Garam Masala Fish Sticks

Crispy fish sticks spiced with garam masala and cayenne pepper are a flavor-packed weeknight meal. This kid-friendly recipe is baked in the oven for an easy main dish. With an air fryer option!

Two Plates of Garam Masala Fish Sticks Next to a Bowl of Sauce

Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

If you are looking for a fish sticks recipe that packs a punch and sets itself apart, then look no further! My family absolutely loves these fish sticks. Crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, garam masala fish sticks are a breeze to make and a great way to introduce spices to the kids. 

Just a few simple ingredients and an oven are all you need to put this delicious finger food together. A flour coating seasoned with garam masala and cayenne powder followed by panko breading gives the fish sticks a satisfying crunch.

What is Garam Masala?

Garam masala is a fragrant spice blend commonly used in Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. The exact blend varies, but it commonly includes ground cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper. Look for it in the spice section of the grocery store, at Indian markets, and online.

Garam Masala Fish Stick Dipped into a Small Bowl of Sauce Next to Two Plates with Fish Sticks

Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

Tips and Tricks for Making Garam Masala Fish Sticks

Keep a few simple tips in mind when making these fish sticks:

  • If using frozen fish, completely thaw the fish in the refrigerator before using.
  • Pat the fish dry using a paper towel before coating.
  • Cut the fish into the same-size pieces to make sure they cook evenly.
  • Season, season, season! Season the fish before breading and add salt to the flour, egg wash, and panko. 
  • Be sure to flip the fish halfway through cooking for even crispness.
  • Make sure the fish sticks don’t overlap or they’ll end up soggy.

How to Freeze and Reheat Fish Sticks

You can freeze cooked or uncooked fish sticks. Spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until frozen solid, 1 to 2 hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or zip-top freezer bag for up to a month. 

To heat, place them on a baking sheet (no need to thaw), brush with melted butter, ghee, or olive oil on both sides, and bake at 350°F until crispy and warmed through, flipping once halfway through. This will take 10 to 12 minutes for frozen cooked fish sticks and about 20 minutes for frozen uncooked fish sticks.

Hand Holding a Garam Masala Fish Stick Cut into, and in the Background, More Fish Sticks on Two Plates with Sauce in Small

Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

Using Other Kinds of Fish

Any firm white fish will work great for this recipe. If cod is unavailable, you can use haddock, tilapia, or halibut. Tilapia tend to be a lot thinner than cod, so adjust the cook time for the type of fish you use: the thinner the fish fillet, the less cook time; the thicker the fillet, the longer the cook time.

Make Fish Sticks in the Air Fryer

You can also make the fish sticks in an air fryer! You’ll get slightly crispier, more golden brown results this way:

  1. Set the air fryer to 400° F. 
  2. Spray the basket with cooking spray. Add the fish sticks to the air fryer basket in one even layer, making sure they do not overlap. You will likely need to cook them in batches.
  3. Spray the tops with cooking spray.
  4. Air fry for 5 minutes, flip the fish sticks, and cook until cooked through and crisp on both sides, another 5 to 8 minutes. 

How to Serve

These garam masala fish sticks are delicious all on their own, but they’re also great for dipping. Serve with a fun dipping sauce like tahini yogurt sauce, mint yogurt dip, or lemony yogurt sauce, which pair nicely with the spices in the breading.

Try serving garam masala fish sticks with sweet potato or root vegetable fries. Stir-fried green beans, broccoli, crispy sweet peppers, or bell pepper slices are all good options when serving them to the kids.

Two Plates of Garam Masala Fish Sticks Next to a Bowl of Sauce

Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

Baked Fish Recipes

Garam Masala Fish Sticks

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 27 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings


  • Cooking spray

  • 1 pound cod fish fillets

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, or to taste

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/3 cup whole milk

  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and spray with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Prepare the fish:

    Using paper towels, pat the fish dry on both sides.

    Cut the fish fillet into 3/4-inch wide, finger-length pieces. Sprinkle the fish sticks with salt.

    Paper Towel Used to Remove Moisture from Cod Fillet for Garam Masala Fish Sticks Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

    Filet Cut into Strips for Garam Masala Fish Sticks

    Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

    Fish Strips Resting on a Plate for Fish Sticks Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

  3. Make a dredging station:

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, garam masala, and cayenne powder and season with salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg and milk and season lightly with salt. In a third medium bowl, add the panko and season with salt and pepper.

    Pepper Cracked onto Plate with All-Purpose Flour, Paprika, Garam Masala, and Salt for Garam Masala Fish Sticks Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

  4. Dredge the fish sticks:

    Working with one fish stick at a time, dip it into the flour mixture, ensuring it is coated evenly. Dip in egg wash next, letting any excess briefly drip off, then coat in the panko. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

    Repeat with the remaining fish sticks and make sure all sides of the fish sticks are well coated.

  5. Bake the fish sticks: 

    Spread the fish sticks out on the baking sheet in a single layer. Spray the tops with cooking spray.

    Bake the fish sticks until they are cooked through and crispy on the outside, 12 to 15 minutes, flipping halfway through baking. They will not be especially brown.

    Sprinkle the fish sticks with salt. Serve them warm with a dipping sauce of your choice.

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    Two Plates of Garam Masala Fish Sticks Next to a Bowl of Sauce

    Simply Recipes / Prerna Singh

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
262 Calories
4g Fat
23g Carbs
32g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 262
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 111mg 37%
Sodium 579mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 92mg 7%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 389mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.