Fish sticks, ahoy! Crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, these healthy air fryer Fish Sticks taste way better than store-bought and are super easy to make in just 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights, this kid-friendly favorite is sure to win over the whole family!
Homemade Fish Sticks Recipe
You’ll never go back to store-bought freezer fish sticks once you try these amazing homemade fish sticks! With the help of an air fryer, it transforms ordinary white fish filets into incredible crispy fish sticks that remain perfectly tender and flaky on the inside. Plus, the air fryer does it in just minutes and without the excess calories of deep-frying making these fish sticks much healthier for you.
And of course, every good fish stick needs a perfect partner in crime – the dipping sauce! While tartar sauce is a classic favorite, you can also serve them with fry sauce or hot sauce for a tasty twist. In fact, don’t stop there! While fish sticks are a popular kid favorite, they also make a fantastic finger food at parties and game day gatherings.
Why You’ll Love These Fish Sticks
- Quick And Easy! Thanks to the magic of the air fryer these fish sticks are an absolute lifesaver on hectic weeknights. The foolproof recipe effortlessly comes together in about 30 minutes and requires just a handful of basic ingredients.
- Healthy Fried Fish! Say goodbye to soggy, oily fish sticks! The air fryer achieves the perfect crispy exterior and flaky interior without compromising on taste.
- Family Friendly! Kids and adults alike can’t resist the allure of these delicious fish sticks. The timeless appeal of this nostalgic kid-friendly dish will have the whole family coming back for seconds and become an instant family favorite.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- White Fish – You’ll need some haddock or cod filets. You can use both fresh or frozen fish, with higher-quality fish being the best choice.
- All-Purpose Flour – Used to coat the fish sticks and provide a foundation for the crispy breading.
- Seasonings – Salt and black pepper are needed to season the flour.
- Eggs – They help the breadcrumbs adhere to the fish.
- Water – A splash of water is whisked together with the eggs to thin them out a tad. This makes it easier for you to coat the fish in the egg.
- Breadcrumbs – Panko breadcrumbs are ideal for the perfect crunchy texture. However, you can also use regular breadcrumbs as well as gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Sweet Paprika – Adds a subtle hint of warmth and color to the breading.
- Garlic Powder – Just a touch gives the fish sticks a little more flavor.
How To Make Fish Sticks In The Air Fryer
With this easy-to-follow recipe, you can enjoy crispy, hand-breaded fried fish in just 30 minutes! This family favorite is the ultimate go-to meal for busy weeknights.
Preheat The Air Fryer If Needed
Before you get your fish ready for frying, you need to preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C). However, whether or not you need to preheat is dependent on your particular air fryer. Some models require preheating and others don’t, so you’ll need to check your manufacturers’ guide.
Prep The Fish Fillets
While your air fryer is preheating, cut the fish filets into 1-inch wide stripes. It’s important to cut them into equal sizes so that they cook evenly in the air fryer. Also, if you are using frozen fish, it must be completely defrosted before you move on to the next step.
Bread The Fish
To begin, you will need 3 shallow bowls to set up your breading station. In the first bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, salt, and black pepper together. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs and water until well blended. And in the third bowl, combine the breadcrumb, sweet paprika, and garlic powder.
Next, bread each strip of raw fish individually. Start by coating it in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Then dip it into the egg mixture and coat it well. Finally, roll the fish in the breadcrumbs. You may need to lightly press the crumbs into the fish to make them adhere better. Then repeat this process with the remaining fish sticks.
Air Fry The Fish
After you’ve breaded the fish, you can start cooking! To begin, lightly spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent the fish from sticking. Then carefully place the breaded fish sticks in a single layer inside the basket, giving them enough space so that they don’t touch. You may need to cook the fish sticks in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
Now, slide the basket into the air fryer and cook the fish for 10 to 12 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. When done, it should be crispy, golden brown, and cooked through.
Serve And Enjoy
Once your fish sticks are ready, remove them from the air fryer. Then serve them immediately with some lemon wedges and tartar sauce along with a side of air fryer french fries and coleslaw if you like!
Frequently Asked Questions
When prepared using an air fryer, fish sticks can be a healthy option. The air fryer requires no oil, resulting in fewer calories and a lower fat content.
Absolutely! While the recipe suggests white fish like cod and haddock, you can experiment with other types of fish that also have a firm texture and mild flavor. Halibut, tilapia, or even salmon are good choices.
Yes! If you don’t own an air fryer, baking is an excellent alternative. Just arrange the breaded fish sticks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then bake them at 400°F (200°C) for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking.
Yes! If you prefer a more traditional fried fish, just heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or skillet to 350°F (175°C) and then carefully fry the breaded fish fingers until they are golden brown and fully cooked.
- Pat the fish dry. Before breading, pat the fish dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This helps the breading to adhere properly and create a more crispy texture.
- Cook the fish in batches. You must arrange the breaded fish sticks in a single layer inside the air fryer basket to ensure proper airflow and consistent browning. If your air fryer is smaller you may need to cook the fish in batches.
- Use a digital thermometer. To ensure that the fish is cooked thoroughly for safe consumption, you can use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should reach 145°F (63°C).
- Experiment with seasonings. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings and spices. For example, you can add lemon pepper or Cajun seasoning to the breadcrumb mixture to create new flavors.
You can store leftover fish sticks in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply put the fish back in the air fryer at 350°F (177°C) for about 5 minutes to crisp back up, or pop it into the oven. However, if your fish is frozen, it will take about 15 minutes to reheat.
Discover More Seafood Recipes
- Baked Salmon With Mustard Glaze
- Baked Lemon Butter Cod
- Shrimp And Grits
- Shrimp Fajitas
- Salmon En Papillote
- Fish and Chips
Craving More? Follow Along:
- 1 pound white fish fillets such as cod or haddock
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1½ cups panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the fish fillets into 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide strips or into desired stick shapes.
- In a shallow dish, mix the flour, salt, and black pepper. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and water. In a third shallow dish, mix the breadcrumbs, paprika, and garlic powder.
- Coat each fish strip first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then dip it into the egg mixture, making sure it's fully coated. Finally, roll it in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the fish to make sure it's well-coated.
- Lightly spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent the fish sticks from sticking. Arrange the breaded fish sticks in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they do not touch. You may need to cook the fish sticks in batches.
- Cook the fish sticks in the air fryer for about 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through, turning them halfway through the cooking process to ensure even browning.
- Remove the fish sticks from the air fryer and serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce, such as tartar sauce or ketchup.
Tips & Notes:
- Breading Options: You can use panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch or traditional breadcrumbs. Gluten-free breadcrumbs are also a viable option.
- Fish Choices: White fish such as cod, haddock, or tilapia works best. Ensure it’s sustainably sourced.
- Cooking Time: The cooking time may vary slightly based on the thickness of the fish sticks, so keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking.
- Serving Suggestion: These fish sticks pair wonderfully with homemade tartar sauce or a simple lemon wedge.