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Can You Microwave Fish Sticks?

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Fish sticks are one of those universally beloved snacks. This is true for kids and adults alike. This is because they can be paired with any type of food you can think of. When in a bind, these fish sticks often serve as the best way to get that quick fix. 

This is because they are extremely convenient to prepare and cook. So, virtually anyone can make these fish sticks from scratch. Moreover, you also have the option to use those store-bought fish sticks. So, all you have to do is to reheat them and they are ready to eat.

That said, you may be asking yourself: What’s the quickest way to heat up fish sticks?

Can I cook fish sticks in the microwave? Yes, you can microwave fish sticks, whether you are cooking or simply reheating them. It will only take 3 minutes to prepare, regardless of how powerful your microwave is. However, microwaving may affect the texture and crunchiness of fish sticks.

Be sure to keep reading as we explain the steps you need to follow when microwaving fish sticks. This guide will also present a couple of things you need to consider when cooking/handling fish sticks in your kitchen.

Fish Sticks – Overview

Fish Sticks, also commonly known as fish fingers, are breaded fish treats. Incredibly tasty and versatile, they never fail to bring a smile on people’s faces. You can pair them with vegetables, salads, thick cuts of potatoes, or whatever else you can think of.

They are incredibly simple to make and their main ingredient is a type of whitefish.

Though recipes vary, you can use several types of fish to make these snacks. These can include hake, cod, haddock, and Pollock, among others. The fish is then prepared, battered, and cooked to perfection. 

Listed below are some the ways you can cook your fish sticks:

  • Frying
  • Grilling
  • Baking
  • Microwaving

Of course, baking fish sticks in the oven remains the most popular option. However, traditional fish and chips recipes usually recommend frying until they come out crisp and tasty.

That said, ultimately, your choice of cooking method for fish sticks all comes down to preference, time, and convenience. When it comes to the last two, microwaving is as easy and fast as you can get.

Microwaving Fish Sticks – Pros and Cons

While we would all prefer to have crisp fish sticks fresh out of the oven, sometimes this just isn’t an option. This is especially true if you are looking to prepare a meal in the quickest way possible.

However, you also need to understand that it has its advantages and drawbacks as a cooking method. These advantages and disadvantages are presented in the table below. 

Microwaving Fish Sticks: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
Fast and Convenient Cooking – Cooking with the microwave oven is significantly faster compared to other conventional cooking methods like baking, frying, and the like. Loss of Texture – When microwaving fish sticks, you need to understand that you won’t be able to get that crispy breading that you would otherwise get when you fry or bake them. 
Nutritious and Oil-Free Food – The food cooked with the microwave oven is often more nutritious. This is because, unlike traditional cooking methods, it effectively eliminates the need for cooking oil. Sacrificing Aesthetics – Since we are being totally honest, you should know that microwaved fish sticks won’t look nearly as good compared to their baked and fried counterparts. This has a lot to do with the loss of texture and the sheen you get when you directly expose breading to heat.
Easy Clean-up Process – Cleaning up after cooking with the microwave oven is incredibly quick and easy to do. Just take a damp cloth and wipe up any food spatters and you are done. Considerable Margin of Error – Like with everything else, anyone can mess up cooking with a microwave. If left too long or if you choose the wrong setting, then you may end up with something undesirable. 

The microwave is a perfectly safe and adequate cooking method if you approach the process carefully.

It works best if you want to cook a quick meal without having to put in much of an effort. However, as succinctly presented in the table above, it has its own set of drawbacks. Just keep that in mind when you’re deciding how to cook your fish sticks.

Thawing Frozen Fish Sticks Before Cooking

As any food expert would tell you, cooking food directly out of the freezer is rarely advisable. You need to ensure that it is properly thawed before you can even consider cooking it. The same rule applies to fish sticks. 

That said, you need to ensure that you do it properly. Otherwise, you risk ruining your meal, or worse, putting yourself in danger by not following basic food safety protocols. That said, be sure to follow these steps before doing anything else:

  • Take the fish sticks out of the freezer.
  • Prepare a deep dish filled with cold water.
  • Place fish sticks (still safely inside their airtight container) in the dish and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Alternatively, if you are in a rush, you can also opt to place it in the microwave and click the ‘thaw’ button.

Regardless of the method you choose, it is important that you not skip this step. After all, cooking frozen food poses several challenges and you will end up with an unevenly cooked dish.

Cooking Fish Sticks In the Microwave

Method 1: Using an 1100-Watt Microwave Oven 

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to microwave uncooked fish sticks in a powerful 1100-watt microwave oven.

As a basic food safety rule, you will need to monitor the fish stick’s internal temperature. It needs to be at least 165°F or higher before you can serve them. 

Just make sure that it is set on HIGH to guarantee the best possible results. To microwave fish sticks in your powerful, 1100-watt oven, follow these steps closely:

  1. Ready microwavable plate and line it with parchment paper. 
  2. Arrange fish sticks in a single layer and make sure that there is enough space between them. Be careful not to overload the plate. Instead, microwave in batches of 4-8 sticks per plate for optimal results.
  3. Once ready, place the plate in the microwave and heat for 2 minutes using the HIGH setting.
  4. Flip fish sticks and heat for another minute.
  5. Take out and let the plate cool. Check to see if the internal temperature is at 165°F before serving.

The last thing you’ll want to do is to rush the process when cooking with your microwave. After all, it is still the fastest way to prepare your food, so there is no need to be careless about it.

If you choose to ignore these steps and decide to heat them in full power for a full 3 minutes, you will quickly see the difference as the fish sticks will undoubtedly turn into mush and lose any semblance of integrity.

Method 2: Using an 800-Watt Microwave Oven

The second method presented here makes use of a slightly less powerful microwave oven, an 800-watt model to be exact.

While the overall process is similar, there are some slight variations and changes made to account for the difference in the appliances’ power ratings. That said, be sure to check your microwave’s wattage before you begin.

Make sure to follow these steps to microwave fish sticks in a slightly less powerful microwave oven:

  1. Line a flat microwavable dish with parchment paper.
  2. Place the fish sticks on top and ensure proper spacing to ensure optimal heat distribution. Batches of 4-8 sticks work best.
  3. Set the Microwave on the highest power setting and heat for 1 minute. 
  4. Take the plate out, turn the fish sticks over, and heat for an additional minute.
  5. Turn the sticks one more time and microwave for one more minute. At this point, the fish sticks will be cooked through. Make sure to check its internal temperature before serving.

You can also try using a microwave crisping tray with either method. This may help you get that crispy fried texture fish sticks are so often known for.

Fish Sticks – Proper Storage Tips 

Like with any other food, proper storage is crucial to ensuring the best possible results when it comes to fish sticks.

That said, be sure to remember the following tips:

  • Keep them in their packaging – If you are using store-bought fish sticks, then you should remember to keep them in their original packaging if you are planning to freeze them or put them in the fridge. After all, the packaging effectively seals them away and keep them fresh.
  • Label and seal away your homemade fish sticks – If you made fish sticks from scratch, then you need to ensure that they are placed in a secure, airtight container. Then, make sure to put a date and label them so you don’t forget. 
  • Consider where you are storing the fish sticks – The longevity of your fish sticks will depend on where you store them. For instance, if you are planning to cook or reheat them in the next 4 days, then feel free to store them in the fridge. However, if you have no idea when you are cooking them, then go with the safer option and stick them in the freezer where they can last as long as 6 months. 

Fish sticks are incredible snacks that everyone can enjoy. They are incredibly versatile and easy to prepare. That said, be sure to remember the steps presented in this microwaving guide. This way, you can satisfy your cravings whenever they arise.

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