Crispy Panko Fish Sticks
Crispy Panko Fish Sticks

Hello, Homemade Panko Fish Sticks! Say goodbye to soggy fish fingers from the freezer! These fish fingers are ready to eat in about 30 minutes and will be a hit with the whole family.

Fish fingers were one of the top three most popular dinners at my house growing up. Not that they were in the top 3 because they were popular or delicious, just that they were a constant.

I’m sure you know the fish fingers I’m talking about: the kind that come straight out of the freezer and are made with some kind of weird mush?

Kid-friendly homemade fish fingers

However, I grew up eating fish fingers, and let’s face it – they’re a great way to introduce kids to eating fish, as most are made from very mild varieties.

My kids know and love the mass-produced frozen version, but I hadn’t made fresh fish fingers for my two-year-old before trying this recipe. I was pretty sure she wouldn’t eat them because of her diet of blueberries, milk, and repetitive reading Brown Bear Brown Bear.

But no need to rummage through the freezer for fish fingers!

You can make these delicious Panko Fish Sticks from real fish fillets in about 30 minutes. I can actually do it faster, but I’m a kitchen ninja. Keep practicing and you can get your kitchen ninja prize too!

The best fish for fish sticks

If you ever look at a variety of fish that you’ve never cooked before, it’s a good bet that breading and frying can make them delicious. Actually, this applies to every food, but definitely to fish.

You can use one gigantic Selection of fish for these fish sticks. However, note a few things:

  • For this recipe, initially stay away from fish with strong flavors, such as salmon, mackerel or tuna. There’s nothing wrong with frying these fish in fish sticks, but personally I just prefer a milder fish. I suspect my kids would too.
  • Second, and more importantly, think about texture. You want a fish that is firm and won’t fall apart when cut and fried.

Because of this, cod is the standard for fish fingers and what I use. If you use something like tilapia, it has a mild flavor but is a fairly delicate fish and can break apart more easily.

If in doubt and can’t find cod, ask your butcher or fishmonger for help to find a white fish that cooks well.

Master the Shallow Fry

The trick to making this recipe in 30 minutes is to master the flat roasts. Fish cooks quickly and there’s no reason to heat a large pot of oil for frying unless you’re making a boatload of it.

To make the flat roasts, I add a couple cups of oil to a wide skillet over medium-high heat. This gets hot fast!

Test the oil by adding some breadcrumbs. They should sizzle and swim immediately. Then fry the fish for a total of about 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through.

Mastering the shallow fry is actually something I recommend to all home cooks because it limits oil usage, heats up faster, and makes cleanup easier.

Security note: When cooking around children, be sure to keep them away from the splash zone around the stove.

The DAD ADDED: Chili Malt Vinegar!

If you’ve ever eaten classic fish and chips at a reputable chip spot, you know you’re eating them with malt vinegar. I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me in my life to try and immediately embrace the concept of vinegar with fried foods.

It’s really wonderful though, and that chilli oil addition adds a spicy element that makes it even better. Personally, I like Sun Luck brand Chili Oil, which is fairly readily available in most grocery stores in the Asian food section.

The testimonial card

My daughter can be such a terrible eater that when she eats I am really shocked. Like these fish fingers! She absolutely loved them, and by that I mean she ate half of them.

After all, I mean, what’s not to love? They are crispy sticks with a mild flavor that you can dip in sauce. They might just be the perfect kids meal!

My four year old shredded these too and has requested them a few times now. High fives all around, right?!

More kid-friendly recipes

  • Fish and chips from the sheet pan
  • Cheesy Baked Hot Dogs
  • Pepperoni Pizza Penna Pasta
  • Broccoli Cheddar Quesadillas
  • Herbed Tomato Chicken Tenders with tomato sauce

Crispy Panko Fish Sticks

preparation time
15 minutes

cooking time
15 minutes

total time
30 minutes

4 servings

These fish fingers are best eaten right away if possible, or keep them in the refrigerator for no longer than a day or so and reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

You can of course freeze these fish fingers after you’ve made them, but know that they won’t have the same crispy texture. Bake them in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes.


For the quick remoulade:

  • 1 Cup mayonnaise

  • 1 cup crushed cucumbersabout 2 small cucumbers diced

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • prize Salt

  • prize ground black pepper

DAD ADD: Chili Malt Vinegar

  • 1/4 Cup malt vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Chili oil

For the fish fingers:

  • 1 lb firm, skinless white fish such as codPollock or haddock (ask the fishmonger to skin the fish if needed)

  • 1 Cup all purpose flour

  • 3 big eggs, whisked

  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 cups vegetable oil, to fry


  1. Prepare remoulade:

    Mix together the mayonnaise, pickles and lemon juice. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, taste and season to taste.

    I like my remoulade very chunky. Use fewer pickles if you’d like, or substitute Greek yogurt for up to half the mayonnaise if you’re looking to reduce the calories in the dip. This dip will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least a week.

  2. Make the Chili Malt Vinegar:

    Whisk together the malt vinegar and chili oil in a small bowl. You can use the mixture as a dip for fish fingers or French fries, or spread it lightly on freshly fried fish fingers.

  3. Cut and season fish:

    To prepare the fish, first make sure the fish has no bones. I usually just run my hands over the fillet and you’ll be able to feel any bones that might be there. If you find any, you can pluck them out with clean tweezers.

    Cut the fish into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Season the fish strips well with salt and pepper.

  4. Coat the fish:

    Place flour, beaten eggs, and panko crumbs in three separate bowls. Put a baking sheet nearby.

    First, toss the fish with all-purpose flour for coating. Shake off excess flour. Then put the fish in the eggs. Coat well. Finally, move on to panko breadcrumbs and press the breadcrumbs properly onto the fish so they have a good crust.

    Transfer the coated fingers to the baking sheet. Let the fish fingers rest while you heat the oil.

  5. Heat the oil:

    Heat enough oil in a skillet over medium-high heat to fill the pan about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. (I use about 2 cups of oil in my large skillet.) The oil doesn’t need to completely coat the fish fingers.

    The oil is ready when you can add a few breadcrumbs and they will immediately sizzle and float to the top.

  6. Fry fish sticks:

    When the oil is hot, add the fish fingers to the pan in a single layer without overfilling the pan. You’ll probably have to cook in two batches.

    Fry for 3 minutes, after which the fish fingers should be nicely browned on the underside and can be turned. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes on the second side. Then remove and let cool on some paper towels while you cook the second batch.

  7. Surcharge:

    Serve fish fingers warm with tartar sauce and chili malt vinegar, if using. If you’re making the fish fingers ahead of time, heat them in a 350°F oven for a few minutes until heated through.

nutritional information (per serving)
618 calories
25g Fat
63g carbohydrates
32g 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!