. Any type will work well when wrapped in a tortilla, but try seeking out products made with whole pieces of fish, rather than minced-and-formed planks, as the former tends to be more flavorful and moist. Bake your fish sticks according to the box's instructions, but make sure to load your tray with plenty of room between each golden strip, to avoid overcrowding and sogginess. You can also speed up the process by using the air fryer instead of the oven.

To turn fish sticks into the star of an easy taco night, pair them with toppings like store-bought salsas, chopped veggies, fresh cilantro, creamy avocado, and a rich crema in a toasted corn or flour tortilla. Homemade coleslaw would provide a perfectly acidic, crunchy contrast to the rich yet delicate fish. And while plain fish sticks in a taco won't do you wrong, you make dinner even tastier with extra seasonings.

Transforming fish sticks into a more flavorful taco filling

One of the benefits of fish sticks is that they're often made with cod, haddock, pollock, and other less "fishy" white fish. Their mildness takes well to robust spice blends like classic taco seasoning or a blackening rub. Toss the sticks in your herbs and spices before you crisp them in the oven. Those using air fryers should avoid a common mistake and spray the sticks with oil before tossing them with powdered seasonings, to keep the spices from blowing away.

If you're worried about the sticks drying out as they bake, add some moisture by tossing them in a sauce after cooking. Combine a creamy base like mayonnaise or sour cream with lime and your favorite hot sauce or chili sauce to make your own rich, piquant coating. Just make sure to assemble and eat your tacos immediately after saucing, as the liquid can soften the fish stick breading.

Have a crowd to please? Try chopping the fish sticks into bite-size pieces and separating them into groups, tossing each portion with different glazes and spice mixtures. This way, you can make differently-flavored fillings for your tacos with minimal effort. And if you're willing to put in a little more effort to make dinner just a tad more sophisticated, buy the best wine for fish tacos and enjoy a glass with your easy meal.