Easy Air Fryer Fish Sticks w/ Lemon Tartar Sauce
Delicious and crispy Air Fryer Fish Sticks are a healthy spin on a childhood favorite! Serve it with a creamy homemade lemon tartar sauce.
- About My Quick and Easy Fish Sticks
- Why You’ll Love Making Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer
- What to Serve With Fish Sticks
- How Long Do You Cook Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer
- How to Cook Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer
- How to Make Homemade Lemon Tartar Sauce
- Equipment You’ll Need:
- Swaps + Alterations
- Recipe + Storage Tips
- Have You Made This Recipe?
- Other Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Enjoy
Table of Contents
About My Quick and Easy Fish Sticks
This unfussy but delicious recipe calls for just under 10 ingredients. So if this is your first attempt at homemade fish sticks, don’t fret; they’re as simple as can be!
Before the air fryer, there were three other ways to do fish stick at home: frozen, homemade and deep fried, or homemade and baked. I can honestly say that these air fryer fish sticks trump them all.
Why You’ll Love Making Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer
- Right off the bat, you’re consuming less sodium than frozen fish sticks.
- You get a nice cut of fresh, meaty fish of your choosing rather than a mysterious combination of pulverized white fish.
- Deep-frying is tedious, messy, and leaves an aroma to linger in your kitchen for quite some time. The air fryer doesn’t!
- Cooking fish sticks in the air fryer will yield the same golden crisp as a deep fry. You won’t get the same result with baked fish sticks.
What to Serve With Fish Sticks
- French fries are a classic choice! You could also serve them with roasted mini potatoes to change things up.
- During the warmer months, a cool pasta salad is a great side. For chillier months, opt for some cozy mac and cheese!
- To load up on veggies, consider this crunchy cucumber and tomato salad. Oven-roasted broccoli is also a hit.
How Long Do You 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.
For the fish sticks:
- Skinless white fish fillets, like cod or halibut
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- All purpose flour
- Panko bread crumbs
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
For the lemon tartar sauce:
- Dill pickles
- Pickle brine
- Fresh dill
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon juice
How to Cook Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer
- 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
- 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!
Swaps + Alterations
- 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.
- You can use plain Italian breadcrumbs instead of panko, but the crunch and texture will be a little different. Still delicious, though!
Recipe + Storage Tips
- Use skinless fillets for your fish sticks.
- 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.
- These fish sticks will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. I highly suggest popping them in the air fryer for a few minutes to reheat them; the microwave could make them soggy.
- 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’ll Enjoy
- 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
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
- 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.