Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce

4.93 stars average

Avoid soggy fishsticks! These crispy baked fish sticks with tartar sauce are made with a flavorful lemon pepper panko coating.

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time45 minutes

Baked Fish Sticks

Avoid soggy fish sticks! These crispy baked fish sticks with tartar sauce are made with a flavorful lemon pepper panko coating.

Baked Fish Sticks

My 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. You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones out of the yellow box in the freezer aisle that have the man in the yellow jacket on the ships of Gloucester. Yeah, those.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to love fish sticks as a kid. However, the great thing about making your own is that you can control the quality of ingredients. For example, fresh lemon zest and Japanese panko create a perfect, crispy crust. Even better, they don’t require 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 and tartar sauce

When it comes to making dinner for my family, I’m all about easy recipes with real ingredients. That’s why I love these Lemon Butter Baked White Fish and Easy Pan Seared Salmon recipes. Similarly, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes with just a few healthy ingredients!

Baked fish stick ingredients
Fish for Fish Sticks 2
fish stick breading process
panko for baked fish sticks
Fish Sticks on Baking Sheet
oven baked fish sticks

Of course, who doesn’t love tartar sauce with their fish? However, what I don’t love is all the added ingredients found in the store-bought variety. So, I created my own healthy recipe! I promise once you try it you’ll never look back.

yogurt for baked fish stick tartar sauce
pickles for baked fish sticks tartar sauce
homemade tartar sauce for baked fish sticks

Tips to Create Quick, Healthy Dinners:

These homemade fish sticks literally took me 10 additional minutes compared to the frozen kind. 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. Therefore, I follow the tips below to reduce the time I spend in the kitchen.

  • Keep staples such as panko crumbs, flour, etc. on hand.
  • Use fresh flavors and spices such as lemon and garlic to make foods delicious without adding butters and oil.
  • Separate meats into an appropriate portion size ahead of time.
  • Utilize slow cookers and sheet pan meals.
fish sticks dipped in tartar sauce

Frequently Asked Questions:

What kind of fish works best?

Due to its thickness and rate of cooking time, white fish such as walleye, tilapia, cod, etc. work best with this recipe.

Can panko bread crumbs be substituted?

Replacements may result in a slightly different texture, but panko breadcrumbs can be replaced with standard breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, crushed tortilla chips, crushed potato chips, etc.

Can the tartar sauce be made dairy-free?

Non-dairy alternatives can be substituted for the Greek yogurt in the tartar sauce.

liz with baked fish sticks
Baked Fish Sticks

Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce

4.93 stars average
Avoid soggy fishsticks! These crispy baked fish sticks with tartar sauce are made with a flavorful lemon pepper panko coating.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 25 minutes
TOTAL: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 ½ 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
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 zest of lemon

Tartar Sauce

  • ½ cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Set out two shallow glass dishes (pie plates work well). In the first dish, whisk one egg until light and fluffy.
  • Combine panko, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and lemon zest in the second dish.
  • Sprinkle both sides of the fish strips with the remaining 1/2 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.
  • Spray fish sticks with cooking spray then bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Make the tartar sauce while fish is baking by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerating until you’re ready to serve.


Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 19.3gProtein: 36.5gFat: 3.7gSaturated Fat: 0.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.9gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 979mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 1.9g

50 thoughts on “Crispy Baked Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce”

  1. 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.

  2. Natalie Lindsay

    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)

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

    1. 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. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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 :)

      1. Linda Johnston

        Liz – my husband grew up in Topsfield MA and our two boys were born there. Where is your husband from? The world gets smaller every day . . .

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