12 Genius McDonald's Filet-O-Fish Hacks You've Been Waiting For

McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich
McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich - Robson90/Shutterstock

The McDonald's Filet-O-Fish is, in our view, the ultimate example of survival. This humble sandwich's origin story extends all the way back to 1962, when it was introduced partly to offer a meat-free option for Catholic customers on Fridays. Since then, the sandwich has stood the test of time, and although folks who order it are sometimes ridiculed, McDonald's has stuck by it. Maybe that's because it knows, deep down, how versatile its sandwich is. The Filet-O-Fish is one of the most hackable items on the McDonald's menu, and its simplicity, being made of just a fish patty, some tartar sauce, and a half-slice of cheese, means that it can be adapted, tweaked, and upgraded nearly endlessly.

Some hacks are pretty simple and involve little more than swapping out one ingredient for another, which has a surprisingly big effect. Others can see you creating an entirely new sandwich, mashing up different menu items to produce a Frankenstein's monster of a Filet-O-Fish that tastes pretty amazing. If those don't sound exciting enough for you, wait until you see what you can do with a Filet-O-Fish and an apple pie. Yep. We're serious, guys.

Read more: 11 Things You Didn't Know You Should Be Doing With Bacon

Ask For A Different Sauce For Your Filet-O-Fish

bowl of Big Mac sauce
bowl of Big Mac sauce - Alexander Prokopenko/Shutterstock

The Filet-O-Fish's standard sauce, tartar sauce, is an essential component of the burger. This tart, creamy sauce brightens everything up considerably, providing a necessary acidic counterpoint to the savory, salty patty and cheese. However, there's one Filet-O-Fish sauce tip that we recommend trying out: Swapping your tartar sauce for Big Mac sauce.

This saucy hack may seem simple, but there's a lot of logic to it. Big Mac sauce is kind of like an upgraded tartar sauce, and has the same briny, sharp, and sweet notes, as well as a creaminess. In addition, though, it also has a pop of savoriness that tartar sauce somewhat lacks, and its pale pink color makes the normally-boring sandwich look pretty special. This hack is easy to achieve, too, and doesn't require any fiddly assembly. Just ask your server to use Big Mac sauce instead of tartar sauce. Sure, you might get an arched eyebrow and a strange look, but trust us on this one -- once you try it, you'll never go back to eating your Filet-O-Fish the normal way.

Combine The Filet-O-Fish And A Double Cheeseburger For A Surf & Turf

McDonald's surf and turf
McDonald's surf and turf - Nerdy Newfie Food Reviews / YouTube

Surf 'N Turf is a timeless combination, with seafood and red meat complementing each other incredibly well. This protein duo isn't just the reserve of fancy steakhouses, though –- you can have it at your local McDonald's. To do this, you simply have to order a Filet-O-Fish and a Double Cheeseburger. Then, you split the cheeseburger in half, take the top bun off your Filet-O-Fish, and place the fish patty, cheese, and bottom bun inside the cheeseburger, sandwiching it all together.

Keen-eyed observers of McDonald's will know that this hack hasn't always been a hack, so to speak. The Surf 'N Turf has been a fan favorite for years, with its popularity online leading to so many orders of it that the head honchos at McDonald's caught on. In 2022, what was once an underground hack became a bona fide menu item, when McDonald's offered it at participating stores for a limited time, alongside several other fan-conceived hacks. While it soon disappeared, in 2024 McD's offered it once more on its limited-time "Remix" menu. If your local store doesn't have the Surf 'N Turf, though, you can make it yourself pretty easily.

Filet-O-Fish Going Cold? Bring Some Tinfoil

roll of aluminum foil
roll of aluminum foil - New Africa/Shutterstock

Our favorite hacks are those that are simple to perform, but produce amazing results -- and sometimes, that result doesn't have to be a completely new flavor, but making sure your food remains good. This is the logic behind this simple insulation hack, requiring nothing more than tinfoil. McDonald's burgers are notorious for going cold before you get them home from the drive-thru, but to keep your Filet-O-Fish warm, just take it out of the box and wrap it in some tinfoil as soon as you get it. Pop it back in the box for some extra insulation, and enjoy when you're ready; it'll stay toasty warm for ages.

Tinfoil is also useful if your Filet-O-Fish has already gone cold. Wrap the sandwich up in foil, and then put it in a hot oven for around 10 to 15 minutes. The foil helps the sandwich heat up slowly, without any moisture being lost. Because the Filet-O-Fish has no vegetables in it, you don't have to worry about your lettuce or tomato wilting. You can also do this in the air fryer for a quicker result, or simply pop the patty in your air fryer (after scraping the cheese off first) if you want a crispier piece of fish.

Perform A Wild Hack By Pairing Your Filet-O-Fish With An Apple Pie

Filet-O-Fish with apple pie
Filet-O-Fish with apple pie - GoldenGully / YouTube

Okay, so we have to be honest: We didn't have a Filet-O-Fish and apple pie mash-up on our 2024 bingo card. But this is the internet, people -- anything can happen. While combining a Filet-O-Fish and apple pie sounds like a fever dream, the combo has been tried by some intrepid diners out there, and weirdly, it isn't the worst thing in the world. The sweetness of the apple pie somewhat works as a flavor enhancer for the salty fish and cheese, and the whole thing works on kinda the same flavor principle as applesauce and pork, creating a salty-sweet combo. It also helps you save time on eating a main meal followed by a dessert, by sticking the two together!

Making this hack a reality is also really simple. You just order your apple pie alongside your Filet-O-Fish, and then pop it into the sandwich, on top of the fish patty. One thing to watch out for with this hack is the fact that things can get a little dry and chewy, due to the combination of the sandwich bun, breaded fish coating, and apple pie crust. If you find that it's all too much, just peel off some of the pastry before putting your apple pie in.

A Filet-O-Fish BLT Makes For A Tasty Sandwich

Filet-O-Fish in box
Filet-O-Fish in box - VGV MEDIA/Shutterstock

The Filet-O-Fish is one of the simplest sandwiches available from McDonald's, with just a few ingredients -- and while that can be comforting and uncomplicated, it can also get boring. Ordering it with a few choice ingredients added, though, can lift things to the next level. Next time you order your sandwich, ask for extra bacon, lettuce, and tomato. You'll end up with what is essentially a Filet-O-Fish BLT, which makes your sandwich considerably more filling.

Doing this also gives your sandwich way more flavor, with the bacon adding additional saltiness and umami, and the lettuce and tomato giving it some much-needed freshness. The fish patty, meanwhile, works as a mild savory base to these stronger tastes, while the tartar sauce fulfills the function that mayonnaise provides in a regular BLT, but with added punch. If you want to pack your sandwich even further, ask for an extra slice of cheese. This doesn't just amp up the flavor even more, but it also helps the ingredients cohere more smoothly, with the soft cheese bringing the different tastes together. ‌

Modify Your Order For A Super-Fresh Sandwich

Filet-O-Fish box
Filet-O-Fish box - Birch Photographer/Shutterstock

One of the main complaints about the Filet-O-Fish, or any sandwich from McDonald's, is sogginess. While the sandwich holds up pretty well, the longer it sits under the heat lamps after being prepared, the more likely it is to suffer from moisture and steam build-up, softening the crispy fish patty and making the breaded coating gummy and gross. The good news is that there's a fast food ordering hack that makes your Filet-O-Fish fresh every time, and all you have to do is ask for a small modification, adding or omitting any ingredient.

When you do this, the restaurant has to react: They can't just give you a standard Filet-O-Fish, which they may have made a while ago, but instead have to make the sandwich from scratch. Because the Filet-O-Fish has so few ingredients, we would recommend adding something like extra cheese for this hack. You'll still get the classic flavor of the sandwich, with some extra cheesy goodness. You can, of course, also simply ask your server to make your Filet-O-Fish fresh, but there's no guarantee they actually will.

Order Several Sandwiches For A Land, Air, And Sea

Land Air and Sea burger
Land Air and Sea burger - BenDeen / YouTube

One of the quirkiest secret menu sandwiches at McDonald's is also one of the biggest you can order. The Land, Air, and Sea burger is a well-known hack amongst McDonald's aficionados, and throws together beef (the "land" portion), chicken (the "air" part) and a Filet-O-Fish (the "sea" section... okay, yeah, you've probably got it by now), to make a super-sized burger you might struggle to get your jaw around.

To make this burger, you'll need to order a Filet-O-Fish, a Big Mac, and the McChicken burger, and give yourself some time to assemble things. Split your Big Mac in half, and then place your Filet-O-Fish on the bottom patty. Then, top it with the McChicken, and replace the top half of the Big Mac. You might find that removing some of the buns is helpful here, as otherwise you can end up with a lot of bread.

This hack has been such a crowd-pleaser that in 2022, McDonald's decided to make the Land, Air, and Sea a limited-edition option on its menu at certain restaurants. It may not have lasted long, but with a few minutes of assembly time and some spare dollars in your pocket, you can still make it. Just be prepared to unhinge your jaw to take a bite.

Add Lettuce And Tomato For A Crunchier Sandwich

lettuce and tomatoes
lettuce and tomatoes - Fotek/Getty Images

The Filet-O-Fish is deliciously simple, but there are times when it can fall a little flat, both on the flavor and the texture front. That's why we're big advocates of throwing a few veggies in there. Asking for your Filet-O-Fish with lettuce and tomatoes is a simple move that makes your meal feel just a bit more gourmet and adds some all-important crunch. The tomato also gives the sandwich a tangier flavor, which counteracts the insistent saltiness of the cheese well.

Both ingredients also give your sandwich a little extra moisture, which helps it go down better, and they're also super cost-effective additions. Plus, you shouldn't discount the feeling of making your Filet-O-Fish that much healthier, which can give you a virtuous, smug glow. If you're going for extra veggies in your sandwich, we'd also advise that you ask for extra tartar sauce. Although lettuce and tomatoes give a pop of moisture, they can also unbalance the ratios in a Filet-O-Fish, and adding a little extra sauce can bring everything together more harmoniously.

Grab One — Or Two — Extra Patties For A Towering Sandwich

Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and fries
Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and fries - BenDeen / YouTube

If you've ever been disappointed by the size of your Filet-O-Fish, we've got the hack for you. This tweak doesn't seek to change the core flavors of the sandwich, and instead simply amps them up. When ordering your Filet-O-Fish, ask for an extra patty, or two extra patties if you're especially hungry. You'll end up with a towering sandwich that rivals the Big Mac in size, but is full of flaky fish and smooth flavor.

It's worth pointing out that just asking for more patties will leave you with an exceptionally dry burger, so it's also a good idea to ask for extra tartar sauce. You can also ask for extra cheese, which will provide moisture and additional flavor, and stop the sandwich from feeling too fish-heavy. Opting for some extra onions, lettuce or tomato with this hack can give it some much-needed crunch and combat the sandwich's density with some vegetable freshness. Oh, and make sure you ask for a few extra napkins: You'll need them.

Make A Fish And Chips Sandwich

Filet-O-Fish with fries
Filet-O-Fish with fries - theendorsement / YouTube

Fish and chips is a pub staple, and while McDonald's isn't a pub, we don't see why you can't recreate the classic dish under the Golden Arches. In fact, in our opinion, you can make it even better by throwing it all into a sandwich. To do this, you just order a Filet-O-Fish and a side of fries, and then put your fries into the sandwich. Then, eat. It's that simple, and it's oh so delicious.

Doing this gives your Filet-O-Fish a hit of salty, fatty flavor, which contrasts the sharp tartar sauce perfectly. The fries also pair brilliantly with the cheese, with its gooeyness melding with the soft potato to create a chewy, flavorful delight. While you can do this hack with a regular Filet-O-Fish, try upgrading it even further by ordering it with an extra patty and putting your fries between them. If you're doing this, it may also be worth grabbing some extra sauce or an extra cheese too, to moisten things. Want our pro tip? Bring a sachet of malt vinegar from home, and sprinkle it on top of the sandwich. Vinegar and fries are a classic British combo, and we promise you won't be disappointed.

Create A Big Mac With Filet-O-Fish Patties

Big Mac
Big Mac - Live heavenly/Shutterstock

Ask anyone who's recently turned pescatarian what they most miss from McDonald's, and they'll probably say the Big Mac. So if we told them that they can still have the iconic burger, but in fishy form, they'd probably jump at the chance, right? We know we would. Luckily, some brave customers have taken a chance on servers to see if replacing the Big Mac's beef patties with Filet-O-Fish patties can be done, and they've found that indeed it can.

The so-called "Fish Mac" delivers all of those Big Mac flavors (which are largely provided by its sauce), but with a lighter, crispier pair of patties. The extra bun in the middle makes it that much more impressive-looking and substantial, and the veggies give it some bonus crunch. The pickles, too, add a nice counterpoint to the fish patties, and give you some of the tangy tartar sauce's effect in the regular Filet-O-Fish.

Grab A Different Bun For A Classy Sandwich

toasted english muffin
toasted english muffin - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

The Filet-O-Fish usually comes in a soft steamed bun, which contrasts with the crispy fish patty perfectly. Its softness, however, can also mean that it can flatten the moment you pick it up, turning the bread into more of a pancake. For an elevated spin on the classic sandwich, though, try ordering it with an English muffin. This hack comes courtesy of chef Mike Haracz, a former corporate chef for McDonald's, who shared this unique twist with his followers on TikTok. Haracz suggested that, to take this sandwich to the next level, you should also get it with Big Mac sauce, instead of the regular tartar.

Haracz's hack makes a lot of sense to us. By subbing the bun for the muffin, you get an overall sturdier sandwich, with the slightly thicker consistency of the muffin making the whole affair more filling. The muffin also has a gentle sourness to it, which adds a further dimension of flavor. The Big Mac sauce amplifies this sourness, thanks to its tangy taste, while also keeping your sandwich moist. Just remember that nailing this hack requires some attention to timings. Muffins are usually only available at breakfast, so you'll have to order this Filet-O-Fish tweak just as breakfast is finishing for the best chance of success.

Read the original article on Daily Meal