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Air Fryer Frozen Fish Sticks

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Learn how to cook frozen fish sticks in the air fryer; it only takes 15 minutes. Crispy and comforting fish fingers, which are delicious with your favorite dipping sauce, potatoes, and a salad.

overhead view of a plate with air fryer frozen fish sticks with lemon wedges and dip.

Do you have no idea what to cook tonight? How about an easy meal, something the kids love, something fast and always comforting? How about some crispy air fryer fish sticks? An easy way to put dinner on the table in less time than you might think.

Cooking frozen fish sticks in the air fryer is the best way to prepare them. Why?

  • Fast: Air frying them from frozen only takes 15 minutes.
  • Healthier: You will not need any extra fat; so much healthier than shallow or deep-fried fish sticks.
  • Crispier than they will get when cooked in the oven.
  • Clean: No need to clean the pan or the stove top afterward.

And if you are interested in more easy air fryer recipes, learn how to cook Frozen Calamari, Frozen Burgers, or Crispy Gnocchi.

What do you need?

frozen fish sticks on a white chopping board.

This is a one-ingredient recipe or better-said technique.

You will only need the frozen breaded fish sticks, your favorite brand. But you will have to consider the thickness of the fish pieces; they differ from one brand to another. Please adjust the cooking time accordingly.

I can fit a whole large package of sticks into the basket of my machine, that is 15 fish sticks.

Cook as many as needed or as many as will fit in the basket of your air fryer in a single layer and with a little bit of space between the fingers.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Preheat the machine to 400°F (200°C) if necessary; regard the instructions manual, some machines need it, and some don’t. My kitchen gadget needs to be preheated for 3 minutes.
  • Place the frozen fish fingers in a single layer in the hot air fryer basket (1).
  • Cook for 6 minutes.
  • Flip with a spatula and cook for another 2 minutes; the breadcrumb coating should be deeply golden and crispy (2).
collage of two pictures of fish sticks before and after air frying.

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Expert tips

Size and cooking time:

  • The pieces might come in different sizes, depending on the brand. The length is not so important; it is their thickness that will affect the cooking time most. Please adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • For best results (if you are unsure), cook only one stick first. After you’ve done it once, you’ll always know.
  • The fish fingers I have are 3 x 0.5 inches (8 x 1 ½ cm).

Don’t defrost or leave them lying around before cooking; they should go straight from the freezer to the air fryer. If they wait for too long, they will become soggy.

Air circulation: Leave a little space between the fish sticks when placing them in the basket so that the hot air can circulate properly and make the pieces crispy all over.

Flipping: Be careful when you flip them, so you don’t break them.

Recipe FAQ

Do I need a cooking spray or vegetable oil?

No, the breading contains enough fat to make very crispy fish sticks.

How to check if they are cooked through?

Cut one in the middle; the fish should be white and flaky.

Soggy fish sticks?

They were either partly defrosted when you cooked them; the cooking temperature was too low, or the machine’s basket was too crowded, so the air could not circulate.
The breading will also get softer once the pieces are cool.

How to store?

They are best served immediately, but leftovers are also great, especially in a sandwich.
Refrigerate them in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
You can reheat them in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes, but I rarely do; we also like them cold.
You should not freeze the cooked sticks; they will become soggy after defrosting.

close up golden fish fingers sprinkled with parsley.

How to serve them?

Air fryer fish fingers are best served immediately, especially if you like them hot and with a crunchy texture.

Serve them with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sauce. Ketchup is a good option (especially for kids), but some hot or sweet chili sauce is even better.

Instead make a tartar sauce or a simple Greek yogurt sauce with garlic, chili powder, or cayenne pepper. Or you could try some of these Dipping Sauces for Calamari; most of them are also a perfect fit for fish fingers.

I almost always serve them with mashed potatoes or oven-baked potato wedges, salad, and a sauce.

What to do with leftover fish sticks?

We love sandwiches or wraps made with cooled fish fingers; they are a great easy dinner or school snack.

Sandwiches:

  • Smear some mayonnaise or tartar sauce on the lower part of the bun or a slice of bread.
  • Add the sticks on top, and drizzle with hot sauce (or even ketchup).
  • Add sliced red onions, a salad leaf, some sour cucumber slices, or anything else you like on a sandwich.
  • Cover with the upper part of the bun or another slice of bread. Or serve it as an open-faced sandwich.

Wraps:

  • Smear the wrap with a bit of mayo, tartar sauce, or cream cheese.
  • Place the fish sticks on top, add thinly sliced onions, salad leaves, cucumbers (fresh or pickled), other pickles (for instance, beets), a drizzle of hot sauce, and freshly chopped dill or parsley if you have any.
  • Roll the wrap and enjoy.
overhead view of a bunch of golden air fried fish fingers on a plate with lemons.

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overhead view of a bunch of golden air fried fish fingers on a plate with lemons.

Air Fryer Frozen Fish Sticks

Learn how to cook frozen fish sticks in the air fryer; it only takes 15 minutes. Crispy and comforting fish fingers, which are delicious with your favorite dipping sauce, potatoes, and a salad.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Air fryer

Ingredients  

  • 15 frozen fish sticks Note 1

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (200°C), if necessary, regard the instructions manual, some machines need it, and some don’t. My kitchen gadget needs to be preheated for 3 minutes.
  • Place the frozen fish sticks in the hot basket, in a single layer.
  • Cook for 6 minutes.
  • Flip with a spatula and cook for another 2 minutes.

Notes

  1. Or as many as you can fit in the basket of your air fryer without overlapping and with a bit of space in between so that the hot air can circulate.

Nutrition

Serving: 5sticks | Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.75g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 17.5g | Saturated Fat: 2g
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