Best Easy New Orleans Fried Catfish Recipe

New Orleans is famous for its vibrant culture, rich history, and most importantly, its mouthwatering cuisine. One delicacy that stands out among the rest is the delicious fried catfish. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, this dish is a true crowd-pleaser. If you want to try your hand at making this iconic New Orleans recipe, here is the best and easiest way to do it.

– 4 catfish fillets
– 1 cup buttermilk
– 1 cup cornmeal
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon onion powder
– 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust according to your spice preference)
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Vegetable oil for frying
– Lemon wedges for serving


1. In a shallow dish, pour buttermilk over the catfish fillets and let them soak for at least 30 minutes. This will help tenderize the fish and add flavor.

2. In another dish, combine cornmeal, flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well to ensure all the spices are evenly distributed.

3. Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Make sure there is enough oil to fully submerge the catfish fillets.

4. Take one catfish fillet at a time and coat it thoroughly with the cornmeal mixture. Press the mixture into the fish to ensure it sticks well.

5. Carefully place the coated fillets into the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy.

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6. Once cooked, transfer the fried catfish onto a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.

7. Serve the fried catfish hot with lemon wedges on the side. It pairs perfectly with classic New Orleans sides like coleslaw, hush puppies, or red beans and rice.

Now that you have the recipe for the best and easiest New Orleans fried catfish, let’s answer some common questions about this mouthwatering dish:

1. Can I use another type of fish instead of catfish?
Absolutely! While catfish is the traditional choice, you can use other white fish like tilapia, cod, or haddock.

2. Is it necessary to soak the catfish in buttermilk?
Soaking the catfish in buttermilk helps tenderize the fish and adds a tangy flavor. However, if you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute it with regular milk or even water.

3. Can I bake the catfish instead of frying it?
While frying gives the catfish its signature crispy texture, you can bake it in the oven at 400°F for about 15-20 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork. However, the texture may not be as crispy as when fried.

4. How can I make the catfish less spicy?
If you prefer a milder flavor, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper in the cornmeal mixture. You can also omit it altogether and add more paprika or other spices to enhance the flavor.

5. Can I make the cornmeal mixture in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the cornmeal mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to a week. This will save you time when you’re ready to fry the catfish.

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6. How do I know when the catfish is cooked?
The catfish is cooked when it turns golden brown and flakes easily with a fork. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 145°F for safe consumption.

7. Can I reuse the frying oil?
Yes, you can strain the frying oil, let it cool, and store it in a clean container for future use. It can be reused a few times before it becomes saturated with flavors from previous frying.

Now that you have mastered the best and easiest New Orleans fried catfish recipe, you can impress your family and friends with this Southern delicacy. Enjoy the crispy goodness and savor the flavors of New Orleans!

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