Crispy Baked Fish Nuggets with homemade Tartar Sauce

In these baked fish nuggets, fresh cod is cut into bite-size pieces and dipped in an egg batter, rolled in panko and baked until crispy!

Even as I type this post out I’m easily reminded how good these are and how I don’t make these as often as I should. Which then triggered another thought of how next time I could/should/will make a double (or even a triple) batch let them completely cool, flash freeze and then store in the freezer bag for later! Sometimes the good ideas strike too late. But now I know what I’m doing next week. Fish-fest. Oooo yeeeeahhh!

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Now… *ahem* Three reasons why you will love these fish nuggets {besides the fact that they are AWESOME!!}…
1. Because they have a crispy outside and a tender inside. Who doesn’t love that in regards to EVERYTHING?
2. Annnnnd you get to dunk them in a most delicious tartar sauce. duh.
3. But mostly because they beat Gordon’s and Van de Kamp’s to a PULP in flavor, texture and real fish-ness. Can I get an AMEN?!
Let me break it down for you…

Baked Fish Nuggets l

These are positively deeeelicious. I promise you that the boxed variety will no longer suffice your craving for fish-sticks or whatever. My girls LoVeD them and even ate them with tartar sauce! That was a first, an extremely proud moment in the McNamara household fo sho.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Let’s get started, shall we? Crack two eggs into a dish.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Measure out two tablespoons of Dijon mustard and add it to the eggs.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Then add a little hot sauce… it doesn’t make these “hot”… just good flavor. Promise.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Greek yogurt.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Whole milk.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Then whisk it until everything is smooth and creamy.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Dump two cups of Panko bread crumbs into a separate dish and then set the egg mixture and the crumbs aside.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

This is cod. Hello cod. Cod is a white fish {obvi} and it’s the bestest fish for nuggeting. If you can’t find cod, then try tilapia.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over top of the fish.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Season it with salt and pepper.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Then slice it lengthwise into long strips.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Then cut the strips into nugget-looking pieces. Try to keep it uniform so they cook at the same rate.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Dunk a few of the fish pieces into the egg mixture.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Then roll them around in the Panko. Pressing the crumbs into the fish if needed.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Place them onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Pretend that’s not a silpat, k? After I baked these for 10 minutes I remember that I really shouldn’t broil using a silpat. So I did a little switch-a-roo and put them on some parchment. Do it the right way the first time. Don’t be like me.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Turn the broiler on, and with the door ajar, watch carefully so they don’t burn. Once they are a deep golden remove and let cool for a smidge.

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Boom. Baked fish nuggets!

Serve with this tartar sauce and I promise you’ll be so glad you did.

Baked Fish Nuggets l


Baked Fish Nuggets l

Seriously tho… make.the.tartar!

Baked Fish Nuggets l

Bite, re-dunk and repeat. You could also stuff a few of these little nuggets-o-love into some toasty corn tortillas with some shredded cabbage and a squeeze of lime, maybe even some avocado and jalapenos for a little fish taco heaven. Yeah those sound real good too.


Enjoy! And if you give these Baked Fish Nuggets a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Baked Fish Nuggets l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Crispy Baked Fish Nuggets + Tartar Sauce

In these baked fish nuggets, fresh cod is cut into bite-size pieces and dipped in an egg batter, rolled in panko and baked until crispy!

Yield: serves two to four

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: about 10 minutes

Total Time: about 30 to 40 minutes


1 pound fresh wild caught Cod

2 whole eggs

1/2 a lemon

kosher salt and black pepper

1/4 cup whole milk

4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot sauce

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

FOR THE TARTAR SAUCE:makes half a cup

1/2 cup mayo

2-1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1/2 tablespoon of Frank's Red Hot (more or less to taste)

kosher salt and black pepper (optional)


FOR THE NUGGETS: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment.

In a shallow dish combine the eggs, mustard, hot sauce, milk and Greek yogurt. Whisk until combined and set aside. Place two cups of Panko in another dish and set aside as well.

Squeeze fresh lemon over the cod and season it with salt and pepper. Slice the fresh cod lengthwise and then cut into nugget like pieces. Dunk the cod into the egg mixture and using a fork remove {drain off any excess} and then place in the Panko. Roll and press the breadcrumbs to help them adhere, then place the breaded nuggets onto prepared pan. Working in batches if needed, bake for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler, crack the door and watch carefully until golden. Serve with my homemade tartar sauce {recipe to follow}.

For the tartar sauce: Combine all ingredients, stir and refrigerate until ready to use.

[this post contains affiliate links.]

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48 Responses to “Crispy Baked Fish Nuggets with homemade Tartar Sauce”

  1. #
    Maria @ Orchard Bloom — January 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I make chicken nuggets often, but it has never once crossed my mind to make fish nuggets. call me inspired!

  2. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — January 30, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    what a GREAT idea. Seriously. I love how flakey the fish is and the crunchy outside. You don't feel much guilt eating these! Love it 🙂

  3. #
    Sally @ Spontaneous Hausfrau — January 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I was totally drooling reading the post and looking at the pictures, but when you mentioned using these in tacos, you DID.ME.IN. Lordy!!

  4. #
    kita — January 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Yeah, these do look totally awesome. Im back to my childhood reminded of how often I would ask for 'fish sticks' instead of a fancier fish meal that was being prepared with wines and stuffings (i hated wine as a kid). Maybe I was on to something, these make me want them all over again!

  5. #
    Nicola — January 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    These look amazing! And I love the fact that you made the sauce yourself.

  6. #
    Michelle of Chellbellz — January 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Zomg! I want to make these so bad!! They were really good!

  7. #
    Bev Weidner (Bev Cooks) — January 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Waaaaaant, want want want want WANT.

  8. #
    Antonia @ Health Inspirations — January 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    All of your recipes are amazing. I love learning about new ways of preparing my food and every time I come to your blog I'm inspired to try something new! Great recipe!

  9. #
    CulinaryCache — January 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    These look scrumptious! I love panko and the cod you used looks beautifully, and very fresh. Nice post!

  10. #
    Sandra M. — January 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Oh this looks way too tempting..I love this idea, and recipe! Just beautiful! I also wanted to tell you that this morning when I watched morning show they were talking about site Tasty Kitchen and there was your picture among many..I got up really close to tv and yup it was you :))) Just wanted you to know!:))

  11. #
    marthameetslucy — January 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I've been having a craving for fish nuggets, which I thought was one of my weirdest cravings to date. Now I'm craving these which look 1 billion times better than fish nuggets from a box

  12. #
    Jennifurla — January 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I would love these as much as Indigo, super idea.

  13. #
    Culinary Collage — January 31, 2012 at 12:40 am

    These look great! I've made something similar with tilapia, but cut them into more of a fish finger. I'm going to try these soon….yum!

  14. #
    Anonymous — January 31, 2012 at 12:57 am

    I am following your blog and loving it…but I wish the thumbnail photos was actually showing the photo of the finished product not the ingredients. Just saying.

  15. #
    Aarthi — January 31, 2012 at 4:37 am

    my mouth is watering seeing that laurie..that looks so crispy..

  16. #
    Tom — January 31, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Isn't it curious that somehow hot sauce loses its spice in an egg wash? I guess the egg and/or dairy quell the heat! I tell people all the time that hot sauce in the egg dip won't make the dish spicy and if they want some heat, they should use some dried red pepper flakes in the panko or whatever breading mixture they are using. Great recipe/technique! Thank you! I'm off to make some

  17. #
    Anonymous — January 31, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I have been following your blog for a few months. The reason it's my favorite EVER is because
    1. Everything is scratch
    2. Your photos seriously are amazing. It is what mainly attracted me to this site
    3. YUMMY!!!

    Oh, and the fish nuggies look AMAZING!!! 🙂

  18. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — January 31, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    These are gorgeous! Need to try them soon, my son and husband LOVE fish! Great idea to freeze the too!

  19. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 1, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Dear Anonymous… Thank you so much! I love that you called them nuggies.. too funny! Xo

  20. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — February 1, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Tom.. I don't use Frank's in the batter for heat.. I just think the vinegar balances the mustard. Totally optional! 🙂

  21. #
    The Cozy Apron — February 1, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Hi Laurie, this recipe looks so crispy and delicious, I think my son would love it. Your blog is great! I, too, was born and raised in Michigan.

  22. #
    Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic — February 1, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Yay! Fish nuggets! I cannot wait to try these on my boys. For some reason, if I served them a fillet of fish, they won't touch it, but anything in nugget form is perfectly acceptable. I really like the addition of dijon mustard to the dredging liquid.

  23. #
    Sam — February 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Oh man. These look INCREDIBLE. I've been loving your blog recently — would you mind if I added you to my blog roll (I'm in the midst of developing it now)?

  24. #
    MyFudo™ — February 8, 2012 at 1:14 am

    I often have fish fillet served for my family. I love that it's easy to prepare and never disappoints them in anyway. I would love to try this out and serve my family a new recipe twist with something already familiar. i'll go with the tilapia version. Thanks!

  25. #
    Wanda — February 10, 2012 at 10:33 am

    We made these and everyone loved them from my 3 and 5 year old grandchildren to my 74 year young mother. We liked it better than fried and our house didn't smell fishy. Definitely a keeper.

  26. #
    Ed — February 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I appreciate the E mail update.
    I usually think about fish, but that's as far as I get. The nugget idea is great and flash freezing works for me, too.

  27. #
    Nadia — February 16, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Wow,I like these.I want to make it for my kids.thanks for the recipe.Now following your blog.Love your step-by-step photos.

  28. #
    Stephanie @ The Good Stuff — February 24, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved them! Such a simple recipe, but really good and definitely something different for us. AND my 2yo even loved them. It may seem like an obvious like, but he's in that stage where he's really unpredictable with food and because gobbled these up I will absolutely be making these again next week! Thanks for the recipe!

    And oh

  29. #
    Wanda — February 24, 2012 at 1:26 am

    We've made them twice already. Once with tilapia and once with cod. Both were great.

  30. #
    Wendy — March 15, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I just made it tonight for dinner and it was a big hit! This recipe is going into high rotation at our house. Simple to prepare, and delicious beyond expectations! 🙂

  31. #
    transplantwest — April 4, 2012 at 5:12 am

    I grew up on deep fried fish, and don't much like it unless its deadly fattening. I had some very fine thin corn tortilla chips I ground up instead of the bread crumbs. Topped it with a mango salsa with jalapenos that I made. AWESOME !

    Thank you so much for the original recipe! I shall try it! Batter was amazing with the yogurt, and it was greek FAT FREE !

    gonna be a

  32. #
    75 gallon aquarium — May 1, 2012 at 8:58 am

    These look amazing! And I love the fact that you made the sauce yourself.

  33. #
    Catherine Swanson — February 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Used fresh grouper instead of cod (which I love) and it was yummy. Make my own crumbs with leftover bread, any old buns, slices…I toast in the toaster and butter, sprinkle with old bay and sometimes, as in this case when oven frying, toast them in the convection oven, makes them crunchier, and away we go.

    Absolutely loved the tartar sauce will use it ever on, even the picky hubby loved it, yeeha!

    I will check your blog continually for your recipes. Can’t wait to try the ahi and other recipes.

    Thanks, Cat

  34. #
    melissa — October 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I’m definitely going to make this recipe this weekend for my little toddler.

  35. #
    Jason — November 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I was really wanting Fish Nuggets today so I took to the interweb and found your blog and this receipe . Wow! These were awesome. So easy, very tasty, and enough to fees 4 adults! Made my own homemade tarter sauce recipe though, sorry. I appreciate the high quality photos and the humor in your writing! Looking forward to checking out your other receipes. Thanks!

    • simplyscratch replied: — December 13th, 2013 @ 11:09 pm

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the fish nuggets Jason! 🙂

  36. #
    Lauren — March 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve had this recipe pinned for so long but JUST got around to making it this weekend I have no idea why I waited so long. They were PHENOMENAL! My fiancé and I were so impressed with how delicious they were. This is definitely going to get added into the re-make rotation!

  37. #
    Transplant west — May 27, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Great Recipe. I’ve used tortilla chips instead of panko (awesome) and I’m about to use pork rinds instead of panko for keto version. I do have to say I use my regular homemade tartar sauce with dill relish instead, it too is better for keto.


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