Southern Fried Catfish is an iconic southern fish recipe. Made of a few simple ingredients, fried catfish makes a family favorite tradition!

Fried Catfish Recipe from
Growing up, I loved to go fishing with my Daddy. We spent summers on Lake Martin in Alabama and I’d love to be the first one up in the mornings to fish off the side of our houseboat or take the fishing boat out until lunch or so. In the afternoon, he’d prepare the fish and then cook it for a big supper.

Fried Catfish Recipe from
When I married, my husband told me of similar summers with his parents and grandparents spent on lakes fishing with days ending with fish fries. Lately, we’ve been trying to pass the same along to our son, even going so far as teaching him how to fry catfish the same way our parents taught us to do.

Fried Catfish Recipe from
Here’s our family’s recipe for Southern Fried Catfish. It just doesn’t get much better.

Southern Fried Catfish Recipe

Southern Fried Catfish is an iconic southern fish recipe. Made of a few simple ingredients, fried catfish makes a family favorite tradition!
4.67 from 3 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time18 mins
Servings: 4 -6
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 4-6 whole catfish or catfish filets cleaned
  • 1 quart peanut oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Rinse catfish and pat dry with paper towels. Pour peanut oil into 5-quart Dutch oven and heat to 350º F on a deep fry thermometer. While peanut oil is heating, whisk together flour, cornmeal, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper until well-combined. Lightly coat both sides of catfish into flour mixture and then carefully place into Dutch oven, frying only two at a time, until lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from Dutch oven and place onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve immediately.
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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. As a Florida native, I grew up on catfish & other fresh water fish.I must admit that over the years I have not fried my own. I have found a seafood restaurant that serves : Salt and Pepper catfish fillets Rhey are perfectly fried and delicious !!

    1. Hi,

      GOOD Catfish restaurant in FLORIDA? I have been looking for one, besides the Catfish Place, which is too far away. Tell me where and the name.


  2. Every time I make catfish, it never looks this good. For tomorrows diner I will be using this recipe to feed my family! My mouth is already watering.

  3. This sound so good! I never had catfish fried like this, but when I was growing up in Rio de Janeiro, my mother use to make fried whole fresh sardines that the entire family would salivate about, while waiting for the meal. She would season the sardines with salt, pepper, fresh garlic and fresh squeezed lime juice, coat it with corn meal and fry on cotton oil or soy oil. I’m salivating right now, just thinking about it! Lol…
    Thanks for the recipe!

  4. OMG!! Your catfish looks sooooo good! I wanna gobble it up thru the screen. Your recipes is very simple and I have all the ingredients. But do I have to use 1 quart of the oil? I’m only frying no more than 2-3 pieces of catfish fillets. So can I use less oil? Thanx for your recipe and response.

  5. My family comes from many generations of hunters and fishermen in Texas back through Arkansas,
    Miss., Ala. and back up the east coast. This is exactly how they taught me to cook fish. So many people want to over think this. There is no need to do it. It is a great recipe as is. My family makes sure the oil is very hot. They would throw in a match that had the white tip on the end and when it is hot enough it lights up in the oil right then. Use a new match each time you check.
    I do leave a little moisture on my fish for the mix to stick better. Do not pre batter until you are ready to drop it in oil. Comes out with more of that crunchy mix on them. Also, make sure the catfish are more than covered when you put them in the oil. Not enough oil and they are not the same. Delicious Robyn.
    We have a restaurant in downtown Austin, Texas. I have trained maybe a hundred cooks to do our catfish with this recipe. Robyn, you are” right on” with your recipes. Thank you for taking your time to share with others. You cannot beat good southern cooking in my humble opinion. P.S. For safety, please don’t allow children to be around while cooking with the hot oil.

    1. I love reading this, Brenda! Simple southern food is as good as it gets in my opinion as well! I bet you’ve made a lot of delicious catfish! Thanks again for your kind words and your thoughts! xo

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