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fried catfish with hot sauce and hush puppies on parchment paper

The Best Fried Catfish (Fish Fry 101)


  • Author: Quin
  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 35m
  • Yield: 4-6 1x

Description

It doesn’t get better than tender, flaky, and extra flavorful fried catfish fillets with crispy golden cornmeal breading. Marinated in buttermilk and seasoned well with a variety of spices.


Ingredients

Scale

For the catfish

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh catfish fillets
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons ranch seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 quart peanut oil, for frying- vegetable, canola oil as alternate

Catfish flour dredge

  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the hush puppies

  • 1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 (8.75oz) canned whole kernel corn, drained

Instructions

For the catfish

  1. Marinate the catfish: In a large bowl, combine the catfish fillets, buttermilk, ranch seasoning, salt, garlic powder, white pepper, paprika, and hot sauce together. Use your hands (with disposable gloves, if desired) to mix everything together to fully combine. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and transfer it into the refrigerator to marinate for at least one hour.
  2. Prepare the catfish flour dredge: In a shallow pie plate, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, minced onion, garlic powder, white pepper, and paprika together. Use a fork to mix everything together until well combined. Then set the flour dredge aside.

For the hush puppies

  1. Mix dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, minced onion, salt, sugar, white pepper, baking powder, and baking soda together. Use a whisk or a fork to mix all of the dry ingredients together until fully combined.
  2. Add in the wet ingredients: Add in the egg, buttermilk, and hot sauce. Mix everything together again until just combined.  Carefully fold in the corn until fully incorporated in the batter.

Frying the catfish and/or the hush puppies

  1. Fill a large heavy bottomed dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet with oil over medium high heat. Use a deep fry thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil until it reaches at least 350°F.
  2. Frying the hush puppies: Take a spoonful of the hush puppie batter and use another spoon to scrape off the batter directly into the hot oil. Repeat the process until you get as many dollops of batter into the pot without any overcrowding (fry them in batches if you need to). Fry the hush puppies until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spoon to take them out. Then set the hush puppies aside onto a plate/baking sheet lined with paper towel.
  3. Frying the catfish: Make sure the oil is at least 350°F. One by one, take each of the marinated catfish fillets and dredge them into the cornmeal mixture until coated on all sides, shaking off any excess flour. Carefully place the catfish fillets (fry in batches to avoid overcrowding) into the hot oil and fry them until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Note: if you prefer your catfish fried hard then fry them until your desired consistency is reached. Use tongs or a fish spatula to carefully take the catfish out and place the fried catfish fillets onto a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack to allow excess oil to drip off. Repeat the process until all of the catfish is fried.
  4. Enjoy the catfish warm alongside hush puppies and side items such as coleslaw, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. Also serve with condiments like tartar sauce and hot sauce, if desired.

Notes

  1. Storing: Fried catfish/hush puppies will keep when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  2. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Deep Frying
  • Cuisine: American, Southern

Keywords: catfish, frying, southern, hush puppies, coleslaw, collard greens