Crispy air fryer catfish is tender inside with a light breading outside. A healthy low carb and delicious dinner idea your family will love. If you want to know how to cook frozen fish or fresh using this machine we have great instructions to get it fork tender.
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, originally published 4/21)
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 grew up in the South this is going to be a favorite out of the sea. I lived in Arkansas for several years and this was served most often. Many times it would be spicy with red pepper flakes but you can adjust the heat yourself when making it at home.
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- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
- This is the best air fryer cookbook. It’s important to know and remember how to preheat air fryer for best results.
- Here’s a printable free air fryer cooking time chart here for your fridge.
- It has temp. and times for making the best frozen foods for air fryer too.
- Then join our Facebook page below where you can share and find more ideas you’ll love.
Air Fryer Catfish Frozen
You can of course cook frozen fish in air fryer this same way but without the breading at all. It won’t stick and that is fine really, it will still be delicious. Instead just spray with olive oil and add seasonings of your choice. Use the same timing as listed below. The only way to get it both ways is to cook air fryer fish sticks right out of the package, this is homemade
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
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.
Catfish Fillet Recipe
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!!
Air Fryer Southern Fried Catfish
Looking for other air fryer fish recipes? We have a bunch of different ways to make air fryer fried shrimp, air fryer mahi mahi and even air fryer scallops you’ll love.
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.
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Air Fryer Catfish
- 3 catfish fillets thawed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c bread crumbs
- 1/4 c all purpose flour
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 lemon juiced
- 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.