Crispy potato-chip-coated fish sticks are easy for kids to make, especially good with a simple, 4-ingredient tartar sauce for dipping. (Skip to recipe.)

cooking with kids: fish and chip stickscooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

Most kids love fish sticks – or if they don’t love them, will at least tolerate them.

Mild white fish coated in a crispy fried crumb coating – what’s not to love? (And it’s a great way to get kids eating fish.) The version Meredith and I made is an easy cheat; no frying involved, just roll the fish spears in flour, eggs, and crispy crushed potato chips, then a quick bake. The simplified, kid-friendly tartar sauce is perfect for dipping the crispy batons into. Meredith thought she wouldn’t like the sauce, but once she stirred it up and got to adjust the ingredients to her taste, she loved it.

I’d tried making fish sticks with Meredith once before during our cooking sessions, and it was a bit of a bust. We used frozen blue cod fillets I had in the freezer (they weren’t even that old), that actually smelled so fishy it was hard to work with them. Meredith was a good sport about it, though!

cooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

those are so GROSS! do I really have to touch them? ! ! !

cooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

okay . . . if I HAVE to do it, I will . . . but that doesn’t mean I like it . . .

cooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

actually that wasn’t SO bad . . . I guess I survived

I didn’t want Meredith to think that is how all fish smells, so this time we used fresh cod fillets (from Costco), and they were amazing – no fishy smell – just the smell of the ocean – like fresh fish should smell. She enjoyed cutting them up much more than last time!

cooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

this doesn’t even smell bad, it smells like the ocean!

cooking with kids: fish and chips sticks

this fish is fun to cup up

Also, the first time we made it, we coated the fish sticks with crushed corn flake cereal, which was okay, but nothing special (a little too heavy and dry). The potato chips we used for this recipe were much better – lighter and crispier, and the flavour went so well with the fish. It was a total hit – fish and chips rolled into one!

We steamed carrots and made a batch of kale chips to serve with the baked fish sticks (kale chips recipe here). The kale chips were very popular. A certain little girl kept sneaking over to crunch on the cooling chips whenever my back was turned.

cooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

When Meredith and I cook together, I let her use a sharp knife, with supervision. We’ve talked about knife safety, and she is very responsible about how she uses it. She cut up all the fish herself.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: This recipe stretches easily to serve 6 – just use about 1½ lbs (700gms), or more, fish and about another ½ cup (40gms) crushed chips. The flour and eggs should be enough to coat the extra fish. You might want to double the Easy Tartar Sauce.

Cooking with Kids: Easy Fish Sticks with chips and tartar sauce

Fish ‘n Chips Sticks with Easy Tartar Sauce

Skills covered: knife skills, handling raw fish, crushing chips, 3-stage breading process

  • 1¼ lb. (550gms) fresh, firm white fish fillets (we used cod)
  • 2 cups crushed plain, salted potato chips (about 150 grams) – see below
  • ½ cup (70gms) flour (or your favourite gluten-free flour blend)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

for the Easy Tartar Sauce:

  • ¼ cup (60ml) mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (60ml) plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1½ teaspoons prepared yellow hot dog mustard

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the fish fillets into sticks about ½” x 1″ in diameter and about 4″ long (1 x 2 x 10 cm).

Crush the potato chips by placing them in a heavy duty bag and rolling them with a rolling pin, or just by smooshing and crushing the sealed bag between your hands. Both ways are fun.

cooking with kids: fish and chip stickscooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

Line up 3 bowls on the counter. In the first one, stir together the flour and spices. In the second one, break the eggs and whisk them until beaten. In the third one, place the crushed potato chips.

Roll the fish sticks first in the seasoned flour, then dip them in the beaten eggs to coat all sides. Finally roll them in the crushed chips. Lay the coated fish sticks in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

*This process is easiest and less goopy on the hands if one person rolls the fish sticks in the flour and the other person rolls them in the egg and then the potato chips.

cooking with kids: fish and chip sticks

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

While the fish is baking, stir together the ingredients for the Easy Tartar Sauce. Serve in little bowls for dipping the fish sticks into.

Serves 4 to 5.

Guten Appetit!


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