These fried catfish nuggets are super crispy and they have the most delicious seasoning to 'em too. The fish turns out tender and flakey on the inside and the breading has just the perfect amount of crunch. As far as fried fish recipes go, this one is a family favorite. Kids especially love it too.
We all know and love chicken nuggets, but have you ever tried catfish nuggets before? They have that same addictive crispy and crunchy coating, but they have a softer center that's just so, so addictive.
Honestly, I didn't expect to like these nuggets so much the first time I made 'em, but I've been whipping 'em up on a regular basis ever since I gave them a try. They're especially a great appetizer to put out if you're hosting and want to give your guests a little something different. It's a Southern comfort food that everyone is sure to love!
Table of Contents
Ingredients You'll Need
- Catfish fillets- cut into nuggets. Fresh or frozen will work great. You'll just want to make sure to thaw the frozen catfish before starting the recipe.
- Milk- any kind works to dredge the nuggets.
- Egg- this helps the flour and cornmeal bind to the nuggets.
- Cornmeal- helps to get that crispy crunch that's so addictive!
- Flour- all purpose is best to coat the nuggets to keep them tender.
- Seasonings- paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Oil- for frying. A high-heat oil, like canola oil or avocado oil.
How To Make Fried Catfish Nuggets
Step 1: Prepare the fish. Pat the catfish fillets completely dry with a paper towel. Then cut them into even-sized pieces that are 2-inch cubes.
Step 2: Prepare the breading. Whisk the milk and egg in a bowl that's big enough for the mixture and a few nuggets. In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Step 3: Coat in egg wash. Dip a nugget in the milk and egg mixture. Use a fork to flip the nuggets so they get completely coated on each side.
Step 4: Dredge the nuggets. Immediately after coating in the egg wash, cover the nuggets in the cornmeal mixture. Be sure to flip the nuggets a few times so they get nice and covered on each side.
Step 5: Fry the nuggets. Heat the oil in a deep pot to 350°F (180ºC). After you bread the nuggets, place them in the hot oil and fry for about 5 minutes on each side until they're crispy and golden brown. Immediately transfer the fried catfish nuggets to a paper towel line plate and remove any excess oil.
Step 6: Serve. As soon as you fry all of the nuggets, serve them warm with your favorite dipping sauce. I like to use this McDonalds tartar sauce. Enjoy!
How To Make Baked Catfish Nuggets
If you want to bake the nuggets instead of deep-frying for a healthier recipe, just follow the same instructions up until baking. Then spread the nuggets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Flip them halfway through for even cooking on each side.
Tips To Make The Best Fried Catfish Nuggets
- Make sure to cut your nuggets all a similar size. This will ensure they cook evenly in the proper amount of time.
- Don't wait too long between dredging and frying your nuggets. If they sit too long, they do not stay coated, and you could end up with a soggy crust.
- Don't overcrowd the pan while frying. Leave a little space between the nuggets, or the oil temperature will lower, and they won't cook evenly. You may have to fry them in batches.
Storing and Reheating Instructions
In the fridge: You can store any leftover nuggets in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
In the freezer: If you don't think you'll eat the leftovers within that time, you'll want to freeze the nuggets. First flash freeze them on a baking tray, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze them for up to 3 months.
Reheating: The best way to reheat these Southern fried catfish nuggets is in an air fryer for about 15 minutes. If you don't have an air fryer, an oven works well, too. Preheat the oven to 250F and warm the nuggets for about 20 minutes.
More Fish Recipes
- Air fryer catfish
- Fried mahi mahi
- Fried salmon
- Beer battered shrimp
- Salmon bites
- Fish and grits
- Panko fried shrimp
- 3-4 catfish fillets, cut into nuggets
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 egg
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. paprika powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- Oil for deep frying (vegetable oil, canola oil, or any frying oil)
- Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.
- Mix milk and egg.
- Combine cornmeal, flour, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Dip the fish in the milk and egg and then in the cornmeal mixture.
- Heat the oil to 350°F. Fry the nuggets until golden brown, transfer to a paper towel and remove excess grease.
- Pat the fish dry with a paper towel.
- Whisk the milk and egg in a bowl.
- Combine the cornmeal, flour, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl.
- Dip the fish in the milk and egg mixture and then in the cornmeal mixture. Coat each nugget well on each side with both.
- Heat the oil to 350°F in a pot or deep frying pan. Add the nuggets to the hot oil and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to remove excess grease.
- Serve warm with any dipping sauce you want.
Serving Size:4 nuggets
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 11.6gSaturated Fat: 2.3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 94mgCarbohydrates: 36.4gFiber: 2.7gSugar: 0.8gProtein: 24.5g