This air fryer fish sticks recipe is absolutely the healthiest way to fry fish fingers. They are just crispy enough but not greasy, which is due to using less oil compared to the traditional deep-fried method. If you are watching the amount of fat and calories you eat, this air fryer fish sticks recipe is for you.
Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Today, I want to show you how to cook fish sticks in an air fryer. They are freezable and kid-approved.
These breaded fish sticks are so delicious. They have a nice crispy golden crust and tender flesh inside.
These crispy fish sticks use a traditional 3-step breading system. The fish is lightly seasoned, then coated with flour and egg, and lastly breaded in a panko breadcrumb mixture.
This recipe doesn't require a ton of oil to produce a crunchy texture on the fish sticks. This is due to the constant flow of intensely hot air that circulates around the food during air frying. As a result, the circulation of hot air makes the food crispy instead of the oil.
Fish sticks (or fish fingers) were invented in the United Kingdom but are a popular seafood dish that you can find in almost any part of the world.
Fish sticks are considered a processed food because they are breaded and fried.
The traditional deep-fried fish fingers are high in calories, fat, and sodium.
For most people, fish sticks are a special treat that can only be enjoyed occasionally. Eating too much deep-fried food can contribute to weight gain.
You can serve these fish sticks as a snack or a main meal and they will always satisfy your hunger, and without you feeling guilty.
The Ingredients and Variations
White Fish is a mild-flavored fish and firm. It's the best type of fish to use for fish sticks. You can use fresh or frozen cod, pollock, hake, haddock, halibut, or bass.
Panko Breadcrumb. I think it's the best type of breadcrumb to use on any fried recipes. This Japanese breadcrumb has a light and airy texture that helps it crisp as it cooks.
You can use the regular breadcrumb to replace panko if that's the only thing available in your pantry.
Seasoning. This fish recipe uses a light seasoning that is made of garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika.
You can convert this recipe to gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and panko breadcrumbs.
How to Make Homemade Fish Sticks from Scratch
Step 1. Prepare the Fish
- Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch strips.
- Season the fish with a small amount of sea salt and black pepper.
Step 2. Prepare the Breading
Put the panko breadcrumb in a large ziplock. Use a rolling pin to finely ground the breadcrumb. Set aside.
Set up three dishes and put them in the right order.
- In a first bowl, add all-purpose flour.
- In a second bowl, lightly beat an egg and add milk. Stir to combine.
Air Fryer Fish Sticks from Scratch
- In a third bowl, mix the breadcrumb with paprika, salt, black pepper, paprika, and oil.
Step 3. Bread the Fish
- Coat the fish strips in the flour; shake off excess flour.
- Dip the fish sticks in the egg and milk mixture, allow the excess to drip off.
- Toss the fish fingers into the breadcrumb mixture; gently pressing to coat.
Next, you can cook the fish sticks in an air fryer or oven.
How to Cook Fish Sticks in an Air Fryer
Step 1. Preheat the Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 400°F for a few minutes or follow the instructions on the product manual.
Preheating is an important step to ensure that the food will start cooking immediately and at the right temperature.
Step 2. Lightly Grease the Air Fryer Basket
Lightly grease the air fryer basket with oil. Place the fish sticks on a basket in a single layer.
Step 3. Air Fry
Cook the fish sticks for about 6-9 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish and the quality of your air fryer, flipping halfway through.
Always check for doneness. Continue cooking until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, or until the safe internal temperature for cooked fish is 145°F.
FAQ and Cooking Tips
You can use cook these fish sticks in the oven. Simply follow the same preparation and breading steps then cook them in the oven at 400°F for about 10-12 minutes.
Yes, you can. These fish fingers are freezer-friendly. Here's how to freeze the breaded fish sticks.
1. Let the fish sticks cool down at room temperature but no longer than two hours.
2. Place the fish sticks on a baking sheet in a single layer. Cover with a plastic wrap and freeze for about 2-4 hours or until firm.
3. Transfer the fish sticks into an airtight container or ziplock. Properly stored, they can last up to 18 months.
You can reheat the frozen fish sticks in a preheated air fryer at 390°F for about 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
The best egg substitutes in fish sticks or fried food are water, milk, buttermilk, or melted butter.
Check Out More Tasty Air Fryer Recipes:
- How to cook fish sticks in an air fryer
- Air fryer tilapia
- How to cook perfectly crispy bacon in an air fryer
- How to air fry frozen fries
- Air fryer brussels sprouts
- Air fryer whole chicken
- How to cook bacon asparagus in an air fryer
- Air fried okra
- How to cook crispy zucchini fries in an air fryer
- Air fryer chicken thighs
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! I'd appreciate it.
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Air Fryer Fish Sticks
- ½ pound white fish , (such as cod, pollock, haddock, or hake)
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, (lightly beaten)
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 cup panko breadcrumb
- ½ teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoon vegetable or avocado oil
- Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch strips. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
- Put the panko breadcrumb in a large ziplock. Use a rolling pin to finely ground the breadcrumb. Set aside.
- In a first bowl, add all-purpose flour.In a second bowl, lightly beat the egg and add milk. Whisk to combine.In a third bowl, mix all of the breadcrumb mixture ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Coat the fish sticks in the flour; shake off excess flour. Dip the fish sticks in the egg and milk mixture, allow the excess to drip off. Toss the fish into the breadcrumb mixture; gently pressing to coat.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Lightly grease the air fryer basket with oil.
- Place the fish sticks on a basket in a single layer. Cook for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Check for doneness, the internal temperature should register at 145°F.
My air fryer is my new favorite kitchen tool!
I love the way these come out. Nice and homemade but no messy oil. Perfect family friendly treat.
Love how these fish sticks are made from scratch! They look super delicious!
Love how easy these are to make! So much better than the ones from a box!
Thanks, Mary! I am glad that you liked it.
I need to get myself an air fryer! These look perfectly crispy!