Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Delicious Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks are a healthy spin on a childhood favorite! Serve it with a creamy homemade lemon tartar sauce.
Air Fryer Fish Sticks: Crunchy, Tender, and Oh-So-Delicious.
Who doesn’t love fish sticks? We can’t pass on this nostalgic childhood treat in our house. And what’s even better are homemade fish sticks, because you can skip out on that whole processed meat vibe and get yourself some flaky meaty fish instead. If you’ve ever enjoyed homemade baked fish sticks, then you’ve got to try them in the air fryer. Not only do air fryer fish sticks count as a healthier choice, but the crisp on them is so nice; it’s like they took a dip in the deep fryer. Serve them with homemade lemon tartar sauce and a few lemon wedges for a refreshing spritz. And fries! Definitely fries. Preferably done in the air fryer as well.
How Long to Cook Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer.
Timing will depend on the thickness of your fish sticks. In this recipe, I’ve cut my fish fillets into 1/2-inch strips and cook them in the air fryer for 6 minutes at a temperature of 375º F, flipping them halfway through. If you cut your fish into thicker strips, you’ll want to increase the time a little bit. It’ll take some playing around to find the sweet spot, but with a meat thermometer on hand, you’ll figure it out in no time. You want the fish sticks to have an internal temperature of 145º F.
The Ingredients Are Simple.
Easy-to-find white fish fillets and a few pantry staples is all it takes to prepare these glorious fish sticks. I’ve used cod here, but you could use halibut or pollock as well. And if you’re a salmon lover, you can totally make salmon fish sticks if you’re into it. Just be sure your fillets are skinless and boneless.
For the fish:
- Skinless white fish fillets, like cod or halibut
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- All purpose flour
- Panko bread crumbs
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
Lemon tartar sauce:
- Dill pickles
- Pickle brine
- Fresh dill
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon juice
How to Cook Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer.
Air fryer fish sticks are super easy to make. You’ll dredge them in flour, egg wash, and seasoned panko bread crumbs, and air fry them to a golden crisp. Here’s the breakdown:
- Preheat the air fryer to 375º F. While the air fryer heats up, get your fish ready. Gently pat the fillets with paper towels to get rid of excess moisture and season them with some salt and pepper.
- Slice the fish fillets into strips that are about 1/2-inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long.
- Set up your dredging station by placing flour, egg wash, and panko bread crumbs into shallow bowls or pie plates. Mix the seasoning into the panko bread crumbs.
- Open the air fryer, spray the bottom with some olive oil or non-stick spray. Dredge your fish sticks one by one into the flour, egg, and panko, and place them into the air fryer basket. Don’t overcrowd them—you’ll likely have to do this in batches.
- Close the air fryer and cook the fish sticks for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, open the air fryer and carefully flip the fish sticks over. Cook them for another 3 minutes, then open the air fryer and transfer the fish sticks to a plate. Repeat with the other batches until you’re done, and serve the fish sticks with tartar sauce–preferably my homemade lemon tartar sauce! (It’s so so good.) You could also serve it with ketchup if that’s more your jam.
How to Make Homemade Lemon Tartar Sauce.
I love this tartar sauce. Not only is it pickle-y (and we LOVE pickles), but it’s got a bright citrus-y bite to it. Here’s how to make it:
- Place all of the ingredients into a small mixing bowl.
- Whisk everything together with a fork until well combined. Give it a taste and adjust if necessary. Pop it in the fridge until ready for use—I like to make this first and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes before serving.
Equipment You’ll Need:
- Air Fryer
- Sharp knife
- Cutting Board
- Mixing Bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Olive oil spray bottle or non-stick spray
- Juice reamer
- And if you like that dipping sauce cup for the tartar sauce, find it here!
Recipe Tips + Tricks.
- The best types of fish to use for air fryer fish sticks are meaty white fillets, like cod, halibut, or pollock. You could use salmon if you prefer, though you’ll of course have a different flavor.
- Make the tartar sauce a few hours in advance and refrigerate it. This will let the flavors marry and the mixture thicken up a bit more.
- If you want to make a batch of air fryer french fries to go with your fish sticks (and I highly recommend it), make the French fries first, then set them aside and cover them while the fish cooks. The fries will stay warm and crispy, whereas the fish won’t.
- You can use plain Italian breadcrumbs instead of panko, but the crunch and texture will be a little different. Still delicious, though!
- Use skinless fillets for your fish sticks.
- These are kid friendly, but to make them even more kid friendly, you can cut them into bite-size pieces.
- To freeze, store in a freezer-friendly air-tight container for up to 3 months.
Have You Made This Recipe?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a STAR rating & commenting below with feedback!
You can also show off your creations on Instagram by tagging @killing__thyme
Other Air Fryer Recipes You Need to Try:
- Thai Sweet Chili Air Fryer Salmon Bites
- Air Fryer Broccoli
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Salmon Caesar Salad
- Best Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Easy Air Fryer Pizza
Get the Recipe:
Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks + Lemon Tartar Sauce
- 1.5 lb cod fillets, Or another meaty white fish, liked halibut or pollock
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 cup All purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprike
- Zest of a lemon
Lemon Tartar Sauce.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
- 1 TBSP dill pickle brine from the jar
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Air fryer fish sticks.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375º F.
- With paper towels, gently pat the fillets to get rid of any excess moisture; season them with some salt and pepper.
- Cut the fish into strips that measure about 1/2-inch wide and 3 to 4 inches long.
- Set up a dredging station by placing flour, egg wash, and panko bread crumbs into shallow bowls or pie plates and lining them up in an assembly line. Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and about 1/4 tsp of salt into the panko bread crumbs.
- When ready, open the air fryer tray and spray the bottom with a bit of olive oil or non-stick spray. Then, dredge your fish sticks, one by one, into the flour, egg, and panko. Place them into the air fryer basket; be sure not to overcrowd them. You will likely have to cook your fish sticks in batches.
- Close the air fryer and cook the fish sticks for 3 minutes, then carefully flip the fish sticks over using tongs and cook them for another 3 minutes.
- Open the air fryer and transfer the fish sticks to a plate. Repeat with the other batches until you're done, and serve the fish sticks with tartar sauce—or ketchup if you prefer!
Lemon tartar sauce.
- Put all of the ingredients for the tartar sauce into a small mixing bowl.
- With a fork, mix everything together until well combined. Give it a taste and adjust if necessary.
- Refrigerate until ready to use. I like to make this first and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes before serving it with the fish sticks.
83 Comments on “Crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks”
This is exactly what I was looking for, fish stick in the air fryer!! It’s perfect for fish fridays and the kids will love them!
So looking forward to trying these this way!! I don’t normally like fish, except fish sticks, but am trying to be more healthy ‘ in the autumn of my life’ :) I bought pollock, so, I’m going to give this a shot this weekend.
Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!
Joni, this is awesome. Please keep me posted! :)
So good! My first time making fish sticks in general not just with the air fryer. Will absolutely make these again.
When you search for air fryer fish sticks, it’s mostly how to cook frozen fish sticks in the air fryer. I was so happy when I found this recipe, homemade, using real fish! This is exactly what I was looking for. Bonus to have a homemade tartar sauce with it. So good. Better than having them with ketchup. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!
Yes! I noticed that too, Makena. I’m really glad there’s at least a bit of an audience who will appreciate homemade :) Thank you!
These are so tasty! I’ve never thought of making fish sticks in the air fryer.
They work wonderfully!
I love fish sticks. They are always a great entertainer and I make them often. Excited about your recipe!
Excited for you to try!
This is one of my favourite comfort foods but I’ve never made it in the airfryer. Such a great idea and much less mess this way and the lemon tartar sauce is perfect.
So glad you enjoyed it!
These fish sticks turned out super crispy and were very nicely seasoned!
I’m so happy you enjoyed them!
This is one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes. I’m a big fan because I love frozen fish sticks, and I get that crunch and fish flavor but I also get REAL fish and not pressed fish.
Totally with you on that!
These fish sticks turned out so crispy!! I love fish and chips so it is nice to have a recipe that I can make at home.
Yes! Fish and chips are too good to *not* make at home.
So fun! I love that crispy coating made with the air fryer. They look amazing, especially paired with the homemade lemon tartar sauce.
The air fryer does amazing things as far as crispiness goes!
These fish sticks are so crispy and delicious! I love being able to make them in the air fryer
Very tasty crumbing on the fish. I used my Instant Pot Air Fryer and did in two batches. Turned out great. My toddler approved!
I’m glad it worked with the IP air fryer! That’s really good to know.
These were so crispy and yummy! My kids loved them. Can’t wait to make again!
It’s always a good sign when the kids enjoy them ;)
So good and flaky! I also love how crispy they turned out. Wasn’t expecting that, thought they’d be more like baked so it was a pleasant surprise! So much healthier too!
Yes! I love how flaky they are. The result of using fillets and not pressed fish.
Made these with halibut—incredible!
Halibut is delicious! So glad you loved these.
I used to love fish sticks for an after school snack. definitely giving this a try soon! thanks for sharing!
Keep me posted :)
So yummy and easy to make!
Love how easy this recipe is. It’s perfect for our family!
Oh, these bring back memories and so much healthier in the airfryer. The lemon tartar sauce is perfect.
I’m so glad, Amanda!
These were amazing and I’m so glad I made the sauce to go with them! My teenagers loved it all too!
Happy to hear this, Hattie! Homemade tartar sauce really is something else :)
I made these fish sticks for lunch today and they were incredible! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
You’re very welcome!
First time making fish sticks from scratch and they turned out amazing! Tartar sauce was absolutely delicious too – perfect balance of flavours!
This was so delicious for dinner! My family loved the crispy texture and that sauce was so good!
Delicious!!! I love how easy these are to make and now we can stop buying premade fish sticks. Thanks for sharing!
You’re so welcome!
My kids love when I make these! Never buying store-bought fish sticks again. Homemade for the win!
I’m so happy to hear this! My 3 yr old still prefers the frozen stuff. Lol. Damnit…
I usually buy the store bought fish sticks but making my own with this recipe is better! My kids will love these cause they’ll be made fresher!
They’re so much nicer and flakier!
My kiddos love fish sticks, so I can’t wait to make them this way! Any time I can use my air fryer, the better!
I’m so happy! Getting kiddos to eat fish is no easy feat :)
Served these for dinner last night and they did not disappoint! Turned out perfectly crispy and juicy; easily, a new favorite air fryer recipe!
I’m so glad! It’s always nice to have another air fryer recipe to turn to.
Such an amazing recipe! My kids couldn’t stop eating these!
Yay! That’s awesome to hear :)
Love how crispy these air fryer fish sticks are. The tartar dip is out of this world tasty!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Beth. I’ve always been a sucker for tartar sauce, haha.
This was such a hit! Thank you. Love all the ingredients.
My pleasure! Happy to hear it went well :)
This is the absolute best way to make fish sticks! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!
You’re so welcome!
The air fryer truly is my best friend! These were crunchy and perfect. And the tartar sauce! Amazing.
The air fryer is ah-mazing. I’m so glad you loved these!
these fish sticks look so crispy. Thanks for sharing. Making this soon.
Keep me posted ok? :)
These were perfect and tasted so much better than the frozen kind. Thanks!
Right? I mean no disrespect to frozen fish sticks—always loved them as a kid. But these are a game changer!
My kid adores this fish sticks. So cute and easy to make. Thank you!
You’re welcome :)
Crispy air fryer fish sticks and chips looks delicious. I would love to try it.
I hope you do!
I have used cod and pollock filets before on the air fryer and they came out crispy! And the tartar sauce tastes so delicious! A great recipe!
Thank you! Yes, this recipe works great with most white fish.
This is so easy to pull off with an air fryer, and the sauce is just the perfect condiment for the fish sticks.
Right? I know ketchup is a fish stick classic, but I just love me some tartar sauce :P
Something perfect for a party. I love that this is fish too and the combination with Tartar sauce is yummy.
Glad you think so!
My kids love fish sticks and these were 1000 times better than store bought–I was skeptical whether or not they’d like them but they were a hit! We’ll be making these again!
I’m so glad! I’m skeptical literally every time I put anything in front of my child. Picky damn 3-year-old he is. Haha. He didn’t touch these but I’m glad your kiddos liked them ;)