So much better than frozen fish sticks, these Homemade Fish Sticks are so easy to make and also much tastier. This recipe produces fish sticks that are super crispy and crunchy on the outside, yet the fish itself remains tender and flaky.
If you are striving to get your picky kids (or your picky self) to eat more fish, Fish Sticks are a great place to start.
However, most restaurant fish sticks are deep-fried and greasy, and frozen fish sticks have a lot of unnecessary added ingredients. By making your own fish sticks, you can control the quality of ingredients and make healthy fish sticks–easily!
Ingredients for Fish Sticks
- Fish: A white, firm fish is best for fish sticks. Cod or haddock fillets are the best option, but tilapia will work. Just keep in mind they are a bit thinner than cod or haddock and may not need to be cooked as long.
- Flour: The fish needs to be initially dusted in flour before breaded. The initial dip in flour helps the egg wash stick better to the food’s surface. Use all-purpose, whole wheat, or a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
- Egg Wash: An egg wash is best to help the breadcrumbs adhere to the fish. I add a bit of mustard and lemon juice to the eggs, which helps to add flavor to the final fish sticks, making this recipe the best!
- Breadcrumbs: The secret to really crisp fish sticks is panko breadcrumbs. They are lighter than traditional breadcrumbs and give the fish sticks incredible texture.
- Seasoning: It is important to season every step of the way. I use homemade seasoned salt and garlic powder to add the most flavor with minimal ingredients.
Secrets to Crispy Baked Fish Sticks
There are a few secrets to making crispy oven-baked fish sticks and they are the same techniques I use for Baked Chicken Tenders.
First, you must select the right pan. It is best to use a rimmed baking sheet with an oven-safe rack placed on top of the sheet pan. This allows the air to circulate evenly around the fish as it bakes and prevents the bottom of the fish sticks from getting soggy.
Secondly, be sure to cut your fish evenly, so that each strip cooks in the same amount of time. Slice the fish lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips and then widthwise into 2-inch sections.
The next secret is to remember to season well. Season the fish strips and each layer of the breading. This will help the final product be extremely flavorful.
To bread the fish, dip each fish stick into flour, tossing to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into the egg wash, and then finally into panko breadcrumbs, using your hands to help the panko coat fish–being sure to cover the fish strip entirely with the bread crumbs so every bite is coated.
Bake fish sticks at a high temperature and flip half-way through the baking process. Allow to cool slightly and then serve with homemade tartar sauce.
Air Fryer Instructions
While the oven gets these fish sticks crispy and crunchy, an air fryer will produce the same results without turning on the oven.
Bread the fish strips as directed and spray each side with cooking spray. Place in a single layer in the air fryer and set to 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. Add an additional 2 minutes if needed.
Fish Sticks are best served warm right from the oven. If you do have leftovers, I highly suggest freezing the leftovers and then reheat in the oven, this will keep the fish sticks crispy and crunchy, instead of soggy if they were to be reheated in the microwave.
Homemade Fish Sticks
- cooking spray
- 1 pound skinless, cod fillets about 1-inch thick (thawed if frozen)
- 2 teaspoons seasoned salt divided
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed about 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Tartar Sauce for serving optional
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and adjust the rack to the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an oven-safe cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Lightly spray with non-stick spray.
- Slice the fish crosswise into 2-inch long strips, about 1-inch wide, and season both sides with ½ teaspoon of the seasoned salt.
- Place flour and 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt in one shallow dish and mix well. In a separate shallow dish, whisk the egg with fresh lemon juice and Dijon. In the final shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs with garlic powder and the remaining 1 teaspoon seasoned salt.
- Dip each fish stick into flour, tossing to coat. Shake off excess. Dip into the egg wash, and then finally into panko breadcrumbs, using your hands to help panko coat fish. Place the breaded fish onto the prepared pan and then repeat with remaining fish strips.
- Spray the fish sticks generously with cooking spray.
- Bake fish sticks for 7 minutes. Flip and bake for 5-7 minutes longer, or until golden brown and fish is no longer opaque.
- Allow to cool slightly and then serve with tartar sauce.
- Tilapia or Haddock will work in place of cod fillets.
- Panko bread crumbs give these fish sticks the best texture, but feel free to use unseasoned regular bread crumbs if that is all you have.
- Leftover fish sticks are best frozen after cooling and then reheated in a 400-degree oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes.
- Air Fryer Instructions: Bread the fish strips as directed and spray each side with cooking spray. Place in a single layer in the air fryer and set to 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. Add an additional 2 minutes if needed.