This fried catfish is crispy on the outside with a breading that is seasoned to perfection.
The outside might be crisp, but the fish is tender and flaky on the inside!
This is the southern-style fried catfish. It is a delicious addition to any meal. Make it a full southern dinner with a side of hush puppies and fried green tomatoes or keep it simple with some french fries (chips). The southern recipes is sure to be a hit from the well-breaded fish to the flakey meat inside.
What Is Fried Catfish?
Catfish is a type of fish often caught in rivers and small lakes by novice and experienced fishermen which makes it a summer favorite in many homes as people bring home their catches. You can also simply opt to buy it prepared from a grocery store if fishing isn’t your thing.
This catfish is breaded in a seasoned batter and then fried in a pot of boiling oil for a perfectly cooked fillet of fish packed with flavor and crunchy texture in every bite. You’re going to love this ultimate southern fried catfish recipe!
- Catfish Fillets
- All-Purpose Flour
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Oil for frying
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
How To Make Fried Catfish Fillets
- Place vegetable oil in a deep skillet and allow that to heat up. Ultimately you want your oil temperature to be 350-375 degrees.
- Place buttermilk in a shallow bowl.
- For the cornmeal breading, combine the cornmeal, flour, and Old Bay Seasoning in another shallow bowl.
- Working with one fillet at a time, soak catfish in buttermilk, dredge the soggy fish in the flour mixture and fry fillets for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
- Turn your fish and fry the second side until it is also golden brown.
- Drain your deep-fried fish on a baking sheet covered in paper towels.
- If you do not have buttermilk (I rarely do) place 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup and add enough regular milk to yield 1 cup. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
- Adjust the amount of Old Bay Seasoning to your taste. You can also whisk in garlic powder, onion powder, and parsley flakes for a more seasoned cornmeal mixture.
- As you add fish to your hot oil, make sure you avoid overcrowding your pan. Only add a few fillets at a time. Overcrowding will cause the oil temperature to go down, which will require you to fry your fish longer.
- Allow your fish to drain before serving. I recommend placing them on a plate of paper towels or a wire rack above a baking sheet.
What Is The Best Oil To Fry Catfish In?
You can fry your fish in any oil of choice, but the most beloved oil for frying fish is to use peanut oil. The next two big options would be to use Crisco or lard. That said, it’s much more likely that you have canola oil on hand, and you can use that if desired. You don’t need a deep fryer for this recipe because any deep sided pot or dutch oven could work well.
Why Is My Fried Catfish Mushy?
The oil temperature has the biggest influence on the outcome of your catfish. If you add your fish to the oil before it has had time to come to temperature, then the breading on your fish will absorb all the oil.
To get that golden nice and crispy fish, it is imperative that your oil is at the correct temperature. Using a cooking thermometer is the best way to ensure the correct temperature. Also make sure that your catfish has reached an internal temperature of 145 degrees F before consuming.
What To Serve With This Southern Fried Catfish
Hot sauce for starters! Other side ideas are tartar sauce and these recipes:
Crisp arugula is the base for this flavor BLT salad! All the classic BLT ingredients are presented alongside a creamy, dilly dressing. This is the kind of salad this is satisfying all on its own! This crisp and tangy cucumber salad recipe is a fabulous BBQ side dish, but I can eat it all by itself! One thing about this side dish is it is easy to assemble and always a crowd pleaser! This hush puppy recipe will knock your socks off with it’s bold, Tex-Mex flavor! Serve these soft and moist hush-puppies as a side or an appetizer. No matter what, they are sure to disappear!
Easy Side Dish Recipes
Cucumber Salad Recipe
Tex Mex Hush Puppy
Crisp arugula is the base for this flavor BLT salad! All the classic BLT ingredients are presented alongside a creamy, dilly dressing. This is the kind of salad this is satisfying all on its own!
This crisp and tangy cucumber salad recipe is a fabulous BBQ side dish, but I can eat it all by itself! One thing about this side dish is it is easy to assemble and always a crowd pleaser!
This hush puppy recipe will knock your socks off with it’s bold, Tex-Mex flavor! Serve these soft and moist hush-puppies as a side or an appetizer. No matter what, they are sure to disappear!
Southern Fried Catfish Recipe
Southern fried catfish is crispy on the outside but tender and flaky on the inside! Each perfectly seasoned bite just melts in your mouth!
- 4 catfish fillets
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- oil for frying
- salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Oil is ready when the handle of a wooden spoon is placed in the oil if bubbles form around the handle the oil is ready!
Place buttermilk in a shallow dish. In a separate bowl stir together the cornmeal, flour, seasoning, salt, and pepper. When oil is ready, coat one fish fillet in buttermilk then dredge in cornmeal mixture. Carefully place fish in hot oil. Fry fish for 4-5 minutes, turn and fry the second side for another 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove fish and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining fillets.
Serve fish immediately.
Amount Per Serving Calories 810Total Fat 51gSaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 89mgSodium 239mgFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 31g
Jen | Baked by an Introvert says
It was so wonderful to meet you and your daughter during our Panama Canal Cruise with Princess! The cuisine onboard was definitely top notch. And now I’m drooling over catfish. Looking forward to making this for Harry!
April Woods says
those look AMAZING!!! ah, will definitely have to make them. and you know wesley loves catfish 🙂
Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
This looks perfect, I know that my guys would go crazy for them. They love fish. The Bayou Cafe on the ship was so good – next up you need to recreate those fries!
Kristen Chidsey says
You sold me on a cruise! And while this fish looks incredible, I am afraid I am just not into fish at all 🙁 But my family would love it!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed says
Such a flavorful recipe!
I can’t wait to make this for the family.
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says
Your catfish looks absolutely perfect. I am so glad we finally had the chance to meet on this cruise. What a fantastic time we had!!
Just made this for the first time…actually my first time making catfish! It was so simple and so tasty. Thank you. I looked at so many other recipes but glad I followed yours for the simplicity and the outcome! Thank you. I can’t wait to make it again!
I love this recipe and have made it several times but currently there seems to be an error on the website and I can’t see the ingredient measurements
Tanya Schroeder says
Thank you Gina, for bringing that to my attention, I have fixed the problem!
Hey! Do you take the photos yourself? They’re always amazing and make me so hungry!
Tanya Schroeder says
Hi Pauline, I do, it’s been fun learning photography. Thank you so much for the incredible complement!