Fish Sticks with Cilantro-Serrano Tartar Sauce

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Commercial fish sticks are loaded with fillers and preservatives. Make your own and you can avoid all that. I’ll often double this recipe and freeze half, so I have healthy fish sticks on hand for Noemi for busy nights. Just heat frozen fish fingers in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Fish Sticks with Cilantro-Serrano Tartar Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Fish Sticks with Cilantro-Serrano Tartar Sauce


  1. Tartar Sauce:
  2. 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  5. 1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed and finely minced
  6. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  7. Fish Sticks:
  8. 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  9. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  10. 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs, preferably organic
  11. 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  12. 1 pound halibut fillets (or other firm, white fish), cut across the grain into 1-inch strips
  13. 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  14. Remaining ingredient:
  15. Lemon wedges


To prepare tartar sauce, combine first 4 ingredients with a pinch of salt and pepper.

To prepare fish sticks, whisk together buttermilk and egg in a shallow dish. Combine panko breadcrumbs, flour, salt, and pepper in zip-top bag.

Just before cooking, dip fish in milk mixture and add to crumb bag. Shake well, pressing the crumbs into the fish.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add half the fish to the pan, leaving enough room between pieces for air to circulate. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and cook remaining fish.

Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

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  • Karly

    Ooh, now I have a craving for some fish sticks. These look amazing!

  • Lia Huber

    Give them a try, Karly, and let me know what you think!

  • Holly

    Wow, these look like fish sticks I might actually eat. If only anyone in my family liked real fish.

  • Lia Huber

    Holly … just mash ‘em up a bit before serving them and they’ll never know they’re not Van de Kamps ;-).