Homemade Fish Sticks

These baked homemade fish sticks served with tartar sauce come out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You can use cod, halibut, or catfish fillets.

homemade fish sticks served on a blue and white striped platter with a tartar dipping sauce.
Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
16 fish sticks

“I loved frozen fish sticks as a kid, but these are so much better,” says recipe developer and test kitchen expert Juliana Hale. Try this homemade fish stick recipe next time you need a fun, fast, and kid-friendly weeknight meal. 

How to Make Fish Sticks

You'll find a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions in the recipe below, but let's go over the basics:

Ingredients for Fish Sticks

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make this homemade fish stick recipe: 

  • For the fish sticks: white fish, salt and pepper, bread crumbs, Old Bay seasoning (or Cajun or lemon-pepper seasoning), an egg, water, and all-purpose flour
  • For the tartar sauce: mayonnaise, pickle relish, red onion, fresh or dried dill, capers, and lemon juice

Best Fish for Fish Sticks

Choose a firm, meaty, white fish for this recipe. Good choices include cod, halibut, or catfish. Fresh is best, but frozen is fine — just make sure it’s thawed before you start cooking. 

Test Kitchen Tips

This recipe was developed in our test kitchen. Check out some tips and tricks from culinary experts that might make the cooking process easier: 

  • For gluten-free fish sticks, use gluten-free Panko and gluten-free baking mix for the flour.
  • “You can use any seasoning blend you like here,” according to Juliana. “Chili powder or barbecue seasoning would work great.”

Can You Make These Fish Sticks In the Air Fryer? 

Yes! It’s quite easy. To make the fish sticks in the air fryer: 

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. 
  2. Cook the fish sticks in batches until browned (about 7 minutes) turning once halfway through cooking time.

Can You Deep Fry These Fish Sticks? 

Of course, fish sticks can also be deep-fried. To deep fry the fish sticks: 

  1. Heat one cup vegetable oil in a small saucepan until it shimmers. 
  2. Fry the fish sticks, 4 at a time, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Drain on paper towels. 
  4. Keep cooked fish sticks warm in a 200 degrees F oven while frying the remaining fish sticks.

What to Serve With Fish Sticks

In addition to the homemade tartar sauce, these fish sticks pair perfectly with a remoulade or even ketchup. As far as side dishes go, you can’t go wrong with crowd-pleasing French fries or classic coleslaw

How to Store Fish Sticks

Store the leftover fish sticks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat in the oven or in the air fryer to keep them crispy. 

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Fish Sticks

  • 1 pound cod, halibut, or catfish filets, thawed if frozen

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1/3 cup flour

  • cooking spray

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Tartar Sauce

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish (sweet or dill)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

  • 1 teaspoons capers (optional)

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Gather all ingredients.

    all ingredients to make homemade fish sticks gathered on a kitchen counter.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicone baking mat.

  3. Blot fish dry with paper towels. Season fish with salt and pepper. Cut filets crosswise in 1-inch strips.

    seasoned fish filets cut into 1-inch strips.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  4. Combine panko and Old Bay seasoning in a shallow dish. Beat together egg and water in a second shallow dish. Place flour in a third shallow dish.

  5. Dip fish pieces in flour to coat, shaking off excess, then in egg mixture, then in panko. Place breaded fish sticks on the prepared baking sheet.

    fish strips being dipped in egg, flour, and bread crumbs ready for baking.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  6. Coat fish sticks generously with cooking spray. Bake freshly breaded or frozen fish sticks until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through baking time.

    golden-brown fish sticks cooling on a baking sheet.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  7. For Tartar Sauce, in a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise, pickle relish, onion, dill weed, capers (if using), and lemon juice. Chill at least 2 hours before serving and up to 1 week.

    tartar sauce in a small glass bowl.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

  8. Serve fish sticks with Tartar Sauce and lemon wedges.

    homemade fish sticks served on a blue and white striped platter with a tartar dipping sauce.

    Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

Recipe Tip

You can use Cajun seasoning or lemon-pepper seasoning instead of Old Bay for variation.
You can substitute the fresh dill with 1/2 teaspoon dried dill.

From the Editor

Once fish sticks are fully prepared (Step 5), you can easily freeze them. Simply place the baking sheet with the breaded fish sticks in the freezer and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer frozen fish sticks to a freezer container, label, and freeze up to 1 month.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

486 Calories
18g Fat
51g Carbs
35g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 486
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 116mg 39%
Sodium 1027mg 45%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 110mg 548%
Calcium 135mg 10%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 709mg 15%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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