15 healthy fish recipes the kids will actually eat (including an Annabel Karmel classic)

From fish pies to crunchy tuna cakes and salmon pasta dishes to fish burgers, we've got lots of delicious and easy fish recipes for kids...

Annabel Karmel's salmon fishcakes
(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

Encourage the kids to enjoy eating fish with these simple, child-friendly fish recipes from cod nuggets, to fish cakes shaped like fish by Annabel Karmel.

"Oily fish can be quite strong in flavour, so when encouraging children to eat it, it can be tempered by mixing it with potato or sweet potato to make fish cakes. This is also a great way to use up leftover mashed potato," says nutritionist Alex Allan

 "White fish, such as pollock or cod, is an excellent choice for growing children, as it is high in protein but low in saturated fats. Proteins help the body repair and grow, and are important for new cell growth.  Rather than buying pre-made fish fingers or coated fish, which often has lots of unnecessary additives, why not make your own fish goujons? Take strips of white fish, dip them in egg and breadcrumbs, and pop them in the oven until cooked. These homemade fish fingers taste great, and will be sure to be a family favourite."

Alex recommends that kids should also be eating oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, and sardines. "It is an excellent source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which forms around 25% of our brain matter. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential, meaning we need to get them from our food as our body can’t make them itself, so it’s important to include these foods in your child’s diet. As well as brain and eye health, research shows that omega 3 fatty acids can be helpful for children in avoiding allergies, improving performance at school, and mitigating symptoms of ADHD."

NHS recommends two portions of oily fish per week. Though Alex says that children should avoid certain types. "Particularly the larger species like shark, swordfish or king mackerel, might be high in mercury or other contaminants, so are best avoided by children," she says.

Delicious fish recipes for kids

150 meals under 500 calories

Little nuggets of goodness

1. Crispy cod nuggets with sweet potato wedges

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

These simple cod nuggets are a great hit of lean protein and are devoid of all the nasties you'd get from packaged freezer versions. Serving them with sweet potato wedges will go down a treat as brushed with honey, they will really hit the kid's sweet spot. Add a good squeeze of lemon and serve with a generous portion of garden peas and perhaps some sweetcorn, too.

Get the recipe: Crispy cod nuggets with sweet potato

Annabel Karmel's salmon fishcakes

Almost too adorable to eat

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

2. Annabel Karmel's salmon fishcakes

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

These cute fish cakes from the queen of kid's cooking will utterly enchant any pre-schooler – in fact, they'll likely be asking for seconds. Getting them used to omega-3-rich fish like salmon from an early age is a good idea, and you can really play around and get creative with the display – sweetcorn for the ocean floor, peas for air bubbles. Fun times.

Get the recipe: Annabel Karmel's salmon fishcakes

Fish burger wraps

Cute little tortilla pockets, like a twist on a classic fish finger sarnie

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

3. Fish burger wraps

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

These soft taco-type treats with white fish are a taste and texture sensation, featuring the crunch of pickles and a creamy tartare sauce (can be swapped for cucumber and mayo respectively if the kids don't like either). A great weekend lunch idea or good for dinner – with perhaps a cheeky side of fries if you're feeling so inclined.

Get the recipe: Fish burger wraps

Potato and salmon fish cakes

Simple and healthy, what's not to love?

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

4. Salmon fish cakes

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

An excellent one for any excess mashed potato from the previous day, this is an easy store cupboard dinner using tinned salmon (though you can of course use fresh, should you prefer). The recipe can be adapted to use other fish, like tinned tuna if that means kids are more likely to eat it – and mackerel fillets would be a fabulous choice too for their healthy fats. Serve with broccoli, green beans, and/or spinach, if the kids can be persuaded…

Get the recipe: Potato and salmon fish cakes

kids' fish recipes

Something looks fishy

(Image credit: Streeter, Clive/FC)

5. Crispy fish bites

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

These homemade fish goujons are simple way tastier and more nutritious than those you've got stashed away in the freezer. There are also simple instructions for how to make your own tartare sauce. Serve them with skinny fries or potato wedges and cherry tomatoes and cucumber batons on the side. Oh and don't forget the lemon.

Get the recipe: Crispy fish bites

Tuna pasta bake

Winner, winner, family dinner

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

6. Tuna pasta bake

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

A filling, balanced family feeder of a dish, a tuna pasta bake is a classic. It's a great way of sneaking all kinds of veg into the kid's diet – finely chopped red pepper, onions, olives, mushroom, and sweetcorn are all great in the mix. This one is topped with not just cheese but the trashy but brilliant idea of crunched-up crisps for extra, well, crunch. We also advise a couple of anchovy fillets in the tomato sauce for a great depth of flavour and a further hit of omega 3s healthy fats. 

Get the recipe: Tuna pasta bake

Salmon and pea tagliatelle

Creamy and comforting – perfection

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

7. Creamy salmon tagliatelle

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 15 mins

With just six ingredients (though we would recommend adding some lemon zest and garlic for extra flavour), this pasta dish is a simple triumph. Fresh salmon, crème fraîche, your pasta of choice (though tagliatelle works best, we feel), and a stirring through of green peas for colour and freshness. The kids will be converts, and it's a welcome change from the usual pasta pesto.

Get the recipe: Creamy salmon tagliatelle

Tandoori fish bites

Get the kids stuck on Indian flavours

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

8. Tandoori fish bites

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins

A brilliant one for curry night, and a wonderful way to introduce kids to Indian flavours without going too spicy, these fish bites are a welcome change from the usual ways children eat fish. Serve with cucumber batons, rice, raita, and mango chutney. Delicious. 

Get the recipe: Tandoori fish bites

Smoky fish pancake parcels

Pancakes, but not as they know them

9. Smoky fish pancake parcels

Serves: 4 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 10 mins

We never met a kid who didn't love a pancake. Of course, these ones are a step away from Nutella or maple syrup, but we're sure the cheesy leek sauce will be a winner and while the recipe uses smoked haddock, swapping that for unsmoked if the flavour is too strong will be perfectly fine – and won't take away anything nutrition wise. It would also work well with cod, coley, or any other white fish. And, if they eat it all up, then maybe there'll be room for a sweet one afterward. Not that we're bribing them or anything.

Get the recipe: Smoky fish pancake parcels

Fast fish burger

Quick, fresh, and healthy – tick, tick and tick

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

10. Fast fish burger

Serves: 3 | Prep time: 6 mins | Cook time: 6 mins

Never has a burger been speedier to whisk together. White fish with zingy lemon zest and capers, shallow fried and served on soft rolls. Just add cucumber or gherkins, mayonnaise or tartare sauce, and maybe some peppery watercress or other leaves, if the kids can be persuaded. 

Get the recipe: Fast fish burgers

kids' fish recipes

Better than a chippy tea…

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11. Oven-baked fish and chips

Serves: 2 | Prep time: 25 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Massively cut down on the unhealthy saturated fat content of a typical takeaway chippy tea, or deep-fried version made at home. Dust the fish in flour, dip in egg, roll in breadcrumbs and oven bake with the chips. Don't forget lashings of vinegar and ketchup, and some lovely peas on the side for their vitamin quota. Perfect for a Friday night treat.

Get the recipe: Oven baked fish and chips recipe

Tuna and tomato calzone

Like a pizza and a pasty fusion

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

12. Tuna and tomato calzone

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 48 mins | Cook time: 52 mins

One for the weekend, this classic Italian folded pizza recipe tells you how to make your own dough and turn it into something a little more special than the usual Italian fayre.  Most of the fillings – tinned tuna, chopped tomatoes, jarred olives, herbs – are store cupboard basics, and the kids will lap up this twist on their favourite pizza.

Get the recipe: Tuna and tomato calzone

kids' fish recipes

Comfort and joy, right there

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

13. Fish pie

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 1 hr 5 mins

There's little more comforting than a fish pie. Creamy sauce filled with a selection of fish – salmon, cod, and prawns all work wonderfully – and a crispy mash topping is perfection. It's easy to sneak in some veg too, like spring onions and spinach. Serve with a big pile of steaming broccoli and green beans. Like a food hug. 

Get the recipe: Fish pie

jo pratt's fish crumble

A fish pie, but not as we know it

(Image credit: Alamy)

14. Jo Pratt's fish crumble

Serves: 6 | Prep time: 30 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

A spin on a classic fish pie from the cookbook writer and TV chef. Adding a crispier, less creamy texture than the usual mash, the topping here is made from ciabatta crumbs, Parmesan, and olive oil, and, boy, is it tasty. It's a bit posher than your average fish pie too, with tiger prawns and scallops in the mix, and an extra flavour hit from the fresh dill, a herb that marries beautifully with fish. Tarragon would be a good alternative too.

Get the recipe: Jo Pratt's fish crumble


The simple things are sometimes the best

(Image credit: Rights Unknown)

15. Baby-friendly tuna fish cakes

Makes: 15 | Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

These simple fish cakes are perfect for weaning babies over 6 months old, and work great as finger food. The ingredients are super simple with tuna, potato, carrots, and lemon zest in breadcrumbs. They're nice enough for the adults too, you just might want to add some seasoning after cooking and some dipping sauces on the side. And seeing you eat them will encourage the baby to follow suit. 

Get the recipe: Baby-friendly tuna fish cakes

Writer bio pic
Lara Kilner

"We love to eat a lot of fish in our family, the kids are obsessed. I make a lot of salmon dishes, like a lovely ramen with udon noodles, and we eat tons of prawns too. What I don't do enough of is things like making my own fishcakes, as I'm guilty of buying ready-made ones from the supermarket, so working on this recipe collection has encouraged me to make my own, as they're ever so simple and  I know exactly what is in them. I'll also be having a go at the pancake parcels because my daughter is pancake nuts, and the tandoori fish bites sound like the ideal Friday night (healthy) fakeaway treat."

Discover more recipes for kids ages 7 years + as well as ideas for healthy meals for all the family and inspiration for cheap family meals to help keep food costs down

Lara Kilner
Food Writer

Lara Kilner is a writer and editor with two decades of experience in national newspapers, magazines, and websites. She writes about food, lifestyle, travel, health and wellness, and entertainment, and regularly interviews celebrities and people with interesting life stories and experiences. Her foodie content has included interviews with Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Queer Eye’s food expert Antoni Porowski, the Hairy Bikers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Nadiya Hussain.