This post may contain affiliate links.

I can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE these Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets! They are crispy, delicious, and super easy to make.

Catfish Nuggets on a white pate with coleslaw

We love catfish nuggets any old time of the week. Especially on those busy weeknights, though, when we need a quick and tasty meal.

This is one of those foods that we hardly ever have left overs with. Lily especially gobbles them down. I have to try and keep her away from the wire rack when I pull them out, haha!

Fried catfish is perfect for a fun dinner, a party appetizer, or even a snack. Plus, cooking it in the air fryer means they’re a bit healthier than deep-frying, but still super crispy!

Crispy breaded catfish nuggets are a fantastic way to enjoy fish in a fun, bite-sized form. The combination of cornmeal and Cajun seasoning gives them a wonderful crunch and a bit of spice.

Growing up, I can’t count the number of times we had catfish in the deep fryer. It’s just one of those southern things.

If you’ve never cooked with catfish before, don’t worry! It’s a mild fish that takes on flavors really well, making it great for recipes like this.

Let’s dive into these easy and delicious Catfish Nuggets and see why it’s one of our favorites!

up close image of finished Catfish Nuggets

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  1. Crispy and Flavorful: The cornmeal mixture creates a perfect crispy coating, and the Cajun seasoning adds just the right amount of spice.
  2. Easy and Quick: Using an air fryer makes this recipe quick and easy, perfect for busy weeknights.
  3. Versatile: These nuggets can be enjoyed as a main dish, appetizer, or snack and pair well with various dips and sides.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED (SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR THE FULL RECIPE CARD):

  • Catfish
  • Buttermilk
  • Egg
  • Cornmeal
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper
ingredients needed to make Catfish Nuggets

HOW TO MAKE CATFISH NUGGETS:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 390°F.
  2. Cut the catfish into 1″ pieces and set aside.
  3. In a shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg.
  4. In a second shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper until completely mixed.
  5. Dredge each catfish nugget in the cornmeal mixture, then the egg mixture (allow the excess egg to drip off), then again in the cornmeal mixture.
  6. Set the breaded catfish nuggets aside on a clean plate.
  7. Once all catfish nuggets are breaded, spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray. Place some of the nuggets into the basket and spray the top with more olive oil; you will have to cook in batches. (The batches will depend on the size of your air fryer.)
  8. Cook for 5 minutes, flipping the nuggets at the halfway point. They are done when an internal temperature reaches at least 145°F.
collage of images showing how to make Catfish Nuggets in the air fryer

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

Yes, you can fry these nuggets in 350°F hot oil for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

You can also bake them in the oven at 400°F on a lined baking sheet for about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Absolutely! You can use other mild fish like tilapia or cod if you don’t have catfish.

Just cut them into similar-sized pieces and follow the same steps.

overhead image of Catfish Nuggets on a white plate with slaw

This recipe isn’t the only way to go.

Try out a few of these ideas to change things up as you please.

  • Garlic Powder: Add garlic powder to the cornmeal mixture for extra flavor.
  • Onion Powder: Sprinkle in some onion powder for a savory kick.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.
  • Paprika: Use smoked paprika for a subtle smoky flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Mix grated Parmesan into the cornmeal for a cheesy twist.
  • Lemon Zest: Add lemon zest to the breading for a fresh, citrusy note.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Mix panko breadcrumbs with cornmeal for extra crunch.
  • Chopped Herbs: Add fresh chopped parsley or dill to the breading.
  • Tartar Sauce: Serve with homemade tartar sauce for dipping.

I’ve always got some subs for you!

I know that sometimes there are dietary needs or just flavor preferences.

Let me know how these turn out!

  • Yellow Corn Flour: Substitute yellow cornmeal with yellow corn flour for a finer texture.
  • Sour Cream: Use sour cream mixed with a bit of milk instead of buttermilk.
  • Gluten-Free Flour: Replace all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend.
  • Italian Seasoning: Use Italian seasonings instead of Cajun seasoning for a different flavor profile.
  • Olive Oil: Substitute vegetable oil with olive oil for a different taste.
  • Egg Whites: Use egg whites instead of a whole egg for a lighter option.
a hand holding up 1 piece of Catfish Nuggets in air

Refrigerator: Store any leftover catfish nuggets in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Reheat them in the air fryer or oven at 350°F for 2-3 minutes to maintain crispiness.

Freezer: You can freeze the breaded, uncooked catfish nuggets. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid.

Transfer to a freezer bag and store for up to 3 months.

Cook from frozen in the air fryer at 390°F, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

You can also freeze them cooked for up to 3 months.

DANA’S TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Make sure your air fryer is preheated to ensure the nuggets cook evenly and get crispy.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Cook the nuggets in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, which helps them cook evenly.
  • Use Parchment Paper: Place a piece of parchment paper in the air fryer basket to prevent sticking if desired.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste the Cajun seasoning before adding salt, as some blends can be quite salty.
  • Try Different Dips: Serve the nuggets with different dips like tartar sauce, ranch, or spicy mayo for variety.
  • Keep Warm: If making large batches, keep cooked nuggets warm in a 170°F or lower oven while you finish cooking the rest.
Catfish Nuggets stacked with a bite taken out to show the interior

Catfish Nuggets are a delicious and easy way to enjoy fish.

They’re perfect for a quick dinner, a fun appetizer, or a tasty snack.

My family loves them, and I’m sure yours will, too. 

If you’ve tried these CATFISH NUGGETS, let me know how it turned out in the comments! You can follow me over on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK to find some more of our mouthwatering recipes! 

This Silly Girls Kitchen Logo
5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Crispy Catfish Nuggets Recipe

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
I can’t tell you enough how much I LOVE these Air Fryer Catfish Nuggets! They are crispy, delicious, and super easy to make.
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 390°F.
  • In a shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and egg.
    1/3 cup buttermilk, 1 large egg
  • In a second shallow bowl, combine the cornmeal, all-purpose flour, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper until completely mixed.
    1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning, Salt to taste, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dredge each catfish nugget in the cornmeal mixture, then the egg mixture (allow the excess egg to drip off), then again in the cornmeal mixture.
    1 pound catfish
  • Set the breaded catfish nuggets aside on a clean plate.
  • Once all catfish nuggets are breaded, spray the air fryer basket with olive oil spray. Place some of the nuggets into the basket and spray the top with more olive oil; you will have to cook in batches. (The batches will depend on the size of your air fryer.)
  • Cook for 5 minutes, flipping the nuggets at the halfway point. They are done when an internal temperature reaches at least 145°F.

Notes

  • Preheat the Air Fryer: Make sure your air fryer is preheated to ensure the nuggets cook evenly and get crispy.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Cook the nuggets in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket, which helps them cook evenly.
  • Use Parchment Paper: Place a piece of parchment paper in the air fryer basket to prevent sticking if desired.
  • Adjust Seasoning: Taste the Cajun seasoning before adding salt, as some blends can be quite salty.
  • Try Different Dips: Serve the nuggets with different dips like tartar sauce, ranch, or spicy mayo for variety.
  • Keep Warm: If making large batches, keep cooked nuggets warm in a 170°F or lower oven while you finish cooking the rest.

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 565mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1012IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Love This Recipe?

Follow @ThisSillyGirlsKitchen on Instagram and @danadevolk on Pinterest for more!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Posts