Fried Catfish

In wake of my quest to make the perfect catfish I finally did the impossible last year and made the best dang catfish you have ever put in your mouth! Ever! I have officially conquered the trophy and my own make-believe title of Catfish Queen. Since then it is a staple in our house especially once the summer heat kicks in. Once I realized I had yet to share this with you all I went straight to the kitchen to cook up my famous mouth watering catfish!

Nothing and I do mean nothing says dinner time in this smoldering Southern heat than golden fried catfish. It is jut apart of our genetic makeup that draws us to this somewhat unfamous fish and one that I knew I had to master if I would like to continue to call myself a true southern cook. According to my grandmother Nanny, if you don’t know how to cook fried chicken, fried catfish or the holy trinity then by all means you can’t call yourself a southern cook! No Wait! I realize this is not really the southern rule, it is just her rule but its one I try to live by:)

To everyone who does not live in the South catfish never seems to get the respect it is due. It is considered a bottom dweller and unworthy of a fancy meal but to US- it is OUR fish, our proud and joy our little piece of fried heaven when done the right way and I can promise you if your eating Fried Catfish somewhere in the South than it has been done the “right way”.

When I was growing up most of the time fish fries where impromptu get togethers with friends and family. I am not sure if you remember me telling you about my dad’s newest fish fryer but it is like the ultimate way to fry up fish. He got it for Christmas this year and that very night we had friends and family over for you guessed it- A Fish Fry! Boy was it amazing! I used this exact same recipe and there wasn’t enough of this stuff to go around! The point is Fried Fish to my southern roots means family, fun and most of all GOOD FOOD.

A little about the catfish before I go, I marinated the catfish all day in a Cajun mustard mixture, seasoned them individually a combination of cornmeal, flour and a variety of spices to give this catfish recipe an extra savory kick! I try to use nothing but the best oil when I fry, which in my opinion is peanut oil, and always make sure your oil is fresh. I promise this will make a huge difference in the texture and taste of anything you fry let alone mouth-watering catfish!


Golden Fried Catfish


6 catfish fillets

1 cup plain yellow mustard

1 cup spicy brown mustard

1 cup buttermilk

1 lemon, juiced

2 TBSP Cajun seasoning

2 tsp salt

1 TBSP paprika

1 1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp garlic powder

3 cups AP flour

1 1/2 cups cornmeal

Tartar Sauce: Mix together the following ingredients

2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 cup mayo
1 TBSP dijon mustard
1 tsp white cooking wine
1 tsp salt and pepper each
1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions: For the Fish

First, cut your fillets into small strips or nuggets. ( you may leave whole if you like but makes frying easier if the fish is in smaller pieces).Next, place the mustard, lemon juice, buttermilk, 1 tsp salt, 1 TBSP cajun seasoning and 1/2 tsp pepper in a large Ziploc bag and shake up to mix everything. Next, add your catfish, close the bag and shake/toss/turn to make sure all pieces are coated with the mustard mixture. Place the bag of catfish in refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hoursย or up to a day.

Now, season your flour and cornmeal in a large brown bag or large mixing bowl with the remaining seasonings. Take out your fish and dredge/coat the fish pieces all over with flour and fry at 375 degrees for about 3-4 minutes per side. ย Be careful not to overcrowd your fryer. I have done that before and all you end up with is soggy batter. Also, to ensure quick frying and thus less greasy food always try to use the freshest oil possible.



  1. thatssoron

    KitchenbelleiciousFriedCatfish awesome!

  2. Three-Cookies

    They look absolutely awesome. The recipe looks different from the fried fish I am familiar with – British style – in plain or beer batter. I like this spiced up version

  3. Bonnie

    My nanny said the same thing about southern cooking! She made the catfish. My mother wouldn’t touch it!! Her family were snobs but, thanks to nanny, my sisters and I came to love catfish–especially those freshly caught in the Pigg River.

    Thanks for the delicious memories.


  4. Shawn

    I agree with Nanny!

    Your catfish looks crazy good! I’ll be in Bham in a couple of weeks…One of the many things that I’m looking forward to is a fish fry at my father-in-law’s house ๐Ÿ™‚ !

  5. Erica

    I’ll be honest- I’ve never had catfish! I always see it at the store and get nervous about trying to cook it up. Im not really a fish fan…so I think that makes me ever more fearful. This looks perfectly cooked!

  6. Linda

    Wow… coming straight from THE Catfish Queen! I will be honest, I’ve never had catfish but these photos and your recipe…marinating all day in a cajun mustard, OMG!! Can I come over for the next fish fry??

  7. Jihane @Sinful Sundays

    Omg, that looks so good! Fried catfish with tartar sauce followed by vanilla ice-cream and sprinkles on the beach just screams of summer time happiness to me. <3

  8. Kelli

    Now this is exactly how we celebrate something around here is with a fish fry so I cant wait to try this. My man as well loves his fish fryer too. He uses it alot to feed his workers. Glad you enjoyed you time home. Have a great week!

  9. Tina (PinayInTexas)

    Your fried catfish looks perfect, Belle! I can imagine the crisp in every bite! Love it!

  10. yummychunklet

    I love fried catfish since I’m from the South! Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  11. The Slow Roasted Italian

    I am not a fish lover, but these look fantastic!

  12. Greg

    I am a transplant to the South and have taken it upon myself to eat lots of catfish in the last six years. Since, I am therefore a qualified expert on this matter I’m going to agree that you are the catfish queen. The crust looks perfect, you used buttermilk and cornmeal, the two key things to me. This is perfect, made my day in fact!

  13. Foodness Gracious

    Mmmmm, fried just sometimes sounds so tasty!! These look amazing and I think if I could ever have a food tour of my choice it would have to be in the South. It seems like my kinda place!!

  14. Alli

    Gosh I so want to be southern. I wish I was your neighbor and I could come over for a fish fry. This looks fantastic. Maybe in my next life I will be best with a southern address.

  15. Caroline

    That does look like some of the best catfish I’ve ever seen! We have a place in South Carolina and visit often, so I definitely need to make this while I’m out there and embrace the South. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. The Harried Cook

    That fried catfish looks pretty awesome! I love the recipe – with so many flavorful ingredients! Yummy… Gotta make this one for the family! I bet they’ll love me for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Cooking gallery

    I love fried foods and the fried catfish looks awesome, reminds me of KFC somehow :)! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  18. Velva

    Looks fabulous! I have a friend who would really enjoy this recipe. I am planning to pass it along. He would love it. No doubt he would want to be the catfish king (smile).


  19. Marguerite

    Being a Southerner, I love catfish and your recipe is incredible and over-the-top! And the tartar sauce looks fab, too! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Kitchen Belleicious

      Thanks Marguerite! The tartar sauce was also the star. You can’t have a fish fry without tartar sauce!

  20. Yumyum

    Amazing! Nothin better than fried catfish in my book!

  21. Cindy thehomemaker

    I love that u used both kinda of mustard for the marinade/wet ingredients plus the buttermilk. Like Cajun delights said- over the top delicious! Can’t wait to give it a try

  22. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

    Oh I love catfish and yours look amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe because this is one that I will be trying soon!

  23. kim sisto robinson

    ~~This looks sooooooooooo amazing. I never made catfish…but I shall! WOWIE!

  24. kitchen flavours

    Your catfish looks so delicious! I have never tried catfish before and now I’m tempted to!
    Thanks for sharing this fabulous fish!

  25. Tommy

    Your recipe looks amazing. I love the ingredients you used and the batter sounds like it is perfectly crispy. cant wait to give it a try. my family loves us some fried fish

  26. greencookinlife

    I love fish fry’s and I only wish I would have been at this one. Your fish looks better than I have ever seen before!

  27. nancy at good food matters

    great way to kick it up with mustard in the buttermilk-brine. yes, we Southerners are crazy for good fried catfish–I concur with your self-proclaimed award–looks like a perfect batch.

  28. Laurelie

    Fish frys are definitely something we love to do here in the South. I am loving your recipe. sounds alot like my grandmothers so I am going to try it out- but don’t tell her I am using yours! LOL!

  29. Jan

    Love fried fish and your recipe sounds wonderful

  30. Rhonda

    Love it

  31. Candace

    omygoodness! I think I’m gonna cry. Catfish…how I miss you!? I can’t begin to tell you how amazing these look to me. yum!

  32. sheila @ Elements

    Your catfish looks beautiful! Your mustard marinade sounds really interesting and I’d love to try it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. purabi naha

    These days I’m really concentrating on making a perfect savoury dish. Yours is a great idea. This looks beautiful and yummy! Bookmarked.

  34. Heather @ Mrs. Southern Bride

    I grew up eating catfish every Sunday with my grandparents. So, this brings back a lot of memories. Looks so good, too!!!

    Happy Thursday. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. kbelleicious

      Thanks girl! I love bringing back my own memories as well as my readers and friends! Hope you give it a try sometime

  35. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    I have actually never had catfish, but now I am seriously wanting this! YUM!

  36. My Carolina Kitchen

    I agree. Catfish doesn’t get the attention it deserves. When I was growing up in the south, it came from the Mississippi and had a very muddy flavor. Catfish today in no way resembles it.

    Love your fried recipe. It would be delicious for breakfast. I entered a recipe contest a long time ago sponsored by the Catfish Institute and to my surprise, my recipe won. If they still have such a thing, you should submit this recipe. It’s a winner.

  37. Alexis @ There She Goes

    mmm mmm you’ve got me craving crispy fried fish!

  38. Jenna

    Personally, I’m one of the Northerners who though that catfish was a gross bottom-dweller . . . until I got wise and tried it once! I smeared it with mustard and coated it in cornmeal, and my is it good! Your recipe looks super tasty, and oh-so-crunchy. Mmmm!

  39. Warren Baldwin

    It’s a family favorite.

    1. kbelleicious

      thanks warren! Not sure if there is a family from the South who doesn;t love fried fish!

  40. Alwaysinthekitchen

    Wow! I love me some fish and especially if it is fried. No doubt in my mind I would love love this recipe. can you just come up here and make it for us though:) pretty please

  41. Peggy

    Oh my gosh… my mouth was watering this whole post! I know far too many people that dislike catfish… but maybe that’s because they’ve never had it done right. And this catfish is definitely done right! Can’t wait to try this =)

  42. Veronica's Kitchen

    The fish looks so crispy and I love your marinate with mustard and buttermilk. I always buy the southern chicken fillets at the frozen section, can I use this to chicken?

    1. Kitchen belleicious

      Yes u can! It is actually fantastic on both chicken or shrimp! Great idea!

  43. Nami @ Just One Cookbook

    I used to cook catfish more than now. I kind of forgot about this fish. Fried catfish sounds like a great comeback recipe in my household! Looks so crispy and just like the way we like it!

  44. Sally

    The buttermilk abd mustard combo sounds fantastic on the fish! Wow I wish I had some for dinner tonight

  45. Shea

    This looks SO good! Seriously, you know how to make a girl drool!

  46. the good soup

    You’ve seriously put me in the mood, Belle. I want to move to somewhere they make Southern Fried Catfish. I want to breath in that juicy frying air, I want to wear a permanent greasy chin. I want these fish fries. So bad.

  47. dadรก flavors

    A delicius recipe! . You have a fantastic blog.

  48. daphne

    Golden! Oh yeah, that’s the colour that makes me drool. crispy on the outside with the tangy flavour..oo lala!

  49. kankana

    LOL on your Grandmom’s quote ๐Ÿ™‚ This catfish looks just too delicious and perfectly fried. I would love to grab a piece of that!

  50. Lily

    Fried catfish is a winner in my book and your recipe looks absolutely perfect in every way

  51. Betty @ scrambled hen fruit

    I LOVE catfish but HATE to clean them. Thank goodness we have some good fish markets around here! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that spicy kick you’ve given them- they look so crunchy and delicious!

  52. Cassie

    You had me at catfish! I actually love catfish grilled, broiled, blackened and fried! The crust looks so flavorful and crispy. I have to try this

  53. rose

    The marinade and spices sound amazing and definitely southern. I have to give this one a try. bet it would be just as good on chicken huh?

  54. Loco in the kitchen

    Catfish is one of our favorites. So glad u shared this. It looks amazing.

  55. Amanda

    can’t say no to a good shrimp or crawfish boil

  56. Shawn

    My mom actually uses the mustard with your fish but not also buttermilk so this is very interesting to me. I can’t wait to tell her about it. I am sure she will get straight into the kitchen. I will do them soon too for my family. thanks for another great recipe

  57. Mrs. Edwards

    I tried this recipe this evening and it was fantastic! I changed two things: I used flounder and I fried my fish in beef tallow and it was great! I also marinated for about an hour instead of 4-overnight due to time constraints and the fish was still very tender with a bit of tang from the mustard. Thank you for sharing!

  58. dainty39gm

    You have me drooling so much so that I wanna ‘fry up some catfish’ today or tomorrow. But when I make your recipe, I’ll have to change it up a bit because of what I have on hand plus I don’t feel like going to the store.

    I have only 3 kinda small catfish fillets so I may not cut them into strips. Might just cut them half. And since they are small, I’m thinking of cutting the marinade ingredients in half. Is that okay? I’ll be using the homemade version of buttermilk and my homemade Cajun blend and bottled lemon juice. Sorry for the long post but I gotta make this recipe.

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