I had a lengthy discussion the other day with one of my brothers. I told him I was blogging a delicious Spicy Oven-Baked Fish Stick recipe and was very surprised when he was not at all enthusiastic. Apparently he doesn’t have fond memories of fish sticks from our childhood. We even talked about whether or not the term “fish stick” denotes a negative vibe. I decided to stay with the name as-is, because you can’t change the fact that they are breaded and baked strips of flaky, mild fish. We all ate fish sticks more than a few times and I served them to our children too. But, just to be clear, these are not like the frozen boxed fish sticks of our childhood, they have plenty of spice and a wonderful crunch from the panko bread crumbs.
The fish is flaky and moist and while I thought about making a spicy dipping sauce, they’re just perfect served with a little ketchup. I tend to go easy on the salt so this recipe is written with that in mind. The fish is mild enough to support a little dash or two of salt so check the seasoning in the breading before coating the fillets.
I used fresh wild-caught Cod fillets for this recipe but any mild flavored, firm fish would be great. These would be great served in fish tacos or even as a fish sandwich. Did I mention you can freeze the unbaked breaded fish sticks? Flash freeze some of the fish sticks then put them in an airtight freezer-safe container. They’ll keep up to three months and bake to crispy perfection in about 20 minutes.
Be sure to cut the fillets into similar sized pieces for baking. I used two pans, one with the thicker pieces and another for the smaller, thin pieces. This was a quick and easy meal and who knows, maybe you’ll learn to love fish sticks again!
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- 2½ cups plain panko bread crumbs (crush some of the breading for a finer texture)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha dry seasoning (or Old Bay or your favorite fish seasoning)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 pounds Cod fillets, cut into 1-inch strips (or other mild, firm textured fish like tilapia)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Sriracha seasoning, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add the olive oil and mix using a spatula until all the bread crumbs are moist.
- Pour the bread crumbs onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from the oven and pour the toasted bread crumbs into a shallow pie plate.
- Add the eggs to the bowl used to combine the seasonings. Whisk in 1 tablespoon water.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Dip the fish sticks in the eggs allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Coat the fish stick with the seasoned bread crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on the baking sheet.
- Once all fish sticks are coated, bake for 15-20 (depending on thickness) or until the fish is cooked through. Serve immediately.
To freeze the fish stick: dip the fish in the eggs and coat it in the breading. Lay the unbaked fish stick on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered, and freeze until firm. Once frozen, gently place the fish sticks in a freezer safe air-tight container. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until crisp.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple, by Melissa Garman
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