Crispy air fryer catfish is tender inside with a light breading outside. A healthy low carb and delicious dinner idea your family will love.
Cooking fish this way is amazing. Any type is great but air fryer catfish is inexpensive, healthy and gives it the perfect texture inside and out. Jut one of many easy air fryer recipes here on The Typical Mom blog. (affiliate links present)
How Long to Air Fry Catfish
I have made A LOT of different air fryer fish recipes, this is one of the last to try. Once again it was a huge win at dinnertime. It is a dinner that is prepped and done in about 20 minutes which is way faster than baking in the oven and healthy compared to deep frying it in oil.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- THIS is my Favorite Air Fryer!
- You can find more Air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Catfish in Air Fryer
Really most white fish can be cooked this same way. I made air fryer tilapia similarly. Just adjust the seasonings to your liking but there are simple suggestions below too.
Yes! From air fryer salmon, to grouper, cod and more each one comes out flaky and delicious. Lightly breaded or plain it will keep it moist while giving the outside a bit of crispiness.
How do you cook catfish in an air fryer?
We are going to explain it all for you right here. You just need 2 shallow bowls for your egg and breadcrumbs mixture. Then cook in a preheated air fryer for just a few minutes and enjoy immediately with a squeeze of lemon.
How long does it take a whole fish to fry in the air fryer?
This is for fillets without bones but if you kept it whole and it was on the smaller side it would take about 16 minutes. You’d put it in at 390 F and flip halfway through. After the total cook time, slice open and check.
- Quickest is to make air fryer fish nuggets. Bite sized goodness.
If it is not flaky or still has a translucent look to it you’ll need to add more time. It’s easier to use filets like you see here without bones, the head or tails. They cook more evenly and are easier to eat when done.
Air Fryer Catfish Panko
- 2-3 defrosted catfish fillets usually fit at one time
- Breadcrumbs or Panko
- Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- or use this ready made Southern style fish fry mix
- We love serving this with some air fryer hush puppies
At the end a squeeze of lemon and/or tartar sauce are usually served with it.
What is the best oil to cook catfish in?
Well in this case you aren’t cooking the fish IN anything. You actually don’t need any at all unless you want the outside really crispy. If so just spray some vegetable oil on the top 1 minute before the end of the cook cycle.
Catfish Air Fryer
Time needed: 15 minutes.
Air Fryer Catfish
Rinse your fish and lay on a few paper towels, fold over to remove any moisture from outside of fillets.
In a shallow bowl whisk your egg, in another add breadcrumbs, flour, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Mix together.
Dip each piece into the egg, then breadcrumbs mixture. Allow excess to fall off.
Preheat air fryer basket to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray inside of basket with olive oil spray.
Lay coated fillets inside in a single layer without overlapping them.
Cook for 15 minutes total. Keep in mind that timing will depend a lot on how thick your pieces are, check after 10 min. total. Flip each one over half way through the cook time.
Remove when fork tender in thickest part of fillet and internal temp is 145 F. Plate and squeeze lemon on top and serve with tartar sauce.
Like our breaded pork chops air fryer recipe, there is just a light coating. I don’t think either need a lot, just enough to give it crunch and more flavor.
Of course you can add any additional seasonings you like. Garlic salt and/or onion powder is a great add in as well.
How do you know when catfish is done?
For me this is big! Do not overcook your fish, no matter what kind it is. I would rather have mine right at 145 F than turning grey and dry. Start at the shortest time first. 10 minutes flipping halfway works well for thin pcs.
If you have really thick pieces than it may take closer to 15-20 minutes. Typically you can tell on the outside if it’s getting there. Then use a fork to cut in half and if it is no longer opaque and flakes with your fork you’re set.
Seriously there’s nothing worse than ruining a great piece of seafood. Now I do like a bit of crunch on the outside. If you too love fried catfish you can get that same texture, but with a lot less fat.
Just 1-2 minutes before the end of the cook time spray some vegetable or olive oil spray on the top of your fish fillets. Then it will give them more of a deep frying crust you’re looking for.
Serve it as is with side dishes or inside air fryer fish tacos!!
Catfish Fillet Recipe
Air Fryer Southern Fried Catfish
Let us know which ones are your favorites and/or if you add a different coating you love. Serve with air fryer vegetables or beets and enjoy.
Looking for more easy family recipes and tips? LIKE The Typical Mom Facebook page?
***** If you LOVED this recipe give it 5 Stars below and let everyone know what you thought about it. 😉
Air Fryer Catfish
- Rinse fish and lay on paper towels, fold over to remove moisture from outside of fillets.
- In a shallow bowl whisk egg, in another add breadcrumbs, flour, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Mix together.
- Dredge each piece in egg, then breadcrumbs mixture. Allow excess to fall off.
- Preheat air fryer basket to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray inside of basket with olive oil spray.
- Lay coated fillets inside in a single layer without overlapping them.
- Cook for 15 minutes total (give or take depending on how thick your pieces are, check after 10 with 5 minutes on each side) flipping over half way through cook time.
- Remove when fork tender in thickest part of fillet and internal temp is 145 F.
- Plate and squeeze lemon on top and serve with tartar sauce.