This homemade fish sticks recipe is easy to make and so much healthier than store-bought! Great for kids! Make and freeze a double batch to bake from frozen in the oven or air fryer!
Between the summer heat and humidity, and less time indoors available for cooking, heavy and labor-intensive meals just don’t make much sense during the summer months.
One of my family’s favorite summer dinners is baked fish sticks. They’re easy to prepare and perfect for popping into the oven for a quick and simple meal!
Why I Love This Fish Sticks Recipe
This recipe is great for many reasons:
- It is delicious!
- Healthier than store-bought.
- Uses real food ingredients like wild-caught fish and Panko bread crumbs.
- Perfect for batch cooking.
What are the best fish sticks to buy?
Personally, I do not buy fish sticks from the freezer aisle at the grocery store. This decision came after realizing the store-bought fish-sticks are filled with extra ingredients. Being on a real food journey, I always try to avoid extra ingredients that could be harmful.
My homemade fish sticks use only 6 ingredients that I can recognize and trust in. But fish sticks made with better quality ingredients cost more than highly processed and preserved store-bought fish sticks.
If your budget is super tight, all hope is not lost! Stock up when you find a good deal on wild white fish fillets – I’ve found it for $3.99! Better yet, go fishing yourself!
What is in homemade fish sticks?
As I said before, homemade fish sticks are made with simple real food ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cod filets.
- All-purpose flour
- Sea salt
- Store-bought or homemade seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- Ghee or avocado oil
What fish is used to make flaky fish sticks?
I prefer wild Alaskan cod for making fish sticks because it’s one of the cheapest varieties of wild-caught fish and because it has a somewhat firm texture and very mild flavor, making it perfect for this recipe.
How do you make crispy fish sticks from scratch?
One key ingredient to getting your fish sticks to be crispy is using Panko style breadcrumbs (homemade or store-bought). Panko style crumbs have an ultra-light texture that gives these fish sticks that classic, irresistible crisp!
How to make Homemade fish sticks
Making homemade fish sticks is simple:
- Prepare your roasting pans, greasing the racks.
- Slice cod into thin strips and dredge the cod strips in flour, coating with egg mixture then covering Panko crumbs.
- Bake the breadsticks (flipping halfway), then broil until just golden brown.
Note: The trick to getting perfectly smooth edges on your fish sticks is to slice the cod when still partially frozen (defrost in the fridge for several hours before getting started). Slice them first, then start on the bread crumbs – your sliced fish will finish defrosting quickly on the counter while you work.
Can you make lemon garlic fish sticks?
Yes! If you’d like your fish sticks to have lemon garlic flavor, simply add lemon zest and garlic powder to the breadcrumbs before coating the fish sticks.
Is this recipe for fish sticks good for the air fryer?
Yes, but the bake/air fry time will need to be adjusted. Keep an eye on the fish sticks while air frying to make sure they don’t overcook!
Can these crispy fish sticks be frozen?
These fish sticks can absolutely be frozen, which is why they are perfect for a batch cooking session! Making them ahead in large batches and freezing them is a great way to meal prep.
For freezing uncooked fish sticks: Place breaded fish sticks on a cookie sheet in the freezer until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe container for storage. To cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay frozen sticks on a wire rack brushed with melted ghee and placed inside of a roasting pan. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Broil for an additional 1 minute as above.
For freezing cooked fish sticks: Place fish sticks in a freezer-safe container. To cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay frozen sticks on a wire rack brushed with melted ghee and placed inside of a roasting pan. Heat for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.
What goes with fish sticks?
There are many great ways to serve fish sticks.
- Serve with fresh lemon juice and homemade tartar sauce
- Cilantro Lime Coleslaw
- Pan-Seared Broccoli
- Instant Pot Steamed Vegetables
- Butter and Parmesan Cheese Zoodles
- Crispy Potato Wedges
- Spicy Corn Salad
If you like sandwiches, the leftovers make a great fish sandwich! Just store extra fish sticks in an airtight container in the fridge overnight, then give them a quick heat in the oven or toaster oven (350 degrees for 3-5 minutes). I love them on toasted sourdough with a little tartar sauce made with homemade mayo!
Homemade Fish Sticks (Freezer Friendly)
This homemade fish sticks recipe is easy to make and so much healthier than store-bought! Great for kids, you can bake from frozen in the oven or air fryer!
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 14 min
- Total Time: 29 minutes
- Yield: 30 fish sticks 1x
- Category: Main Meals
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound cod filets (defrosted if frozen)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (place in shallow bowl)
- 4 large eggs, beaten (place in a 2nd shallow bowl)
- 1 heaping tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade seasoned Panko bread crumbs (place with salt in a 3rd shallow bowl or gallon-size plastic zipper bag)
- melted ghee or avocado oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare 2 roasting pans, each with a wire cooling rack placed inside so fish can cook on top of rack, while any crumbs fall into the pan.
- Brush the racks lightly with melted ghee or avocado oil.
- Slice cod into 25-30 thin strips (mine were about 1/2″ wide and 3-4″ long). Pat dry with paper towels if needed.
- Working in batches, dredge the cod strips in flour (1st bowl), then coat with egg (2nd bowl), then cover in Panko crumbs (3rd bowl).
- Place breaded strips evenly around the wire racks inside the roasting pans.
- Once all are breaded and on racks, bake for 8 minutes. Flip and bake on the other side for another 6 minutes, then transfer to the broiler for about a minute (just until some of the crumbs begin turning a darker brown). Watch these very closely to prevent burning.
- Serve with fresh lemon for squeezing and/or tartar sauce for dipping.
- Store left over fish sticks in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a few days. To reheat, place on wire racks in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.