Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe - w/ Baking Instructions (2024)

ThisHomemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe only requires 10 ingredients (INCLUDING salt and pepper): cod or tilapia, spices: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, whole wheat flour, eggs, lemon juice, panko breadcrumbs, and old bay seasoning! Oven baked instructions listed as well.

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If you love this air fryer recipe, you’ll also love: air fryer mozzarella sticks, air fryer chicken nuggets, and air fryer pretzel bites.

Growing up, we had all the classics:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Lasagna
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Spaghetti
  • Scotcheroos
  • Tacos

and, of course . . .

. . . the dreaded fish sticks!

I used to HATE when my mom made fish sticks.

I know it didn’t happen often, but still, I loathed them so much.

Sorry Mom.

With this blog, it’s been my mission to take some of my family’s classics and put my modern twist on them:

  • Mac and cheese –> see all my twists on mac and cheese here
  • Lasagna–> deconstructed one pot lasagna anyone? or maybe lasagna soup!
  • Chicken nuggets –> air fryer chicken nuggets are the only way to go
  • Spaghetti–> you’ll never guess this turkey bolognese is packed with veggies
  • Scotcheroos–> my scotcheroos are made vegan and gluten free without losing any of the charm
  • Tacos –> ground beef tacos with homemade taco seasoning pleaseandthankyou

And today, frozen fish sticks are becoming . . .

. . . homemade healthy air fryer fish sticks!

PSST – Don’t have an air fryer? I’ll list the baking directions below.

Although I HIGHLY recommend the air fryer version for this particular recipe.

Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe - w/ Baking Instructions (2)
Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe - w/ Baking Instructions (3)

Ingredients inhomemade healthy air fryer fish sticks:

  • Cod or tilapia
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Eggs
  • Lemon juice
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Old bay seasoning

What fish is used for fish sticks?

  • Cod
  • Tilapia

I actually used a combination of both, because that’s what I had on hand.

My cod was much thicker, while the tilapia is thinner. Both worked great.

How do you make fish sticks?

  1. Thaw fish, if using frozen.
  2. Cut into pieces that are 1 inch wide by 2 inches long. Pat dry and set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together egg and lemon juice.
  5. In an additional bowl, whisk together panko and old bay seasoning.
  6. Dunk each fish piece into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and lastly, the panko mixture. Make sure the piece of fish is getting fully coated at each step.
  7. Spray tops with cooking spray to encourage browning.
  8. Use your air fryer to air fry or oven to bake until the outside is crispy and the fish is perfectly flakey.
  9. Season with more salt and lemon juice before serving with tarter sauce.

How long do you air fry fish sticks?

  • Air fry fish sticks for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees F, flipping halfway through.

How do you cook fish sticks in an oven?

  • Bake fish sticks on a silicone mat lined rimmed baking sheet for 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees F, flipping halfway through.

Although, like I said, really recommend using the air fryer for this recipe, there’s just no comparison to how crispy the air fryer gets these fish sticks.

I’d use the oven as a last resort. They’ll still be good, but they won’t be very crispy. You COULD try broiling them at the end to see if that gets the panko a little crispier.

Are fish sticks bad for you? Are fish sticks good for you?

Fish sticks CAN be bad for you (I’ve definitely seen some unhealthy frozen varieties), but THESE homemade healthy air fryer fish sticks are definitely good for you!

Ultra tender and flakey fish covered in lemon juice, crispy panko, and dunked in tangy tarter sauce . . .

Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe - w/ Baking Instructions (4)

. . . now THESE are fish sticks I can get on board with.

– Jennifer

Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe - w/ Baking Instructions (5)

Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe

4.50 from 4 votes

ThisHomemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe only requires 10 ingredients (INCLUDING salt and pepper): cod or tilapia, spices: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, whole wheat flour, eggs, lemon juice, panko breadcrumbs, and old bay seasoning! Oven baked instructions listed as well.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 people

Equipment for this recipe

(equipment shown are affiliate links)

Ingredients

US Customary - Metric

  • 4 (4 oz) fillets frozen cod or tilapia thawed
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling after air frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large lemon juiced, plus more for serving after air frying
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons old bay
  • Tarter sauce HIGHLY recommended for serving

Instructions

  • Thaw fish, if using frozen.

  • Cut each fillet of thawed fish into 4 pieces. You should end up with 16 sticks that are 1 inch wide by 2 inches long.

  • Pat dry with paper towels.

  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

  • In another bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice.

  • In an additional bowl, whisk together panko and old bay seasoning.

  • Dunk each fish piece into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and lastly, the panko mixture.

  • Make sure each piece of fish is getting fully coated at each step. You may need to press the panko mixture into the fish to get it to stick.

  • Spray tops with cooking spray to encourage browning.

For the air fryer: recommended method!

  • Hit “ON” on the air fryer.

  • Then hit “PRE-HEAT”.
Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and set the timer to 10-12 minutes.* I'd start with 10 minutes.

  • Hit “START”.
The air fryer will beep at you when it’s finished preheating.

  • Once preheated, spray the basket with cooking spray and place in approximately 6 pieces of fish. Make sure they aren’t touching.

  • After 5 minutes, carefully flip each piece of fish, then continue cooking for the remaining 5 minutes.

  • Remove from air fryer, sprinkle with more salt (if necessary, I definitely needed more salt) and a generous squeeze of lemon.

  • Repeat with remaining fish.

  • Serve with tarter sauce!

For the oven:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

  • Place prepared fish onto prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. You may want to broil at the end to get these more crispy.

  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with more salt (if necessary, I definitely needed more salt) and a generous squeeze of lemon.

  • Serve with tarter sauce!

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STORING

Room Temp:N/A

Refrigerator:3-4 Days

Freezer:3 Months

Reheat:Bake or air fry to reheat

*Storage times may vary based on temperature and conditions

Notes

*I needed 10 minutes. Time may vary depending on thickness. You can always add more time after checking one piece of fish.

I actually think the nutritional information is a bit aggressive, since you don't actually use all the flour/eggs/panko. This is just a rough estimate.

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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe

Amount Per Serving (4 pieces (out of 16))

Calories 437 Calories from Fat 63

% Daily Value*

Fat 7g11%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Cholesterol 154mg51%

Sodium 1014mg44%

Potassium 757mg22%

Carbohydrates 58g19%

Fiber 5g21%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 34g68%

Vitamin A 830IU17%

Vitamin C 15.4mg19%

Calcium 170mg17%

Iron 5.2mg29%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.

Keywords: air fryer, healthy, seafood

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Course: Main Dish

Cuisine: American

Homemade Healthy Air Fryer Fish Sticks Recipe - w/ Baking Instructions (2024)

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