Skip to Content

Air Fryer Parmesan-Crusted Fish Sticks

5 from 1 vote
Jump to Recipe |

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Toss that old box of freezer-burned frozen fish sticks. These air fryer parmesan-crusted fish sticks are where its at!

A number of crispy fish sticks are on a large serving platter with a small bowl of creamy cajun dipping sauce.

Look, we all have one thing in common. We all have that old box of fish sticks stuffed way back in the freezer that no one ever touches.

Maybe you bought them as an impulse buy, or to remember your childhood, only to make them and realize how lackluster they are.

Well, it’s time to throw out that box and make a batch of air fryer parmesan-crusted fish sticks. To me, these are so good, they practically redefine what fish sticks are!

I always find myself eating more seafood during the summer, and that time is (thankfully) almost upon us. You can bet that I’ll be dipping these flavor packed, easy to make fish sticks in homemade spicy cajun tartar sauce all summer long, baby!

Whether these air fryer fish sticks are your lunch, dinner, or for a potluck, you’ll be glad you made these instead of that freezer junk.

Golden brown parmesan breading is perfectly cooked on a large number of fish sticks.

Ingredients for air fryer parmesan-crusted fish sticks

  • Tilapia
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan
  • Garlic
  • Black pepper
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Mayo
  • Sour cream
  • Dijon mustard

Ingredients for the cajun tartar sauce

  • Mayo
  • Dill pickle
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic

As you can tell by these ingredients, flavor is totally not lacking with these fish sticks!

Cooked fish sticks are in the air fryer basket, ready to be taken out.

How do I know when my fish is fully cooked?

As long as you follow the steps in my recipe, your fish should be fully cooked and ready to eat by the end of the cooking time!

However, if you want to double check, cut a fish stick in half at the end of the cooking time. It should be flaky and white, with no translucent center. It’ll be slightly juicy, too, which is perfect!

If you want really crispy fish sticks, you can leave them in the air fryer for an additional minute. Just be careful – air fryers can burn food pretty quickly!

A lemon wedge is placed at the edge of a serving platter filled with fish sticks.

What should I serve with these parmesan-crusted fish sticks?

Always serve them with slices of lemon! Freshly squeezed lemon juice really does wonders for these already perfect fish sticks. Also, you can NOT skip the seriously addictive cajun tartar sauce.

If you’re making them for lunch or dinner and need some dish dish options, I got you covered. On the healthier side, I recommend the best summer tomato salad or a quick basic chopped salad!

If you feel like indulging just a bit, you’ve gotta serve these fish sticks with curly fries!

These air fryer parmesan-crusted fish sticks also make the perfect appetizer or potluck/party finger food.

Can I make these in the oven?

If you were to make these in the oven, I would use the convection setting, if you have that, and make sure to bake these on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet so the air circulates around the fish sticks giving them an extra crunchy exterior!

A fish stick has been bitten into, revealing a perfectly cooked fish stick.

Need more tried and true seafood recipes? Here are a few I love!

Cajun Cod

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp

Lobster & Shrimp Mac n Cheese

Crispy Baked Haddock

Miso Butter Cod Foil Packets

Garlic Butter Salmon

Air Fryer Parmesan-Crusted Fish Sticks

Toss that old box of freezer-burned frozen fish sticks. These air fryer parmesan-crusted fish sticks are where its at!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Julie Chiou
Rate Print


  • 2 pounds (907 g) tilapia
  • 1 cup (108 g) plain breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup (50 g) shredded parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • ¼ cup (56 g) mayo
  • ¼ cup (58 g) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

For the Cajun tartar sauce:

  • ½ cup (112 g) mayo
  • 2 spears dill pickle, minced
  • ½ tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic



  • Prepare cajun tartar sauce. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour prior to serving.
  • Cut fish into 3” by 1/2” strips. *The easiest way to make these uniform in size that I found was cutting the filet down the center, then cutting each half in half again length-wise, then finally cutting in half width-wise.
  • Create a dredging station. Add breadcrumbs and shredded parmesan to one bowl. Add minced garlic, black pepper, cajun seasoning, mayo, sour cream, and dijon mustard to a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Dip the fish into the bowl with mayo, then roll in the breadcrumb and parmesan mix. Repeat with all fish sticks.
  • Line the air fryer basket with parchment paper or foil and place fish inside. Spray fish lightly with canola oil. Depending on the size of the air fryer this may take 2 batches. Do not stack the fish sticks or crowd them
  • Set the air fryer to 390 °F (199 °C). Cook for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve with cajun tartar sauce. Enjoy!


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 437 kcal | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Protein: 34 g | Fat: 27 g | Saturated Fat: 6 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 92 mg | Sodium: 625 mg | Potassium: 577 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 2 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Recipe Rating


Wednesday 1st of March 2023

Can I use panko or are regular dried bread crumbs preferred ? Am dying to make these ! Thank you 😊

Julie Chiou

Wednesday 1st of March 2023

you can definitely use panko for these!