Southern-Fried Friday Catfish

by | Mar 22, 2022 | April Recipes, Member Recipes | 0 comments

Southern-Fried Friday Catfish

My mom grew up in Memphis, TN, and her crispy, crunchy, tender, flaky fried catfish is my very favorite thing she cooks. It’s a great meal for any Friday, especially if you’re entertaining. At our annual Good Friday backyard Stations of the Cross, my mom fries up mountains of catfish for family and friends. We keep the spread simple with just coleslaw and cornbread on the side, and water to drink. It’s a mouth-watering full meal for a fasting day. Deep-frying is really a very straightforward process. A deep-frying or candy thermometer helps ensure your oil is at the right temperature, to avoid oil-soaked or under-cooked fish. You can also choose to fake-fry-bake them in the oven.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • Oil for frying lard, peanut oil, or corn oil works well
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons seasoned salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 pounds catfish filets cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • lemon wedges vinegar, and hot sauce for serving


  • Begin to heat oil in a deep fryer, dutch oven, or deep cast iron skillet to 365°F. You’ll want it a minimum of 1 inch deep, 4 inches is better. Place a baking sheet with a cooling rack on top of it near where you’ll be frying.
  • In one deep pie plate or large shallow bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, seasoned salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. In another, whisk the eggs. Dip each filet piece into the beaten eggs on both sides, then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture on both sides. Place the piece onto a baking sheet. Repeat with each piece.
  • To fry:
  • Working in batches of 2-3 pieces at a time, fry for about 3 minutes until golden and crispy. As long as the oil is deep enough to cover the fish, you don’t need to turn it. Check the first couple pieces by cutting into them to make sure the fish inside is completely opaque white. Later pieces will end up darker on the outside as the oil has been hot for longer. This is fine.
  • Drain the fried pieces on the cooling rack. They are best served immediately. If you’re frying for a crowd, the baking sheets can be kept warm in a low oven (200°F) until serving.
  • To bake:
  • Alternatively, breaded pieces can be placed on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper that has been sprayed liberally with cooking oil. Then spray the tops of the pieces liberally with cooking spray. Bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes. Check a thick piece to ensure that it is opaque white inside.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, vinegar, and hot sauce.
  • To use up the leftover breading, make hush puppies! Combine the egg and cornbread mixture and add milk or buttermilk until it’s a thick, sticky batter consistency. I also like to throw some grated cheese in there. Drop it into the frying oil by the spoonful and fry until dark golden brown on the outside.


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Hi! I’m Kendra.

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