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air fryer fish sticks

Air Fryer Fish Sticks

Summer Yule
If you are short on time, try this recipe for air fryer fish sticks! Air fry in under 15 minutes for the perfect fast weeknight dinner!
5 from 4 votes
Cook Time 14 mins
Total Time 14 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 3
Calories 470 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. cod fillets (454 grams; approximately 3 fillets)
  • ¼ cup coarse-ground cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • black pepper, to taste
  • cup milk, 2%
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • cooking oil spray (non-aerosol)
  • lemon wedges (optional)

For the tartar sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped pickles

Instructions

  • Mist an air fryer tray with the cooking spray.
  • Cut your cod fillets into 12 even pieces. I started with 3 fillets, and cut them width-wise into 4 pieces each. (Note: if you cut your fish differently than I did, you may need more or less breading than I am providing in this recipe.)
  • Mix the cornmeal, spelt flour, Parm, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Put the milk in a second bowl. (Did you check out the recipe video?)
  • Bread your fish sticks by dipping them first in the milk and then in the cornmeal breading mixture. Place breaded fish sticks in a single layer on the air fryer tray. You should have just enough breading to completely cover the fish sticks.
  • Drizzle the melted butter over the fish sticks.
  • Air fryer directions: Put the tray with the fish sticks on the top rack in your air fryer oven. Air fry for 7 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Then carefully flip the fish sticks, put the baking tray back on the top rack, and air fry for an additional 7 minutes at 400°F (200°C). (No air fryer? Use the oven directions below instead!)
  • Alternate oven baked directions: Put the fish sticks on a metal cookie sheet that was misted with cooking spray. Broil for 5-8 minutes in the oven.
  • Note: However you cook your fish, use a meat thermometer to check that the it reached a minimum safe internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). Extend the cooking time if it's not at a safe temperature.

To make the tartar sauce:

  • Mix the mayonnaise and chopped pickles together.

To serve:

  • Divide the fish sticks, tartar sauce, and side dishes between three plates. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to the fish sticks, if desired.

Notes

This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). As always, recipes with flour get the bump to level 3. If you have a fat loss goal, my general recommendation is to skip breading foods, even if they're air fried.  
You'll save a lot of calories when you enjoy fish with herbs and a squeeze of citrus versus breading. If lighter recipes are what you're looking for, may I recommend steaming cod instead? 
That said, this fish stick recipe uses whole food ingredients to bread the fish, and they taste great! If you have kids who are seafood-resistant, this recipe might be something to try. 
I know if you’re here for weight loss recipes that you’re going to want to skip the butter drizzle. You might be tempted to spritz the fish sticks with an oil mister instead. I don't recommend doing this. 
Aside from adding flavor, the butter helps the breading stick to the fish. I cut back on the amount of butter compared to the original breaded fish recipe, but I think a little is necessary here. If you insist on skipping the butter entirely, it's at your own risk! 

Side Dishes 

Wondering what to serve with fish sticks? Fish sticks and tartar sauce aren’t a complete meal; I'd add some veggies on the side.  
One night when we had these, I served air fryer jicama fries on the side in addition to a veggie salad. Apparently, I was really on an air fryer cooking kick that evening! I also think these air fry fish sticks would be super with a side of kale apple slaw. 
Alternatively, try this Marinated Vegetable Salad recipe with tomatoes and green peppers. The fish sticks don't take long to cook. If you choose a fast side, like a fresh veggie salad, everything will be done at the same time. 
  • Roma tomatoes, chopped 
  • 2 medium green peppers, chopped 
  • 1 small red onion, chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 4 tablespoons ume plum vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • black pepper, to taste 
Stir the tomatoes, peppers, onion, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper together. I like to make this ahead to give the veggies time to marinate in the dressing. The ume plum vinegar is very salty, so I generally don't add additional salt. 
 
Nutrition information is for one serving of fish sticks with tartar sauce. 

Nutrition

Calories: 470kcalCarbohydrates: 14.2gProtein: 29.8gFat: 32.3gSaturated Fat: 8.4gFiber: 2.3gVitamin A: 6.8% DVVitamin C: 0.3% DVCalcium: 7.4% DVIron: 6.3% DV
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