Catfish is a common ingredient in Southern cuisine, but it’s not as popular in other parts of the US. It’s time we change that. This freshwater fish is incredibly versatile and tastes just as good whether you pan-fry, bake, broil, grill, or deep fry it. When cooked correctly, catfish turns out flaky and tender, just like cod and other white fish.
Not sure where to start? Check out some of our favorite unique and flavorful catfish recipes that you absolutely must try!
1. Pan-Fried Cajun Blackened Catfish
Cajun blackened seasoning and catfish go together like peanut butter and jelly. This easy entree is ready in under half an hour, and you only need four ingredients! It’s also super easy to make — if you can melt butter and sear meat in a pan, you can make this tasty meal. Just remember to ventilate your kitchen because the seasoning tends to smoke a little as it cooks.
2. Baked Catfish
If you want a flavorful and effortless meal, look no further! A handful of ingredients and 30 minutes are all you need to make this delicacy. Simply season the catfish with salt and black pepper, then throw in cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh lemon slices and bake. This succulent baked catfish pairs well with cooked pasta or rice if you want to turn it into a full-course meal.
3. Spicy Sweet Cast Iron Catfish
This cast iron catfish recipe calls for a sweet and spicy rub, which is sure to wake up your tastebuds! The dry rub consists of brown sugar, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper and will infuse the catfish with a medley of flavors. Cook the fish on a cast iron pan for three to four minutes per side. Serve hot!
4. Cornmeal Fried Catfish
You can’t get much more Southern than this, so get ready to host a catfish fry once you master this fried catfish recipe. To prepare your catfish fillets, combine cornmeal, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and dredge each of the catfish fillets. Fry the catfish for about 10 minutes, garnish with some lemon wedges, and serve!
5. Pineapple Honey Bourbon Grilled Catfish
Grilled catfish never tasted so good! This recipe comes with a honey, bourbon, and pineapple marinade that’s perfect for a summer meal. You only have to marinate the fish for 30 minutes and season each fillet with salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Cook them for about 20 minutes. You’ll be drooling at every bite of this grilled fish dish!
6. Catfish Sandwiches
Switch things up with this simple but delicious catfish sandwich. All you need to do is season the catfish with Creole seasoning, then cook it on a pan for six to eight minutes. To assemble your sandwich, dress your toasted buns with some homemade Creole mayo layered with lettuce, tomato, sweet pickle relish, and fish. Rest assured, this is no ordinary fish sandwich!
7. Broiled Catfish with Thyme Bread Crumbs
The breadcrumb topping is the pièce de résistance of this catfish recipe. It’s made by toasting breadcrumbs with dried thyme and a hint of cayenne pepper. Once the fish is almost cooked, sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and broil for another minute before serving.
8. Pan-Fried Catfish with Spicy Pecan Gremolata
Gremolata is an herb and citrus garnish that pairs beautifully with fish. And this recipe adds a crunchy texture to regular pan-fried catfish. To make, simply blend parsley sprigs, lemon and orange zest, glazed pecans, garlic, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Leave the gremolata somewhat chunky, then use some of it to garnish your freshly cooked catfish fillets.
9. Crispy Broiled Catfish
This flavorful catfish recipe calls for a seasoned coating made with cornmeal, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, and dried thyme. The catfish fillets are dredged in a milk and egg mixture, then generously coated on all sides in the seasoned cornmeal. Broil the catfish for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them halfway through. This light, flavorful dish can be served with any of your favorite Southern sides.
10. Catfish Nuggets
Swap out regular old chicken nuggets for these addictive catfish nuggets! The catfish nuggets are coated in seasoned cornmeal before being fried until golden. They’re incredibly delicious and super easy to make. Just make sure you drain the excess oil on paper towels before serving them with tartar sauce. Enjoy!
11. Pecan Crusted Catfish
Nothing screams Southern cuisine quite like catfish and pecans — it’s a combination that’s virtually impossible to go wrong with. The recipe claims to be “skinny”, and we wholeheartedly agree, since it cuts out all the excess calories that would be there if it was fried. You can make this crunchy yet flaky catfish recipe with minimal effort. Give it a try!
12. Grilled Blackened Catfish with Cilantro Lime Butter
Butter makes everything better — as this dish proves! We love the idea of having grilled blackened catfish with some zesty cilantro lime compound butter. You can make the compound butter by warming up the butter to room temperature, then stirring in cilantro, garlic, and lime juice. Add a dollop of that to your grilled catfish, and your zesty, buttery meal is ready!
13. Southern Pan-Fried Catfish
A classic Southern catfish dish! This recipe calls for just eight ingredients, but the end result tastes heavenly. Begin by seasoning the catfish fillets with Creole seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Dip them in buttermilk and coat each piece of catfish in an all-purpose flour and cornmeal breading. We suggest frying in batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Dig in!
14. Black Walnut-Crusted Catfish with Maple Butter Sauce
This unique catfish recipe calls for cooking the catfish with a coating of black walnuts, but it’s the maple butter sauce that really elevates this dish. The sauce is really easy to make — just boil some maple syrup and whisk in softened butter. The sweet sauce combined with the nutty walnuts takes the naturally mild flavor of the golden-fried catfish to a whole new level.
15. Creamy Catfish Chowder
If you like creamy soups, you’ll fall in love with this catfish chowder. The main ingredients include catfish, heavy cream, sweet corn, potatoes, onions, clam juice, and bacon. We love this one-pot meal because it is easy to make and ready to eat in under an hour. Snuggle up with a warm bowl of this creamy, nutritious chowder on cold winter evenings!