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+ servings
fried catfish

Southern Air Fryer Catfish

Our Southern Air Fryer Catfish recipe is a healthier twist on traditional Southern deep fried catfish. The air fryer method fries without using oil.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 22 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 4
Calories 328 kcal


  • air fryer
  • tongs


  • 4 fillets catfish frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg large
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp paprika traditional or smoked
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon in wedges


  • Preheat your air fryer for 2-3 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • In a dish, measure and mix your cornmeal, flour, cheese, garlic and onion powders, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • In a different dish, use a fork or a whisk to scramble up your egg and buttermilk.
  • Pat each catfish fillet dry with a paper towel, then dip into the egg mixture, coating both sides letting the excess drip back into the dish. A thin coating is all you need to get the crust to stick.
  • Press the catfish into the cornmeal mixture on both sides of fish, making sure to coat fully and evenly.
  • Using your tongs, carefully set your fillets evenly on the air fryer basket surface. If you wish to give a light spray of olive oil for extra crispiness and to prevent sticking, do this now.
  • Set your timer for 12 minutes, turning with your tongs halfway through the cooking time. At the halfway point, you can also remove from the basket to spray a small amount of lemon juice or oil to prevent it from drying out. Place back in the basket and cook the additional time.
  • Remove from air fryer and check to be sure that your catfish is cooked all the way through.


Serving: 4gCalories: 328kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 35gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 492mgPotassium: 771mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 321IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 128mgIron: 2mg
Keyword cornmeal batter
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