Air Fryer Catfish

Welcome to our guide on making Air Fryer Catfish. This method ensures that your catfish fillets are perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, all with minimal oil. Using an air fryer makes this process quick and easy, delivering fantastic results every time. Let’s dive into this delicious recipe!


To prepare Air Fryer Catfish, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 4 catfish fillets
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional, for a spicy kick)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • Optional: Lemon wedges and fresh parsley for garnish

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Catfish
  1. Soak in Buttermilk: Place the catfish fillets in a shallow dish and pour the buttermilk over them. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes to tenderize the fish and enhance flavor.
Step 2: Prepare the Breading
  1. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), salt, and black pepper. Mix well to create the breading mixture.
Step 3: Bread the Catfish
  1. Coat the Fillets: Remove the catfish fillets from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off. Dredge each fillet in the breading mixture, pressing gently to ensure an even coating.
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Step 4: Preheat the Air Fryer
  1. Preheat: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for about 5 minutes to ensure it is hot and ready for cooking.
Step 5: Cook the Catfish
  1. Arrange in Basket: Lightly spray the air fryer basket with olive oil or cooking spray. Place the breaded catfish fillets in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding to ensure even cooking. You may need to cook them in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
  2. Air Fry: Cook the catfish fillets at 400°F (200°C) for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through. The fillets are done when they are golden brown and crispy on the outside and flake easily with a fork.
Step 6: Serve
  1. Remove and Cool: Carefully remove the catfish fillets from the air fryer and let them cool slightly.
  2. Garnish and Serve: Serve the catfish fillets with lemon wedges and fresh parsley if desired. They pair wonderfully with coleslaw, fries, or a fresh green salad.

Cooking Tips and Variations

  • Herb Seasoning: Add dried herbs like thyme, oregano, or dill to the breading mixture for extra flavor.
  • Spicy Option: Increase the amount of cayenne pepper or add hot sauce to the buttermilk soak for a spicier version.
  • Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Dipping Sauces: Serve with tartar sauce, remoulade, or a spicy aioli for dipping.


Air Fryer Catfish is a delicious and easy way to enjoy crispy, flavorful catfish with minimal oil. The air fryer ensures that the fillets come out perfectly cooked every time, making this a healthy and convenient meal option. Whether served with classic sides or enjoyed on their own, these catfish fillets are sure to be a hit.


Key Takeaway

Air Fryer Catfish offers a quick, easy, and healthy way to prepare this tasty fish. The air fryer ensures a perfect crisp every time, making these catfish fillets a fantastic addition to any meal. Enjoy experimenting with different seasonings and dipping sauces to make this dish your own!