Types Of Fish You Should Be Buying At Aldi And The Ones You Should Avoid

If you've been skipping the fish at Aldi, you've been missing out on seafood that is better than you'd expect. You can find seafood all over the store, from the canned food aisle to the refrigerated section and the frozen food section. Of course, not every fish they sell is worth buying, and some may be an acquired taste. Is the whole lobster worth your time? Should you be bold and try the jarred or canned herring? How about frozen sushi? Is the frozen shrimp cocktail ring a hit or a pass? Luckily, we've put together a list that lets you know exactly what to buy and not to buy from the seafood offerings at Aldi.

There are some surprising finds at Aldi that may have you rethinking where you buy your seafood. We've also uncovered several items you probably never knew existed. Of course, this being Aldi, you may have to file some of these selections away into your memory for the next time they show up on shelves. But at least you'll know what to stockpile when it is available. After you peruse our list, you'll know exactly which fish to buy at Aldi and what to source elsewhere.

Buy: Fresh fish (especially salmon)

You read that correctly. Aldi has fresh fish, and you don't want to miss it. The offerings change, but you're likely to find a range of items from salmon to trout and tilapia. You can even find some that come pre-seasoned, like fresh Atlantic salmon with Mediterranean herbs and fresh tilapia with garlic herbs. Even some folks who live on the coast where they can normally get high-quality fresh seafood have been impressed with the quality of Aldi's fresh fish. Fresh salmon is an especially popular choice, and if the quantities available all seem like too much salmon for your purposes, you can always divide it up and freeze it for later.

Aldi's fresh fish comes in vacuum-sealed packaging, and it has never been frozen. Removing all the oxygen through vacuum sealing keeps the fish as fresh and bacteria-free as possible through the expiration date. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture says to be sure to keep it refrigerated below 38 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid cultivating the bacteria that causes botulism. So, even if you live inland, you can trust the quality of Aldi's fresh fish as long as you keep it cold. If you keep a watch out, you'll find some really good deals on fresh fish at Aldi as they approach their expiration date.

Don't buy: Frozen sushi

If you raised your eyebrows in doubt when you saw that Aldi has frozen sushi, you were right to pass it by. Sushi can be hard to come by if you don't live in a big city, but buying it frozen from Aldi just isn't the right solution. The consistency and flavor are nowhere near fresh. You'll also need to defrost it before you eat it. The quickest way is in the microwave, but it's not easy to predict how that will go. Will you end up with part of your sushi still frozen, and part of it hotter than you want? The other defrosting methods the packaging suggests are in a water bath or on the countertop.

When the Aldi Nerd gave Aldi's frozen sushi a try, they found that the rice had a sticky texture beyond how sushi rice should feel after they tried thawing it on the countertop. They said it "felt mushy" and lacked any "definition between the individual grains of rice." The instructions say not to thaw it in the fridge, but the Aldi Nerd found the rice to have a better texture after leaving it in the fridge to thaw for a few hours. Another person on Reddit who tried it said that it was "pretty gross. The rice is undercooked and dry." They went on to describe the fillings as tasting "meh."

Buy: Frozen Freemont Fish Market wild-caught beer battered cod fillets

Not every battered fish plank you can find in the frozen food sections of grocery stores is great. However, the Fremont Fish Market wild-caught beer battered cod fillets at Aldi are a fan favorite. When @mzbrazell tried both Gorton's and Fremont Fish Market battered cod side by side on YouTube, she couldn't see or taste a difference. They're about the same price, so there's no reason to make a side quest to another store to get Gorton's when you can get the same quality beer battered cod at Aldi. In a post about these cod fillets on Instagram, @safetyjones said, "I make my fish tacos for my restaurant with these."

Unlike many items at Aldi, the cod fillets can be found year-round, so they can easily become a staple in your freezer for those nights when you're in the mood for fish and chips. The only negative is that there are only four to five fillets in each package, and it takes 22 to 24 minutes to cook them. However, they're worth it.

Buy: Frozen sushi-quality wild-caught ahi tuna steaks

You may have never thought of buying ahi tuna steaks at Aldi, but you should. They come skinless and in individual vacuum-sealed packages within a larger resealable bag. Since they're "sushi quality," they should theoretically be safe to eat raw in sushi, in poke bowls, or to consume medium rare. However, it's important to note that there aren't any regulations behind the "sushi-grade" label. Thus, you should follow the directions on the package for thawing very carefully to stay safe. Allowing an ahi tuna steak to thaw for about 12 hours in the fridge should be long enough to unfreeze it.

Reddit is over the moon for these ahi tuna steaks. u/TheThirstyPretzels says, "The quality isn't up with what I get from the local Japanese markets (Chicago area) but it's also not $40/lb." Thus, they declare it "a trade off we're willing to make!" Another Redditor, u/ledzeppelinlover, doesn't think it's as good as some more expensive grades of ahi tuna they can get in Chicago but says, "it's definitely very affordable and delicious for what it is."

Don't buy: Frozen salmon

While the fresh salmon is a big hit at Aldi, the frozen salmon doesn't seem to get as much love. A Redditor named @CT_Witch said that Aldi's frozen salmon "seemed flavorless, which was strange because the unique taste and, um, aroma is what I don't really like about salmon. It was okay but it doesn't seem to be of very high quality. They are also tiny in size." Once they've tried Aldi's frozen salmon once, customers don't always plan to buy it again.

The fresh salmon portion can often be large, but you can cut it into individual servings and freeze it for later. If you think about how many servings you can get from an Aldi-sized portion of frozen salmon, you'll realize it's actually a good deal. If you'd rather not do that type of work, Sam's Club shoppers swear by Member's Mark frozen Atlantic salmon fillets. We've found them to be a freezer staple, so maybe it's worth switching to another store for your frozen salmon needs.

Buy: Canned Deutsche Küche herring fillets

Herring isn't a fish that's very common in U.S. cuisine. So, it's understandable if you're a little hesitant to try it. It has a robust, rich flavor that makes it the steak of the sea. Plus, it's not overly fishy. When Aldi brings out all its wonderful German foods each year to celebrate German week, you'll want to look for the Deutsche Kuche herring fillets in the Aldi Finds section of the store. They come with your choice of three different sauces: curry pineapple sauce, tomato sauce, or mango pepper sauce. We gave them a try the last time they were available and liked them so much that we went back the next week and bought all they had left — they're that good.

Just warm them up for about a minute in the microwave and they're ready to eat. All three come with sweet sauces, which pair perfectly with the umami flavors of the herring. We weren't nearly as big a fan of the sweet tomato sauce. However, the other two flavors are surprisingly good. The pineapple and the mango in the other two sauces balance well with the other flavors so that everything works together perfectly. You might even find yourself eating the sauces by themselves after you've finished the fish.

Buy: Jarred wild herring in wine sauce

We often buy tuna, mackerel, and sardines in cans in the U.S. However, seeing a fish in a jar can feel a little odd for us. A lot of Redditors have gotten nervous about even trying Aldi's wild herring in wine sauce. Yet, pickled fish is a way of life in many countries, and you might be surprised how much you like it once you give it a try. Herring is more popular in European countries like the Netherlands and Germany, so it's not surprising to find it in a German-owned grocery store like Aldi. It's pretty common to find pickled herring in wine sauce. This particular jarred herring contains both sugar and vinegar in addition to the wine, so it has a flavor that balances out savory with sweet and sour.

Those Aldi customers who have tried Aldi's wild herring in wine sauce can get pretty excited once it shows back up on the shelves. People who have been eating pickled herring all their lives and new fans of pickled herring all seem to enjoy it equally. Wild herring in wine sauce is commonly enjoyed on a cracker or rye bread with a bit of onion and maybe some cream cheese. So, embrace your inner food adventurer and give them a try. They just may end up a new favorite.

Buy: Frozen lobster

If you don't like the idea of boiling a lobster alive and also don't want to pay fancy restaurant prices for someone to do it for you, Aldi has a solution. Both Aldi's whole lobsters and the lobster tails have excellent reputations with customers, and they're extremely reasonable. As of the publication of this article, two lobster tails are only around $7, and a whole cooked lobster is only around $11, so you really can't beat that.

When @floridamomof3 opened up the pre-cooked whole lobster on TikTok, she said it "smells stinky" and wouldn't even try tasting it because of the smell. However, u/EnvironmentalKing862 said on Reddit that, "We had them and they were great! We are very picky, too, and we were skeptical. ... we steamed and dipped in butter." Another Redditor, u/angelsgirl2002, said, "Even my New England born and bred father gave them his stamp of approval! He was amazed they were frozen and precooked." She also suggests steaming them before eating them.

However, you need to know that if you're planning to add them to a dish — like lobster mac and cheese, for example — these lobsters come soaked in a salty brine, so they will add extra saltiness to any dish. You can try rinsing them, but some of the salt will still remain.

Buy: Frozen scallops

If you've been skipping the frozen jumbo scallops, you're missing something good. Redditor u/Busy_Shoe_5787 said the scallops at Aldi tend to be "30-50% less than other stores for the same amount of scallops, and also don't contain any fillers/chemicals to increase its weight." Just because they're inexpensive doesn't mean they're not high-quality scallops. When seafood lovers were discussing Aldi's frozen jumbo scallops on Reddit, u/behls16 said, "I've had many many scallops in my life and these are within reach of some of the finest I have ever had. Thaw em. dry em like crazy and sautéed up and you're off to flavortown." The ingredient list doesn't contain any extra preservatives, so they're what's known as "dry scallops," which means they aren't even as rubbery as some of the scallops you will find fresh that have been treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP).

If you happen to see bacon-wrapped scallops available in the frozen food section, you won't want to skip those either. Chances are you'll be back to buy several boxes once you taste them for the first time.

Buy: Smoked salmon

We've established that the fresh salmon is great, and the frozen salmon is not so great. So, what about Aldi's smoked salmon? Customers seem to like it pretty well. However, it's not a super great deal like some of the other meats you can find at Aldi — you'll end up spending $16 to $20 per pound. At that price, you may find smoked salmon cheaper at another grocery store, like Kroger. However, you're likely to prefer Aldi's to the smoked salmon at Wal-Mart or even Trader Joe's. Ultimately, for many people, Aldi may be the only grocery store for miles around that carries smoked salmon at all, and therefore the only available option.

Aldi's smoked salmon is a little salty and definitely smokey, as you would expect. If you can't justify the price of ordinary smoked salmon, we suggest you try flavored smoked salmon when it's available. In the spring of 2023, Aldi offered Specially Selected gold-smoked Atlantic salmon in boozy flavors like decadent red wine, old fashioned, and mojito. Redditor u/mkstein1212 said, "The flavors were not overpowering and the primary flavor was definitely of the salmon."

Buy: Frozen flounder

Aldi customers get excited when they find flounder in the frozen food section of the store. Flounder is a mild-tasting fish without the earthy taste of catfish or other, similarly mild fish. The lightly breaded version is seasonal, so you won't find it available year-round. These taste less like frozen fish fillets like Gorton's and more like the type you'd get at a restaurant. Aldi also sells a non-breaded version from Fremont Fish Market. If you're lucky, you may also encounter some flavored top-crusted versions.

Aldi has flavored top-crusted flounder that is also seasonal. For instance, there's the Southwestern-seasoned flounder from Specially Selected that is breaded with breadcrumbs and tortilla chips. There's one with coconut and another with macadamia nuts you can find from time to time. If you see any of the flavored flounder available, you'll want to snatch it up as quickly as you can. Aldi's frozen flounder has a definite fan following and won't last long because people will grab several packages of it at a time.

Don't buy: Frozen tilapia

Most of us have bought tilapia at some point because it's mild and cheap. Many chefs like it because the mild flavor profile allows them to imbue it with whatever other flavors they want in the kitchen. While many people report liking and buying the tilapia regularly, others have reported multiple instances of cooking Aldi tilapia that ends up smelling like ammonia. So, it's definitely suspect.

It has also come to light that you might want to think twice before eating tilapia. Not every tilapia is as good as another, and the flavor often depends on where it's raised and what it eats. The majority of our tilapia comes from China (including Aldi's), where food regulations are far laxer than in the U.S. There have been reports from the FDA of Chinese tilapia farmers feeding their fish manure from the meat production industry, which is just disgusting all around. The FDA has also rejected some tilapia from China because lab tests came back positive for too many unsafe drugs and banned toxic chemicals. Fremont Fish Market boneless tilapia has a high Environmental Working Group (EWG) food score with no worries over nutrition and ingredients. Unfortunately, it rates medium for processing concerns and may have been fed antibiotics. However, Fremont Fish Market encrusted tilapia is another story since the EWG rates it much lower. Some of the concerns are that it may have been treated with antibiotics, hormones, or growth promoters and that it may have pollutants like dioxin in its system.

Buy: Frozen shrimp

Honestly, some of Aldi's frozen shrimp options are better than others. Sometimes, you'll end up with a bag that's supposed to be peeled and deveined, only to find peels and veins. But you'll want to keep your eyes out for gulf shrimp. It may be more expensive than the other shrimp at Aldi, but it's absolutely worth buying several bags. Another good option is the EZ peel jumbo shrimp. Sure, you have to clean it yourself, but it doesn't take a lot of work, and the flavor is fresh.

Customers also like Aldi's frozen cocktail shrimp ring, which comes with a cocktail sauce that thaws out with the shrimp for dipping. Granted, the fresh shrimp cocktail that comes from Costco might be slightly better. But if you don't have a Costco membership, Aldi is a close second-place winner and can be in your freezer for whenever you crave shrimp and cocktail sauce.