Southern Fried Catfish


This is a basic recipe for southern fried catfish.  Growing up, we had a large stocked pond full of catfish, brim, and a few bass. My favorite were the catfish, because you can fillet them off of the backbone and they were plentiful.  If you can find them, wild catfish, or catching your own is the way to go.  Farm raised catfish are not as flavorful, but then again you do not have to clean them.  And if you have never cleaned a catfish, it is not easy, there is skinning involved.  Nowadays, I stick to the fillets at Sam’s because they are cheap and easy! If we have a craving for good wild catfish, we know of wonderful little hole in the wall restaurants.

This recipe is very easy. I do not marinate my catfish in buttermilk, nor did my mother.  Although my granny did marinate.  The older people use to think you had to drink buttermilk with fish, so that if you swallowed a bone the buttermilk would dissolve it.  Silly huh? After we figured out buttermilk doesn’t dissolve bones, we stopped marinating the fish in it. Catfish, especially farm-raised are so incredibly  tender, I do n0t know how you could make them any more tender. I think the main advantage to a buttermilk marinate is to add flavor, and have a thicker breading.  I prefer a very thin breading, so I do not use it. You must fry the catfish at a pretty high heat, a little higher than medium to keep it tender.  Think of it as if you  are broiling a fish, fast cooking, and high heat. I have only had tough catfish one time, and it was when a neighbor cleaned  their pond out by dragging and brought us one of the biggest catfish I had ever seen.  We tried to fry him up, but he was so tough and old that he was in-editable, maybe he would have benefited from the buttermilk marinade!

recipe photo

Southern Fried Catfish

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Catfish Fillets
1 cup flour
1 cup fine ground corn meal
3 tablespoons Southern Spice Blend, or another Cajun Spice blend
Oil for frying


Preheat oil to 375. It will be a little higher than medium on the stove.
Mix together flour, corn meal, and spices.

Bread catfish and fry until firm. Don't overcook, because then it will be tough and rubbery.
Serve with a simple cocktail or tarter sauce.

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*Nutritional Information is not guaranteed for 100% accuracy.

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  21 Responses to “Southern Fried Catfish”

  1. [email protected]'s Recipes — September 14, 2009 @ 11:53 am

    I usually marinate the fish with salt, pepper, rice wine and ginger, very Chinese, I guess.

    These fried fish are wonderful at any time.

    Angie’s Recipes
    .-= [email protected]’s Recipes´s last blog, Chilled Ping Pei Mooncakes / 花色冰皮月饼 =-.

  2. Hélène — September 14, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

    I’ve never had catfish before. This looks so good. I love your plate, nice color.
    .-= Hélène´s last blog, Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables – Epicure Selections =-.

  3. doggybloggy — September 14, 2009 @ 6:36 pm

    your catfish looks perfect!
    .-= doggybloggy´s last blog, not awful =-.

  4. Brie — September 14, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

    This reminds me of fishing in my Uncle’s pond and having the family fry up some catfish. Mmm, it’s so tasty. Great post!
    .-= Brie´s last blog, True Blood Martini =-.

  5. TasteHongKong — September 14, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

    If swallowed fish bone, the elderly here suggested to drink diluted vinegar, very Chinese as Angie said. Effective or not, do they spell out the culture differences?

  6. Divina — September 14, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

    Lovely and crispy catfish. We usually fry our fish whole. Better look for some catfish and do this recipe.
    .-= Divina´s last blog, Creamy Homemade Nut Milk =-.

  7. Elin — September 15, 2009 @ 1:55 am

    This is so yummilicious SGG. Buttermilk? I have never used buttermilk for fish 🙂 Excellent! Will want to try this out .Thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. sizzlechef — September 15, 2009 @ 6:17 am

    Cheers !
    .-= sizzlechef´s last blog, Orange n Beans Gravy Rice =-.

  9. Blackswan — September 15, 2009 @ 7:13 am

    The fish looks so good. I’m not a fish lover but this definitely looks tasty.
    .-= Blackswan´s last blog, Event: The Stylish Shall Be Lavishly Pampered =-.

  10. Tina Marie — September 15, 2009 @ 8:08 am

    Perfect. It has simple ingredients and what a lovely photo of some nice looking catfish fillets.

  11. Jessie — September 15, 2009 @ 8:33 am

    I’ve never had catfish but this sounds really delicious and I love the seasonings that were used and the crust looks crisp to perfection
    .-= Jessie´s last blog, Bacon, Potato and Cheese Waffles =-.

  12. Alta — September 15, 2009 @ 9:13 am

    LOVE fried catfish. Yours looks delicious.
    .-= Alta´s last blog, Vegetarian Bean and Pumpkin Chili, plus a Gluten-Free Cheddar Serrano Biscuit =-.

  13. Short and Bald — September 15, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

    thanks, looks great! did not know about buttermilk & fish, i think that’s very cute!

  14. Juliana — September 15, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

    I like the way that you prepare it…very simple and yet looks so yummie! Have to give a try 🙂

  15. The Duo Dishes — September 15, 2009 @ 3:02 pm

    Classic! This is one of the dishes we miss for sure, and you can’t find anything as good as the Southern touch on it.
    .-= The Duo Dishes´s last blog, A Tasty Deed =-.

  16. Elin — September 16, 2009 @ 1:42 am

    Congrats SGG, your catfish is Today’s Top 9 :))
    .-= Elin´s last blog, Stir fry Bitter Gourd Spindle With Mushrooms =-.

  17. Johnna Knows Good Food — September 16, 2009 @ 7:54 am

    I just made some southern fried catfish fingers and they paired perfectly with a quick and easy remoulade I made with mayo and some spices. Love the recipe, thanks for sharing!
    .-= Johnna Knows Good Food´s last blog, Food.Fun.Stuff: Gin Goes to New Heights =-.

  18. Atreyee — September 16, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

    Hey…I love your recipe of southern Dishes and directory of food blogs..I would totaly keep you in my radar..

    .-= Atreyee´s last blog, Un ‘meat’ Balls =-.

  19. Chris — September 18, 2009 @ 6:22 am

    I miss fried catfish, haven’t had it since I left the U.S. a few years ago. This recipe sounds really inviting, will have to try and replicate it!
    .-= Chris´s last blog, "Antipasto di Polipo e Gamberi": A Summer Seafood Delight =-.

  20. Jim-49 — November 20, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

    Cut the filets,of pond fish and large river cats,cross ways,about the size of your fingers,and fry in hot greese,they will taste real good.The brown in the little cracks,is fat,and will taste sorta musty,if left in big hunks,especally in pond fish,and the water is still,and they feed them plenty of feed.These,are some of the great southern dishes.Big river cats also,need to be cut thin,they are usually real fat.A large dutch oven is good for frying and holding the heat.

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