Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Homemade Tartar Sauce

These crispy baked fish sticks are made with a flavorful lemon pepper panko coating. Your whole family will love this healthy, homemade version of a childhood classic.Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Pepper Panko - The Lemon BowlMy husband grew up on the North Shore of Boston, just 30 minutes from Gloucester. Needless to say, he grew up eating his fair share of fish sticks out of the yellow box in the freezer aisle. You know the ones – with the man in the yellow jacket on the ships of Gloucester.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to love fish sticks as a kid but the great thing about making your own is that you can control the quality of ingredients. Fresh lemon zest and Japanese panko create a perfect, crispy crust without any butter or oil. Our 2 year old normally isn’t a huge fan of fish but he and my husband were fighting over the last bites. Mission: Accomplished.

Baked Fish Sticks with Homemade Tartar Sauce - The Lemon BowlOne final note: homemade fish sticks literally took me 10 additional minutes. For me, there is nothing better than spending 10 minutes in the kitchen with my family gathered around at the end of a busy day. Yes, throwing the frozen sticks in the oven might be a few minutes faster. But once you see how much more flavor and how much less guilt comes with the homemade variety you will never look back.

No forks required.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Homemade Tartar Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These crispy baked fish sticks are made with a flavorful lemon pepper panko coating. Your whole family will love this healthy, homemade version of a childhood classic.
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • 1½ pounds white fish (i.e. walleye, cod, tilapia, etc.) - skin removed and cut into strips
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • zest of one lemon
Tartar Sauce
  • ½ cup plain yogurt - low fat
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Set out two shallow glass dishes (pie plates work well). In the first dish, whisk one egg until light and fluffy.
  3. Combine panko, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and lemon zest in the second dish.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of the fish strips with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Dip fish in egg then coat evenly with panko mixture. Place on lined baking sheet and continue until all fish is coated in panko.
  5. Spray fish sticks with cooking spray then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Make the tartar sauce while fish is baking by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerating until you're ready to serve.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 ounces Calories: 261 Fat: 3.7 g Saturated fat: .8 g Unsaturated fat: 2.9 g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 19.3 g Sugar: 1.9 g Sodium: 979 mg Fiber: .6 g Protein: 36.5 g Cholesterol: 200 mg


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  1. says

    Liz, those look fantastic! I love crispy foods, and need to include more fish in my diet, so these would be perfect! Yum! They look amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe! I know I can trust yours to be wonderful :)

  2. says

    I’ll be super honest… these are a HUGE favorite for my son. But he doesn’t get them often because I buy the frozen ones…. even though I’ve now found them at Whole Foods, it’s not a great option. Can’t wait to make these for him!

  3. Shauna says

    I’m from Gloucester! These look “wicked good” as we “north of Boston-ers” would say. I’ve been transplanted to Wisconsin where most of the fish eaten is at a Friday nigh fish-fry. I’m definitely going to have to try these for a healthier taste of home. Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    Definitely worth the extra 10 minutes, I love freshly breaded sticks! Soooooo…I’ve only made chicken sticks/tenders…of the white fish you listed in your recipe, what do you find to be the easiest to work with? What’s your #1 choice?

    • says

      Truthfully – any type of flaky white fish works well! I would rather you get the most fresh available than worry about a specific type. Cod works really well but even tilapia would be fine. Whatever is the freshest. :)

  5. says

    OK, a) I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve never been to Massachusetts and I’m still itching to get there and drown myself in fresh fish and knit sweaters and b) this recipe DID actually show up in my kid’s lunch box today! Thanks so much!

  6. Natalie Lindsay says

    Liz- We made these last night and the kids LOVED them!! My husband and I did also! Thanks for posting this idea… Natalie (Topsfield, MA)

  7. says

    Gosh what a tasty redo of the ol’ fish sticks from elementary school lunches. Baked crispy takes the guilt out of it. Woo Hoo! I live in a town on salt water in Washington State. So lots of fish to choose from. I would probably grab some Alaskan cod.


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