That’s right, folks. You read that right. All you need are FOUR ingredients and only 20 MINUTES (!!!) for the easiest Southern Style Oven Fried Catfish ever! It’s inexpensive to make, slightly spicy, super crispy on the outside, and tender and flaky on the inside. It’s perfect in every way, especially in how easy it is to prepare.
In the South, catfish abounds. It’s easy to find in any grocery store and is relatively inexpensive. If you live somewhere else, you can use any other white fish for this- tilapia, haddock, cod… you name it!
We had this for dinner last night with a side of green beans (the microwave-in-the-bag kind… which I highly recommend for its convenience AND perfectly steamed taste!), a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and some homemade tartar sauce on the side (a simple mixture of mayonnaise and relish). Perfection.
But TODAY, I reheated a piece of leftover catfish, toasted a burger bun, got a crispy piece of green lettuce, slathered on some mayo and relish and had one of the best “fried” fish sandwiches ever for lunch. As the old saying goes, if you make a little bit of oven fried catfish, you will eat for a day. But if you make enough for leftovers, you will eat fried fish sandwiches all week.
Or something like that :-)
However you choose to eat this oven fried catfish, whether on its own or on a toasted bun, it’s sure to become a favorite recipe fast. I fully intend on making this at least once a week until the end of time.
PLUS, you can feel good about it being way healthier than deep fried catfish! Made with a 100% cornmeal coating, it’s gluten free, and since it’s baked, it’s lower in fat (but still full of the heart healthy Omega 3 fats that abound in fish). The kids AND the adults in your family are sure to love it.
This is extremely easy to make and involves very few steps, but there are a few things to consider when making this in order to ensure the best outcome:
- Coat a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of oil and place the fish directly on it. No non-stick spray, no parchment paper or silicone mat. The oil will absorb into the batter, giving it a richer taste that’s more similar to traditional fried catfish, and will help crisp up the coating without drying it out. If you coat the fish well enough (see tip #3) and use a good baking sheet (I highly recommend a Nordic Ware Aluminium Half Bakers Sheet), you won’t have a problem with sticking.
- Use stone ground cornmeal. The texture is phenomenal.
- When dredging the catfish pieces in the egg and cornmeal mixtures, make sure you coat them extremely well. Pat the cornmeal mixture into the pieces of fish, ensuring that it’s adhered to it sufficiently and that every nook and cranny is covered.
- Bake at a very high temperature- 475 degrees- for only 14 minutes total. This will help ensure a golden, crispy outer layer and a flaky, tender interior.
- Flip halfway through roasting. The bottom of the fish will absorb some of the oil on the pan, and when flipped, it will crisp up perfectly on both sides.
Recipe below. Enjoy!
Four Ingredient Oven Fried Catfish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola or vegetable oil
- 1.5 lbs catfish filets cut into smaller pieces (about 3-4 inches wide)
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more if needed
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon creole seasoning
- lemon slices and chopped fresh parsley, for serving optional
- Preheat your oven to 475 F.
- Grease a rimmed baking sheet with all of the olive oil (2 tablespoons).
- In a shallow bowl, beat together the 2 eggs with kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon) and black pepper (1/4 teaspoon).
- In another shallow bowl, mix together the cornmeal (1 cup) and creole seasoning (1 tablespoon).
- Coat each piece of catfish in the egg mixture, followed by the cornmeal mixture. Make sure you coat all sides and pat it in a bit so it's very well coated.
- Place on the greased baking sheet.
- Bake at 475 for 7 minutes.
- Flip the fish over, bake for another 7 minutes.
- Serve with fresh lemon slices and parsley for garnish, if desired.
- I recommend using a fish spatula to flip the fish. It's thin and helps keep it intact and not fall apart. I use it for most things, not just fish!
- Stone-ground cornmeal works best, but any will do.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.