Easy Fish Recipes for Kids

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Want to introduce your kids to seafood? These easy fish recipes are guaranteed to help your picky eater overcome the biggest complaint about fish dinners.

A serving of fish and chips has a lemon wedge on the side.

I have so much sympathy for picky eaters because, for years and years, I was one myself. Lent was so hard for me as a kid because the endless stream of fish dinners on Fridays were hard for me to tolerate.

It took moving to Rhode Island as a newlywed and some positive peer pressure from my husband before I finally learned to love fish.

He eased me into it just the right way so I've tried to share those same lessons with my own kids. 

If you are trying to teach your own kids to appreciate seafood, you'll want the best fish recipes for kids you can get.

But, you'll also need a few tricks for introducing them to this new food.

Once you've got them hooked, your kids will be fans of these healthy fish dishes for life!

Looking for more meatless recipes for Lent that go beyond just fish? Don't miss our family favorites:

How to Introduce Fish to Kids

Be prepared with a few handy tricks before you try to serve fish to your kids.

This simple approach will help the first impression be a {mostly} successful one.

But as with all things feeding kids, remember: It takes multiple exposures before a picky eater may tolerate a new food. Do your best with the first try but don't give up!

Consider the Texture

Since fish has such a mild flavor, most picky eaters decline fish because of the texture.

The best way to introduce kids to seafood is to start with a delicious battered version of a white flaky fish like cod or a breadcrumb topped white fish like my baked fish with breadcrumbs

That crispy outer coating is both delicious and familiar in texture for kids. It also helps to "hide" the fish underneath something they recognize from breaded chicken.

The best news is that you can find totally delicious battered cod fillets ready to bake right from the freezer section at your grocery store. My girls also love battered tilapia from Costco.

Either way, a delicate, white, flaky fish is usually the easiest place to start with kids. 

Baked Fish with Breadcrumbs
Crispy baked fish with breadcrumbs takes just 5 minutes to prep and cooks in 15 minutes or less. This light seafood dinner recipe tastes great when served with rice pilaf and an easy green veggie.
5 from 1 vote
The breaded fish is on a blue plate with a scoop of rice pilaf.

A Helpful Note from My Kids

When I told Little Pea I was trying to help other moms get their kids to eat fish, she said:

"Be sure to tell them to cut it up into little pieces and let their kids eat it with a pick!" 

I laughed, because that's exactly how I served battered cod to them when we first started out. A little food pick goes a long way, apparently!

Both girls will now gobble up the breaded filets whenever I serve them.

Add Flavor

Once kids are used to the flaky texture of white fish, the next step is to introduce them to a fish without the breaded coating

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You can find marinated fish in the frozen section of your grocery store, but making your own seasoned fish is so easy.

Kids will likely be more willing to try it if it is prepared from fresh fish.

Some of the non-breaded fish recipes my kids have loved include:

Oven Baked Salmon

Pick one of these best spices for salmon and then just bake it in the oven for a simple dinner for kids.

Oven Baked Salmon
This simple oven baked salmon is perfect for beginner cooks or for a busy weeknight. Just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes to a delicious and healthy dinner.
5 from 39 votes
A platter of oven baked salmon next to roasted asparagus has a fork showing the flaky pink fish.

Mustard Glazed Salmon

This mustard glazed salmon has a slightly sweet glaze that gives the salmon a delicious crunchy coating on top. It is a huge family-favorite.

Broiled Mustard Glazed Salmon
Brush the mustard glaze over the salmon and broil it for a fast and easy fish dinner for your family even on a busy weeknight.
5 from 1 vote
The salmon filet is coated in a brown sugar and mustard glaze and served on a white plate next to a bed of baby spinach.

Seasoned Tilapia

My kids love grilled tilapia fresh off the grill. This recipe isn't too spicy but can definitely be toned down a bit if your kids like milder flavors.

Grilled Tilapia
This is the easiest way to grill tilapia without it falling apart. Season it with your choice of spice blends for a healthy dinner. The seasoned tilapia is perfect on its own or made into a fish sandwich.
5 from 1 vote
The grilled tilapia is on a dinner plate with a dollop of dill aoli, red rice, and a cob of corn.

Seasoned Air Fryer Shrimp

You can mix and match your favorite shrimp seasonings and pop them in the air fryer for a quick dinner.

If you plan to use frozen shrimp, be sure to learn how to thaw frozen shrimp properly so it doesn't taste soggy.

Air Fryer Shrimp
Learn how to cook frozen shrimp in an air fryer for a fast and easy appetizer or seafood dinner on a busy night. Season the shrimp and use them to add to a pasta dish, top a salad, wrap in a tortilla for shrimp tacos, or add to a healthy rice bowl.
5 from 1 vote
A platter of cooked shrimp next to a dipping cup of sauce for dunking.

Dunk It

By far the best trick for teaching kids to love seafood is a total classic -- a little dipping sauce goes a long way with fussy eaters.

This works the best for a breaded fish that has been cut up into bite-sized chunks or with a roasted shrimp cocktail platter.

Make it a game! Mix up a few different sauces and put them in cute little cups. Have your kids do a taste-test contest to see which one they like best.

Find a list of our favorite dipping sauces for shrimp and fish here.

Wrap It or Hide It

Sometimes kids just can't get past the food that is right in front of their face. They can SEE the fish and therefore will not TRY the fish. 

In this instance, it is best to incorporate the seafood into an already loved dish.

Here are some of my personal favorite fish recipes that hide the fish behind a texture that kids love:

Fish Tacos

Bake a package of breaded fish sticks and tuck them inside your child's favorite tortilla (crunchy or soft shell) and top with their favorite taco toppings.

My easy pineapple salsa is perfect partner for seafood.

Pineapple Salsa for Tacos
Make this fresh pineapple salsa to spoon over your favorite shrimp, fish, or chicken tacos. It adds a burst of citrus juice and tons of flavor to every bite. You could also spoon it over grilled fish or baked chicken seasoned with blackening spices or jerk seasoning for an easy family dinner.
5 from 1 vote
The white bowl filled with pineapple salsa.

Shrimp Scampi

My girls will eat almost anything if there is garlic butter and pasta involved.

Skip the chicken and swap in roasted shrimp for my copycat Olive Garden scampi recipe or make this easy baked shrimp scampi with breadcrumbs, there will be plenty of sauce to spoon over pasta if your kids prefer.

Baked Shrimp Scampi with Breadcrumbs
This easy baked shrimp recipe is delicious served as an appetizer or as a dinner entree spooned over pasta or with crispy fresh bread. The buttery bread crumb topping adds crunch while the lemon butter sauce keeps the shrimp tender.
5 from 1 vote
A pan with shrimp with a thick bread crumb topping over the top.

Shrimp Po'boy Sandwiches

Spicy shrimp hiding inside a delicious dinner roll topped with remoulade sauce. This is great for hiding the shrimp but still providing the yummy taste.

Remoulade Sauce for Crab Cakes
This spicy cajun remoulade sauce for crab cakes is a great dipping sauce for shrimp or po'boy sandwich spread, too! Made from easy things you have in your pantry mixed with a few classic creole ingredients for a creamy sauce you'll want to use again and again.
4.97 from 52 votes
The remoulade sauce is on a plate with mini crab cakes and a spoon. Lemon wedges are scattered around and green onions sprinkled on top.

Spicy Jambalaya

Mixing shrimp with approved proteins like chicken and sausage and covering it with a tasty sauce to mask the fishy flavor is a great way to introduce kids to seafood.

They can just get a bite or two in their serving to try it out and enjoy the other textures they love over a yummy bowl of rice.

Slowcooker Jambalaya
This hearty chicken jambalaya features spicy sausage and tender shrimp and plenty of savory vegetables. To stretch the meal even further, stir in cooked rice for a comforting stew your family will love!
5 from 1 vote
The cooked sausage and peppers and celery in a slow cooker.

Have Them Cook It Themselves

There are several kid-friendly recipes for seafood in The Totally Awesome Ultimate Kids' Cookbook.

I believe it is always way more likely a child will be willing to taste something new when they helped to prepare it themselves.

I was sure to include:

  • Our family's favorite salmon recipe
  • A magic crunchy-coating that is great for topping any fish
  • A one-pan sheet pan recipe for roasted shrimp and veggies
  • And so many more delicious dinner ideas you both will love

Best Recipes for Kids

Get all the best tips for cooking with kids here:


  1. This is really helpful! My oldest absolutely refuses because of the texture. So here we go. I will update you on the progress. Thanks for posting these helpful ideas! Starting with breaded cod tonight!

  2. Pingback: 30 meatless meals for Lent your kids will actually eat - Peanut Blossom

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