Homemade fish sticks in the air fryer are a healthy family friendly meal for any day of the week. Coated with a flavorful panko bread crumb, this is a great way to get crispy fish sticks every time.
In less than thirty minutes, turn simple fish fillets into a crunchy dinner that your kids will love. This recipe is for from scratch fish sticks, but I also include recipe notes on how to make air fryer frozen fish sticks.
Why this recipe works
- Healthy alternative to deep frying – air frying foods cuts down on calories by up to 70%, by using very minimal, if any oil at all. Using a white fish like cod, is also a fantastic source of lean protein. A 4 ounce serving of cod is just under 100 calories, has a whopping 20 grams of protein, and only 1 gram of fat! It is also loaded with micronutrients.
- Quick & easy – using just a few staple ingredients, this breaded fish sticks recipe is truly an easy meal that is a good option for any day of the week.
- Kid friendly – most kids love fish sticks because of the crunchy breading and mild fish flavor. They also taste great alongside kid favorite foods like mac n cheese or tater tots.
- White fish – I love using cod fillets because they are thicker and make for nice size fish fingers, but you can also use tilapia.
- Panko breadcrumbs and flour – the 2 basic ingredients for any dredging process, feel free to use regular breadcrumbs and either all purpose flour or whole wheat flour.
- Egg wash – simply add a tablespoon or two of water to whisked eggs and place in a shallow bowl.
- Seasoning – This recipe uses garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt and pepper, but I have also used Old Bay seasoning.
Begin by taking your piece of fish and cutting it into smaller pieces, about 3″-4″ in length. Try to keep them as uniform in size as possible and pat dry with a paper towel.
Combine the breadcrumbs, flour and seasoning and place in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, add the eggs and a splash of water, and whisk.
Coat each piece in the egg wash, allowing for excess liquid to drip off. Then thoroughly coat each piece in the flour mixture, pressing fish into the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere.
Set aside on a baking sheet while you work. When ready, place directly in the air fryer basket or air fryer tray in a single layer and lightly coat with spray oil.
Set your air fryer to 375 degrees f and cook for approximately 12 minutes. Cooking time varies a bit depending on your air fryer so adjust as needed until a fish piece is flaky and internal temperature is about 140 degrees. Coating should be light golden brown.
Serve alongside french fries, sweet potato fries or air fryer potato chips, and homemade tartar sauce, ketchup or your favorite sauce. I personally love mixing sriracha with mayonnaise for a tart and tangy dip!
Yes, most definitely! Just adjust cooking time to 15-18 minutes and internal temperature is 160 degrees.
I get this question quite often, and it really depends on your budget, counter space, and cooking needs. I have the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer because I needed a multi-purpose workhorse with high capacity, and I have the counter space for it. If you are just looking for a simple air fryer, there are plenty of great options on the market for well under $200.
The typical dredging process is dip in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs. Feel free to do it this way (just mix in seasoning into flour). I combined them in this recipe, just to save a bit of time 🙂
Helpful cooking tips
The best way to keep fish sticks crispy is to make sure to pat the fish dry, as panko tends to absorb liquid released from proteins as they cook.
For best results when storing leftover fish sticks, store in an airtight container in the fridge 1-2 days. To get crunchy fish sticks again, reheat in the air fryer for 6-8 minutes set at 350 degrees.
Visit the recipe card for these helpful tips and the blog for more air fryer recipes.
If you are short on time and can’t make homemade, you can air fry frozen fish sticks. Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip over and fry for another 3-5 minutes.
Homemade Fish Sticks In Air Fryer
- Air Fryer
- 1.5 lb Cod or other white fish like tilapia
- 1.5 cups Panko breadcrumbs you can also use regular breadcrumbs
- .5 cup All purpose flour
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 2 tsp Granulated onion
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- 2 large Eggs
- Cooking oil spray
- Preheat air fryer to 375 and cut up a cod filet into 3"-4" length pieces and pat dry with a paper towel.
- In 2 separate shallow bowls, combine the breadcrumbs, flour and seasoning and mix well, and in the other bowl whisk the 2 eggs with a splash of water to create the egg wash.
- Dip the fish pieces one by one in the egg wash, allowing excess to drip off, then dredge in the flour/breadcrumb mixture. Set aside on a baking try while you coat the rest.
- In a single layer, place the fish sticks on the air fryer tray or basket, and lightly spray with cooking spray. Air fry for 12-15 minutes, gently turning over the fish sticks half way between.
- Serve fresh and hot with dipping sauce and a side of french fries.