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Southern Fried Catfish

Here's a recipe for some Good Ol' Southern Fried Catfish using a cornmeal coating and some subtle, yet vibrant flavors.
Categories Easy Dinner
Difficulty Easy
Keyword fried catfish, fried catfish recipe, fried catfish recipes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 289 kcal
Author Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef


  • 3-4 catfish fillets about 1 pound
  • kosher salt to coat fillets
  • ground black pepper to coat fillets
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • vegetable oil to coat fry pan 1/4-inch deep
  • optional: lemon wedges for garnish


  1. Rinse catfish fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. If you prefer to have smaller pieces, you can cut the catfish into strips. Lay catfish in a shallow dish and cover with buttermilk. Season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, flipping and seasoning the other side after 5-8 minutes.
  2. Combine cornmeal, flour, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in another shallow dish.
  3. In a large skillet, pour enough vegetable oil to cover about 1/4-inch. Heat oil to almost-high heat. You will know when the oil is ready when a very, very small amount of water tossed into the pan sizzles and dances.
  4. Using a fork, tongs or your hands, take one fillet (or strip, if preferred) and allow the buttermilk to drain back into the dish. Transfer fillet to the cornmeal mixture and coat thoroughly. Shake off excess cornmeal mixture and carefully place fish into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on the size of fillet or strip. Careful not to crowd the fish in the pan. Once golden-brown on each side, carefully remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels and drain. Take care to handle the fish tenderly, as the fish will be very tender and may try to fall apart and/or separate from the fried cornmeal coating. I found it best to use a slotted spatula at this point to keep the fish from tearing. Season with salt or pepper as needed.
  5. Serve with a lemon wedge as desired.
Nutrition Facts
Southern Fried Catfish
Amount Per Serving
Calories 289 Calories from Fat 69
% Daily Value*
Fat 7.7g12%
Saturated Fat 1.8g9%
Cholesterol 63.6mg21%
Sodium 425.4mg18%
Carbohydrates 31.9g11%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 21.4g43%
Vitamin A 50IU1%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.