Homemade Fish Nuggets
Want your family to enjoy more fish for dinner? This delicious recipe is your solution! Homemade Fish Nuggets come together in just 15 minutes are made from a handful of simple ingredients.
We love the golden brown and delicious crust achieved from cooking the nuggets in a skillet. However, you can also easily bake the Homemade Fish Nuggets too. Plus, kids will love to help add ingredients to the food processor and push those buttons. Add the the lemony recipe dip recipe I’ve included below or your kid’s favorite dip (ketchup is usually a winner around here!) and some veggies on the side and you’ve got a super kid-friendly, fun, and nutritious meal.
Kids can help make Homemade Fish Nuggets!
- Kids can help without having to touch any raw fish! (Although there’s no reason they can’t touch the fish if you are comfortable with that. As long as your child understands not to eat it or run away with messy hands, I would let kids around 4 and up help with every step of this recipe.)
- Measure! Teach your child how to use measuring spoons. Scoop up the salt then level it off with a straight, flat finger to get an accurate amount.
- Zest! Hold the lemon together and carefully rub it across the microplane zester to get some awesome lemon flavor into the recipe. This is my go-to for zesting, grating cheese, and so much more.
- Breadcrumb finish: make the patties out of the fish mixture then place it into the breadcrumbs. You child can then help by pressing the patty into the crumbs and coating it on all sides.
- Mix the sauce! If you are making the homemade dip recipe included, kids will love a chance to mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Helpful Tips and Substitutions:
- Egg-free? I have not tested this recipe without the egg. However, using a little starch (like arrowroot or potato starch) or some flour with a tablespoon or two of water to bind the mixture might work. Would love to know if you try this recipe without the eggs!
- Gluten-free? There are lots of gluten-free bread crumbs in stores these days. You could also grind up your favorite gluten-free crackers and use those too!
- Pan vs. Oven? Baking the fish nuggets is probably the easier way to go since it is hands-off and you don’t have to flip the nuggets up at the stove. On the other hand, pan frying the nuggets gives them a deliciously crunchy and golden brown crust that you just can’t get from baking them. We prefer them cooking at the stove, but if I had a grumpy toddler at my feet, I might just bake them instead. Delicious either way!
- Make ahead? Yes, these are great to make ahead and keep in the fridge for a few days or even freeze for up to a month. They are best rewarmed in the oven to maintain the crispy exterior.
Homemade Fish Nuggets
- food processor
- 1 pound fresh, skiness white fish such as cod
- 1 egg white from a large egg
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher or coase sea salt
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, divided or whole wheat or gluten-free breadcrumbs
- avocado or vegetable oil for cooking
Easy Dill Dip
- 1 cup high quality mayonnaise or full fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
- Pinch of salt
- Cut fish fillet into large chunks and place into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add egg white, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Chop everything together using 10 to 12 one-second pulses. You want the fish to be finely chopped but not completely pureed.
- Place remaining 1/2 cup breacrumbs in a shallow bowl or plate. Remove the blade from the food processor. Make heaping tablespoon-sized patties out of the fish mixture. Place the patty in the breadcrumbs and turn to coat on all sides. Press gently to ensure the crumbs adhere.
- To pan fry, heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan. When oil is hot, add nuggets to the pan. Don't overcrowd the pan. You may have to cook in a few batches. Add more oil as needed. Cook until golden brown then flip and cook the other side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove nuggets to a plate and sprinkle with a little extra salt. Serve warm with dip on the side.
- To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pan lined with parchment or foil with about a tablespoon of oil. Place nuggets on prepared pan then bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Flip nuggets half way through cooking. Sprinkle a little extra salt on top. Serve warm with dip on the side.
Easy Dill Dip
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve or up to a week.
Looking for other kid-friendly dinner ideas??
Baked Spaghetti Cups (with Veggies!)
Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Rainbow Fried Rice (or Quinoa)
So good! My fish-iffy daughter inhaled these and then told us the leftovers where her’s! If that isn’t a rave review, I don’t know what is!
These are delicious and pretty easy to whip up! I had quite a bit of leftover sauce and repurposed it by making a small batch of potato salad – yum.
So so glad you guys enjoyed the recipe!! And thank you for taking the time to leave a review!!
These went down a storm! Had to make a second batch the next night as they were requested again (by my husband and son!) My little one has a whole long list of food allergies so i used 1 TB of tapioca starch to replace the egg, almond flour in place of the bread crumbs in the mixture, and a mixture of almond flour with dehydrated riced cauliflower for the outer breadcrumbs. They held together beautifully pan fried! Usually a major major problem for any sort of nugget i sub the egg out of. I did use frozen cod which was probably wetter, i think that helped. A tip for anyone asking for allergy substitutes!
Thank you for always providing substitution suggestions, it really is such a huge help for which i could not possibly express my appreciation enough. My lo is allergic to wheat, eggs, peanuts, peas, lentils, and his eczema really flairs up with seeds and other legumes so I’m always grasping at straws for safe recipes. You are appreciated!!!
Wow, Alma, thank you for this kind and helpful review. I can’t imagine the stress you have with feeding a little one with those allergies. Thank you for sharing your adaptation of the recipe. Please reach out anytime if you have questions or need a different recipe to fit your needs. All the best, Heather
These are so good!! They get on our meal plan at least once a month and everyone loves them.
Hi DeAne! So glad you love the recipe. Thank you so much for letting me know! 🙂 Heather
Excited to try this out! Could I make the nuggets the night before and refrigerate prior to cooking next day? Thank you!
Hi Kristin, Yes, I think that would work well. Let me know how it goes. :)Heather
I served these right after daycare because that is the only time my 3 year old will eat. She normally ONLY eats fruit but she loved these! She ate 6 or 7 and I am so happy to see her eating protein!
Hi Jessica! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit with your little one. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review!
Great recipe…i added chopped spinach and still eaten!
Hi Aileen, Such a great idea to add some spinach! So glad you enjoyed the recipes and thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review. 🙂 Heather