This Fried Catfish Nuggets recipe is one of our family favorites. So simple to make for an easy dinner, using small nuggets of catfish fillets soaked in mustard then a flour cornmeal mix, they're perfectly crispy every time!
Catfish is so good cooked in so many different ways. This particular recipe is our go-to when we want to fry it, but you can also bake, grill and air fry this delicious 'mud-cat'!
The cornmeal to flour ratio is always a personal preference really, it depends how crispy you like your fried fish to be. We don't like it super crispy, kind of in between so I cook it with half cornmeal and half flour. If you like it more crispy use more cornmeal and vice versa.
The Louisiana people are so adept at making delicious meals by living off the land and this catfish recipe is by no means any different. We go fishing often and catfish are so easy to catch, if we have no luck catching our favorite fish (Bass and Crappie) we'll switch over to catfish!
- Catfish Fillets
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Creole Seasoning
- Vegetable Oil (for frying)
See recipe card for quantities.
- Step 1: Once you have your catfish fillets cleaned and cut into bite size nuggets place them into a resealable bag (or a shallow dish) with the mustard - move the fillets all over in order to get evenly coated. Allow to sit for at least an hour.
- Step 2: Mix the cup flour, cornmeal and seasonings in another resealable bag and mix well.
- Step 3: Put some of the catfish nuggets into the cornmeal mixture bag, seal and shake well to evenly coat.
- Step 4: Drop into hot oil that's been heated to 350 degrees fahrenheit and fry for about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a paper towels lined sheet pan and place into a preheated oven (low) to keep warm if needed. Serve with french fries and some lemon wedges (lemon juice), and a good side salad.
Hint: don't overcrowd the frying pot as the fish will likely stick together and not cook as evenly. Also, if you add too much fish to the flour mix at one time they won't evenly coat either. It's best to just add as much as you'll be frying at one time.
🔄 Substitutions and Variations
- Creole Seasoning - instead of Creole Seasoning, if you don't have any, you could use Seasonall, Cajun Seasoning or any other seasoning blend. You could even simply use salt and black pepper.
- Catfish - These fish recipes can be made the same way with any other white fish.
- Fish Fry - If you are lucky enough to have some in your pantry, feel free to swap out the cornmeal and flour and just use fish fry. I've done it myself on many occasions!
If you are on a gluten free diet, you could swap out the all purpose flour for almond flour. I would make the ratio to be more cornmeal though as almond flour doesn't get as crispy.
- Spicy - if you like a little heat to your food feel free to add your favorite spice! Chili powder works well, or you can add some hot sauce to your mustard! Maybe even try a spicy mustard.
- Healthy - instead of deep frying these catfish nuggets you could air fry them or bake them. They taste almost as good. In the air fryer you'll need to give the nuggets a little spritz of cooking spray and set the air fryer to 375° and cook for 6 minutes. Each air fryer is different though, you may need to adjust that a little.
- Catfish Po Boy - Take these fried catfish nuggets and put them on a po' boy bun with some remoulade sauce and fixin's. You'll really think you're in New Orleans then! See this Fried Oyster Po Boy recipe, for a similar experience.
Once the fried catfish nuggets have cooled completely store them in an airtight container with a little paper towel, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
To reheat, I recommend reheating them in the air fryer if you have one. Set it to 400°F and heat for 3-4 minutes. If you don't, the oven is fine.
What To Serve With Fried Catfish Nuggets
In Louisiana we have an abundance of catfish. If we don't have any and don't have friends who have some there's usually a local fisherman or seafood store that sells it. In fact, we even have it at the grocery store here.
You might not be as lucky where you are, to get it fresh. You may find it in the frozen fish section at your local market, but if not you may have to make a special order to get it shipped to you.
Typically the nuggets are the offcuts from the fish, not the whole fillets so they will tend to be cheaper than regular catfish fillets.
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- 3lb Prepared Catfish Fillets
- 1 Cup American Mustard
- 3 Tablespoons Creole Seasoning
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Cornmeal
- 2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
- Canola Oil (for frying)
- Cut your catfish fillets into 2" nuggets, if needed. Add to a resealable bag with the mustard and ensure all the catfish has been through the mustard. Allow to sit for at least an hour.
- Add the flour, cornmeal, Creole seasoning, onion powder and garlic powder to another large resealable bag and mix well. Add your oil to a pot for frying and heat to 360°F.
- In batches of about 10 pieces, add to the flour mix and shake to coat the catfish well.
- Once the oil has come to temperature drop the fillets into the oil one by one (but quickly, this will help them not stick to each other) Fry for about 3-4 minutes, remove and drain on a paper towel lined baking sheet.
Don't add too much catfish to the flour mix at one time, or the pieces will not get coated well. Do it in stages.
You'll know when the catfish nuggets are ready because they'll start floating on the surface.
When frying I like to use a dutch oven to distribute heat evenly - but you can use an electric fryer if you prefer, or a frying pot outside is also a favorite!
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 348Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 75mgSodium 1186mgCarbohydrates 35gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 26g
I brought my mom out in the boat last time she visited (from England) and she was so excited to catch such a big fish - I thought I'd share this image just so you can see how big these scale-less lunkers are (and they get so much bigger!)