Homemade Fish Sticks

June 28, 2011


This is a story about the magical deep freezer we had growing up. The freezer was located in the garage and contained the most wonderful treats a kid could ever eat. It was my father’s deep freezer, his third child after me and my sister and he gave it a lot of TLC. It was always well stocked with the comfort foods that defined my childhood.  The walls were caked with ice crystals and inside was a vast, frozen tundra consisting of boxes of Bagel bites, dozens of cartons of ice cream, stacks of Red Baron Pizza (you know you love it!) and oodles of Gorton’s fish sticks. It was a good life.

Anytime my sister and I felt hungry, we’d go out to the deep freezer, pry open the 50 pound lid and lean deep into the freezer to scrounge up our favorite treats. The magical deep freezer saved our lives in summer time when no parents were home to fix us meals and back then I was a professional at deep freezer cooking.

I’ve always wanted to create a grown-up, healthier version of some of those childhood favorites, namely fish sticks, and when I found a recipe in last month’s Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to go for it.

Ingredients: (makes four servings)

Adapted from Cooking Light’s Fancy Fish Sticks

1 pound fresh cod

1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 cup flour

1 large egg

1/2 cup beer (optional)

2 Tablespoons milk

cooking spray

For the sauce:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

juice of 1/2 lime

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Rinse and cut the cod into 1 inch strips. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt.


Whisk the egg, beer, and milk together in a bowl to make an egg wash. Pour the flour in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, mix the panko and 1 Tablespoon Old Bay and 1 teaspoon salt. Dip the fish strips in the egg wash mixture, then into the flour. Next, dip once more into the egg wash and into the panko mixture. Coat well and place onto the greased cookie sheet. Repeat until all the fish strips are coated.


Bake fish for 15 minutes, turn once at the halfway point. While the fish is baking, make a sauce. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce (mayo, sour cream, Old Bay, lime juice) and allow to chill until fish sticks are ready to eat.


The fish are done when the meat is flaky and the panko is golden brown, like so.


Serve with a wedge of lime and dipping sauce.


And with a side of zesty coleslaw (recipe coming soon!)


And who could forget an ice cold beer?


I’ll always love that magical deep freezer, but these beat Gorton’s fish sticks any day.

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Fried Fish Sandwich
  2. Citrus Fish Tacos with Grapefruit and Avocado Salsa
  3. Homemade Falafel
  4. Super Simple “Pad Thai”
  5. Stanton’s Barbecue and Fish Camp Fly-In Restaurant


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Sofia December 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I loved this – Ty for sharing. I actually used Talapia – a much milder version of fish – as my family is a meat a potato lovers people. Frozen fish fillets were on sale, and I ran with it. I cut the fish in very, very thin, long pieces – sort of like that of a half broken pencil. I dipped and breaded as per your instruction. My Sauce was just as yours – but with the addition of some lemon juice and horseradish. WOW.

TY for sharing!! :)

Ruth August 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Delicious! I used tilapia fillets.

Rachel @ The Avid Appetite June 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I love this idea! I am always looking for new ways to make fish since I’m usually fairly uninspired by it :) This way looks soooo good and summery!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I feel the same way! I was pumped to make this recipe! Hope you like it.

Homer June 29, 2011 at 8:11 am

Fish sticks are an underrated taste of summer!

Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum June 29, 2011 at 7:26 am

I’m excited about your zesty coleslaw recipe. Looks awesome!!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 29, 2011 at 7:50 am

And it uses yogurt instead of mayo. Will post on Friday!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet June 29, 2011 at 5:44 am

This looks a billion times better than the frozen version!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 29, 2011 at 7:51 am

LOL! Thanks, Lauren!

Mrs. Fish June 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I’ve made something similar to this before, and you’re right…they are delicious. I love how your recipe includes beer as part of the ingredients, I can’t wait to try this! :)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

The beer helps the egg wash so it doesn’t get gummy. Hope you like it!

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