Air Fryer Fish Sticks
Air Fryer Fish Sticks

Skip the frozen fish fingers and make these fresh, crispy fish fingers in your air fryer! Don’t forget the dip.

In this recipe

  • The air fryer is perfect for fish fingers
  • Which type of fish is best for fish fingers?
  • How to get a crispy crispy crust
  • Tips for air frying fish
  • What to serve with fish fingers

Many air fryer fish finger recipes are basically frozen fish fingers popped in the air fryer. Of course it works, but I think we can do better.

This version starts with fresh cod that’s lightly breaded with panko breadcrumbs and air fried until browned and so crispy. Fish stays juicy and tender, and air frying is quick and easier to clean than traditional deep frying.

The air fryer is perfect for fish fingers

The air fryer works really well with similarly sized fish fingers that you can easily spread out in the air fryer basket. Fish cooks relatively quickly, which helps since you’ll likely need to air fry it in a few batches.

While I sometimes use a moist batter for fish fingers – like classic British fish and chips – a breaded crust works better in the air fryer so the fish fingers don’t stick to the basket. I don’t see myself being able to use a traditional fish finger frying setup anytime soon!

Which type of fish is best for fish fingers?

You have a few options here. Any firm white fish works well in fish stick form. I personally find cod the best and it’s definitely used for most fried fish or fish sticks. That said, something like tilapia, grouper, halibut, or snapper would work well.

For me, cod tends to be the most economical, and after frying it becomes buttery soft and tender while still being firm enough not to fall apart easily.

If you’re starting with frozen cod, which is fine, make sure you thaw it completely and pat the fish dry with paper towels before breading the fish.

How to get a crispy crispy crust

The two tips for getting the crispiest air fried fish fingers are:

  1. Use panko breadcrumbs. They are already crunchy and delicious and will get even crunchier when fried. I recommend dipping the fish fingers in cornstarch before the egg and breadcrumbs to help the breadcrumbs stick to the fish. You could also use flour for this, but I like cornstarch for fish.
  2. Before you air fry the fish fingers, Spray them with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray. This will add just a little bit of fat to the outside and help sear the crust of the fish fingers.

Tips for air frying fish

The biggest problem people have with air frying is forgetting to spray the basket to prevent sticking, or overfilling the basket by stacking too much food in it. Work in batches, spreading the fish fingers evenly. This is one of the easiest and most successful air fryer recipes you will try. It’s a winner!

What to serve with fish fingers

It goes without saying that you should try these Crispy Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce recipe below! – and fresh lemons, but there are other ways to serve! I like to serve it with a brightly colored side dish like a mangetout salad or a good coleslaw. If you want something creamy, try a baked mac and cheese that pairs well with any fried main course!

More Amazing Air Fryer Recipes

  • Air fryer chicken tenders
  • Spring rolls from the air fryer
  • Air Fryer Onion Rings
  • Fried chicken from the air fryer
  • Air fryer chicken nuggets

Air Fryer Fish Fingers

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
20 minutes

total time
30 minutes

up to 6 servings

Although not required, you can preheat your air fryer according to the instruction manual.


  • Nonstick Olive Oil Spray

  • 1 lb codcut into 3 inch sticks

  • 1/2 Cup cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher saltplus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 Big Eggs

  • 1 Cup Panko bread crumbs

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

For the pickle and caper tartar sauce

  • 1/2 Cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 Cup chopped cucumbers

  • 2 tablespoon capers

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  • Chopped parsley or dill, optional


  1. Preparing the air fryer:

    Spray your air fryer with nonstick spray. Some people prefer to preheat their air fryer, but I think that’s optional for this recipe.

  2. Prepare the breading station:

    Combine the cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a large shallow bowl. In a separate flat plate, whisk the eggs. Place the panko and peppers in a third flat plate.

  3. Bread the fish:

    Put the fish sticks in the cornstarch and toss well. Then add to the egg mixture to brush and finally to the panko breadcrumbs, making sure all sides are coated.

  4. Air fry fish fingers:

    In batches, add fish fingers to your air fryer basket in an even layer. Spray them lightly with cooking spray.

    Air fry at 375˚F for 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip the fish fingers and air fry an additional 4 to 6 minutes until golden brown. Season to taste with salt.

    Repeat with the second batch of fish fingers.

    Simple tip!

    You can store cooked fish fingers in a 250°F oven to keep them warm and crispy while you prepare the second batch.

  5. Make the Pickle Capers Tartar Sauce:

    In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, chopped cucumber, capers, and kosher salt. Mix until well blended.

  6. Surcharge:

    Garnish with parsley or dill, if you like. Serve the fish fingers with remoulade and lemon wedges.

    Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. To reheat, air fry at 350°F for 3 minutes.

    Did you like the recipe? Let’s star down!

nutritional information (per serving)
343 calories
17g Fat
24g carbohydrates
22g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!