Homemade Fish Sticks with Tarter Sauce

When I was a kid my mom used to make our family frozen fish sticks for dinner and we loved them! It was the 80’s and microwave ovens and convenience foods were all the rage. Now as an adult I’m not such a fan of frozen fish sticks. Frozen meals are usually full of sodium, and typically processed foods aren’t the healthiest. But once in awhile, my childhood comes calling back to me, and I get a craving for some crispy crunchy fish sticks dipped in homemade tarter sauce. And when that happens, I dig out my panko bread crumbs and get to it!


Normally, I’m not one to fry food, but in this case there is no better way to get that crunchy coating that we all love. I use panko bread crumbs to coat my fish in. Panko bread crumbs are a Japanese-style bread crumb that are fluffier and coarser than regular bread crumbs. Panko bread crumbs are perfect when frying food because they tend to absorb less oil when cooking which results in nice crispy food that isn’t too greasy. The texture of the panko bread crumbs in contrast to the tender flaky fish and the creamy tangy dill tarter sauce is something to behold. There is really nothing like it.

You can use any mild firm flesh fish you like, such as cod, halibut, mahi mahi, or tilapia. I usually buy whatever is on sale at the time and freeze for later. And I always make my tarter sauce myself. Homemade tarter sauce is so delicious, tastes way better than the jarred stuff and it takes just a few minutes to make. Dill pickles are my favorite to use and the addition of fresh dill and a splash of pickle juice helps make this tarter sauce extra tasty!

So the next time you are feeling nostalgic for one of your favorite childhood foods, give my recipe for Homemade Fish Sticks with Tarter Sauce a try, it’s a classic combo that the whole family will love!

Jenn xoxo


Homemade Fish Stick with Tarter Sauce 

Fish Sticks
1 pound of fish fillets (cod,tiaplia,halibut)
cut into 3/4 inch wide strips
2 eggs beaten
2 C panko breadcrumbs
1 C flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 salt
1/2 pepper
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
Tarter Sauce
1 C mayonnaise
1 C Diced dill pickles
1 Tbsp finely diced fresh dill
1 – 1 1/2 tsp pickle juice from the jar of dill pickles
1/4 tsp pepper

Place the eggs, flour, and panko into 3 separate shallow dishes.

In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Old Bay together and divide the seasoning mix evenly between the 3 shallow dishes of egg, flour, and panko and mix well.

Dredge the fish strips into the flour and shake off excess, then dip into the egg and then the panko bread crumbs and press firmly to adhere the panko to the fish sticks.

Place fish sticks into a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat steps until all fish is coated in breadcrumbs.

In large skillet pour enough vegetable oil so oil is about 1/2 inch deep and heat to medium-high. Test oil before placing fish into skillet. Just pinch a tiny amount of flour into the oil, if it starts to bubble and fry, it’s hot enough to start cooking.

Working in small batches, cook fish until golden brown and cooked through. This should take about 3-4 minutes per side.

Transfer fish to a wire cooling rack that has a baking sheet lined with paper towels underneath.

Serve with Tarter Sauce

For the Tarter Sauce just combine all the ingredients and serve!

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