Baked Fish Sticks


Say goodbye to frozen fish stick mediocrity! These homemade baked fish sticks are a crispy, golden brown game-changer that’ll have you wondering why you ever settled for anything less. Pair them with a zesty lemon caper sauce for the ultimate healthy, kid-friendly dinner.

The key here is using fresh cod or another firm, meaty white fish like halibut or haddock. The fish gets cut into fun stick shapes that become the perfect vehicle for an outrageously crunchy panko and Old Bay seasoned crust. Unlike deep frying, these get their deliciously crisp texture from a quick bake in the oven or air fryer.

While a million times better than their frozen counterparts, these baked fish sticks are still just as easy and crowd-pleasing. The fish gets a quick dip into an egg and mustard mixture before getting happily coated in those seasoned panko crumbs. Then it’s just a matter of arranging them on a baking sheet and letting the oven work its magic.

About 15 minutes later, you’ll have the crispiest, crackliest baked fish sticks hot and ready for dipping into that scrumptious lemon caper sauce. It’s a tangy, creamy, herb-packed dream of a condiment made from Greek yogurt, mayo, briny capers, bright lemon, and fresh chives. So much more fun than plain tartar sauce!

While the baked fish sticks are certainly delicious enough to devour on their own, that sauce truly takes them over the top. Each bite gets that irresistible crunch from the panko followed by buttery, flaky fish and a tangy lemon caper kick. It’s such an incredible combination of flavors and textures.

These homemade baked fish sticks also couldn’t be more versatile. They make a fun, nostalgic dinner for kids but are also fancy enough to serve as an appetizer at parties. You can easily keep them gluten-free by using GF panko crumbs. Or amp up the seasoning by swapping in different spice blends or dried herbs.

I also love that you can choose to bake them in the oven or air fryer depending on your needs and preferences. The air fryer version gets you that crispy crunch in even less time. While baking them allows you to do bigger batches at once.

Really, the only difficult thing about these baked fish sticks is deciding whether to dunk them in that caper sauce, tartar sauce, ketchup or just happily eat them plain. Although I’d highly recommend having that lemon caper sauce on hand because it is just THAT good!

Whether you grew up on the frozen fish stick life or have yet to experience their miraculous powers, this homemade version is a total must-try. Simple, fresh, crispy, family-friendly and so satisfying with the lemon caper sauce! Your snack cravings and childhood favorites just got a very delicious, very grown-up makeover.

Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce


For the Lemon Caper Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp light mayo
  • 1 tbsp drained capers
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

For the Fish Sticks:

  • 1 lb cod or other firm white fish fillets, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 3 egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/8 tsp paprika, plus more for coating
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • Olive oil or cooking spray


  1. Make the lemon caper sauce by mixing together all sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Set up dredging station with the egg whites/mustard/lemon juice in one bowl and the panko crumbs, paprika, Old Bay, dried parsley, salt and pepper in another.
  3. Pat the fish strips very dry and dip first into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumb mixture until fully coated.
  4. For Baking: Place breaded fish sticks on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 12-15 minutes until browned and crispy.
  5. For Air Frying: Spritz the breaded fish with oil. Air fry at 370°F for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crispy.
  6. Serve the baked fish sticks hot with the lemon caper sauce on the side for dipping!

These baked fish sticks with their irresistibly crunchy panko crust and tangy lemon caper sauce make such a tasty, healthier spin on the classic! Kid-friendly and adult-approved.

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