15 min • How to Deep Fry Catfish • Loaves and Dishes

magenet

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When you know how to deep fry catfish, you’ll be able to amaze your family and friends AND keep your wallet satisfied! It’s SO EASY and I’m aiming to answer all of your catfish questions here.

how to deep fry catfish on a plate

How to Deep Fry Catfish

You might have enjoyed some of our other seafood recipes like pan fried shrimp or salmon in tin foil, many people have enjoyed them!

But this deep fried catfish is a way to have an affordable delicious dinner that you can be so proud of! Wow! Your family is going to bang the table for more!

I’m going to encourage you to learn how to deep fry catfish and then throw a party and enjoy your new skill!

How Long to Deep Fry Catfish

You’ll want to deep fry your catfish in hot oil for about 3-4 minutes.

The catfish is done when it is floating and is a deep golden color.

How Much Does Catfish Cost?

At the time of this writing, catfish is about 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of most other fish at the seafood market and grocery store. The catfish for this article cost $5.99 per pound (whole fish) and other fish were near $20 per pound.

Catfish filets are about half the weight of a whole catfish.

Only whiting is about the same price as catfish and my friends who enjoy fish are not huge fans of whiting.

How Long to Fry Catfish Nuggets

Catfish nuggets fry just as long as the catfish filets. 3-4 minutes and when they are floating and golden brown.

Where Do I Buy Catfish?

  1. You can buy catfish from many grocery stores in the frozen foods section. You will then need to thaw the catfish and dry it well before frying.
  2. It’s best to purchase catfish FRESH at a seafood market. If you don’t know where one is, just google “seafood market near me” and google will do the hard work for you of finding a fresh seafood market!

***Never EVER try to deep fry anything that is very wet or you could catch your whole stove on fire.

Dry that catfish very well before adding the breading. You can dry it by allowing it to rest on several layers of paper towels.

How To Fry Catfish With Flour

To fry catfish with flour, simply follow the recipe in the recipe card below. It’s so easy!

What Kind of Oil Do I Fry Catfish In?

You’ll want to fry your catfish in an oil that fries at a higher temperature. Avoid butter and Olive Oil but any of the following will work…

  • Vegetable Oil
  • Cannola Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Peanut Oil
  • Safflower Oil

I used a mixture of vegetable oil and peanut oil for this video because that is what I had on hand.

How Much Oil Do I Use to Fry Catfish?

You’ll need to use enough oil so that it covers the fish by several inches in the pan. Here, I used about 4-5″ of oil in my 8 quart stock pot.

You would not have to use this much oil, but it makes for a good frying depth.

If you do not have that much oil, use less and flip the fish in the pan half way through cooking.

How Many Pieces of Catfish Can I Fry at Once

It’s super important to avoid crowding the oil. You want the catfish to have enough room to cook evenly.

Only cook one or two pieces at a time. In this video, you can see that I am frying two large pieces and one small piece in my large stock pot that is well filled with oil and at a good hot temperature.

How Do I Know the Oil is Ready?

You’ll know the oil is ready when your thermometer reads 350-375. As you can see from my video, I couldn’t find my thermometer today.

Another way is to sprinkle just a bit of water into the hot oil. If it sputters loudly, then you’ll know the oil is hot and ready.

Do not attempt to fry your fish if the oil isn’t hot enough yet because then your catfish will simply turn out soggy.

catfish in a net

How Long to Deep Fry Catfish at 375

Fry your catfish for 3-4 minutes at 375 until the fish is golden and it is floating in the oil.

How To Fry Catfish in a Skillet

To fry catfish in a skillet…

  1. Preheat the oil in a heavy skillet to a temp of 375 or until a small sprinkle of water bubbles actively.
  2. Bread the catfish per the recipe below.
  3. Fry for 3-4 minutes.

How to Oven Fry Catfish

Oven frying on a sheet pan or in a skillet is another great way to cook your catfish.

To accomplish this…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Bread the catfish per the recipe as stated.
  3. Drizzle each catfish filet with 1-2 tablespoons of melted butter
  4. Bake for 10 minutes turning half way through.

What Goes With Catfish?

So many wonderful dishes go with catfish! Try one of these…

  1. Cornbread
  2. Corn on the cob
  3. Boiled potatoes
  4. Slaw
  5. hushpuppies
  6. baked potato
  7. Other seafood like shrimp
  8. salad
two pieces of catfish

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Flour and Yellow Cornmeal
  • Old Bay Seasoning, Salt and Pepper

Special Equipment

You don’t need much special equipment. As long as you have a stove top and a heavy pan (stock pot or deep skillet will work) and some tongs or a spatula, you’ll be in business.

If you watch my video, you’ll see that I am frying mine out on my deck. This is to keep smells down inside my house.

Here’s a link to the equipment I’m using in the video if you want to buy any for yourself. The photos are links to Amazon, you can click the photo to go over to Amazon and compare prices. If you make a purchase through this link, I do receive a commission. My commission does not change your price however and thank you! All proceeds go to support this website.

  • Propane burner
  • 8 quart Le Creuset Stock Pot
  • Long handled Tongs

Here’s How It’s Done

  1. Make the breading and preheat the oil to 375
  2. Bread the fish and drop it into the hot oil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How Long Does Cooked Catfish Last?

If you keep it covered in the fridge, it will last 2-3 days, however, it’s always best when fresh cooked.

Can I Freeze Deep Fried Catfish?

Frozen deep fried catfish really doesn’t do well when reheated, its best to freeze the filets and then fry them when you are ready to eat them.

Substitutions

Fish

  • Whiting
  • Any type of fish you prefer

Flour

  • Wondra
  • Bisquick
  • Self rising or all purpose will work

Yellow Cornmeal

  • Any type of cornmeal will work

Old Bay

  • Season All (use this instead of old bay plus salt).

Tips and Tricks for How to Deep Fry Catfish

  • Buy your catfish from your local seafood market if possible. If that isn’t possible, then purchase frozen filets from the grocery store.
  • When purchasing fish, understand that each whole catfish will yield two filets and a few small pieces. You’ll need to use these in the next day or two. Each pound of whole fish will equal about 1/2 lb of filet meat.
  • Look for the whole fish to have glassy eyes to know if it is fresh or not.
  • If using frozen filets, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator before frying and DRY THEM VERY WELL WITH PAPER TOWELS BEFORE FRYING.
  • See list for possible substitutions.
  • Use a deep and heavy frying pan or stock pot for frying your fish. The idea is that you want the vessel to hold heat well and at a steady temperature.
  • Allow enough oil to cover the fish filet by several inches.
  • Never crowd too many filets in the cooking pan together because this will decrease the temperature of the oil and may take it out of the frying temperature range. You’ll end up with soggy fish. Just be patient and only fry one or two pieces at a time.

Watch Me Deep Fry Catfish

Can You Give Me a Hand?

Please leave a 5 STAR comment in the comment section below. This helps others to find the recipes at Loaves and Dishes! Thank you!

how to deep fry catfish on a plate
  • Enough Oil to cover filets by several inches
  • 5 lbs Catfish Filets
  • 1/4 Cup white flour
  • 1/4 Cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tbs Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Preheat the oil on the stove/burner until it reaches a temp of 375.

  • While oil is heating, mix up the batter by mixing the flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, Cayenne, Salt and Pepper together with a fork.

  • When oil reaches temperature, coat a single filet well with the batter and then tap it lightly to remove any extra coating. Gently lower into the oil. The fish should begin to fry with enthusiasm in the oil immediately. If it does not, remove and allow the oil to heat more thoroughly. If your pan is large enough, you can add another filet and allow it to begin frying as well.

  • Your filet is done when it floats and is a dark golden color. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Allow oil to reheat before adding another piece of fish to the oil.

  • Buy your catfish from your local seafood market if possible. If that isn’t possible, then purchase frozen filets from the grocery store.
  • When purchasing fish, understand that each whole catfish will yield two filets and a few small pieces. You’ll need to use these in the next day or two. Each pound of whole fish will equal about 1/2 lb of filet meat.
  • Look for the whole fish to have glassy eyes to know if it is fresh or not.
  • If using frozen filets, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator before frying and DRY THEM VERY WELL WITH PAPER TOWELS BEFORE FRYING.
  • See list for possible substitutions.
  • Use a deep and heavy frying pan or stock pot for frying your fish. The idea is that you want the vessel to hold heat well and at a steady temperature.
  • Allow enough oil to cover the fish filet by several inches.
  • Never crowd too many filets in the cooking pan together because this will decrease the temperature of the oil and may take it out of the frying temperature range. You’ll end up with soggy fish. Just be patient and only fry one or two pieces at a time.

SUBSTITUTIONS
FISH

  • Whiting
  • Any other type of fish you prefer

FLOUR

  • Wondra
  • Bisquick
  • Self Rising or All Purpose Flour

YELLOW CORNMEAL

  • Any type of cornmeal, regular or self rising will work. 

OLD BAY

  • Season All Salt (Use this instead of the Old Bay PLUS the salt). 

 

Nutrition Facts

How to Deep Fry Catfish

Amount Per Serving

Calories 487
Calories from Fat 117

% Daily Value*

Fat 13g20%

Saturated Fat 3g15%

Polyunsaturated Fat 4g

Monounsaturated Fat 4g

Cholesterol 263mg88%

Sodium 312mg13%

Potassium 1663mg48%

Carbohydrates 11g4%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 0.2g0%

Protein 76g152%

Vitamin A 257IU5%

Vitamin C 3mg4%

Calcium 73mg7%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A Verse to Share

Thanks to God for many blessings…

Mark 6:41

And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all

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