April 18, 2022
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Gluten-free fish sticks made with fresh fish and gluten-free breading, this kid-favorite meal is crispy, crunchy, and super delicious. And watch how easily these tasty fish fingers can be made in this quick recipe video!
Kids love fish sticks for the crispy, finger food they are but we parents love them because they’re an easy fix for dinner and a winner with the kids.
I already recreated the popular drive-thru chicken nuggets and they were a HIT but I figured it was about time I recreated fish sticks.
To up the ante on regular fish sticks, I chose a gluten-free breading and baking versus frying to make these a smart choice for lunch or dinner.
The constant search for new and delicious gluten and grain-free recipes can be very time consuming, not to mention putting together a weekly shopping list and figuring out what to prep to save time. For a done-for-you solution, check out the MOMables Grain-Free Meal Plan.
Of course, if you don’t need these to be gluten-free, go ahead and use the regular version of the flour and breadcrumbs in the recipe.
How to Make Gluten-Free Fish Sticks
Since 3 out 5 in my family are gluten-free I wanted to recreate these fish sticks so everyone could enjoy the same ones. I make my own gluten-free breading with a combo of gluten-free flour, ground flax, and gluten-free bread crumbs.
Don’t worry, they still have that perfect crunchy coating we all adore. If you’re a fanatic for crispy, baked fish then you might want to check out my Salmon Nuggets, after you make these of course.
Are these fish sticks allergy friendly?
These homemade fish sticks are free from gluten, nuts, dairy, and eggs so that everyone can enjoy them. Even if you’re family doesn’t have any food allergies/intolerances, this is an excellent recipe for the classic kid-favorite recipe.
Plus, with the golden, crispy coating, no one will guess they’re gluten-free!
How to make bread crumbs stick with no eggs or dairy
Instead of regular Parmesan cheese and milk, this recipe uses vegan Parmesan cheese I like this one and full-fat coconut milk.
If dairy isn’t a problem for your family you can swap the vegan Parmesan cheese for regular.
How to prep-ahead gluten-free fish sticks for lunch
These are perfect to make ahead of time to pack for school lunches or pull off for an easy dinner. Whenever you plan to make fish sticks, double the batch and bake them.
Allow the leftover fish sticks to cool down to room temperature before placing in an airtight container and freezing.
How to re-heat gluten-free fish sticks
When you’re ready to pack for lunch, remove the frozen fish sticks from the freezer and bake them at 425F for 15 to 20 minutes. They are just as convenient as the grocery store option but way tastier and healthier.
More gluten-free kids lunch ideas
Coming up with healthy school lunches that are both satisfying and gluten-free can be tough. It’s one of the biggest motivations behind creating our Grain-free Family Meal Plans.
With a completed shopping list and recipes, these meal plans have helped my family and hundreds of others stay on track. If you want a taste of how we do gluten-free lunches go here and take a look at the recipes below:
- Greek Cups
- Egg Roll in a Bowl
- Mini Quiche
- Burrito Bowls
- Teriyaki Lunch Bowls
- 7 Layer Mexican Dip
- Easy Ham & Cheese Bento
But before you try these lunch ideas, make these fish sticks, then come and tell me what ya think! Way better than the frozen ones from the store, right?
Homemade Gluten Free Fish Sticks Recipe
- ½ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese or vegan Parmesan topping
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound cod fillets
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Add flour to a plate and set aside. Pour the coconut milk into a shallow dish and set aside.
- In a separate shallow dish, combine the flax meal, bread crumbs, Parmesan, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Using paper towels, pat dry each fillet of Cod before slicing into ½-inch thick strips.
- To dredge, dip each fish piece into the flour, then the milk, and finally, the crumb mixture, coating both sides and pressing lightly to adhere.
- Place the fish sticks onto the baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart, and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown, flipping once halfway through.
Please tell me that either;
A) You have a housekeeper; or
B) The rest of your house is a mess!
No, really, I’m so glad to have found you! I have a 35 y.o. special-hearts son (I hate the term special-needs) and a 10 y.o. special-hearts son, and a 12 y.o. daughter tucked in the middle. My little guy is on the Autism spectrum, can’t have gluten, dairy, or soy, and to add fuel to the fire, he’s got to be the WORLD’s pickiest eater (I know everyone says that, right?!). If I ate like he does I’d still be wearing my Freshman year prom dress! Ugh! Anyway, we won’t go THERE… We were at my son’s doctors office yesterday and the doctor asked him, “Elijah, what will you eat?” My son replied, “Fish sticks!” So, here I am. I appreciate you. God bless you.
I followed the recipe, but for some reason my fish sticks were mushy. I also found the taste to be rather bland. Unfortunately, my kids really didn’t like it despite being fish-lovers. If anyone has any tips for making them crunchy and ideas for spices or other sources of flavoring, I wouldn’t mind trying again!
Hi Ly, I apologize for any troubles you had with the recipe. I’ve made it often and had quite the success, but I do know a few steps that could help the fish sticks turn out crispy and crunchy. Before dredging them, make sure to pat dry them with a paper towel. It also helps to space each fish stick about an inch apart on the sheet pan so they don’t “steam” while in the oven. I made sure to include these tips in the recipe card. As far as seasonings go, feel free to add 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite spices or spice blend to the breadcrumb mixture. Hope this helps!
Thanks so much for the recipe cooking them as i type! if i freeze them before baking them do i have to defrost the before cooking or can i just pop them straight in the oven from frozen? Thank you gaian my son has allergies we love your website ;0)
MOMables - Laura
I typically freeze them before I bake them but you can freeze them after you cook them and just heat them up. Thanks for trying our recipe!
I made these last night and they were awesome! I used halibut, made a garlic mayo dip with a mango tomato salsa, lettuce and put them in taco shells – my kids devoured them! This will be a regular recipe in my house!
Great idea on the halibut and garlic mayo dip, that sounds amazing!
Would this recipe work with other fish? My son can’t have cod. Thank you!
MOMables - Laura
absolutely, it’s just that cod is the thickest. Will work with salmon too. enjoy!
We used it for blue gill, it was great, very crunchy. Thx for the recipe!!!
Can you bake and freeze. And just heat when you need them?
Yes! You could definitely try that.
going to try a variation of these tonight. Need to omit the cheese.
I hope they came out well!
my 20 month old loved the chicken nuggets. I am going to try more of your recipes. Please tell me is there any substitute to coconut milk you used for fish sticks?
Deepti – any milk will work.
I’m concerned about how to send things into school with proper heat or refrigeration so the food doesn’t collect bacteria in the 4-5 hours before its eaten. How do you send things like fish sticks, chicken tacos and toasted waffles with cream cheese to school? Do you pack the warmed foods on an ice pack? My daughter has no access to a microwave at school to warm foods and sending cold fish, pizza and chicken to school doesn’t sound appetizing. How do you do it?
Robin, I send fish, meat, chicken tacos… all the time to school. some things in a thermos, some in a lunch container. Our menus tell our subscribers exactly how to pack each item. Also, our kids are less picky about temperature than we think.
I thought you couldn’t cook fish sticks in the microwave, so how do you serve them in your kids lunches?
You bake them, as per the recipe above.
There’s nothing wrong with reheating them in a microwave however they do lose their “crispness”, so bear that in mind or enjoy at room temperature. Thanks!
Have you come across any bread crumbs that are gluten free, as well as egg, soy and dairy free? The bread I have found for her doesn’t crumble well even when dried out to make bread crumbs. Thanks!
Hi Heather! First let me ask what method are you using to dry them out? We use Udi’s gluten nut dairy and soy free bread scraps for crumbs all the time. :)
Another alternative that I know of is Ian’s Natural Foods.
Unfortunately, Udi’s has eggs, which my daughter can’t have. The only bread I have found for her is an Ener-G bread. To dry it out I have tried putting it in the oven at a low temperature. Not sure if it is the texture of the bread that just doesn’t work quite right or not. I will keep trying! I think my next step is trying making bread on my own! Thanks for all the great info!
Oop missed the egg free too. I’ve had Ener-g brand too but have not made crumbs with that particular brand, however you’re right there is a texture difference for sure. Making your own might serve well. Can you do oats?
I use gluten free pretzels in the food processor to make bread crumbs.
I love this idea!
Where did you find the vegan Parmesan?! My son is exclusively bf and has a billion and one intolerances. I’ve been living off of plain meat and veggies for months I need more variety so I can’t wait to try this recipe! If you have any made w/o dairy,soy,corn,peanuts or treenuts, and honey that would be awesome! Thanks!
The one I use is made by Galaxy foods and purchase it through amazon. Check out the allergy friendly recipes on our site under the recipes menu. we have gluten free, egg free dairy free recipes all the time.
Great site and work! How did I miss you???
we are not sure but hang with us! we have lots of allergy friendly foods and fresh lunch ideas!
If anyone would like help or suggestions finding brands that fit your allergen needs, please let me know and I’d be glad to advise!
Thanks for this recipe Keeley! My youngest daughter had bad asthma & I took her off wheat and it literally disappeared. We are a mostly GF and meatless family so the occasional fish recipe is a delight for all four of my kids!
Thank you Cindy! That’s so wonderful she’s doing better!
My daughter has been made a 180 since going GF, as well. Enjoy the fish sticks!!