These healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce are made from scratch and so quick and easy. Bake them in the oven or the air fryer – directions are provided for both.
Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce
Firm, meaty cod fish holds its shape perfectly during baking or air frying. Once you try homemade fish sticks, you’ll never go back to prepackaged frozen fish sticks again! To get a crisp, golden, flavorful crust, I combined panko crumbs with a little Old Bay and spices to get a faux-fried coating without needing to deep fry. Also, I love dipping my food in condiments and was happy with how this creamy lemon caper sauce turned out – you can really taste the fresh chives and lemon, which is the perfect complement to the crispy fish sticks. For more of my favorite fish recipes, try my Air Fryer Salmon Sandwich, Fish Taco Bowls, and Broiled Tilapia Oreganata.
- What fish are fish sticks made of? Firm, white fish works best for fish sticks. I used Alaskan cod, but halibut, haddock, and catfish are other good options. You can use fresh or thawed frozen fish.
- Egg Mixture: Three egg whites or two whole eggs, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, paprika, salt, black pepper
- Breadcrumbs: Panko, Old Bay seasoning, parsley, paprika
What is lemon caper sauce made of?
- Yogurt: Get fat-free plain Greek yogurt.
- Mayo: You’ll need three tablespoons of light mayonnaise.
- Capers: Drain the liquid from a tablespoon of capers before adding them to the sauce.
- Chives: Mince fresh chives.
- Lemon: Squeeze a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
- Salt and Pepper for seasoning
How to Make Healthy Baked Fish Sticks
- Lemon Caper Sauce for Fish: Stir all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl.
- Fish Prep: Slice the cod crosswise into two-inch long strips, about an inch wide, and pat the fish dry with paper towels.
- Eggs and Panko: Combine the egg whites, mustard, lemon, paprika, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Put the panko, Old Bay, dried parsley, and remaining paprika in another.
- Dredge the Cod: Dip the fish into the egg mixture and then the crumbs.
- Air Fry Fish Sticks: Preheat the air fryer to 370°F. Place the fish in a single layer in the basket and cook for seven to eight minutes, turning halfway, until golden and cooked through.
How Long to Bake Fish Sticks in the Oven
Place the cod on a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with oil and spray the tops with olive oil. Bake the fish sticks at 450°F for 12 minutes.
How to Freeze Fish Sticks
These healthy fish sticks can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. You can either freeze them cooked or uncooked. First, lay them on a baking sheet and put the tray in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the sticks to a zip-locked bag. To cook them from frozen, add about five to 10 minutes to the total baking time. To reheat cooked sticks straight from frozen, air fry or bake them until heated through.
What to Serve with Baked Fish Sticks
Below are some side dish ideas:
- Keep it low-carb with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots,Romaine Side Salad, or Tomato Salad.
- Serve with these kid-friendly sides like Air Fryer French Fries, Sweet Potato and Carrot Tots, Broccoli and Cheese Tots, or Macaroni and Cheese.
- Spices: If you don’t have Old Bay, add more paprika and some garlic powder.
- Eggs: I used all egg whites to reduce the calories, but using two whole eggs works too.
- Breadcrumbs: I prefer panko for crispy sticks, but regular breadcrumbs will work if that’s all you have.
- Dipping Sauce: You could also serve thi with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or ketchup.
- Herbs: Swap the chives for dill, tarragon, or parsley.
How do I buy sustainably sourced fish?
Although there’s nothing like catching your own fish, that’s not always possible. So, when purchasing seafood, I always look for sustainable options, whether it’s fresh or frozen. The first time I heard the term “sustainable seafood” was years ago in San Francisco at an Alaska Seafood cooking demonstration. I learned that unlike many of the world’s other fish populations, Alaska’s are managed for protection against overfishing, ensuring a healthy, wild, and sustainable harvest. So, when I see the Alaskan Seafood label, I know I’m making a sustainable choice.
I also love the Seafood Watch website, which I always refer to before purchasing fish. It’s simple to follow – type in the name of the fish, and it gives you a green, yellow, or red dot, plus suggestions for good alternatives. It’s also a great idea to talk to your fishmonger!
More Fish Recipes You’ll Love
- Broiled Fish with Tomato Caper Sauce
- Healthy Cod Fish Tacos
- Flounder Milanese with Arugula and Tomatoes
- Foil Packet Spice Rubbed Fish with Watermelon Salsa
- Blackened Air Fryer Salmon Bites
Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce
Lemon Caper Sauce:
For the Fish Sticks:
For the crumbs:
- 1 cup plain or gluten-free Panko crumbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Combine all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl; set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and adjust the rack to the center position. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with oil.
- Slice the fish crosswise into 2-inch long strips, about 1-inch wide.
- Combine egg whites, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- In a second bowl combine the Panko crumbs with Old Bay seasoning, dried parsley and remaining paprika.
- Pat fish dry with paper towels and dip the fish into the egg mixture, then into crumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Spray the top of the fish with oil and bake until the crumbs are golden and the fish is cooked through, about 12 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and the fish is cooked through.
AIR FRYER METHOD:
- Preheat the air fryer to 370F.
- In batches, transfer to the air fryer basket in a single layer and cook until the crumbs are golden and the fish is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes, turning halfway.