These air fryer fish sticks are perfectly seasoned, tender, and crispy right out of the air fryer. You only need 10 ingredients to make them and the recipe comes together in under 30 minutes!
Frozen fish sticks are a staple of school cafeterias and last minute dinners everywhere, but when you make them from scratch, they're the type of meal you'll actually look forward to eating. And the good news is that it doesn't even take that much time or effort to make them!
While traditional fish sticks are deep-fried and most healthier versions are baked in the oven, these air fryer fish sticks are made right in your air fryer, which means they're perfectly crispy without all the fat. It also means they’re ready super fast.
Like my pesto salmon recipe, air fryer fish sticks are the type of fish recipe even picky eaters will enjoy. Between the seasoning and the crispy coating, they're almost impossible to resist!
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Avocado oil cooking spray
- Skinned cod – Cut it into 1-inch strips, then use a paper towel to pat it dry so the coating sticks.
- Old Bay seasoning
- Chili powder
- All-purpose flour
- Plain breadcrumbs – Because we’re adding lots of additional seasoning here, you don’t want to start with seasoned breadcrumbs.
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Fresh chives
What Fish Is Used for Fish Sticks?
The type of fish you use for fish sticks is up to you, but the most popular options for fish sticks include cod, haddock, pollock, or hake. In short, you’ll want to choose a whitefish with a mild taste.
How to Make Fish Sticks in an Air Fryer
Once you bread these air fryer fish sticks, they require just a few minutes of cooking time. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Prepare. Coat your air fryer basket with avocado oil or cooking spray, then preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
Season the fish. Combine the Old Bay seasoning and chili powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle this over the prepared cod and toss to coat.
Create your dredging station. Place the flour in a shallow bowl, then beat the eggs in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, and chives.
Coat the fish. Working with one piece of fish at a time, dredge the fish sticks in the flour, followed by the eggs, and finally coat them in the breadcrumb mixture. Place them on a clean plate until you’re ready to cook them.
Air fry the fish sticks. Place the fish sticks in the air fryer basket in an even layer and spray them with cooking spray. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the exterior is browned and crispy.
Serve. Plate the fish sticks with lemon wedges and tartar sauce for dipping.
Tips for Success
Here are my best tips for perfect homemade air fryer fish sticks:
- Thaw frozen fish. You can use frozen fish to make homemade fish sticks in the air fryer, but you’ll need to let it thaw first.
- Cut the fish into uniform pieces. This ensures that the fish sticks will cook evenly and that they’ll all be done at the same time.
- Don’t over-coat the fish sticks. Tap off any excess flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs during each step of the dredging process.
- Use tongs. To keep your fingers from getting coated in breadcrumbs, use tongs to dredge the fish sticks.
- Don't overcrowd the air fryer. If you overcrowd the air fryer, the fish sticks will steam instead of getting crispy. Instead of crowding or stacking them, just make a few batches!
Here's how I like to serve these air fryer fish sticks:
- With blooming onion sauce (seriously, try it!) or remoulade
- Alongside Roasted Ranch Potatoes, Air Fryer Asparagus, or another easy side
- With homemade French fries for a fish-and-chips dinner
- Tucked into tortillas for crispy fish tacos
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Leftover fish sticks can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply return them to the air fryer at 400ºF and cook them for a few minutes, until they’re warmed through.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, this recipe can be frozen. Simply place the fish sticks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze them until they’re solid. Once frozen, transfer the fish sticks to a freezer bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. They can be reheated in a 400ºF air fryer.
More Kid-Friendly Dinner Ideas
Air Fryer Fish Sticks
- Avocado oil cooking spray
- 16 oz cod, skin removed, cut into 1 inch strips, and patted dry
- 1 ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Coat air-fryer basket with avocado oil cooking spray. Preheat air-fryer to 400°F.
- Pat cod dry with a paper towel and place on a clean plate. In a small bowl, mix together Old Bay seasoning and chili powder. Sprinkle over the cod and toss to coat the fish.
- Place flour in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs in a second shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder and chives in a third shallow bowl.
- Dredge each piece of cod in the flour, then dip into the egg(letting the excess egg drip off), then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off excess breadcrumbs and place on a clean plate.
- Add fish to your hot air-fryer basket in one layer. Do not stack your fish sticks, cook them in batches if necessary. Coat with cooking spray. Cook fish sticks at 400°F for 4-6 minutes or until browned and crispy.
- Serve with a slice of lemon and your favorite tartar sauce.
- Make sure that you cut your fish into same sized pieces to ensure same cooking times. You can use tongs to dip your fish in the mixtures. This will keep your hands clean.
- If using frozen fish, be sure to thaw throughly before use.
- Depending on the size of your air-fryer, you may need to cook your fish sticks in batches. Do not over crowd or stack the fish.
- How to store: Leftover fish sticks can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply return them to the air fryer at 400ºF and cook them for a few minutes, until they’re warmed through.