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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Cheap Fish to Eat



cooked fish on a black plate with vegetables and white sauce
Salmon, tuna, talapia, and mackerel are among the best cheap fish to eat.

Some fish may be cheaper than others, but that doesn’t mean it’s less healthy than more expensive seafood.

Cheap seafood can also be very beneficial for your health, since it often contains high amounts of protein and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as being rich in calcium.

Fresh fish is usually among the priciest of groceries when you’re trying to increase healthier foods in your diet. Save by opting for canned or frozen versions instead.

You can find the best fish for a budget both online and in your neighborhood grocery with our helpful guide.

Canned or Frozen?

When shopping for inexpensive fish to eat, a good bet is to choose between canned or frozen types.

Each has select advantages and disadvantages.

Frozen has a moderate shelf life and can last an average of two to three months in the freezer.

On the other hand, canned has a very long shelf life and stays edible for one to three years.

Another likely consideration between these two versions is the cost. Grocery stores typically have a lower price on this food in cans than frozen varieties.

Additionally, canned has a higher likelihood of being wild than farmed, while frozen varieties can come from sustainable sources or from farms.

Nutritionally, frozen is usually a healthier choice, since tinned often has a high sodium content. When eaten in moderation, however, it’s still a great alternative!


Nutrient-dense, salmon has good amounts of potassium, vitamin B12, and protein. Wild-caught is preferred since it contains fewer chemicals, like antibiotics, than farmed.

Salmon is very low in calories, with only about 200 per serving. It’s absolutely delicious and can be prepared in many different ways.
It can be served raw, but only after freezing to remove parasites. To prepare it, bake, broil, or grill it. If you do fry it, stay healthy by using a healthy oil or spray.

When preparing your salmon, handle it with care for proper food safety. Never defrost it at room temperature for more than two hours. Wash hands and all surfaces thoroughly to eliminate cross-contamination while cooking.

Bumble Bee Skinless and Boneless Pink Salmon in Water

BUMBLE BEE Skinless and Boneless Pink Salmon In Water, 5 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12), Ready to Eat Salmon, High Protein Food, Keto, Gluten Free, High Protein Snack, Canned Food, Bulk Salmon

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This is the perfect option for those shopping on a budget.

Free of any gluten and acceptable for those following a paleo or low carbohydrate diet, Bumble Bee canned salmon is ready to eat, with no cooking necessary.

Add it to salads or dips, or mix with a dressing or mayonnaise for sandwiches.

Save more by buying this in bulk from Amazon with each order, including 12 cans in total. The pink salmon has a fresh taste, despite its very long shelf life.

Premium Fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillet

3 X 6 Oz. (1.13 Lb.) Premium Fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillets, Skinless, Individually Vacuum Packed, Ready to Cook.

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Frozen salmon fillets can be delivered right to your front steps from the Fresh 2 Your Door Brand from Amazon.

To optimize its fresh taste, each whole piece is individually vacuum-sealed and then set on dry ice before being shipped to you.

This product is harvested from the South Pacific Ocean and is rated as premium grade. Each portion is six ounces, and, with vegetables and some brown rice or quinoa, it will help you create a tasty, healthy, inexpensive meal for your family.


This is the perfect fish for those shopping on a budget.

Health benefits include high levels of B12, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids.

As a very lean option, it is low in calories and fat.

You should consume only two to three servings per week, though, since this fish is higher in mercury than others.

Tuna steaks are tastiest when grilled or sautéed on a range top.

Canned tuna is also an easy substitute for beef and can be used as a replacement burger option. Casseroles and melts are especially good!

Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Sea Salt

Genova Premium Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Sea Salt, Wild Caught, Solid Light, 5 oz. Can (Pack of 24) View on Amazon

Yellowfin is one of the most prized varieties of fish on the market. This is a good option if you like a savory flavor and soft texture.

Packing the yellowfin in olive oil adds to its flavor while also increasing the amounts of healthy fats in the product.

As an added bonus, Genova has pledged to practice responsible practices and to serve only sustainable fish options.

Wild Planet Skipjack Wild Tuna

Wild Planet Skipjack Wild Tuna, Sea Salt, Keto and Paleo, 3rd Party Mercury Tested, 5 Ounce (Pack of 12)

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Those who want a healthy white option can purchase this delicious product from Wild Planet. It can be eaten right out of the can or used in your favorite recipe. Also, the company’s sustainable fish practices are well-known with an endorsement from Greenpeace.

Wild Planet Skipjack is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Buy it in bulk to save money; you can order 12 cans with a long shelf-life. Add it to salads, sandwiches, and more to mix up your diet.

Tilapia (White Fish)

Tilapia is one of the most popular white fishes to buy that is also pretty inexpensive.

This fish has 26 grams of protein and only 125 calories per a 3.5 ounce serving.

A warning, though: always choose seafood online or from a grocery store that displays information on fishing practices. Tilapia may be fed chemicals and animal waste when imported from non-regulated countries.

Look for sustainable sources only and cook tilapia in the oven or on a grill for significant health benefits. Although tilapia can be fried, the oils and breading add more fat and calories.

Sea Best Tilapia Fillets

Sea Best Tilapia Fillets, 16 Ounce (Pack of 10), 1 Pound (Pack of 10)

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When you buy tilapia, you’ll find that most versions are sold as fresh or frozen.

This is a top seller and certified as a Best Agricultural Practices seafood.

The look of each thin slice is uniform, and the taste is very mild–perfect for those who don’t like fishy flavors.

Sea Best Tempura Breaded Talapia

Sea Best Tempura Breaded Tilapia Tenders, 10 Ounce (Pack of 12)

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To save time and money, you can buy tilapia that has already been seasoned and prepared.

This seafood product is good for those who enjoy breaded tilapia fillets.

Sold frozen, this comes ready to heat and serve. Bake in the oven and serve with a side of cocktail sauce and lemon. The tasty seafood has a crunchy texture without a greasy look.

Best Canned Options

Canned seafood is a safe and simple way to increase the amount of protein and omega fatty acids in your diet.

In addition to the choices above, you may want to try mackerel, sardines, or herring—these seafood varieties have high omega-3 fatty acids and have been recommended as part of a heart-healthy diet.

Fish in cans will usually come packed in oil or water. Both are safe to eat and will be ready to serve after draining. It also comes fully cooked and doesn’t require heating before you add it to salads, sandwiches, and dips.

Canned Mackerel in Brine

MW Polar Fish, Foods Jack Mackerel, 15-Ounce (Pack of 12) (2198)

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The popular seller on Amazon is wild-caught and sold in packages of 12 cans.

This mackerel has only water and salt added before the canning process. The food is ready to eat right out of the can, but tastes delicious when heated in a pan or in the oven first.

The fish has a sweet taste with a very tender texture and could become a family favorite that’s good and cheap.

King Oscar Sardines

King Oscar Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 3.75-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)

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King Oscar sardines have a simple recipe: sardines, salt, and virgin olive oil. Naturally low carb and gluten-free, the dish is also high in vitamin B12, vitamin D, protein, and healthy fats.

Ready to eat, these sardines can be enjoyed right out of the can. They are also well-known recipe toppers on salads, sandwiches, and pasta.

Frozen Fish

Frozen fish choices are usually white fish or salmon. Whitefish include tilapia, halibut, snapper, Mahi, and flounder. Each piece usually is vacuum-sealed and flash-frozen to keep the seafood nutrient-rich.

All fish that has been stored in the freezer should be defrosted in the fridge or in cold water before preparing. Never set fish out to defrost at room temperature.

Sea Best All Natural Snapper

Sea Best All Natural Snapper Fillets, 16 Ounce

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The snapper is wild-caught with a great medium texture. To keep it tasty longer, the manufacturers use a resealable package, so you can use this for more than one meal.

Snapper has a mild flavor and you can season it to your preferences. Serve the whitefish with a sauce, or with just some salt and pepper. Either way, you’re sure to love it.

Chilean Sea Bass

2 X 8 Oz. (1.0 Lb.) Chilean Sea Bass Fillets, Wild Caught, Skinless, Individually Vacuum Packed, Ready to Cook.

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Shipped directly from New York Delicacy, the Chilean Sea Bass fillets are a delicious cheap choice for white fish fans.

The all-natural fish are frozen immediately to retain flavor and don’t contain any preservatives or added flavors. Fillets are trimmed and sold in 8 ounce serving sizes.


Although some seafood is inexpensive, it can still be nutrient-dense and high in quality.

Before you buy, read nutritional facts and confirm the fish contains no extra chemicals or additives.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some of the best grocery stores to find good, inexpensive fish?

Find low-cost seafood at bulk and warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. Aldi’s is a discount retailer that sells budget fish, such as tilapia and Mahi.

What is the cheapest kind of fish?

Mackerel is one of the cheapest fish available and will cost a fraction of the price of other varieties.

Which is more healthy for you: salmon or tuna?

Yellowfin is healthier for you. Both have the same calorie counts, but yellowfin is higher in protein and lower in saturated fat.

Additional Resources:

Delicious tuna croquettes from Food Network

40 Quick and Easy Fish Recipes from Taste of Home

Image Credit: Photo by Malidate Van from Pexels