Skillet-Fried Fish Nuggets

Bowl of fried chunky cod breaded nuggets on steel table

Diana Miller/Getty Images

Ratings (7)
  • Total: 13 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 8 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 10 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
576 Calories
26g Fat
83g Carbs
4g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Frozen fish sticks have been around a long time. They are a quick dinner solution, as well as a way to get your kids to eat fish. But many versions are heavy on sodium and preservatives, and often the ratio of breading to fish is off kilter. Luckily, making your own is easy, especially when using a pre-made dry pancake mix. When combined with some seasoned breadcrumbs, you get a nice coating that crisps up when pan-fried in a little bit of oil. The lemon pepper and garlic salt add just the right amount of flavor.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil for frying
  • 3 pounds fish fillets
  • Dash of lemon pepper
  • Dash of garlic salt
  • 1 cup dry pancake mix
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup water

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the oil (it should come up to about 1/2 inch) in a large deep skillet over medium heat to 350 F to 365 F.

  2. Cut fish into bite-sized pieces. Lightly sprinkle the pieces with lemon pepper and garlic salt.

  3. Combine the pancake mix and breadcrumbs in a large plastic food storage bag. Place the beaten egg and water in a bowl.

  4. Dip the fish in the egg and water mixture and then place in the bag to coat with the crumbs.

  5. Fry the coated fish pieces in the hot oil for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once.

  6. Drain well on paper towels. Serve fried fish nuggets immediately with cocktail sauce or tartar sauce.

Tips and Variations

Choosing the right fish is crucial to making this recipe work. The best fish for frying is a firm, meaty, white-fleshed fish; do not use a delicate fillet or else it will simply fall apart in the oil. Varieties to look for are Alaskan cod, tilapia, halibut, hake, or catfish. No matter which type of fish you choose, make sure it looks and smells fresh. If the fish is frozen, you may want to slice it into nugget-sized pieces before it is thawed; the fish will be easier to cut when the fish is very firm.

If you are concerned pre-made pancake mix is not that healthy, make sure to look for a brand that is organic, whole grain, or whole wheat. Many of these not only offer more fiber but are also usually low in sugar, calories, and sodium. If you are so inclined, you can make your own simple pancake mix, or an even healthier version. Remove the 1 cup needed for this recipe and use the rest of the mix to make fluffy pancakes for the family.

If you like this recipe but are looking for something with a little more kick, beer batter fried fish nuggets have a bit of hot sauce and cayenne pepper, making these crispy pieces perfect for fish tacos.