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Fried catfish on parchment paper with remoulade sauce and lemon wedges next to them.

Fried Catfish

This Fried Catfish recipe is an easy dinner that the whole family will love. The cornmeal and whole wheat flour breading creates a delicious crust that’s kicked up with Old Bay Seasoning.

Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
Prep: 15 minutesCook: 15 minutesTotal: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (or more to your preference)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Avocado oil (sub: peanut oil or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, skin and dark fatty tissue under the skin removed
  • For serving: lemon wedges, Remoulade Sauce, and/or Avocado Aioli

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  1. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Place 1/2 cup flour and the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and the Old Bay Seasoning. Whisk until combined.
  3. In a second shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of water. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. In a third dish, add the other 1/2 cup of flour. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. Dry the catfish fillets with a paper towel. Season lightly with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the catfish on both sides in the flour, then the eggs, and finally coat with the cornmeal mixture on both sides. Lay on the wire rack and finish dredging all the fillets.
  6. In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or cast iron skillet, add just enough oil to cover the bottom in a thin layer. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Important: The oil is ready when you drop some of the cornmeal mix in and it sizzles right away. The oil should not smoke, but it will come close. Adjust the heat as necessary.
  7. Using tongs and working in batches, carefully place catfish fillets in the bottom, making sure they do not touch. Pan fry for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (Note: Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork and is no longer translucent in the middle.) Set the fried fillets on a plate or pan that’s lined with paper towels. Add more oil and adjust the heat in between batches as needed.
  8. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and Cajun Remoulade Sauce. Tip: To keep catfish warm in between batches, put it on a sheet pan in a 200°F oven.


Make Catfish Nuggets: Use our Catfish Nuggets recipe instead.

Gluten-Free Version: Use 1:1 gluten-free baking flour in place of wheat flour.

How to Test for Doneness: Catfish is done when it’s golden brown on the outside and the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C). You can also check by cutting a piece open to ensure the inside is opaque and flakes easily.

© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: American Method: Dutch Oven