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Fried Catfish

Course Main Course, seafood
Cuisine American
Keyword fried-catfish, fried-catfish-recipe, southern-fried-catfish
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinade time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 12 minutes
Servings 4 servings (may vary)


  • 2 cups buttermilk See Cook's note
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 lbs catfish fillets if frozen, thawed
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp seafood seasoning i.e. Old Bay or Seafood Magic
  • 1 tsp garlic salt OR 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 quart peanut oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • lemon wedges and Italian parsley for garnishing


  • In a 13 x 9 inch shallow dish, whisk together buttermilk, hot sauce and egg. Season the catfish fillets, lightly with salt. Add catfish fillets in a single layer, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours OR overnight.
  • To prepare: Remove catfish from fridge, let stand in marinade while you prepare the breading.
  • Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, seafood seasoning, garlic salt, lemon pepper and cayenne.
  • Remove fillets from marinade, letting excess drip off. Dredge fillets on both sides, pressing breading onto the fillets. Have nearby a pan, repeating until all fillets are bread. Chill to set while you heat the oil. (You can do this up to 30 minutes in advance)
  • To fry: Heat oil to 355-365°F. Gently lower fillets into the hot oil, cooking for 2-3 minutes per side or just until golden. (Catfish fillets are thin and cook quickly) Remove from hot oil using a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined pan or platter.
  • Serve immediately with a side of tartar sauce and lemon slices garnished with parsley.


To make your own buttermilk: To each cup of whole milk, add 1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand on the counter for 5 minutes, then proceed with the recipe.