Fried Fish: Cornmeal Fried Catfish

Me and my bestie Shannon spent most of our summer days fifth grade through eighth grade either at the coast or at the lake. The coast was awesome because her family liked to party and there was always a giant shade tent, cold beers (not that we got any) and cookouts. Also guitar pickin’ and singing. Shannon and I did a rousing rendition of “That’s What Friends are For” once that I think made her dad cry. Just a little.

Fried Catfish Recipe

Lake house times were awesome, too, though, because that meant fresh-caught catfish, fried catfish for dinner. Not that I appreciated it. I used to hate fish passionately, as you may know. But after years of being forced to try “one bite”, finally one day I proudly and happily declared I actually liked it. And here’s how to make it. Try it with some tartar sauce, hushpuppies, jalapeño-cheese breadcoleslaw, perfect potato salad, and homemade peach ice cream for a real bang-up summertime meal.

Special thanks to Robin and Shannon for showing me that fried fish is one of the best things in life.

Fried Catfish Video!

Southern Fried Catfish Recipe – Printable!


Fried Catfish

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Yield: 2 1x


  • 1 pound catfish fillets
  • For the marinade:
  • 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 1 cup buttermilk)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Tabasco sauce to taste, a few dashes
  • For the breading:
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Oil for frying (about 3 cups)


  1. Cut fish into pieces about 1″ wide by 4″ long.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients and immerse fish in marinade. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. (Now’s a great time to make your tartar sauce and coleslaw!)
  3. Combine the breading ingredients in a shallow bowl. Coat each piece of fish and set aside to rest while your oil gets up to temperature.
  4. Heat 1/2″ of oil in a large skillet to 360-365 degrees F.
  5. Fry a few pieces at a time (don’t over crowd the skillet) for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they float away from the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Drain on a rack over paper for at least 3 minutes to avoid burning your mouth. Them fishes is HOT!

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  1. Amber Boegly on April 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Catfish is one of my favorite fishes to eat. Thanks for sharing this. I can’t wait to try em!

    • Hilah on April 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Hey Amber! I hope you like this recipe. We love it. Usually we have food left after shooting, but we ate all that catfish!

  2. Steve @ the black peppercorn on April 19, 2012 at 9:48 am

    great video! ok, now I am totally craving catfish!!

    • Hilah on April 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks, Steve! You should have seen how bad we were craving more catfish while editing that video! 😉

  3. Don on April 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Definitely trying this – I’ve only done fried chicken and tortilla chips in my cast-iron skillet, and I was looking for other things to deep fry.

    Also – best reaction on a taste test yet!

    • Hilah on April 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

      Hey Don! Catfish is perfect for your cast iron skillet! Hope you try it and that you have as good a reaction as I did! 🙂

  4. Summer on March 27, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I was craving fried fish last night and checked your website because I always love your recipes. I made this with tilapia because that’s what I had in the freezer and it was the perfect southern fried fish. As good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant for sure. 🙂 My boyfriend also loved it and suggested we add it to our short list of dinner recipes. Thanks!!

    • Hilah on March 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Hooray Summer! There’s not much better than cornmeal fried fish. So happy you and your BF enjoyed it! 😀

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