Making Baked Fish Sticks at home delivers the crispiest, most tender results with just a few simple ingredients. They’re a favorite and affordable way to serve fish to kids, and they’re so good that the adults at the table will love them, too!

fish-sticks-on-plate-with-lemon

Fish Sticks

Real talk: I fully expected my kids not to like these since they love the ones from the freezer aisle of the store. So I was delighted to see they actually gobbled these up just as quickly as the store-bought ones. These are half the cost to make as they are to buy (I usually buy the Ian’s Natural brand), which makes it easier for me to stick to my grocery budget.

And while I don’t always have access to high-quality fish in the small town where I live, I love to make these when I can find some.

This recipe calls for just a few ingredients and reheats really well. You can make them anytime during the day that you want to serve them and simply reheat them right before dinner. I make my fish sticks with tilapia, but I note a few options to use other fish too at the bottom of the recipe.

TIP: We love this fish recipe with a squeeze of lemon and dipped into ketchup, but you can serve with tartar sauce or any other dip you like. These are also great in fish tacos.

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you need the following ingredients.

ingredients-in-fish-sticks
  • Tilapia filets: You can use fresh tilapia from the fish counter or frozen tilapia. If using frozen, thaw according to the package directions before starting the recipe and pat dry.
  • Eggs
  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour, but you can use whole wheat or a gluten-free flour blend if you prefer.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: This type of breadcrumbs has a nice texture and helps the fish sticks to become super crispy.
  • Salt: A little salt helps add flavor to the final fish recipe.

TIP: You can add parsley, dried garlic, or any other spices you like in the coating for more flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s the overview of how to make the recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.

how-to-make-fish-sticks-step-by-step
  1. Use kitchen shears to cut the filets in half, then into strips about the size of your finger.
  2. Coat each piece in flour.
  3. Coat each piece in egg.
  4. Coat each piece in the breadcrumbs.
  5. Place on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake!

TIP: Set the bowls up in a little assembly line to make the process easy.

fish-sticks-on-blue-kids-plate

FAQ

What kind of fish are in fish sticks?

I use Tilapia since many varieties are rated well by the Seafood Watch program, which vets for sustainable seafood options. And it’s on the list of fish that have the least mercury, which is important for all of us to consider, but especially for little kids with developing brains and bodies and pregnant women. It is also a very mild fish that is usually around $7 or $8 a pound, which is more affordable than other types of fish.

What’s the best way to reheat leftover fish sticks?

You can put them back onto a baking pan and warm at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes. They reheat nicely!

How do you cook fish sticks?

Baking fish sticks creates an even crunchy coating and tender fish in the middle. I like to bake mine on a wire rack set over a baking sheet so the bottoms bake up crunchy, rather than soggy.

Are fish sticks good for you?

They are rich in healthy fats, are low in mercury, and are high in protein. You can also control the amount of added salt, which is nice too.

How to Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and warm for 6-8 minutes in a 375-degree-F oven or about 4 minutes in a 375-degree-F air fryer.

You can warm them in 15-second increments in the microwave, but they will not be crunchy.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use kitchen shears to cut the fish (it’s a little easier than using a knife, I’ve found).
  • Choose sustainable fish that are low-mercury, including tilapia, flounder, or whitefish. You could also use wild salmon or trout, though they may have stronger flavors.
  • Gluten-free: Use GF panko and flour.
  • Egg-free: Swap in vegan mayo for the eggs.
  • Add a dash of ground garlic, dried parsley, black pepper, or any other spice or herb you like to add more flavor.
  • Serve with fresh lemon, ketchup, tartar sauce, or any other sauce you like.
  • We like to have these with simple sides such as Mashed PotatoesRoasted Broccoli, or Salad. They’re also great in tacos.

Related Recipes

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please leave a rating and a comment below.

fish-sticks-with-ketchup-and-lemon

Crispy Baked Fish Sticks (to Share with the Kids!)

We like to have these with simple sides such as Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli, or Salad. They’re also great in tacos!
4.84 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 252kcal
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tilapia filets (fresh or thawed from frozen according to package directions)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups Panko-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • Cut the fish into finger-size pieces. (I use kitchen scissors to make this easy.)
  • Place the flour, eggs, and Panko into separate wide bowls in a little assembly line. Coat each piece of fish in the flour, then eggs, then Panko. Set onto the prepared wire rack. Finish all of the fish.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown and cooked through.
  • Serve warm with fresh lemon, ketchup, and/or Tartar sauce.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and warm for 6-8 minutes in a 375 degree oven. (You can warm them in 15-second increments in the microwave, but they will not be crunchy.)
  • Use kitchen shears to cut the fish (it’s a little easier than using a knife, I’ve found).
  • Choose sustainable fish that are low-mercury, including tilapia, flounder, or whitefish. You could also use wild salmon or trout, though they may have stronger flavors.
  • Gluten-free: Use GF panko and flour.
  • Egg-free: Swap in vegan mayo for the eggs.
  • Add a dash of ground garlic, dried parsley, black pepper, or any other spice or herb you like to add more flavor.
  • Serve with fresh lemon, ketchup, tartar sauce, or any other sauce you like.

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 139mg, Sodium: 518mg, Potassium: 421mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 119IU, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published March 2021.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Really good and easy! I used salmon and baked at the recommended temp/time. I put some cajun seasoning in the breadcrumbs and it was yummy.

    1. You can do them up through the end of Step 3, cover and store in the fridge for up to about 4 hours, then bake. Or you can make them ahead, let cool, and store for future reheating. To reheat, place on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and warm for 6-8 minutes in a 375 degree oven. I hope that helps.

    1. I haven’t tried that but I think it should work okay—I know they heat well from the fridge!