Crunchy Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks

These healthy Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks are super-crunchy and kid-approved. The best part: the hand-breading method doesn’t involve messy fingers! Don’t skip the Homemade Tarter Sauce.

Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks |

Recently, we took a “family field trip.”  We drove The Great River Road to Grafton, Illinois observing the beautiful sheer rock/earth bluffs along the Mississippi River. (Who knew the Mighty Mississippi could be so beautiful, even in winter?)

The kids were thrilled to take a car ferry over the Mississippi to Calhoun County. (It’s the only county I know that’s a peninsula into the Mississippi!) Here in the tiny town of Hardin, we discovered one of the most delicious road food restaurants on the planet.

And it was from the Kid’s Menu (of all places) at Mel’s Riverdock Restaurant that we ordered the very best fish sticks I’ve tasted.

Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks |

These best-fish-sticks-ever were made from Mississippi catfish, were crunchy from cornmeal, and were just-salty-enough. And for the first time in my dear 7 year-old’s life, he “liked fish!”

I’ve tried to perfect healthier fish sticks – that weren’t fried. But it’s a pain; there are just so many steps: Flouring, egg washing, and then corn-meal dredging. Talk about sticky, messy fingers. Then while baking, they have to be flipped halfway through.

Then, I discovered a method for hand-breading without messy fingers:

  1. Toss the fish in an egg wash – neatly in a bowl!
  2. Cornmeal dredge by shaking in a zip-top bag.

This a new version of best ever fish sticks emerged. They tasted just like Mel’s Riverdoc Restaurant fish sticks.  No messy finger! Try this easy way to hand-bread (healthy) fish sticks: Crunchy Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks via @TspCurry Click To Tweet


Crunchy Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks

Healthy fish sticks for Fish Fridays or any day you want big Crunchy Cornmeal Crusted Fish Sticks. Plus they’re kid-approved. Easy hand-breading method doesn’t involve messy fingers. Don’t skip the Homemade Tarter Sauce.

  • Author: Serena Ball
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 tablespoon 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound catfish fillets, cut into 20 (1-inch) strips
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Healthy Homemade Tarter Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles


  1. Combine milk and eggs in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add fish, and toss gently to coat. Place panko, cornmeal, seasoned salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large zip-top bag. Add fish to panko mixture; seal bag. Shake bag gently to coat fish.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of fish; cook 4 minutes or until done, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining fish.
  3. For Homemade Tarter Sauce, combine yogurt, pickles, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Serve sauce with fish.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

And for the second time in his 7 year-old life, my son again said he “liked fish”…which was almost as exciting as listening to him tell his grandma about our “Family Field Trip to the Mississippi.”

Do your kids eat fish or do they turn up their noses?

Theses healthy fish sticks are super-crunchy and kid-approved. The best part: the hand-breading method doesn't involve messy fingers! Don't skip the Homemade Tarter Sauce. Recipe at #fish #familyfriendly #kitchenhacks


We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

We’re so glad you’ve stopped by!

Hungry for More?

Don’t miss a single delicious, nutritious, food-lovers recipe! For exclusive Healthy Kitchen Hacks and incentives provided only to our subscribers, sign up here to receive our weekly e-newsletter.


Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates.
Type your custom success message here...