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Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce

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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.

These Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce are made from scratch. So quick and easy, once you try them, you'll never go back to prepackaged frozen sticks again!

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.

These Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce are made from scratch. So quick and easy, once you try them, you'll never go back to prepackaged frozen sticks again!


  • 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

  1. Lemon Caper Sauce for Fish: Stir all the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl.
  2. Fish Prep: Slice the cod crosswise into two-inch long strips, about an inch wide, and pat the fish dry with paper towels.
  3. 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.
  4. Dredge the Cod: Dip the fish into the egg mixture and then the crumbs.
  5. 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:


  • 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!

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Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce

4.96 from 25 votes
These Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce are made from scratch. So quick and easy, once you try them, you'll never go back to prepackaged frozen sticks again!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
These Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce are made from scratch. So quick and easy, once you try them, you'll never go back to prepackaged frozen sticks again!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 5 sticks plus sauce


Lemon Caper Sauce:

For the Fish Sticks:

  • olive oil spray, I use a mister
  • 1 pound Alaskan skinless cod fillet, about 1-inch thick (thawed if frozen)
  • 3 large egg whites, or 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

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.


  • 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.

Last Step:

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Serving: 5 sticks plus sauce, Calories: 229 kcal, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Protein: 31 g, Fat: 4 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 63 mg, Sodium: 709 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g


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155 comments on “Healthy Baked Fish Sticks with Lemon Caper Sauce”

  1. Did not have any Old Bay so I used seasoned salt. We made tartar sauce instead of the lemon caper sauce. I will definitely make this again, even with the substitutions it was great.

  2. Avatar photo
    Beverly Wilson

    I love this fish sticks and lemon caper sauce. I have made them several times. Tonight I cut the filet into nuggets and baked in the air fryer.Delicious!

  3. Avatar photo
    Kimberly Woodall

    This super easy recipe fits my busy schedule. I thought we’d never have “fried” fish again but was pleasantly surprised when I tried this.

  4. These are the best but they do take some time to make. Maybe I feel that wa bc breading something is never my favorite thing to do but I cant buy fish sticks that are better than these. What are ppl serving with them?

  5. Finding a “non-fishy” fish recipe that is also remotely healthy, can be challenging to say the least. My husband and I were both positively surprised by how simple and incredibly delicious this meal turned out. To avoid waste, we used the entire egg for the “batter” (versus just using the egg whites). To add crispiness, we broiled the nuggets on low for 5-10min. They nuggets were divine and “fish smell free”. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible recipe with the world. It will be a new staple in our weekly repertoire.

  6. Love love this recipe, used Australian sea bass as I had no cod and was still fantastic! Keep the healthy recipes coming!

    1. I do that with a catfish nuggets recipe I enjoy.  I dip and bread the nuggets and freeze individually on a cookie sheet, Once fully frozen, I package and vacuum seal in serving portion size bags.  When I air fry, I don’t unthaw.  I open the bag, make sure they aren’t sticking together in a big lump, and air fry. Super easy and makes for great lunches.

  7. Excellent!!! I don’t write reviews often but this meal is super easy, light, & delicious! I served with an arugula, apple, walnut salad with lemon – a perfectly, satisfying meal. Will be adding it to our rotation, which is saying a lot because I am picky with recipes that I make again & again! 

  8. These are fantastic and easy ! My kids aren’t a fan of the bay seasoning but really enjoyed them overall. I might try mixing some Parmesan cheese for the bay seasoning  next time . Thank you for such a great recipe ! 

    1. I use everything bagel seasoning instead of Old Bay and they are yummy! The kiddos might like that option…

  9. The lemon caper sauce makes the meal! I will be using that recipe with lots of things! I did half my batch in the oven and half in the air fryer and found the methods to be indistinguishable. They are delicious!

  10. Avatar photo
    Kathy Ciullo

    Is there any way you could show this recipe split up to show the nutritional info on the fish separate from the dipping sauce? I really just want to know about the sauce. It looks sooo yummy!

  11. These were GREAT and the sauce was delicious.  I used avocado oil spray to brown them up and finished them with the last 2-3 minutes cool time under the broiler.  I’ll definitely be making this dish again.

  12. Made these in my new Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven tonight. Delish. Love that I can make enough for the whole family (2 adults, 2 kids (basically adults)) in one batch. Made the Broccoli Cheddar stuffed chicken the other night. So good and so quick.

  13. Made these tonight and they are super yummy! The sauce was wonderful too. Will definitely make again!

  14. I made this recipe a couple of days ago using the air fryer. My mother and I enjoyed it. You’re right this is better than frozen fish sticks.

  15. OMG this was so good! The fish turned out great – the seasoning was spot on and they turned out nice and crispy. What took it over the top was the sauce. I modified slightly by using 1 tbsp of dijon+2 tbsp mayo, added a touch of the caper juice with the capers and used dried chives instead of fresh. We licked the bowl clean! Best (healthy) tartar sauce ever. Will definitely make this again!

  16. Avatar photo
    Mackenzie Peck

    These look so yummy! Is there anything that I could use in place of the egg whites? My little one is allergic 🙁

  17. Loved these fish stick!  Sauce was a geeat complement.   Not surprised. Every Skinnytaste recipe I’Ve made has been delicious!

  18. My least favorite thing to eat is fish but I need the Omega-3s, so we thought we would give these a try and i am glad we did! Preparation was easy and the fish (we used cod) tasted fantastic! This will definitely be in the rotation.

  19. Avatar photo
    Chelsea Davis

    has anyone frozen these and then cooked?
    If so how did they turn out? I want to meal prep with them and just bake them each day at lunch because I don’t think leftovers would taste good.

  20. Avatar photo
    Lori Gardiner

    I LOVE Skinnytaste! I had trout fillets (skin on) and wanted to try a different recipe and came across this one. Mine were skin on, so I reduced the egg whites by one, and just brushed it on, then patted the panko topping on and baked. Turned out DELICIOUS and the lemon caper sauce is a KEEPER!! I have two of the cookbooks and need some time to pour over them. Thank you for noting WW points on the online recipes.

  21. Great recipe. I substituted  blackened seasoning for the old bay and extra Dijon mustard. It was a great dinner served with roasted sweet and fingerling potato’s. And roasted veggies. I added the lemon and salt at the end to taste. 

  22. My husband dislikes mustard. If I make fish sticks without mustard will the breading stick? Do you have an idea for a substitute?

    1. I haven’t tried, but as long as you like catfish I don’t see why not. Let me know if you try it!

  23. Hi! Does anyone know how many points just the sauce is? I served it with Gina’s crab cakes…. holy smokes, so delicious. 

  24. Gina, 

    First – thank you so much for all you do for us!!!  Second, any suggestions for a side to serve them with???

    Thanks so much!  Already pre-ordered your 3rd cookbook!!!


  25. Forgot to add – I didn’t make the sauce. My kids like mustard and ketchup for dipping. If I ever make it though, I will substitute homemade cashew cream in place of the yogurt.

  26. I made this tonight for my kids and they loved it! I’m currently not eating eggs or gluten/bread products, so I made a portion for myself using coconut milk instead of the egg mixture, and curry powder and crushed rice cakes for the breading mixture. Delicious! I will be making this again. 

  27. Could you please list the nutritional information and serving size for the sauce? These look super yummy and that sauce sounds amazing. I just need a meal between 400-600 calories for my eating plan. Thank you. 

  28. Can you make this in the air fryer? How long and what setting? These look delicious and great for Lent!

  29. Avatar photo
    Cheryl Ludden

    This was a HUGE success! My husband & daughter LOVED it. I should have doubled the recipe. I had 4 sticks & between the 2 of them they ate the rest. They loved the sauce so much they literally ate the rest with a spoon. Will definitely be making this again!!

  30. I just made these last night with wild haddock, it was delicious! I love all your recipes , I have made many of them , thanks for the great recipes an the point calculations 

  31. You’re right, these baked fish sticks are delicious and so is the Lemon Caper dipping sauce. We always buy fresh cod so these were a no brainer for us. However, we had no Panko the night planned to make these. LOL…we crushed Triscuit crackers for the breading, worked just fine and boy were they good. So happy to have a fish recipe that doesn’t require frying.
    P.S. Panko is on my grocery list!

  32. Pingback: Indian Spiced Tilapia Weight Watchers Recipe

  33. I made this with Salmon and placed on a pre-heated pan for 10 minutes in the oven. Fish was nice and crispy. The sauce was spot on but remember capers are very salty. I find this work very with whole wheat Panko. It’s nice to read reviews before I make, unfortunately so many people just post that they plan to make which doesn’t help me.

  34. There are recipes online for Old Bay substitute. Calls for bay leaf powder. I blended a bunch of Bay leaves and it turned into a powder.  Will let you know how it turns out after tonight! Caper sauce smells divine!

  35. I made these a few times already and it’s a big hit for everyone here. Somehow mine don’t get golden brown after 12 minutes at 450 so now i usually bake them for 10 minutes and finish the last 2 minutes at broil. The oven doesn’t get much hotter but the direct heat give them a nice color.
    I have thaken quite the liking of the sauce as well, i now make it whenever i make salmon burger, it’s delicious!

  36. I just made these and they are AWESOME! I used whole wheat panko bread crumbs and added a little sea salt to the egg batter and to the crumbs and used two tsp of old bay instead of 1.5…i am a maryland girl! 🙂 Thank you so much for creating these and sharing them. I calculated that 5 of my sticks were 3 smartpoints (not including the sauce). Had them with Alexia Yukon Gold frozen french fries for a 6 point DECADENT dinner! Currently flash freezing the remaining 20 sticks to have for quick post-work, post-gym dinners in the next week or two.

  37. These were awesome, and I didn’t even have all the correct ingredients!! I had regular bread crumbs and mahi mahi. They were so delicious, I will be making them again!! Thanks for the great recipes!!

  38. Hi Gina,

    I want to make this, however I don’t like capers. What can I use as a replacement?

    Thank you

  39. I count points (WW) and it says serving size + sauce but there's no point calculations for just the sauce? Help please!

  40. Made it today and it's s keeper! One question though-why use only the egg white? I subbed out 2whole eggs and it worked just fine. I used Panko and we liked the extra crunch. Added a little salt to the egg mixture.

  41. Check here for a copycat recipe for Old Bay Seasoning, should this not be available to you:

  42. These fish sticks are delicious. I tried them with haddock and they worked beautifully. And best of all, my daughter loves them. Thanks for a great dish!

  43. Yummy yummy in my tummy:) I really loved how these tasted. I'm trying to eat more fish and also looking for more options where they had fins and tails. I used 1lbs of Cod but definitely didn't get 5 sticks per serving and I ended up with a whole bowl of leftover breading and pre-breading stuffs. Any idea what I could have done wrong?

    Billie –

  44. My boyfriend and I have gotten into the habit of making a couple of recipes on Sunday for the coming week, so that we have less temptation to get easy (bad for you) food after working a long day. We made this recipe and refrigerated (before baking) – it worked great, the fish came out very nice both days.

  45. I've never cooked with fish and I made this and it was awesome! My 3 yr old nephew couldn't get enough and it felt so good eating something healthy! Thanks Gina!

  46. I made this last night and it was so good! I almost did not make the lemon caper dip, not a big fan of lemon, but it made the meal. Thank you for this one!

  47. Wow, these were really remarkable. The combination of the seasoning in the breading, with the amazing sauce, was so good!! If you're considering this recipe but on the fence, I recommend it.

  48. I just made these yesterday – used cod, all panko bread crumbs, and oh my they were soooo good! I think the panko makes them alot more crunchy. I srpayed my pan with oil before and again after I put them down on it and they were excellent. I have more of the cod left over for tonite's dinner and I am so making them again!!! Thanks Gina!!

  49. Can't wait to try this recipe this week! Could i substitute panko crumbs for regular italian bread crumbs?

  50. Try cooking them on a rack to prevent sogginess. I have cod in my freezer! Trying these this week

  51. Every time I make fish sticks (baked, panko, etc) they turn out soggy. Any suggestions? This recipe looks great so I'd love a few tips…

  52. I made these last night and the taste was really great. My only problem was that the breading fell off almost as soon as I touched them. The underside stuck to the baking sheet and then the rest would fall off when dipped in the sauce. Are there any tricks to making them more sturdy?

  53. Could you tell me how to make this more allergy friendly? No eggs, no dairy, no gluten. My grandchildren love fish sticks, but the ones that fit their criteria are so expensive.

  54. So delicious!! I have been alkalizing my body, using this healthy food techniques I found at
    And now I'm melting off pounds like crazy! Just my 2 cents 🙂

  55. I love the sound of these. I will even try them with the lemon and caper sauce. Your recipes are great for those of us who HAVE to watch what we eat. Thank you for caring.

  56. hi gina Im from Australia I haven't heard of Old bay seasoning ? what are the herbs by the way your recipes are always lovely 🙂

  57. I'm not a fan of fish, but this looks like it could be done with chicken tenders!!! I love lemon and capers!

  58. Avatar photo
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking

    I love baked fish sticks – so much healthier than store bought, and you end up with a bigger batch! Great recipe.

  59. Avatar photo
    Carol Mitchell

    Cookbook ! Cookbook ! Cookbook ! I am soooooo ready (hungry) for your cookbook to become one of my own. I have been a follower of yours for years, before your little one was born even !!! I am a true Gina fan.

  60. This looks so good! Last week I had some leftover panko crumb mix from my tarragon chicken cordon blue and rather than trash it I used it to coat my cod fillets and make fish and chips. It was nice and crispy. I love your recipe for lemon caper dipping sauce. 🙂

    1. You should NEVER reuse anything that has been in contact with raw meat/fish/poultry!!! You are asking for salmonella!

    2. Pat, listen to the nice lady above. That is definitely not safe food handling practices. You could get really sick!

  61. Avatar photo
    Kim Honeycutt

    I don't know why…but I'm a bit afraid of cooking fish. Weird I know! I worry I won't get it done and I hate undercooked fish. With that said, I'm going to get over this phobia and put cooking fish on my bucket list! LOL This sound so good and as a Lifetime WW gal love the healthier option and the fact that the P+ are already figured. Thanks! Pinning it!

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      Honestly, fish is one of the easiest (and quickest) food to make, it's perfect for weeknight cooking. Don't be scared : )

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      It wouldn't make good sticks, you could also use halibut, or any firm white meaty fish.

  62. I am allergic to yogurt. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what I can swap for the yogurt in the dipping sauce recipe? Thanks.

    1. I'm guessing that if you're allergic to yogurt you're probably allergic to sour cream as well. Try a vegan yogurt or coconut milk. It will give a different flavor, but will still be creamy.

    2. Thanks for the suggestions. There's something in the yogurt (maybe the cultures) that makes me really sick, but it's not a dairy thing….so I'll definitely try the low fat sour cream. Thank you so much!

  63. Avatar photo
    Simones Kitchen

    I have a similar app in Ducth and it's ideal if you want to know what to buy… And these fish fingers… They look perfect. I've not even made fish fingers…ever… But that is now gonna change ! Sounds delicious!

  64. this looks lovely! my son will absolutely love it. congrats on the cookbook btw. so exciting. xx. gigi.

  65. I love how you brought up the app. It's definitely a staple for choosing my seafood. As an oceanographer, It's important to point out that the method of catching the fish (long line vs. trawl) really plays a HUGE role in how "sustainable" a fish is. From a health standpoint however, definitely check out the mercury and pcb levels too!

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      Great, thanks for sharing. So much to think about when heading out to the store to pick up food for dinner, right? I like to make friends with my fishmonger and ask him, it also raises awareness.

  66. Avatar photo
    Kate @Almond Butter Binge

    Yum! I love the sound of that lemon-caper sauce —I've been looking for springy recipes that don't give me the chills just looking at them (we had a snowstorm today and I can't remember the last time I wasn't freezing). This is definitely what I have been searching for!

  67. Avatar photo
    Parisa Parang

    Could you recommend a seasoning substitute for Old Bay since we don't have this in Quebec, Canada?

    1. Avatar photo

      That's a shame. Try seasoned salt if you can find that. Old Bay is a salty/spicy seasoning.

    2. Avatar photo
      Jessica Despatie

      You can buy the equivalent of Old Bay seasoning in a lot of fish stores in Quebec. I've also found Old Bay in the Odessa fish markets.

    3. Avatar photo
      Valerie Chalhoub

      I am from Québec and bought old bay seasoning on It's a large amount but worth it.

      1. I don’t know for you guys but I’m from Montreal and there’s only this one fishmarket that sells old bay “Poissonnerie Shamrock” so it’s worth it ? Plus one of the cashier helped me with the sustainable fish ! 

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    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions

    I love the lemon caper flavor combination so I know I would love this dipping sauce!

  69. I love fishsticks and the sauce sounds delish. I'm very fussy about where my seafood comes from. Wild caught Alaskan Salmon for me but consumer beware … they are talking about some sort of GMO kind of salmon. Oh, yuck! The money mongers would like to contaminate all of our food. 🙁

  70. Avatar photo
    Kimberly Pinkiewicz

    I LOVE ALASKAN COD! It's my favorite! I will definitely make this minus the lemon caper sauce because I don't like capers! Maybe that means another fishstick is allowed for me?? 🙂

  71. Does the calorie count include the dipping sauce? I am always confused when your recipes have a dipping sauce or topping, ie salsa, if the calories given include those sauces or toppings. Would like to have those calories listed separately.

    1. You can always calculate the calories separately on your own. Either using or the Weight Watchers recipe builder.

  72. Avatar photo
    Ashley Gervin

    I'm definitely making this next date night! Who doesn't love a healthy food dish?!

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    katherine is love

    These look great. I am downloading that app as soon as I get my phone out of my purse…that will be so helpful when I'm in the store. Last time I gave up because I just didn't know what kind to get.

    1. Avatar photo
      Skinnytaste Gina

      I would probably freeze them before cooking. Bread them, then freeze and you can bake them frozen.