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Southern Fried Catfish


Southern Fried Catfish

Southern Fried Catfish

Holly A. Heyser
This is my recipe for Southern fried catfish. Like many great dishes, this one has lots of variations, and I provide a few in the links below. This version of fried catfish is quick, easy and inexpensive, so it is a great way to eat fish on a budget. Make sure you use good-quality catfish and make sure your oil is hot, otherwise the fish will absorb too much and it will taste greasy. This recipe serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 18 minutes


  • 4 skinless catfish fillets
  • 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
  • 2 T. baking powder
  • 2 T. kosher salt
  • 1 t.. cayenne
  • 1/2 t. celery seed (optional)
  • 1/2 t. ground cinammon
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1 T. sweet paprika
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder and all the spices. Alternatively, you could use a mix like Lawry's seasoned salt or something from Zatarain's. My mixture is pretty good, though -- I especially like what the celery seeds add to the mix.

Pour vegetable oil (I use canola) to a depth of about 2-3 inches into a pot large enough to hold at least two of the catfish fillets AND that has pretty high sides; a Dutch oven is good, but so is a big cast-iron skillet.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it gets to be between 330 and 350 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, flick a drop of water into the oil and if it sizzles away immediately, you're good to go.

Dredge the catfish into the seasoned cornmeal, shake off the excess and place into the hot oil. Let it sizzle for 2 minutes or so and then turn the heat down to medium. If the fillets are not submerged in the oil, turn once after about 4 minutes. Cook on the other side for another 4 minutes. The fillets should cook for 6-8 minutes total.

Remove the catfish carefully and let drain on a rack. Add the other fillets and when they are done, serve at once. I like fried catfish with red beans and rice and a beer, but you could go anywhere with this. Enjoy!

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