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Our Fried Catfish Recipe is a crunchy, satisfying dish with a cornmeal coating and dipped in buttermilk. Perfect with practically any side, it is ideal for any weeknight meal.

fried catfish recipe on a plate with sides

I absolutely love fried fish of any kind- but there is something extra special about crunchy cornmeal coating. This Fried Catfish Recipe is one we have been making for such a long time, I’m so happy to share it finally!

The best part of this Southern fried catfish recipe is how easy it is.

You just make the dredge. Dip it in the cornmeal mixture, into the buttermilk mixture, back in the cornmeal, then fry.

I have found this is the best way to get the perfect crispy exterior on catfish. Plus, this also works on basically any fish.

I tend to use it on a thinner, flaky fish instead of a thick-cut fish fillet. It just seems to fry up more evenly.

Also, you can serve any sides you like, or this would even be great on a sandwich. I’m telling you the possibilities are endless.

If you are like me and love a good fried fish, then you must give this Fried Catfish Recipe a try.

Some of our other favorite seafood recipes on our site include: Cod Fish Piccata, Shrimp Boil, and Maryland Lump Crab Cakes Sandwich.

fried catfish recipe on a tan plate

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  1. It makes a lot to feed a crowd with minimal, easy-to-find ingredients.
  2. Use a deep fryer or a pot with oil; this recipe is versatile.
  3. Goes well with any side dish, perfect for any weeknight meal – everyone loves a fish fry!

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

  • Catfish filets
  • Old bay seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Large eggs
  • Buttermilk
  • Hot sauce
  • Oil for frying
ingredients needed to make fried catfish recipe

HOW TO MAKE FRIED CATFISH RECIPE:

  1. Preheat a deep fryer or a Dutch oven with 4 inches of oil up the sidesto 350°F.
  2. Pat the catfish filets dry with paper towels and set them aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the old bay, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  4. Season the fish on both sides with the spices.
  5. In a shallow large bowl, stir together the rest of the seasoning mix, flour, and cornmeal.
  6. In another large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce.
collage of photos showing the first steps on how to make fried catfish recipe
  1. One at a time, place fillets into the cornmeal mixture and coat the fish in the flour. Shake off the excess.
  2. Place it into the egg buttermilk mixture until coated, and let the excess drip off.
  3. Lastly, place it back into the cornmeal crust mixture and coat well. Let the excess shake off and place it on a sheet tray. Repeat with the remaining filets.
collage of images showing how to bread fried catfish recipe
  1. When ready to fry, gently add 1 filet at a time to the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and an internal temperature reaches 145°F. Flip if needed, fish fries very fast, so keep an eye on it.
  2. Place the fried catfish fillets on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil, and then place it on a baking sheet with a wire rack on top. This will help keep the fish crispy.
  3. Repeat with the remaining filet and serve with lemon wedges and sauce of your choice.
collage of images showing how to fry fried catfish recipe

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

DO I HAVE TO USE CATFISH?

No, you can use this same method with other fish, you can also use farm-raised catfish or wild-caught catfish. Here are some suggestions:

  • Flounder
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Bass
  • Haddock

I would suggest using a thinner, flaky fish where possible.

WHAT KIND OF OIL IS THE BEST FOR FRYING?

I prefer to use peanut oil whenever I fry, I find it is a cleaner oil meaning it doesn’t stink up the house as much.

However, any oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil will work.

overhead image of fried catfish recipe on a tan plate

WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS?

Any sides go well with this southern catfish recipe. Here are some of our favorites:

ANY ADDITIONS?

You can add some spices if you wish to the cornmeal coating, here are some ideas:

  • Seafood seasoning like old bay
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chipotle powder

DO I HAVE TO USE A DEEP FRYER?

You don’t need to use one if you don’t have one readily available. A large pot with enough oil to go about 4 inches high, plus additional room on top will work perfectly like a large Dutch oven.

It’s a good idea to use a deep-fry thermometer if you are not using a deep dryer with a temperature regulator.

fried catfish recipe on a tan plate with sides

HOW TO STORE:

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat back in the skillet with a little oil or in the oven on a wire rack over a sheet tray to prevent steaming.

Freeze for up to 3 months.

Place leftovers in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. To thaw, place the dish in the fridge overnight.

DANA’S TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • This makes 8 servings, but you can easily double it to feed more or halve the recipe as needed.
  • Tons of custom options, see my tips above on that.
  • This freezes well, see my tips above on how to store.
  • Use a pot with deep sides if you don’t have a deep fryer.
  • Use other thin, flaky fish in place of catfish.
a fork breaking off a piece of fried catfish recipe on a tan plate to see the interior

Ready to impress everyone at your next fish fry? This Fried Catfish Recipe will be the star!

If you’ve tried this FRIED CATFISH RECIPE, 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 5 votes

Classic Southern Fried Catfish

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Our Fried Catfish Recipe is a crunchy, satisfying dish with a cornmeal coating and dipped in buttermilk. Perfect with practically any side, it is ideal for any weeknight meal.
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat a deep fryer or a Dutch oven with 4 inches of oil up the sidesto 350°F.
  • Pat the catfish filets dry with paper towels and set them aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the old bay, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Season the fish on both sides with the spices.
  • In a shallow large bowl, stir together the rest of the seasoning mix, flour, and cornmeal.
  • In another large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce.
  • One at a time, place fillets into the cornmeal mixture and coat the fish in the flour. Shake off the excess.
  • Place it into the egg buttermilk mixture until coated, and let the excess drip off.
  • Lastly, place it back into the cornmeal crust mixture and coat well. Let the excess shake off and place it on a sheet tray. Repeat with the remaining filets.
  • When ready to fry, gently add 1 filet at a time to the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and an internal temperature reaches 145°F. Flip if needed, fish fries very fast, so keep an eye on it.
  • Place the fried catfish fillets on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil, and then place it on a baking sheet with a wire rack on top. This will help keep the fish crispy.
  • Repeat with the remaining filet and serve with lemon wedges and sauce of your choice.

Notes

Nutrition is calculated without frying oil.
  • This makes 8 servings, but you can easily double it to feed more or halve the recipe as needed.
  • Tons of custom options, see my tips above on that.
  • This freezes well, see my tips above on how to store.
  • Use a pot with deep sides if you don’t have a deep fryer.
  • Use other thin, flaky fish in place of catfish.

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.004g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 415mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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