Is there anything that is more synonymous with great southern food than fried catfish? The abundant catfish that live in the southern lakes are a delicacy in the south. This fail-proof catfish seasoning recipe for frying catfish will have you shaking your mouth saying mm mm good.
Why Use A Catfish Seasoning Recipe?
Having the right seasoning is one of the most important parts of getting the southern fried catfish recipe right. That is why I came up with this fail-proof catfish seasoning recipe. You can actually use this same catfish seasoning recipe with almost any fish that you want to fry.
Once the catfish fillets hit that hot oil and those golden brown catfish filets come up out of the grease, you know we are about to get our eat on. Plate the catfish up, serve it with some hot french fries, hush puppies, slaw, and a squeeze of lemon from a lemon wedge. You will be in hog heaven!
Do not forget to make this incredibly easy Southern Tartar Sauce Recipe to dip those golden fried catfish nuggets into! You will thank me later.
What Does Catfish Taste Like?
Catfish is a moist, slightly sweet, and flaky textured fish. Catfish is one of the tastiest fishes once it is fried up if it is prepared right. One of the main things to consider on catfish fillets is taking out the bloodline before cooking them.
This darker meat can have a strong fishy taste and removing it is the best practice. You are left with pearly white fillets that are moist and delicate. Of course, if you are buying store-bought fillets, this has already been done for you.
Where To Find Catfish For Cooking
If you can get fresh catfish fillets, as in you caught them yourself, those are best. If not you can buy them from most grocery stores or fish markets.
Here are a few species of catfish that are in most Southern waters
These are the most common catfish you will find. If you buy store-bought catfish, this is the species you will be getting. This is the species that is mostly farm-raised and the rivers are plentiful with them. This is a good-eating catfish but choose the smaller ones versus the bigger fish.
Some people refer to these as government cats or government catfish. At one time the state or federal government gave them to people to stock their ponds for eating or so the story goes.
In my opinion, this is the best-eating catfish in the freshwaters. Again try to stay away from larger ones. Larger ones can be stronger in taste and are also breeder fish, so I recommend practicings CPR (Catch-Picture-Release) with the larger fish.
Flat Head Catfish
These are very good-eating catfish as well. Some anglers say that the Flathead is the best tasting of all the Catfish varieties although they are not as plentiful in most lakes.
In my opinion, this is not a good-eating catfish. You will also hear these called by the name of mudcat or mudfish.
Ingredients To Make Fail-Proof Catfish Seasoning
Seasoned Breading Mixture
I like a mixture of flour and cornmeal in my seasoned breading mixture. You can ask 100 southerners and they will all give you a different answer as to what they like the best. Some use only cornmeal, some use only all-purpose flour, and some use a combination of the two.
Salt and black pepper are the minimum I would use to season my catfish fillets. In my opinion, what makes the best catfish seasoning recipe is this Cajun Seasoning that is super easy to make on your own.
Optional Hot Sauce
If you want your fried catfish to be spicier and to kick up the flavor, dredge the fish in hot sauce before dipping it into the seasoned breading.
How To Make:
Step 1: In a large bowl or flat shallow dish, add the flour and cornmeal. Mix well to incorporate.
Step 2: Add in the Cajun Seasoning. Mix well to incorporate.
Pro Tip: I like to add my breading to a plastic bag or a Breader Bowl. Once I dredge the fish, I can add the fish to the breader or bag, then shake it around to get it evenly coated. The Better breader really works well for this because it allows the breading to fall back down to the bottom section.
- 1 cup Cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning
1. In a flat dish or large bowl, add flour and cornmeal. Mix well together
2. Add in cajun seasoning and mix well.
Can I Use Olive Oil?
Technically you can use Olive oil but I would not use it if It were me. Olive is more expensive than peanut oil for the quantity you are using. Also, this can alter the taste of the dish as Olive oil has a unique flavor of its own.
Can I Use Another Seasoning other than Cajun Seasoning?
Yes. At the bare minimum, you could just use good salt like kosher salt or sea salt and black pepper. You could add in some onion powder, garlic powder, and a little cayenne pepper.
Some people also like to use old bay seasoning when making this dish. You can make it your own, but in my opinion, this homemade cajun seasoning recipe is the best for a catfish seasoning recipe for frying!
What Can I Use For a Sauce?
You can use a homemade Tartar Sauce or a store-bought tartar sauce. I like to sprinkle a little hot sauce such as Texas Pete or Franks Red Hot on my fish. At a minimum, you can use ketchup.
What Does Catfish Taste Like?
If catfish is prepared right, it has a very sweet and mild taste. The texture is very moist and can be flaky. Catfish is a tender, fall-apart type fish that is not a firm fish such as Striped Bass, Mahi Mahi, or Halibut.
Is There a Way to Make This Dish Healthier?
Yes. You could always use an air fryer as a healthier alternative.
Another healthier option is to not use the breading. In this case, you would coat the fish in a little olive oil, then sprinkle or coat the catfish fillets with the cajun seasoning. You can then pan fry it, air fry it, or even grill it. If you grill it try using a cedar wood plank!
Side Dishes to Serve with Fried Catfish
- Hush Puppies
- French Fries
- Marinated Cucumbers Onion & Vinegar Recipe (Cucumber Salad)
- Potato Salad
- Baked beans
- Pork and Beans
- Collard Greens
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cornbread
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Red Beans and Rice
Also, check out one of these recipes: