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Easy Salmon Fish Finger Recipe (Homemade Fish Sticks)

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This crispy salmon fish finger recipe is a delicious, quick, and easy weeknight dinner idea that the whole family will love, featuring a crunchy panko coating and an easy homemade tartar sauce. Perfect for busy nights and back-to-school meals!

I am excited to share one of my family’s all-time favorite fish recipes: crispy fish sticks! I’ve made this recipe countless times over the years, and it’s become a staple in our home. Think of these as the grown-up version of the fish sticks you loved as a kid (better than store-bought fish fingers you’d find in the freezer section), but trust me, your kids will love them too. It’s a win-win situation, perfect for those busy weeknights when you need something quick, easy, and delicious on the table.

One of the best things about this homemade fish fingers recipe is that it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Yes, you heard that right – just half an hour to crispy, golden perfection. And while salmon is my go-to fish for these sticks (it’s so popular for a reason!), you can easily swap it out for another type of fish if you prefer. Cod, haddock, or even tilapia would work well.

What really sets these homemade fish sticks apart is the panko breadcrumb coating. Panko is lighter and crunchier than regular bread crumbs, giving you that perfect crunch in every bite. And let’s not forget the easy homemade tartar sauce – it’s tangy, creamy, and the perfect dip for these delicious fish sticks.

So, whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a back-to-school recipe idea that the whole family will love, give this salmon fish sticks recipe a try. It’s simple, it’s tasty, and it’s a great way to share a meal with your loved ones. Happy cooking!

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • CRISPY TEXTURE – The panko breadcrumbs create a light, crispy exterior that contrasts perfectly with the moist, tender salmon inside.
  • QUICK & EASY – Despite its impressive flavor and texture, the recipe is relatively quick and easy to prepare, making it great for weeknight dinners.
  • KID FRIENDLY – The familiar, mild flavors and fun finger-food format make it a hit with kids.

Ingredients

  • Salmon fish fillets: Skinless, center-cut Atlantic or king salmon.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are light and airy, creating a crispy and crunchy coating for the fish fingers that remains light and not overly dense.
  • Freshly grated lemon zest: Lemon zest adds a bright, citrusy aroma and flavor that complements the richness of the salmon and adds freshness to the dish.
  • Kosher salt: Kosher salt enhances the natural flavors and is less salty than table salt.
  • Black pepper: Black pepper adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor.
  • All purpose flour: AP flour helps the egg adhere to the salmon strips, creating a base layer that ensures the panko breadcrumbs stick well, resulting in an even coating.
  • Eggs: Beaten eggs act as a binding agent, helping the panko breadcrumbs adhere to the salmon.
  • Vegetable oil: Vegetable oil is used for frying the fish fingers.
  • Lemon wedges: Lemon wedges are served alongside the fish fingers to add a final touch of brightness and acidity, which can be squeezed over the fish to enhance and balance the flavors.

Homemade Tartar Sauce

  • Mayonnaise: Mayo provides a creamy, rich base.
  • Dill pickle relish: Adds a tangy, slightly sweet crunch.
  • Chopped fresh chives: We love the mild onion flavor and the touch of freshness it adds to the sauce.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds a subtle, sharp tang and a hint of spice, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the tartar sauce.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds brightness and acidity.

Note: Instead of tartar sauce, you can serve these crispy fish sticks with ranch dressing, spicy sriracha mayo, honey mustard, or even a simple garlic aioli.

Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Fish Varieties: Instead of salmon, you can use a white fish like cod, haddock, tilapia, or trout. 
  • Fish Finger Sandwich: Turn your fish sticks into delicious sandwiches! Place a few salmon fingers between slices of bread or in a soft bun. Add some crisp lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and a dollop of tartar sauce or aioli for a tasty seafood sandwich.
  • Dip Options: While tartar sauce is a classic choice, you can also serve your fish fingers with tomato ketchup, barbecue sauce, sweet chili sauce, honey mustard, or sriracha mayo for a different flavor experience.
  • Seasonings: Experiment with different seasonings to add depth to your fish fingers. You can add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, or dried herbs like thyme, oregano, or dill to the breadcrumb coating for extra flavor.
  • Baked Variation: For a healthier alternative to frying, bake your fish fingers in the oven or air fryer. Simply place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 400°F (200°C) for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

Salmon Fish Finger Recipe

Step One:

Cut fish fillets into strips, about 1 inch wide. Season them all over with kosher salt.

Step Two:

In a shallow bowl, mix together panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and black pepper. In another shallow bowl, put the flour, and in a third bowl, beat the eggs until they’re blended.

Step Three:

Dredge your salmon pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip each of the fish pieces in the egg, letting any extra drip off, and finally coat them with the panko crumbs. Lay your coated salmon sticks in a single layer on a baking sheet or plate and set them aside.

Step Four:

Heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a large frying pan, cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F. While that’s heating up, preheat your oven to 200°F.

Step Five:

Whip up the tartar sauce: Mix together the mayonnaise, pickle relish, chives, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice in a bowl. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set it aside for serving.

Step Six:

Line a baking tray with paper towels and place a cooling wire rack on top. Once the oil is hot, fry your salmon fish fingers a few at a time until they’re golden brown, flipping them once, which should take about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side. As each batch is done, carefully transfer them from the hot oil to to the baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven.

Step Seven:

When all your fish sticks are done, spritz them a little squeeze of lemon juice and serve them up with the tartar sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Quality Matters: Choose the freshest salmon you can find. Fresh salmon will have a bright, moist appearance and a mild scent. Avoid any fish that looks dull or smells overly fishy.
  • Uniform Cuts: Ensure that the salmon strips are cut uniformly, about 1 inch wide and 3-4 inches long. This helps them cook evenly.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Fry the salmon in batches. Overcrowding the pan will lower the oil temperature and lead to uneven cooking. Maintain the oil temperature by allowing it to reheat between batches if necessary.
  • Use a Wire Rack: Instead of placing the fried fish fingers directly on paper towels, place them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. This prevents the bottom from becoming soggy and helps maintain crispiness.

What to Serve with Crispy Fish Fingers

Serve the salmon fish fingers with a variety of dipping sauces like tartar sauce, garlic aioli, spicy sriracha mayo, or a honey mustard dip.

Here are some delicious and versatile side dishes that also pair well with salmon fish sticks: potato salad, green beans, creamed corn, roasted vegetables, fries, salad, corn on the cob, and more.

Storage and Reheating

  • Make-Ahead Option: You can prepare the salmon fingers ahead of time. After coating them, freeze them on a baking sheet until solid, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-lock bag. Fry frozen fish fingers directly from frozen, adding a couple of extra minutes to the cooking time.
  • Reheating Leftovers: If you have leftovers, reheat them in the oven at 375°F for about 10 minutes to restore their crispiness. Avoid microwaving, as it will make them soggy.

FAQ

Can I bake the fish fingers instead of frying them?

Yes, you can bake them. Preheat your oven to 400°F, place the breaded fish fingers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden and cooked through.

Print
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Easy Salmon Fish Finger Recipe (Homemade Fish Sticks)

  • Author: Krysten and Marrekus Wilkes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: fryer
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Try these delicious crispy salmon fish sticks for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that both kids and adults will love!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds salmon fish fillets (skinless, center-cut Atlantic or king salmon, about 1-inch thick)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • Freshly grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs 
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges (for serving, optional)

Tartar Sauce

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup dill pickle relish 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Salmon: Cut salmon fillets into 1-inch wide strips. Season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.
  2. Set Up the Breading Stations: In a shallow bowl, mix together 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, beat 2 large eggs until well blended.
  3. Bread the Salmon: Dredge each salmon strip in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the floured salmon into the beaten eggs, allowing any excess to drip off. Coat strips with the panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place breaded salmon strips on a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to set the coating.
  4. Heat the Oil: Pour enough vegetable oil into a large frying pan, cast-iron skillet, or Dutch oven to cover the bottom by about 1/2 inch. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature.
  5. Fry the Salmon: Preheat your oven to 200°F. Line a baking tray with paper towels and place a wire cooling rack on top. Fry salmon fish fingers in batches, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry each batch for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer fried fish fingers to the wire rack and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining batches.
  6. Serve: Once all fish fingers are fried and crispy, serve them hot with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over the top, if desired. Enjoy with tartar sauce or your favorite dip.

Keywords: fish finger recipe, fish sticks recipe, homemade fish sticks, weeknight dinner, weeknight recipe, easy recipe

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