Homemade Fish Sticks, Better than the Box!


Crispy Parmesan Tilapia Fingers with Lemon Garlic Mayo Dipping Sauce

Never buy a box of frozen fish sticks ever again after trying this fresh, tasty, and out of this world Crispy Parmesan Tilapia Fingers Recipe! The bonus, your kids will love them as much as the adults!

Ingredients for Fingers:

  • 2 pounds Tilapia Fillets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Parmasean cheese 

Ingredients For the Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s is my go to Mayo)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions For the Tilapia Fingers:

  • Cut the tilapia into “fingers” by first cutting the fillets in half. Leave the thin sides long, then cut the thicker sides in half on a diagonal so they appear longer.
  • Set up three large shallow bowls in an assembly line. Put the flour in the first bowl; the beaten eggs in the second; and the panko in the third.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Dredge the fish fingers in the flour mixture, shaking excess into the bowl so just a light coating remains; dip in the eggs and turn to coat evenly; then dredge in the panko, turning several times to coat evenly. (This can be a messy job…it’s best to use one hand for the flour and eggs and the other for the panko mixed with grated parmasean cheese). Set the breaded tilapia fingers on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook (this can be done several hours ahead of time).
  • Line a plate with 3 paper towels and set by the stove. Coat a large non-stick sauté pan generously with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the pan is hot, place the first batch of tilapia fingers in the pan (do not crowd) and cook until the first side is golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until done, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the fish fingers to the plate with paper towels and let sit for a minute to drain any excess oil. Remove any brown bits out of the pan, add more oil if necessary and continue to cook the fish in batches until done. Season the cooked tilapia fingers with more salt if desired. Serve with lemon wedges and Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise.

Directions For the Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise:

  • Mix the mayonnaise, garlic and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Note: If you want to freeze the breaded tilapia fingers, lay them in a single layer and wrap well with aluminum foil. Place in a freezer bag in the freezer. When you’re ready to make them, simply defrost them enough so they’ll lay flat in the pan and cook as directed above.

Recipe by Jennifer Segal  onceuponachef.com

*These Fish Fingers can be paired with sweet potato fries, your favorite chips, a side salad, or your favorite veggies.  I paired these amazing Tilapia fingers with Bang Bang Brussels Sprouts made with fresh Brussels Sprouts from the farmer’s market.  Recipe will be in an upcoming post.