Homemade Fish Sticks

$7.32 recipe / $1.83 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 12 votes
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Every now and then I get a MAJOR craving for fish sticks, but I’m not really a fan of store-bought frozen fish sticks. So instead, I use this homemade fish sticks recipe to get my fix. They’re surprisingly simple to make, they’re deliciously crispy on the outside, and light, flakey, and moist on the inside. Dip them in some homemade tartar sauce and I’m in heaven!

Close up overhead view of a plate full of fish sticks with one dipped into tartar sauce.
Pictured with our Homemade Tartar Sauce.

Fish sticks are seriously easy to make. They have two main components, the fish and the crispy breading. Super easy! Once you make your own fish sticks at home, there’s no going back to frozen.

Ingredients for Fish Sticks

Here’s what you’ll need to make these homemade fish sticks:

  • White Fish: You’ll want to use a mild white fish to make fish sticks, like cod, flounder, tilapia, or grouper. I used frozen flounder this time around because that’s what was available at the store for a good price, but I’ve also used cod many times. Frozen fish is usually a little more affordable than fresh, and it works great for fish sticks!
  • Flour, Eggs, Breadcrumbs: The crispy breadcrumb coating is made with just a few simple ingredients: flour, eggs, and Panko breadcrumbs (plus a little seasoning). Panko is the best type of breadcrumb for fish sticks because it’s extra light and crispy, so it doesn’t overpower the delicate fish.
  • Seasoning: You’ll definitely want a little seasoning to keep your fish sticks from being boring, so I made it easy by adding a Creole seasoning blend that includes salt. Any type of seasoning salt will work well.
  • Oil: Use high-heat cooking oil to shallow fry the fish sticks, like canola, vegetable, peanut, light olive, or sesame oil (not toasted).

Alternate Cooking Methods

I chose to shallow fry my homemade fish sticks because it’s SUPER fast and creates the most crispy and delicious bread coating. If you’re not a fan of this method, it is possible to bake them in an oven or use an air fryer, although the results won’t be quite as scrumptious. Here is how to cook fish sticks in an oven or air fryer:

Baked Fish Sticks: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Stir 2 Tbsp cooking oil into the seasoned Panko breadcrumbs (this helps the fish sticks brown and crisp evenly). Place the breaded fish sticks on a wire cooling rack placed on a baking sheet. Bake the fish sticks for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Air Fryer Fish Sticks: Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF. Stir 2 Tbsp cooking oil into the seasoned Panko breadcrumbs (this helps the fish sticks brown and crisp evenly). Place the fish sticks in the air fryer basket in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the air fryer. Cook the fish sticks at 400ºF for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Seasoning Ideas for Fish Sticks

I used Tony Chachere’s to season my fish stick recipe, but there are a lot of other great seasonings that would also work well. Just remember, if the seasoning blend you use does not contain salt, you’ll need to add about 1/4 tsp to the flour mixture and 1/2 tsp to the panko breadcrumbs. Here are some alternate seasoning ideas for your homemade fish sticks:

What to Serve with Fish Sticks

You’ll probably want a little something delicious to dip your fish sticks in, so I would suggest a creamy tartar sauce, a zingy comeback sauce, creamy-tangy mayo ketchup, or plain ketchup (if that’s how you roll).

To round out your fish stick meal, try pairing them with a creamy coleslaw or a zippier cumin lime coleslaw, go “fish and chips” style with some steak fries, or get some greens with a side of roasted broccoli. Or, go full on comfort food with some creamy mac and cheese. ;)

A hand dipping a fish stick into a bowl of tartar sauce.
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Homemade Fish Sticks

4.92 from 12 votes
Homemade fish sticks are easy to make, deliciously crispy on the outside, and light, flakey, and moist on the inside. 
Overhead view of a plate full of fish sticks with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
Servings 4 (about 4 fish sticks each)
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 18 minutes
Total 33 minutes


  • 1 lb. white fish ($6.00)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour ($0.16)
  • 2 tsp Tony Chachere's seasoning, divided* ($0.20)
  • 2 large eggs ($0.18)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs ($0.62)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil ($0.16)


  • If the fish is frozen, thaw completely, then pat with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Cut the fish into "sticks" about three inches long and ½-inch wide, and no more than ½-inch thick (if using a thicker fish filet).
  • Prepare the breading by combining the flour and 1 tsp seasoning (Tony Chachere's or seasoning of choice) in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. In a third bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and remaining 1 tsp seasoning.
  • Begin to bread the fish sticks by dipping them one at a time into the flour, then egg, then panko breadcrumbs. Place the breaded fish sticks on a plate or cutting board once breaded.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot enough that a breadcrumb dropped into the pan sizzles strongly as soon as it hits the oil, you're ready to fry the fish sticks.
  • Fry the fish sticks in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, frying for 2-4 minutes on each side or until the breading is golden brown. Transfer the fried fish sticks to a paper towel-lined plate to drain as you fry the rest. If the oil gets too hot as you fry, remove the pan from the heat to allow it to cool slightly before continuing. Do not let the oil smoke. If needed, add slightly more oil and allow it to fully heat before cooking more fish sticks.
  • Allow the fish sticks a few minutes to cool slightly before enjoying with your favorite dipping sauce.

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*Use your favorite seasoning salt or seasoning blend. See the blog text above the recipe for more seasoning ideas.
The sodium content listed does not account for the fact that most of the seasoning salt is discarded with the unused flour and panko after breading the fish sticks. 


Serving: 4fish sticksCalories: 384kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 30gFat: 19gSodium: 1367mgFiber: 1g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Close up of a fish stick dipped in tartar sauce.

How to Make Fish Sticks – Step by Step Photos

thawed flounder filets on a cutting board.

Thaw about 1 lb. of white fish, then dab with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. I used flounder because that’s what was available, but cod, tilapia, or grouper all work great.

Fish filets cut into fish sticks on a cutting board.

Cut the fish into “sticks” about three inches long and ½-inch wide. If you are using thicker pieces of fish, like a cod, filet the pieces in half to make sure they are not thicker than ½-inch.

Three bowls with ingredients for the breading (flour, eggs, breadcrumbs).

Prepare the ingredients for the three layers of the breadcrumb coating. In one bowl, combine ½ cup flour with 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning (see blog text above for alternate seasoning ideas). In a separate bowl, whisk two large eggs. In a third bowl, combine 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs with 1 tsp Tony Chachere’s seasoning.

Breaded fish sticks on a cutting board next to the three bowls of ingredients.

Begin breading the fish sticks by first dipping them in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess, then dipping them into the whisked eggs, and finally into the seasoned breadcrumbs until fully coated. Place the breaded fish sticks on a plate or cutting board.

Fish sticks being fried in a small pan.

Add ¼ cup high-heat cooking oil (like canola, vegetable, peanut, light olive oil) to a small skillet and heat over medium. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in a pinch of Panko breadcrumbs. When the breadcrumb sizzle furiously as soon as it hits the oil, it’s ready to fry the fish sticks. Work in small batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Fry the fish sticks for 2-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. If the oil becomes too hot, take the pan off the heat for a moment or two before proceeding. If the oil begins to smoke, take it off the heat immediately.

Fried fish sticks on a paper towel lined plate.

Transfer the fried fish sticks to a paper towel-lined plate to drain as you cook the remaining fish sticks. Let them cool for just a few minutes before serving and enjoying!

Overhead view of a plate full of fish sticks with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

These things are SERIOUSLY SO GOOD. I already want to make another batch. 😜

Close up of a fish stick with a bite taken out, showing the flakey interior.

The outside is so crispy and the inside is so moist and flakey. Fish stick PERFECTION!

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    1. We’d have to test it out so I’m not sure! It can definitely be done though and they’d cook very quickly. Keep an eye out, I’ll see if we can try it!

  1. Oh brother JM. That is not a comment on the recipe, just your desire and or ability to cook. This is no more messier than most recipes worth the trouble. Comment on the food. Delicious and relatively EASY to prepare.

  2. Hmmm…very tasty; I did have to add an extra dash of salt which surprised me because Tony Chachere’s is very salty. I used Trader Joe’s gf flour and Ian’s gf panko. As with all breaded and fried things, even shallow fried, an enormous undertaking to make with lots of dirty dishes and a greasy kitchen to clean up later. I enjoyed them very much both with tartar sauce and in fish tacos, but will not make again just because of the work involved. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. I cooked this last night, trying to incorporate fish more often into our rotation. It came out better than expected. I doubled the amount of Cajun seasoning though and we still couldn’t taste it. Also the tartar-like sauce is super good! But for this recipe I would halve the quantity because it made way too much.

  4. I added a teaspoon of salt to the flour mixture since my Cajun seasoning is homemade. I couldn’t taste the Cajun and will double it next time. Also, I patted the fish dry before slicing. I feel like that helps the breading stick better. I served with ketchup and the rice cooker mac recipe to replicate one of my favorite childhood meals. :)

  5. Another home run Beth! :) My nutritionist recently advised I include more fish in my diet, and so I’ll be trying all your fish recipes here. It can be expensive, but your recipes always keep the cost down. We didn’t taste the seasoning much in our fish sticks, but we’re going to try applying the seasoning to the fish before flouring next time to see how it tastes. I’d love to see more seafood recipes here, like shrimp, crab etc. Keep on cookin’! :)

  6. Hi Beth, I like fish sticks, but never have made my own. The Tilapia Fish Sticks are deee-licious! They are so good, I won’t ever be able to go back to those frozen sticks from the grocery store. The recipe is very easy to follow, and they cook up in just minutes. I paired the fish sticks with your Tartar-like Sauce, which put the flavors over the top. Thank you for your passion and for providing us with wonderful, 5-star meal ideas.

    1. Yum! I just finished eating the left-over Tilapia Fish Sticks, with more sauce. They are delish cold. I also had a happy memory happen while I was eating. More than 50 years ago, when I was a kid, I would eat left-over fish my mother had fried up the night before. My mom is 93 now and was a fantastic family cook. My whole family has many memories surrounding food and our dinner table. Funny how & when memories hit us, even decades later. Thanks again.