Fried catfish

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This classic southern fried catfish recipe is dredged in a seasoned cornmeal patty and seasoned and fried until tender on the inside and crisp golden brown on the outside. Serve this delicious fried fish with my fried shrimp and serve it with some lemon wedges, tartar sauce and coleslaw just in case! If you love this catfish, try this tutorial on How to fry fish and these recipes for oven-fried catfish and fish and chips.

Learn how to make the perfect southern fried catfish recipe

Since the beginning of the New Year, I have been going through the "fishing phase". Almost every day I find myself eager for tender, moist and flaky steaks of almost any seafood I can get my hands on. I mean, what's there to dislike? It can be baked, sautéed, roasted and, best of all, fried.

A southern girl knows her fried fish – shrimp, snapper, and catfish alike. I grew up attending church-sponsored fish fries and watching my grandmother and family members dredge steaks in spiced cornmeal. Fish is always served hot and crisp with enough oil to cover your fingertips. Just how I like it.

Today's recipe is the last southern fried catfish: a quintessential southern recipe passed down from my Big Mama. Get ready for the spicy, crisp, and salty fish he's asking to be served for dinner tonight!

What is fried catfish?

The fried catfish brings dreams of crisp and crispy fried delight. My mouth watering at the thought of that first initial bite: the tasty crust that gives way to tender, flaky fish. There is nothing like seafood fried with fresh lemon and served with cubes of tartar sauce.

In the south, catfish is a popular source of protein that is low in fat and calories. Farm catfish is also a clean and sustainable source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Although frying your fish is not the healthiest option, it still gets most of its health benefits (and delicious food).

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How to fry catfish

This may come as a shock to you, but fried catfish is not very difficult to do. It's really as simple as buying fresh fish, making a well-seasoned crust, and brushing up on some frying skills. From start to finish, this recipe takes no more than an hour to prepare.

This is how you do it:

Use fresh fish

Avoid any fish that have a fishy smell; fresh fish should smell like clean water. Trust me, the smell is an indication of bad tasting old fish. I personally prefer steaks, but you can use anything for this recipe, from whole catfish to catfish fillets. It comes down to a preference.

Heat your oil to the correct temperature

If you haven't invested in one yet, now is the time to buy a frying thermometer. Heating the oil to the correct temperature ensures that the dough will create a barrier between the oil and the fish. If the temperature is too low, the fish will absorb the oil. If the temperature is too high, the outside will burn before the fish is cooked.

Do not overload the oil

Be patient. Just put 2-3 pieces of fish in the oil at a time. Overcrowding your fryer will lower the oil temperature and make the fish soggy. PS You can fry or fry in a cast iron skillet.

Set up a wire rack

I'm sure you're used to the classic plate full of paper towels to soak up the grease. Although this may be a tried and true method, I have a better one. Place a metal cooling rack on top of a tray and place it next to the fryer. Once out of the fryer, leave the fish there and get ready for the crunchiest fish you've ever tried.

What do I serve with catfish?

I am a big fan of good old-fashioned fried fish. There's something so wonderfully classic about a few fried fish fillets served with fries, fried pickles, fried onion rings, coleslaw or thick-cut vinegar fries, and iced sweet tea.

Tip: Make it Chicago-style and serve with spaghetti! Fried fish and spaghetti are a delicacy where I come from!

Do you want to create a little balance? Serve a fresh salad or heavy vegetable succotash.


The fried catfish will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days. If you want to store your fish longer, you can freeze leftovers for up to a month. Just be sure to put the fish in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

To reheat, allow the catfish to reach room temperature while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Place the catfish on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes (or until heated through). The oven is the best way to keep that exterior crisp.


Why stop the party here? Follow up with some of the BEST seafood recipes! Enjoy.

Fried catfish recipe

This classic southern fried catfish recipe is dredged in a perfectly flavored and flavored cornmeal breading and fried until golden and tender.

Course: main course

Cuisine: soul food, south, south

Keyword: catfish, fish, fried recipe, seafood, seafood recipes

Preparation time: 15 minutes.

Cook time: 25 minutes.

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 8 servings

Calories: 136kcal


  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt up to 2 teaspoons / taste seasoned cornmeal and adjust
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 lb catfish fillets
  • lemon wedges, tartar sauce and hot sauce to serve


  • In a brown bag or ziploc bag, add cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon, and paprika and shake together.

  • In a deep pie plate or large shallow bowl, beat eggs and hot sauce.

  • Add each fillet to beaten eggs on both sides, then add to cornmeal breading and shake generously to coat well. Place the steak on the coated baking sheet. Repeat with each fillet.

  • Let the fish sit for about 10-15 minutes in the refrigerator and then remove it.

  • In a large Dutch oven, pot, or deep fryer, pour about 4 inches of oil and heat over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches about 340 degrees.

  • Working in batches, fry fillets until golden brown, then remove and drain on wire racks or paper towels.

  • Chill for 5-10 minutes and then serve with lemon and chopped parsley.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 13 g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 508 mg | Potassium: 261 mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 170 IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1 mg

catfish fried

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