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Fried catfish recipe

Fried Catfish Recipe


Adapted from the recipe presented at


  • About 2 lb catfish fillets, boneless and skinless
  • 1 C buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce (Crystal, Tabasco, etc.)
  • Salt
  • 3/4 C fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • High smoke-point, neutral-flavored oil for frying

Fried catfish ingredients


  • Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) and place a rimmed pan with a rack set in it, or lined with paper towels, in the oven.
  • Combine the hot sauce and the buttermilk in a dish that can hold the catfish.
  • Add the catfish fillets to the buttermilk and let them soak while you make the breading and heat the oil. (Soaking them in advance is even better if you have an extra hour or so.)
  • Pour the oil into a large, heavy skillet, attach a probe to the rim of the skillet using a pot clip, and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Set the high-temp alarm on your ChefAlarm for 350°F (177°C) and the low-temp alarm for 325°F (163°C).
  • Combine the dry ingredients except for the salt in a bowl and mix until homogeneous. Pour the mixture onto a large plate for dredging. 
  • When the oil is hot enough (the high-temp alarm on the ChefAlarm will have just sounded), remove a fillet from the milk bath, salt it, dredge it in the seasoned cornmeal/flour, and lay it gently in the pan. Cook one or two fillets at a time.
  • Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil as close as possible to the temperature window set on your ChefAlarm. (Turn the heat to high as soon as you add the fish to the pan, the initial cooling of the oil will be intense.)
  • Let the fish cook, undisturbed, on one side for about 3 minutes, then turn it over to brown and cook the other side. Cook for another 3 minutes or so and start temping it with your Thermapen ONE.  
  • When the coolest part of the fish reaches 140°F (60°C), remove it from the pan and keep it warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the fillets. 
  • Between batches, make sure that the oil reheats to 350°F (177°C) .
  • Once the fillets are all cooked, serve them piping hot—and please pass me the bottle of hot sauce!