Fish sticks as you’ve never had them! These are easy to make and taste fantastic. Serve them with homemade ketchup and fries.–Bryn Williams

Are fish sticks really just for kids?

Wait just a second before you come down on us for feeding kids fish sticks. We’re proponents of feeding kids real foods, not just dummied-down versions of real foods. But when you think about it, how much more real does it get than fish, bread crumbs, and lemon?

A pile of fancy fish sticks on a piece of parchment with a dollop of ketchup beside them.

Fancy Fish Sticks

5 / 2 votes
These fancy fish sticks are made with real, recognizable ingredients, including tender white fish, flour, eggs, and panko. Skip the store-bought frozen version and make these in the same amount of time.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories619 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 fillets lemon sole or other firm yet delicately flavored white fish such as flounder or cod, skinless and halved lengthwise or cut into strips
  • 2 cups panko or dried bread crumbs
  • Mild vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Ketchup or tartar sauce, (optional), for serving


  • In a large shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In another shallow bowl, combine the beaten eggs with salt and pepper. Working with 1 piece of fish at a time, gently coat the fish first with the flour, turning to coat both sides and shaking off any excess, then dip it into the beaten egg, coating it well. Finish the fish stick by rolling it in the bread crumbs. Repeat.
  • Heat about 1/4 inch oil in a large, deep-sided skillet until hot but not smoking. Fry the fish strips in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Transfer the fish sticks to paper towels to drain.
  • Season the fish sticks with salt and serve with the lemon wedges and, if desired, ketchup or tartar sauce.
The Perfect Ingredient

Adapted From

The Perfect Ingredient

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 619 kcalCarbohydrates: 89 gProtein: 40 gFat: 10 gSaturated Fat: 3 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 216 mgSodium: 953 mgPotassium: 521 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 263 IUVitamin C: 10 mgCalcium: 170 mgIron: 7 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Bryn Williams. Photo © 2012 Jonathan Gregson. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Never purchase fish sticks again! With this recipe, making fish sticks is very simple, and you’ve the added benefit of knowing exactly what kind of fish is going into them. Topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, this makes for a great anytime meal.

Rather than deep-frying them, I panfried them in about 1/4 inch of oil, and I suspect that they could be baked as well.

In the future, I’d consider adding some seasonings to the panko crumbs (or breadcrumbs, but I prefer the texture of panko)—maybe some fresh herbs or some spices, depending on the fish.

Fish is considered the “F” word in this house. Over the years I’ve prepared various types using various preparations and all for naught. My picky duo was never impressed and would eat nary a nibble. Well, times they are a-changin’. My white fish of choice was tilapia since it was on sale, and I made my own bread crumbs using the remains of a stale baguette. I fried the fish in olive oil since I’m trying to count calories and didn’t think it’d adversely affect the outcome of the fish, which it didn’t. The fancy fish sticks weren’t overly fancy, but they were golden and crisp on the outside, tender and flaky on the inside.

I made a dipping sauce using a reduced-cal mayo, a smashed garlic clove, some lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and served the fish with a side of steamed white rice and a spinach salad. It was a hit! Not sure I’ll bust out the fancy china for these sticks, but I’m thrilled to have a fish recipe that’s a family fave!

We often make fish this way. It’s a surefire method for making fried fish that’s delicious and appealing to all ages. I used cod, which is a bit thicker than flounder or sole. The fish was light, moist, and creamy with a nice crisp crust.

A skillet with about 1/4 inch of oil worked perfectly for panfrying. We served it with the Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Garlic, a perfect accompaniment.

These were really quite tasty! I used larger tilapia fillets and cut each fillet in half twice to make them more “fish stick” size. I seasoned the flour and eggs well so that it’d season the fish nicely. I used bread crumbs from some French bread I had from a couple days before. I opted to cook the fish in a frying pan with a little oil. They came out really nicely browned. They really do look like the old-fashioned fish sticks—yes a little more “fancy,” but I did find myself picking them up and eating them with my hands, just like old times!

I used white fish for this recipe and chose to panfry instead of deep-fry. I loved the crispness of this and how quickly they were done. The lemon juice at the end gave them a brightness.

I liked the idea of making fish sticks at home with simple ingredients. This recipe and technique worked really well. I don’t have a deep-fryer so I used the panfry method and made sure to carefully turn the fish a few times while it cooked. The outside crisped up perfectly and the sole was moist, tender, and flaky on the inside. I’ll definitely make these again.

I served the fish with homemade tartar sauce and wedges of lemon. The only change I’d make would be to cut back on the amount of flour and bread crumbs the recipe calls for. I ended up tossing out at least 2/3 of each and that seems too wasteful to me.

A very easy and simple recipe. You get extremely crisp, moist fish sticks in a matter of minutes. I’m not a big fan of fried food, but I actually loved them. I used gluten-free flour and panko. What I did notice though is that I had to beat another egg last-minute and use a bit more panko; on the other hand I didn’t have to use as much flour.

Simple and delicious. The panko bread crumbs really made this dish for me.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Made this last night to use up some frozen haddock fillets—my first time ever frying fish. My 5 year old turned up her nose at it when she saw me making it. By the time I sat down to enjoy this beautiful, crunchy, golden, delicious fish, she crawled into my lap and proceeded to eat most of my fish. Luckily I made plenty. =) Loved how amazingly easy this was—simple ingredients that I had in my pantry, I will never by fish sticks at the store again!

    1. Nicholle! How lovely to see your comment here. I can’t imagine a better compliment, and I’m glad beyond words that this recipe coaxed your daughter into having fish. I so appreciate you taking the time to drop us a note. Can’t wait to hear about the next recipe you try.