Homemade Fish Sticks are not only so much better tasting than frozen fish sticks, but they also happen to be incredibly easy to make. This easy recipe results in 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.
From the crunchy exterior to the flaky interior to the very mild fish, fish sticks have little to no fishy taste, and their hand-held, dippable quality makes them a favorite with the kids.
Not to mention, fish sticks have a sticking resemblance to Chicken Tenders, which is an all-time kids' favorite. And if your picky eaters are like mine, familiar-looking food is a much easier sell than something completely foreign-looking.
Instead of relying on restaurant fish sticks, which are deep-fried and greasy, or frozen fish sticks, which have a lot of unnecessary added ingredients, I highly recommend preparing Homemade Fish Sticks.
By making your own fish sticks, you can control the quality of ingredients and prepare healthier fish sticks, that your family will love and you will feel good about serving.
And don't worry this is recipe is for EASY fish sticks. The process is fairly simple and the results are truly worth it.
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: 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.
How to Make Crispy Baked Fish Sticks
- Slice the fish lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips and then widthwise into 2-inch sections.
- Season the fish sticks with seasoned salt on each side.
- Set up a breading station, by setting up 3 shallow dishes. To the first dish, combine flour with a bit of seasoned salt. To a second dish, whisk the egg with fresh lemon juice and mustard. In the final shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs with garlic powder and additional seasoned salt.
- 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.
- Spray the fish sticks well with nonstick cooking spray, this will help the exterior get crispy and browned, like it was fried.
- Bake the fish sticks for 7 minute. Flip and bake for 5-7 minutes longer, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly and then serve with homemade tartar sauce.
Tips to Remember for Success
There are a few secrets to making crispy oven-baked fish sticks and they are the same techniques I use for Baked Chicken Tenders.
- 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.
- 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.
- Season well. It is really important to season the fish and each layer of the breading. If not, your fish sticks will lack flavor.
- Flip half-way through baking. I have found that even when using a baking rack, fish sticks turn out crispier if they are flipped midway through baking.
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 F 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 them and reheating them from frozen in the oven. This will keep the fish sticks crispy and crunchy, instead of soggy if they were to be reheated in the microwave.
To Freeze Prepared Fish Sticks
- Bake as directed.
- Once the fish sticks are cool to the touch, place them on a baking pan and place in the freezer to freeze until solid, about 1 hour.
- Once frozen to the touch, transfer the fish sticks to a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat the fish sticks, from frozen, in a 425 degree F oven, for 10-12 minutes, or until warmed through.
More Delicious Seafood Recipes
- Easy Fish Tacos
- Easy Baked Salmon
- Easy Fish Veracruz
- Easy Grilled Shrimp
- Blackened Mahi Mahi
- Shrimp Tacos
- Instant Pot Shrimp Boil
If you gave these Easy Fish Sticks a try, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
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
- ½ 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 ½ 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 the remaining fish strips.
- Spray the fish sticks generously with cooking spray.
- Bake the 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.