Baked Fish Sticks with Tartar Sauce

CATEGORIES: Condiments, Sara, Seafood

One of my most favorite places on earth is a Seattle seafood institution: Ivar’s.

If you’ve ever been to Seattle you’ve probably been to Ivar’s, and if you ever make it to Seattle in the future, make sure to put it on your list of places to go! You’ll sit by the waterfront and be surrounded by seagulls who act more like friendly trained golden retrievers. They’ll catch fries thrown in the air, or just eat them right out of your hand. One of my favorite Ivar’s locations is actually south of downtown Seattle at Coulon Beach Park. I spent a lot of time there as a child and now I love taking my own kids there.

Here’s something my family has always made fun of me for. Every time I go to Ivar’s I order the same thing- chicken strips and fries!   Don’t ask me why- but I love chicken strips with tartar sauce, and Ivar’s tartar sauce is so good.  And the fries…. fries doused in vinegar and dipped in tartar sauce is one of life’s wonderful little pleasures.

When I was kid though, I was all about the fish sticks, and I wanted to make some at home for my kids.  I used a quick breading that involves both panko and normal bread crumbs and I kept them lightly seasoned so it wouldn’t be overwhelming when you slather them in tartar sauce. I could dip just about anything in this tartar sauce by the way- so easy to whip up and so good! This is a great way to introduce fish to young kids since it’s similar to a chicken nugget. I actually explained to my boys that these were “chicken nuggets from the ocean dipped in pickle ranch” and it went over great!

Let’s Cook:

For the fish sticks start with a good, fresh white fish. I used cod, but halibut or talapia should work well too. Slice it into fish stick sized pieces. I didn’t realize that they would shrink up so much so mine ended up more like stubby nuggets, but hey, it works.

This is a similar process to my Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers. Dredge each piece of fish in seasoned flour, then in beaten eggs, and then in a combo of bread crumbs and Panko.

Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake them for only about 10 minutes- quick and easy! Let cool for a few minutes and serve with the yummy tartar sauce.




  1. OMG Sara, you have no idea how much I hope this tartar sauce is a close second to Ivar's! For all the years I have been trapped in Michigan I have tried to haul all of my Seattle favorite foods home on the plane with me to G.R. I almost got thrown off my flight in Seatac for getting into a horrible argument with the TSA people over whether the four jars of Ivar's Tartar Sauce I had in my carry-on were some sort of "jellied bomb material". I of course, lost the argument and had to repack! Though I am moving back to my beloved Whidbey Island (and the land of Maple Bars) in September, I can't wait to try these recipes for the rest of the time I am remanded to the Midwest. THANK YOU!!

  2. ooh, I've never been to the Freemont one- that sounds awesome!

    As for your questions, yes you could totally substitute something for the egg. Really you just need something to make the bread crumbs "stick" so milk would work, or I would probably go with melted butter. Just because I love butter 🙂

  3. I live in Seattle and we love Ivar's! My favorite location is in the Wallingford/Fremont neighborhood right on the water and below the I5 bridge. There's a dock in back where you drive right up in your boat, tie it up, and then go inside to eat!

    HERE'S MY QUESTION: I can't use eggs for the breading step because of an egg sensitivity in our family. Would anything else work instead? Could I dip it in milk to adhere the bread crumbs?

    I would love to try out the recipe if I can get around this dilemma. It would be great with fresh fish from Pike Place Market!

  4. Hi, this looks delicious and very kid friendly. I was wondering if you could flash freeze these for future use and at what point in the preparation process. Would you freeze them up until you baked them or after you baked them?

  5. That's so funny Sara. I have lived about an hour from your parents house most of my life and have the same aversion to seafood. I can eat salmon or fish n chips if there is tarter sauce. I will have to give these a try as the rest of my family loves seafood.

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